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Improving the human-robot connection

April 14, 2014

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Researchers at the University of British Columbia enlisted the help of a human-friendly robot named Charlie to study the simple task of handing an object to a person. Past research has shown that people have difficulty figuring out when to reach out and take an object from a robot because robots fail to provide appropriate nonverbal cues.

“We hand things to other people multiple times a day… read more

Body-hack app shortcuts jet-lag recovery

April 14, 2014

Entrain iOS app

A new jet-lag mobile app called Entrain released by University of Michigan mathematicians reveals previously unknown shortcuts that can help travelers entrain (synchronize) their circadian rhythms to new time zones as efficiently as possible.

Entrain is built around the premise that light, particularly from the sun and in wavelengths that appear to our eyes as the color blue, is the strongest signal to regulate circadian… read more

Nanoelectronic circuits that operate more than 10,000 times faster than current microprocessors

Could revolutionize high-speed electronics, nanoscale optoelectronics, and nonlinear optics
April 14, 2014

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Circuits that can operate at frequencies up to 245 terahertz — tens of thousands times faster than today’s state-of-the-art microprocessors — have been designed and fabricated by researchers at National University of Singapore and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

The new circuits can potentially be used to construct ultra-fast computers or single-molecule detectors in the future, and open up new possibilities in nanoelectronic devices. For… read more

Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients

April 14, 2014

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A research team led by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has reported in The Lancet the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs, which were engineered with their own cells.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Atala. “This may represent a… read more

A quantum logic gate combining light and matter

April 11, 2014

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Scientists at Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) have successfully achieved a quantum logic gate using a single photon and a single atom.

In the experiment, described in a Nature paper, the binary states 0 and 1 are represented by the two spin orientations of an atom (upwards or downwards), and by two polarization states of an optical photon (left or right circular), respectively.

The atom is… read more

Light lattice that traps atoms could power networks of quantum computing

April 11, 2014

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Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have developed a new method for connecting atoms and light that could help in the development of powerful quantum computing systems.

The new technique allows researchers to couple a lone atom of rubidium, a metal, with a single photon, or light particle. This allows both the atom and photon to switch the quantum state of each other, providing a mechanism through… read more

Navy researchers demonstrate flight powered by fuel created from seawater

April 11, 2014

Flying a radio-controlled replica of the historic WWII P-51 Mustang red-tail aircraft—of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen—NRL researchers (l to r) Dr. Jeffrey Baldwin, Dr. Dennis Hardy, Dr. Heather Willauer, and Dr. David Drab (crouched), successfully demonstrate a novel liquid hydrocarbon fuel to power the aircraft's unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine. The test provides proof-of-concept for an NRL developed process to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater, subsequently catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into fuel by a gas-to-liquids process (credit: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory).

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a technology for simultaneously extracting carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and converting the two gases to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel, as a possible replacement for petroleum-based jet fuel.

Fueled by the liquid hydrocarbon, the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled  P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf, unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.… read more

Navy’s Star Wars-style laser weapon to be tested in Persian Gulf this summer

A "revolutionary capability" -- Chief of Naval Research
April 10, 2014

navy-laws

The U.S. Navy plans to install a prototype of the first laser weapon on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf late this summer.

The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is a “revolutionary capability,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. “It’s absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our Sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change… read more

Replacing a defective gene with a correct sequence to treat genetic disorders

April 10, 2014

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Using a new gene-editing system based on bacterial proteins, MIT researchers have cured mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation.

The findings, described in the March 30 issue of Nature Biotechnology, offer the first evidence that this gene-editing technique, known as CRISPR, can reverse disease symptoms in living animals. CRISPR, which offers an easy way to snip out mutated DNA and replace it with… read more

Living organ regenerated for first time

April 10, 2014

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A team of scientists at the University of Edinburgh has rebuilt the thymus of an old mouse  — the first regeneration of a living organ.

After treatment, the regenerated organ had a structure similar to that found in a young mouse.

The  thymus is an organ in the body located next to the heart that produces important immune cells. The advance could pave the way for… read more

Using body movements as digital-music controllers

April 10, 2014

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Performers in the UBC Laptop Orchestra at the University of British Columbia use body movements to trigger programmed synthetic instruments or modify the sound of their live instruments in real time.

They strap motion sensors to their bodies and instruments, play wearable iPhone instruments, and swing Nintendo Wii or PlayStation Move controllers while Kinect video cameras track their movements.… read more

Is this the first map of dark matter?

April 9, 2014

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A new study of gamma-ray light from the center of our galaxy makes the strongest case to date that some of this emission may arise from dark matter, an unknown substance making up most of the material universe. Using publicly available data from NASA‘s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, independent scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), the Massachusetts Institute of… read more

Carbon nanotubes as reinforcing bars to strengthen graphene and increase conductivity

Could substitute for expensive indium tin oxide in displays and solar cells, making them unbreakable
April 9, 2014

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Rice University chemists have created a new material that adds carbon nanotubes as reinforcing bars (“rebar”) — mimicking how steel rebar is used in concrete — to make it easier to manipulate, while improving the electrical and mechanical qualities of both materials.

The technique should be of interest to electronics manufacturers, said Rice chemist James Tour. He suggested that by stacking a few layers, the… read more

Forcing cancer cells to devour themselves by blocking a protein signal

April 9, 2014

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Under stress from chemotherapy or radiation, some cancer cells dodge death by autophagy — eating a bit of themselves — allowing them to essentially sleep through treatment and later awaken as tougher, resistant disease.

But interfering with a single cancer-promoting protein and its receptor can turn this resistance mechanism into lethal, runaway self-cannibalization, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in the journal… read more

Pattern-recognition system for mobile devices blocks ‘shoulder surfers’

April 9, 2014

LatentGesture system monitors touch interaction to block "shoulder surfing" hackers from picking up passwords (credit: iStock)

Cybersecurity researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new security-software system called LatentGesture that continuously monitors how a user taps and swipes a mobile device. If the movements don’t match the owner’s patterns, the system recognizes the differences and if programmed, can lock the device.

In a recent Georgia Tech lab study, the system was nearly 98 percent accurate on a smartphone and 97 percent… read more

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