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Delphi completes first coast-to-coast automated drive

March 31, 2015

(credit: Delphi)

A self-driving car equipped by GM spinoff Delphi Automotive completed today a historic, 3,500-mile journey across the U.S. from San Franscisco to New York.

The trip demonstrated the full capabilities of its active safety technologies with the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America. The coast-to-coast trip, launched in San Francisco on March 22, covered approximately 3,500 miles.

Demonstrated on the streets of Las Vegas at… read more

‘Google Maps’ for the body

March 31, 2015

The imaging technique showing early and advanced osteoporosis. Image: Supplied (Credit: UNSW Australia)

UNSWTV | Google Maps for the Body

Biomedical engineer Melissa Knothe Tate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia is using previously proprietary semiconductor technology to zoom through organs of the human body, down to the level of a single cell.

The imaging technology, developed by high-tech German optical and industrial measurement manufacturer Zeiss, was originally developed to scan silicon wafers for defects.… read more

Researchers build brain-machine interface to control prosthetic hand

Non-invasive technique allows amputee to control hand with his thoughts
March 31, 2015

New UH research has demonstrated that an amputee can grasp with a bionic hand, powered only by his thoughts (credit: University of Houston)

A research team from the University of Houston has created an algorithm that allowed a man to grasp a bottle and other objects with a prosthetic hand, controlled only by his thoughts.

The technique, demonstrated with a 56-year-old man whose right hand had been amputated, uses non-invasive brain monitoring, capturing brain activity to determine what parts of the brain are involved in grasping an object.

With that information,… read more

A ‘Wikipedia’ for neurons

March 31, 2015

neuron types

Carnegie Mellon University | description

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have used data mining to create, a publicly available website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing the decades worth of physiological data collected about the billions of neurons in the brain.

The site aims to help accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing this “brain big… read more

‘Nanoneedles’ generate new blood vessels in mice, paving the way for new regenerative medicine

March 30, 2015

Electron microscope image of a single human cell (brown) on a bed of nanoneedles (blue) (credit: Imperial College London)

Scientists have developed “nanoneedles” that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice.

The researchers, from Imperial College London and Houston Methodist Research Institute in the U.S., hope their nanoneedle technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves repair themselves and help transplanted organs thrive.

In a trial described in Nature Materials, the team showed they could deliver nucleic… read more

High-resolution biosensor can report conditions from deep in the body

Going where no light has gone before
March 30, 2015

Geometrically encoded magnetic biosensors (credit: Kelley/NIST PML)

A new microscopic shape-shifting probe capable of sensitive, high-resolution remote biological sensing has been developed by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If eventually put into widespread use, the design could have a major impact on research in medicine, chemistry, biology, and engineering and ultimately used in clinical diagnostics, according to the researchers.

To date, most efforts… read more

How bacteria can use magnetic particles to create a ‘natural battery’

Could help clean up environmental pollution
March 30, 2015

Rhodopseudomonas palustris bacteria (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Iron-metabolizing bacteria can load electrons from microscopic particles of magnetite (magnetic iron oxides) and later, discharge electrons to the microparticles, which could lead to a new way to clean up environmental pollution and other bioengineering applications, an international team of researchers have found.

For example, using light energy, magnetite can reduce (gain electrons from) the toxic form of chromium, chromium VI, converting it to the less toxic… read more

A nanolaser and a bendable-light material promise to speed up microelectronic devices

March 27, 2015

nanolaser-honeycomb ft.

University of Washington (UW) scientists have built a new nanometer-sized laser — using the thinnest semiconductor available today — that is energy efficient, easy to build, and compatible with existing electronics.

The UW nanolaser, developed in collaboration with Stanford University, uses a tungsten-based semiconductor only three atoms thick as light emitter.

The technology is described in a paper published in the March 16 online edition of read more

Engineers create stretchable structures tougher than bulletproof vests

March 27, 2015

coil fabricated from aligned nanofibers1 ft

Researchers at University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) have created a material made from nanofibers that can stretch to up to seven times its length while remaining tougher than Kevlar.

These structures absorb up to 98 joules per gram. Kevlar, often used to make bulletproof vests, can absorb up to 80 joules per gram. The researchers hope the structures will one day form material that can… read more

Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

March 27, 2015

transforming crops ft.

High-performance computing and genetic engineering could boost crop photosynthetic efficiency enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in an open-access paper in the journal Cell.

“We now know every step in the processes that drive photosynthesis in plants such as soybeans and maize,” said University of Illinois plant biology professor Stephen P. Long, who wrote… read more

New kind of ‘tandem’ solar cell developed

Researchers combine two types of photovoltaic material to make a cell that harnesses more sunlight
March 26, 2015

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team (credit: Felice Frankel)

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say.

The new cell uses a layer of silicon — which forms the basis for most of today’s… read more

Promising pathways for solar photovoltaic power

A broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology by MIT
March 26, 2015

comparing different photovoltaic materials ft

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, MIT researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”

Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000. To evaluate… read more

Why carbon-nanotube fibers make ideal implantable brain electrodes

March 26, 2015

Pairs of carbon nanotube fibers have been tested for potential use as implantable electrodes to treat patients with neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease. The fibers invented at Rice University proved to be far better than metallic wires now used to stimulate neurons in the brain. (Credit: the Pasquali Lab)

Rice University scientists have found that the carbon nanotube fibers they developed for aerospace are superior to metal and plain-carbon electrodes for deep brain stimulation for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and for brain-machine interfaces to neural circuits in the brain.

The individual nanotubes measure only a few nanometers across, but when millions are bundled in a process called wet spinning, they become thread-like fibers about a… read more

U.S. engineering schools to educate 20,000 students to meet grand challenges

March 25, 2015

(credit: National Academy of Engineering)

In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair Monday, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.

These “Grand Challenges,” identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges… read more

What is 5G and when can I get it?

March 25, 2015

(credit: Huawei)

Imagine being able to download a full-length 8GB HD movie to your phone in six seconds (versus seven minutes over 4G or more than an hour on 3G) and video chats so immersive that it will feel like you can reach out and touch the other person right through the screen.

That’s the vision for the 5G concept — the next generation of wireless networks — presented at the… read more

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