October 21, 2012
Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education was forced by public pressure Friday to cancel its bizarre bureaucratic decision to prohibit free online college courses offered through Coursera and other websites, Slate reported Friday.
A drastic switch to low carbon-emitting technologies, such as wind and hydroelectric power, may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century, research published today by the Institute of Physics suggests.
Furthermore, it states that technologies that offer only modest reductions in greenhouse gases, such as the use of natural gas and perhaps carbon capture and storage, cannot substantially reduce climate… read more
Meiji University professor Hiroshi Nagashima is creating chimeric pigs, which carry genetic material from two different species, BBC News reports. It starts off by making what Nagashima calls “a-pancreatic” embryos. Inside the white pig embryo, the gene that carries the instructions for developing the animal’s pancreas has been “switched off.”
The Japanese team then introduces stem cells from a black pig into the embryo. What they have… read more
Experts from around the world attended Resveratrol 2012, a major conference at the University to assess the latest advances in the study of resveratrol — a compound found in the skins of red grapes.
The conference featured new findings based on… read more
Boston Dynamics has unleashed Cheetah as “WildCat” — a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain.
So far, WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain using bounding and galloping gaits — still slower than tethered Cheetah, with a top speed of 28.3 mph. Boston Dynamics is developing WildCat with funding from DARPA’s M3 program. (To… read more
Osaka University’s Asada Lab roboticists say Affetto is the most realistic infant robot ever made, thanks to the 12 degrees of freedom of its head, its smile, and the 20 flexible pneumatic actuators to move its arms, neck, and spine.
The phenomenon of false memory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defendants have been found guilty based on testimony from witnesses and victims who were sure of their recollections, but DNA evidence later overturned the conviction.
They also… read more
Scientists in an Austrian laboratory have developed complex human brain tissue made from stem cells in a laboratory 3D culture system for the first time. The method allows induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (which have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body) to develop into “cerebral organoids” — or “mini brains.”
These mini brains, which are a few millimeters across, develop several… read more
Elon Musk has released a video demonstrating SpaceX’s new custom 3D design interface, inspired by Iron Man.
It includes use of Leap Motion control, free-standing glass projections (from Iron Man), 3D projections using glasses, and the Occulus Rift VR headset.
After generating and manipulating the 3D model, Musk then 3D-prints an actual titanium metallic rocket-engine part from the model.
“I believe we are on the… read more
“It’s not humanly possible to practice the best possible medicine. We need machines,” said Herbert Chase, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and member of IBM’s Watson Healthcare Advisory Board, Wired Science reports.
“A machine like [IBM's Watson], with massively parallel processing, is like 500,000 of me sitting at Google and Pubmed, trying to find the right information.”
Yet though Watson is clearly a powerful tool,… read more
A computer program called the Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) is now running 24 hours a day at Carnegie Mellon University, searching the Web for images, doing its best to understand them. And as it builds a growing visual database, it is gathering common sense on a massive scale.
NEIL leverages recent advances in computer vision that enable computer programs to identify and label objects in images,… read more
Amazon.com Inc. is developing a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, and users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, according to sources,
With smartphones, Amazon could collect new… read more
DARPA‘s Warrior Web program seeks to create a soft, lightweight under-suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue common for soldiers, who often carry 100-pound loads for extended periods over rough terrain.
DARPA envisions Warrior Web augmenting the work of soldiers’ own muscles to significantly boost endurance, carrying capacity and overall warfighter effectiveness — all while using no more than 100W of power.… read more