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Minnesota bans free online education, caves to Internet pressure

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.

Low-carbon technologies ‘no quick-fix,’ say researchers

February 16, 2012

Wind power

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

Growing human organs inside pigs in Japan

January 6, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

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

Amazon hopes to deliver packages via drones within 5 years

December 1, 2013

(Credit: Amazon)

Amazon hopes to use autonomous octocopter drones to deliver small packages to customers within 30 minutes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Sunday in a 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose.

Amazon says putting the new Amazon Prime Air service into commercial use “will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the… read more

Forget electric cars, this one runs on compressed air

August 19, 2012

tata airpod car 2

India’s Tata Motors is pushing technology for compressed air to power cars forward with its project to build “Airpods zero-pollution, cute-as-a-bug smartcars that zip along at 40 m.p.h. via the magic of squeezed air, The Atlantic Cities reports.

They are built with pneumatic motors that use pressurized air to drive pistons.

The mid-sized model fits three passengers, although one must face backward.… read more

New evidence on how compound found in red wine can help prevent cancer

How resveratrol can prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes
December 7, 2012

400px-Glass_of_red_wine

University of Leicester scientists have presented groundbreaking new evidence about how a chemical found in red wine can help prevent cancer.

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’ new running robot: WildCat

October 6, 2013

WildCat2

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

Most realistic android infant?

July 29, 2012

Affetto-internalmech2

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.

What do you think? Does this bypass the uncanny valley yet? (Warning: fast-forward to :58 to bypass the scary part.)… read more

Neuroscientists plant false memories in the brain

MIT study also pinpoints where the brain stores memory traces, both false and authentic
July 26, 2013

memory_traces_hippocampus

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.

In a step toward understanding how these faulty memories arise, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can plant false memories in the brains of mice.

They also… read more

Lab-grown model 3D brains

"Cerebral organoids” can model complex human brain disorders and the earliest stages of brain development
August 30, 2013

organoid

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 designs real-world Iron Man gesture interface and 3D modeler

The future of design
September 6, 2013

(Credit: SpaceX)

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

Paging Dr. Watson: artificial intelligence as a prescription for health care

October 18, 2012

(Credit: IBM)

“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

Carnegie Mellon computer searches web 24/7 to analyze images and teach itself common sense

NEIL program labels images, learns associations with minimal help from people
November 22, 2013

eye part of baby

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 is developing smartphone with 3D screen

May 10, 2013

emporer

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

Warrior Web to augment soldiers’ endurance

May 27, 2013

(credit: DARPA)

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

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