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Making silicon devices responsive to infrared light

January 6, 2014

silicon_infrared

A new system developed by researchers at five institutions, including MIT, could eliminate many limitations in methods to develop detectors that are responsive to a broad range of infrared light. Such detectors could form sensitive imaging arrays for security systems, for example.

The new system works at room temperature and provides a broad infrared response, says associate professor of mechanical engineering Tonio Buonassisi.

It… read more

Using supercomputers in the hunt for ‘cheapium’

January 6, 2014

Compound-forming vs non-compound-forming systems.  (Adapted from G. Hart et al./Phys. Rev. X)

In the search for cheaper materials that mimic their purer, more expensive counterparts, researchers are abandoning hunches and intuition for theoretical models and pure computing power.

In a new study, researchers from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering used computational methods to identify dozens of platinum-group alloys that were previously unknown to science but could prove beneficial in a wide range of applications.

Platinum… read more

Self-driving vehicles: benefits to society, policy challenges for lawmakers

January 6, 2014

Imagined autonomous vehicle

Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

“Our research finds that the social benefits of autonomous vehicles — including decreased crashes, increased mobility and increases… read more

Turning off the ‘aging genes’

Computer algorithm developed by TAU researchers identifies genes that could be transformed to stop the aging process
January 3, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a computer algorithm that predicts which genes can be “turned off” to create the same anti-aging effect as calorie restriction*. The findings, reported in Nature Communications, could lead to the development of new drugs to treat aging.

“Most algorithms try to find drug targets that kill cells to treat cancer or bacterial infections,” says Keren Yizhak, a doctoral student in Prof.… read more

Fully self-driving cars expected by 2030, says forecast — UPDATE

New IHS Automotive study forecasts nearly 12 million yearly self-driving cars sales and almost 54 million in use on global highways by 2035
January 3, 2014

Google_autonomous_vehicle

Self-driving cars (SDC) that include driver control are expected to hit highways around the globe before 2025 and self-driving “only” cars (only the car drives) are anticipated around 2030, according to an emerging technologies study on Autonomous Cars from IHS Automotive.

In the study, “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars — Not If, But When,” IHS Automotive forecasts total worldwide sales of self-driving cars will grow from nearly 230… read more

NSA seeks to develop quantum computer to crack nearly every kind of encryption

January 3, 2014

Cooper-pair device (Credit:

Is this device above — part of a quantum-computing research project at the Laboratory for Physical Sciences in Maryland — the core of a future NSA quantum computer for cracking nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world?

According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” is part… read more

Ultrathin ‘diagnostic skin’ allows continuous patient monitoring

January 2, 2014

Gorbach array laminated on skin

An entirely new approach to measuring body temperature — an ”electronic skin” that adheres non-invasively to human skin, conforms well to contours, and provides a detailed temperature map of any surface of the body — has been developed by an international multidisciplinary team including researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

Subtle variations in temperature can… read more

Hubble sees cloudy ‘super-Earth’ 40 light-years away

January 2, 2014

GJ1214b

Two teams of scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope report they have characterized the atmospheres of a pair of planets with masses intermediate between gas giants, like Jupiter, and smaller, rockier planets, like Earth.

A survey by NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission previously showed that objects in this size range are among the most common type of planets in our Milky Way galaxy. The researchers described their… read more

Vapor nanobubbles rapidly detect malaria through the skin

One portable device able to screen up to 200,000 people per year, operated by non-medical personnel
January 2, 2014

nanobubble_malaria

Rice University researchers have developed a noninvasive technology that accurately detects even a single malaria-infected cell among a million normal cells through the skin in seconds with a laser scanner.

The “vapor nanobubble” technology requires no dyes or diagnostic chemicals, there is no need to draw blood, and there are zero false-positive readings.

The diagnosis and screening will be supported by a low-cost, battery-powered portable device that… read more

Vitamin E may delay decline in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s Disease, study finds

January 1, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

New research published online first in the Jan. 1 Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that alpha tocepherol (fat-soluble Vitamin E and antioxidant), may slow functional decline — problems with daily activities such as shopping, preparing meals, planning, and traveling — in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease and decrease caregiver burden.

Vitamin E did not show delay of cognitive or memory deterioration in the research.

“Since the cholinesterase… read more

A step toward simulating a worm brain in a computer

December 31, 2013

(Credit: OpenWorm Project)

The OpenWorm Project — an open-source project dedicated to creating a virtual C. elegans nematode in a computer by reverse-engineering its biology—  has now developed software that replicates the worm’s muscle movement.

You can explore that with the OpenWorm browser, or the iOS OpenWorm 3D Browser app.

The ultimate scientific goal of OpenWorm: understanding how the worm brain works via a full  digital… read more

Tech predictions for businesses in 2014: mobility, wearables, intelligent assistants, gestural computing, facial recognition

December 31, 2013

Ready for facial recognition in stores? (Credit: Warner Brothers)

J. P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals offers these predictions for 2014 for businesses:

  • Mobility: Customers will actively shun businesses that lack mobile applications to enrich their experiences.
  • Wearables: will come to the enterprise, often in customer-facing situations. Google Glass could be the next big App Platform.
  • Intelligent assistants:  Intelligent agents like Siri and

read more

World’s first green piglets born in China, sheep next

December 30, 2013

glowing_piglets

In Guangdong Province in Southern China, ten transgenic piglets have been born this year, in  and under a black light, they glow a greenish tint.

A technique developed by reproductive scientists from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine was used to quadruple the success rate at which plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA were transferred into the… read more

First human implant of world’s smallest, minimally invasive cardiac pacemaker

December 30, 2013

Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS), world's smallest heart pacemaker (credit: Medronic)

Medtronic, Inc. has announced the first-in-human implant of the world’s smallest pacemaker: the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS).

The device was implanted in a patient in Linz, Austria as part of the Medtronic global pivotal clinical trial. The Micra TPS is an investigational device worldwide.

At one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker, and comparable in size to a large vitamin, the Micra TPS is delivered… read more

RIKEN to develop exascale supercomputer by 2020

December 30, 2013

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

RIKEN has announced plans to develop a new exascale supercomputer, meaning it will compute at least one quintillion (a million trillion) floating point operations per second — 30 times faster than the current fastest supercomputer, China’s Tianhe-2.

The new supercomputer is scheduled to begin working in 2020.

Funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, it is expected to “keep Japan… read more

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