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Apple patents health-and-fitness monitoring headphones

February 19, 2014

Fitness-heath-tracking

Apple has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004 for a “sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets,” Apple Insider reports.

The devices include accelerometers for detecting motion, and sensors for temperature, perspiration, heart-rate, activity, fitness, and other data.

Apple has “allegedly hired a number of experts in the field non-intrusive medical sensors,” Apple Insider reported last year.

The publication also notedread more

Chips that listen to bacteria

Sensing and disrupting biofilms
February 18, 2014

columbia_biofilms

A Columbia University research team has demonstrated that integrated circuit technology can be used for a study of signaling in bacterial colonies.

The researchers have developed a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip that enables them to electrochemically image the signaling molecules from these colonies spatially and temporally.

In effect, they have developed chips that “listen” to bacteria.

“This is an exciting new application for CMOS technology that will… read more

Growing number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children

214 human neurotoxicants now identified -- many widely used and disseminated extensively in the global environment
February 18, 2014

MRI-scans---mercury

Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children — such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia — according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed.

The report was published online February… read more

New multilayer graphene structure allows ‘ultraprecise,’ ‘ultrafast’ water filtering

Next step: reduce the filter size to filter out even the smallest salts like in seawater for drinkable water -- "no longer science fiction"
February 18, 2014

graphene_water

University of Manchester researchers have taken another key step toward a seawater filter: they’ve developed one-atom-wide graphene-oxide (GO) capillaries by building multilayer GO membranes (laminates).

As described in Science, these new laminates allow for “ultraprecise” selection of molecules that can go through the filter and “ultrafast” flow of water.

The new GO filters have an “astonishingly” accurate mesh that allows them to distinguish between atomic species… read more

Miniaturized hearing aids that will fit into the ear canal

Miniaturization tech could also be used to monitor pulse, blood-pressure, glucose, ECG via wireless, be used in implants, pacemakers
February 17, 2014

Invisibility cloak for hearing aids and implants

Fraunhofer IZM researchers are developing a miniature, low-power wireless microsystem to make hearing aids* so small they can be concealed out of sight within the ear.

The technology is also suitable for implants, pacemakers, and insulin pumps. This all means that the system uses only a fraction of the energy required by conventional devices, keeping cumbersome battery changes to a minimum. “Ideally, patients should not even be feeling of… read more

Super-bright, fast X-ray free-electron lasers can now image single layer of proteins

Scientists to image the missing 25 percent of known proteins
February 17, 2014

xfel_structure_protein

A new method for determining a protein’s shape just one protein molecule thick, using X-ray free-electron lasers (XFEL), significantly increases the number and type of proteins that researchers can study.

In biology, a protein’s shape is key to understanding how it causes disease or toxicity. Researchers who use X-rays to take snapshots of proteins need a billion copies of the same protein stacked and packed into a neat crystal.… read more

Wearable glasses help surgeons view cancer​​​​​​​​ cells in real time

Reduce the need for costly additional surgical procedures
February 17, 2014

wustl_cancer_glasses

Washington University School of Medicine scientists have developed a wearable display to help surgeons visualize cancer cells, which glow blue when viewed through the eyewear.

The wearable technology was used during surgery for the first time last week at Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Cancer cells are notoriously difficult to see, even under high-powered magnification. The glasses are designed to make it easier… read more

IBM sets new speed record for Big Data

February 15, 2014

IBM SOI analog-to-digital converter chip design (credit: IBM)

IBM has announced it has achieved a new data-transmission advancement that will help improve Internet backbone speeds to 200 — 400 gigabits per second (Gb/s) at extremely low power.

The speed boost is based on a new lab prototype chip design that can be used to improve transfer of Big Data between clouds and data centers via fiber four times faster than current 100 Gb/s technology.… read more

Helping robots collaborate

February 14, 2014

herding_robots

A new system by MIT researchers combines simple control programs to enable fleets of robots — or other “multiagent systems” — to collaborate in unprecedented ways.

Writing a program to control a single autonomous robot navigating an uncertain environment with an erratic communication link is hard enough; write one for multiple robots that may or may not have to work in tandem, depending on the task, is even harder.… read more

A termite-inspired robot construction team

February 14, 2014

Termes2_0

On the plains of Namibia, millions of tiny termites are building a mound of soil — an 8-foot-tall “lung” for their underground nest. During a year of construction, many termites will live and die, wind and rain will erode the structure, and yet the colony’s life-sustaining project will continue.

Inspired by termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, Harvard  computer scientists and engineers have created an autonomous robotic construction crew comprising… read more

Robots with insect brains

February 14, 2014

robot_insect_brain

German researchers have developed a robot that mimics the simple nervous system used for olfactory learning in the honeybee, using color instead of odors.

The researchers have installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle connected to a computer. The computer program replicates, in a simplified way, the sensorimotor neural network of the insect brain and operates the motors of the robot wheels to control its motion and direction… read more

Four new galaxy clusters discovered some 10 billion light years from Earth

Researchers are seeing what the farthest cluster looked like when the universe was just three billion years old
February 14, 2014

galaxy_cluster

An international team of astronomers led by Imperial College London has identified four new distant galaxy clusters — more than has previously been possible — using a new way of combining data from the two European Space Agency satellites, Planck and Herschel.

The researchers believe up to 2000 further clusters could be identified using this technique, helping to build a more… read more

Scientists achieve fuel gain exceeding unity in confined fusion implosion

February 13, 2014

30757_Hohlraum_cut_away_with_capsule

The milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than 1 has been reached at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) — for the first time ever at any facility.

Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the “holy grail” of inertial confinement… read more

Your virtual avatar can impact your real-world behavior, researchers suggest

February 13, 2014

Can playing these characters affect your behavior differently? (Credit: Jim Lee and Scott Williams/DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures)

How you represent yourself in the virtual world of video games may affect how you behave toward others in the real world, new University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign research published in Psychological Science suggests.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” says lead researcher Gunwoo Yoon.

The… read more

A future cochlear implant with no exterior hardware required

February 13, 2014

(Credit: M. Yip et al.)

A new low-power signal-processing chip that could lead to a cochlear implant that does not require external devices has been developed by researchers at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory (MTL), together with physicians from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI).

The chip uses the natural microphone of the middle ear rather than a skull-mounted microphone. The implant would be… read more

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