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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

First map of core white-matter connections of human brain developed at USC

May help better address clinical challenges such as traumatic brain injury
February 12, 2014

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USC neuroscientists have systematically created the first map of the core white-matter “scaffold” (connections) of the human brain — the critical communications network that supports brain function.

Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease, the researchers say.

By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer… read more

New self-healing polymers require no chemicals or catalysts

February 12, 2014

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University of Illinois researchers have developed new self-healing materials that do not require extra chemicals or catalysts.

“The key advantage of using this material is that it’s catalyst-free and low-temperature, and can be healed multiple times,” said U. of I. materials science and engineering professor Jianjun Cheng. “This can heal the crack before it causes major problems by propagating.”

Other self-healing material… read more

Red-light-sensitive protein discovery enables more complex studies of neuron interactions

February 12, 2014

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Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. It’s a  powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain.

Most of these light-sensitive proteins, known as opsins, respond to light in the blue-green range.

Now, a team led by MIT has discovered an opsin that is sensitive to… read more

Capturing ultrasharp images of multiple cell components simultaneously

Could shed light on complex cellular pathways and lead to new ways to diagnose and monitor disease
February 12, 2014

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A new microscopy method could enable scientists to generate images of dozens of different biomolecules in a human cell simultaneously, a team from the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University reported in Nature Methods.

Such images could shed light on complex cellular pathways and potentially lead to new ways to diagnose disease, track its prognosis, or monitor the effectiveness of therapies at a cellular… read more

New live-cell printing technology improves on inkjet printing

February 11, 2014

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A new way to print living cells onto any surface and in almost any shape has been developed by researchers led by Houston Methodist Research Institute nanomedicine faculty member Lidong Qin.

Unlike a similar inkjet printing process, almost all cells survive.

The new process, called Block-Cell-Printing (BloC-Printing), produces 2-D cell arrays in half an hour, prints the cells as close together as 5 microns (most animal cells… read more

Nanomotors that are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells

February 10, 2014

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Penn State University chemists and engineers have, for the first time, placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells in a lab, propelled them with ultrasonic waves, and steered them magnetically.

KurzweilAI has covered a number of designs for microbots studies in laboratories (and one that uses a pill that is swallowed) that could one day be passively or actively propelled through the… read more

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