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A less-expensive way to duplicate the complicated steps of photosynthesis in making fuel

January 23, 2014

anl_photosynthesis

Argonne National Laboratory researchers have found a new, more efficient, less-expensive way to make fuel — principally, hydrogen — from sunlight and water: linking a synthetic cobalt-containing catalyst to an organic light-sensitive molecule called a chromophore.

Chromophore molecules, such as chlorophyll, are involved in capturing light for photosynthesis.

Currently, the most efficient methods we have for  making fuel involve rare and expensive metal catalysts, such… read more

A light switch for pain

February 20, 2014

opsins

A team of Bio-X researchers at Stanford has developed mice whose sensitivity to pain can be dialed up or down simply by shining light on their paws.

The research could help scientists understand and eventually treat chronic pain in humans.

The mice in Scott Delp’s lab, unlike their human counterparts, can get pain relief  from the glow of a yellow light.

“This is an entirely… read more

A Light Switch for the Brain

April 5, 2007

Scientists have developed a light-triggered switch to control brain cells, which could aid in the development of therapies for epilepsy and other diseases–and shed light on the neural code.

A ‘light switch’ in the brain illuminates neural wiring

April 10, 2013

Virus-induced optogenetic labeling of neurons. Right: closeup of rectangular area.  (Credit: Sheng-Jia Zhang et al./Science)

In a vivid example of how neuroscientists are meticulously tracing the microwiring of the brain, Norwegian researchers have used an optogenetic light switch to see (literally) which neurons communicate with each other in one small section of the brain.

The researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s Kavli Institute of Systems Neuroscience use a virus that acts as a… read more

A Link To Longevity: Cholesterol-bearing Molecules

November 7, 2003

Centenarians tend to have larger than average cholesterol-carrying molecules, says a new study. It adds to evidence suggesting that the size of lipoproteins, both good and bad, may play a significant role in heart disease and diabetes and thus longevity. It also found that subjects with cardiovascular problems were less likely to have large lipoproteins.

A Little Black Box to Jog Failing Memory

March 9, 2010

09memory_CA0-articleInline

Sensecam, which contains a digital camera and an accelerometer to measure movement, can be used for life-logging and as a memory aid for people with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.

A little device that’s trying to read your thoughts

April 4, 2012

iBrain (credit: NeuroVigil)

Neuroscientist Philip Low is attempting to use his iBrain single-channel EEG recording device to help Stephen Hawking communicate by just thinking.

“The idea is to see if Stephen can use his mind to create a consistent and repeatable pattern that a computer can translate into, say, a word or letter or a command for a computer,” he said.

Low’s company, NeuroVigil, plans to repeat the study… read more

A long-lasting, water-based nuclear-energy-powered battery

Could be used in cars, emergency devices, and spaceships
September 19, 2014

Schematic diagram and photograph of the Pt-nanoporous TiO2 electrode (credit: Baek Hyun Kim & Jae W. Kwon/Scientific Reports)

University of Missouri (MU) researchers have developed a prototype of an efficient nuclear-energy-powered* battery that does not require recharging and could be a reliable energy source in automobiles and space vehicles.

Betavoltaics [a battery technology that generates electrical power from beta-particle radiation] has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s,” said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and… read more

A look inside Leap Motion, the 3D gesture control that’s like Kinect on steroids

June 27, 2012

leap_motion

Leap Motion‘s motion-tracking system is more powerful, more accurate, smaller, cheaper, and just more impressive than Kinect.

The Leap uses a number of camera sensors to map out a workspace of sorts — it’s a 3D space in which you operate as you normally would, with almost none of the Kinect’s angle and distance restrictions.

Currently the Leap uses VGA camera sensors, and the workspace… read more

A look to the future

September 24, 2008

Regenstrief Institute investigators have demonstrated how health information exchange technologies developed and tested regionally can be used to securely share patient information across the nation during an emergency, using the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

A lost interview with ENIAC co-inventor J. Presper Eckert

February 17, 2006

The ENIAC, the first practical, all-electronic computer, unveiled on Feb. 14, 1946, was the watershed project that showed electronic computing was possible, using 18,000 vacuum tubes and programmed by plugging wires in from place to place.

Its first use was by Edward Teller in doing calculations for the hydrogen bomb.

A Low-Cost Multitouch Screen

May 30, 2008
(Microsoft)

Microsoft introduced a new multitouch platform, called LaserTouch, which includes hardware that’s cheap enough to retrofit any display into a touch screen.

LaserTouch is a system built on the cheap: the hardware only costs a couple hundred dollars, excluding the display–which can be a plasma television or overhead projector, for instance–and the computer that runs the software. Unlike Surface, which uses a camera within the table to… read more

A low-cost sonification system to assist the blind

January 15, 2014

sonification_prototype

An improved assistive technology system for the blind that uses sonification (visualization using sounds) has been developed by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) researchers, with the goal of replacing costly, bulky current systems.

How it works

Called Assistive Technology for Autonomous Displacement (ATAD), the system includes a stereo vision processor measures the difference of images captured by two cameras that are placed slightly apart (for… read more

A low-cost ‘super-resolution’ microscopic optical device

June 22, 2014

Microsphere-based image of a nanoscale object. The scale bar is 20 microns. (Credit: Leonid A. Krivitsky et al./Scientific Reports)

A simple, low-cost “super-resolution” optical device using a microsphere capable of imaging surfaces 75 nanometers wide has been developed by researchers at A*STAR Data Storage Institute in Singapore.

Optical-microscope resolution is limited to half the wavelength of light (due to the diffraction limit), so optical microscopes can’t normally resolve structures smaller than a few hundred nanometers.

A*STAR’s Boris Luk’yanchuk and his colleagues previously showed… read more

A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Could allow for true zero-emissions fuel-cell vehicles and save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs
August 22, 2014

Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron.

A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.

Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.

“This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage… read more

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