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What if Bionics Were Better?

September 26, 2006

A tiny population of early adopters eager to test bionics by choice rather than out of need is emerging.

What I Meant to Say Was Semantic Web

October 22, 2007

Radar Networks has introduced Twine, a Web 3.0 service that uses semantic Web technology to improve sharing information with friends and coworkers.

Twine is intended to let you suck in email, bookmarks, RSS news feeds, websites, photos, videos, database and any other digital information. Then it tries to make sense of it by extracting and categorizing information automatically.

Individuals can sign up to be invited to the beta… read more

What happens when silicon can shrink no more?

December 8, 2008

Crossbar switching arrays made from self-assembled semiconducting nanowires or rotaxanes and graphene transistor channels are among the emerging innovations that promise to overcome the limitations of silicon as a transitor base material.

What happens during the brain’s ‘resting state’?

September 20, 2012

fMRI images

Over the past few years, some researchers have been adding a bit of down time to their study protocols, Nature News reports. While subjects are still lying in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, the researchers ask them to try to empty their minds. The aim is to find out what happens when the brain simply idles. And the answer is: quite a lot.

Some circuits… read more

What Happened to the Hominids Who Were Smarter Than Us?

January 4, 2010

The Boskops had big eyes, child-like faces, and an average intelligence of around 150, based on a brain perhaps 25 percent or more larger than our own, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens.

What happened to them?

What Dreams Are Made Of

August 3, 2004

New technology is helping brain scientists unravel the mysteries of the night. Their work could show us all how to make the most of our time in bed.

The long-range goal of dream research is a comprehensive explanation of the connections between sleeping and waking, a multidimensional picture of consciousness and thought 24 hours a day.

What does the assistive robot of the future look like?

October 16, 2013

human vs robot face

It depends. Older and younger people have varying preferences about what they would want a personal robot to look like, and they change their minds based on what the robot is supposed to do, a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found.

Participants were shown a series of photos portraying either robotic, human, or mixed human-robot faces and were asked to select… read more

What Does a Plant Sound Like?

March 24, 2008

University of Tubingen researchers have developed a bat-imitating computer algorithm that can identify plant species by their unique sonar echoes.

The sonar algorithm functions in low light or darkness and provides higher resolution than infrared thermal imaging.

What do you say to an alien?

February 12, 2012

earthspeaks

The news last week that a concerted scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence by the SETI Institute in California has resumed raises fundamental questions: If we made contact, what would we say? And what answers would we anticipate?

The SETI Institute has begun an online outreach program called Earth Speaks to solicit messages. Dimitra Atri, a physics professor at the University of Kansas, and several colleagues recently created… read more

What do memories look like?

Glowing neurons reveal memory formation in vivo
June 21, 2013

A living neuron in culture: Green dots indicate excitatory synapses and red dots indicate inhibitory synapses. (Photo/Don Arnold)

A USC research team has engineered microscopic probes that light up synapses in a living neuron in real time by attaching fluorescent markers onto synaptic proteins, without affecting the neuron’s ability to function.

The fluorescent markers allow scientists to see live excitatory and inhibitory synapses for the first time, and how they change as new memories are formed.

The synapses appear as bright spots along dendrites… read more

What do futurists really know?

August 17, 2006

The World Future Society’s annual meeting in Toronto featured keynote speaker Ray Kurzweil, citing “an impressive set of statistics about technologic acceleration to support his predictions, from the increasing number of transistors on a chip to the decreasing cost of sequencing a single unit of DNA. When Kurzweil is explaining it, a glorious future seems almost inevitable.”

What Dictionaries and Optical Illusions Say About Our Brains

June 2, 2008

Mark Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has writtten papers that explain how our lexical systems evolved and another that suggests how the brain’s visual system is adapted to anticipate the future a fraction of a second before we actually see it.

What could you make with a 3D printer on the Moon?

You're on the Moon or Mars, and you urgently need a new tool or replacement part. Solution: feed rocks into a 3D printer. Rocks in your head?
November 29, 2012

(credit: Amit  Bandyopadhyay/Washington State University)

Not for Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, and colleagues, who recently published a paper in Rapid Prototyping Journal demonstrating how to do just that.

Bandyopadhyay and Susmita Bose, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, are well known researchers in the area of three-dimensional printing, creating bone-like materials for orthopedic implants.

The… read more

What Comes After Web 2.0?

December 4, 2006

Today’s primitive prototypes show that a more intelligent Internet is still a long way off.

Most of the current projects are so far from producing practical tools–let alone services that could be commercialized–that it’s premature to say they represent a “third generation” of Web technology. For that, judging from today’s state of the art, we’ll need to wait another few years.

What comes after the cloud? How about the fog?

February 11, 2013

(Credit: Rick Hyman/iStockphoto)

Startup Symform thinks it can provide better disaster resilience than even data centers hundreds of miles apart. And, says Bassam Tabbara, Symform cofounder and Chief Technical Officer, it can do that in a way that’s extremely cheap — and in some cases free — to its customers, Tekla Perry writes on IEEE Spectrum.

Tabbara describes Symform’s approach as a “decentralized, distributed, virtual, and crowd-sourced” cloud. .… read more

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