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Agricultural robots may reduce costs of organic produce

September 20, 2012

blue_river_7

Blue River Technology has announced $3.1 million in funding for its plans to develop agricultural robots that can automatically kill weeds and thin out plants like lettuce that need adequate room to grow, CNET reports.

It could help reduce the cost of organic produce.

The startup’s prototype Lettuce Bot uses a camera to image the plants beneath it. Machine learning algorithms then identify which ones are desirable and… read more

A 3D-printing pen

February 25, 2013

3doodler

Have you ever wished you could just draw a object in the air and have it magically printed out? 

WoobbleWorks has created 3Doodler (a Kickstarter project), the world’s first “3D printing pen” to do just that.

As you draw, it extrudes ABS plastic (the material used by many 3D printers) in the air or on surfaces — no software or computers required.

The… read more

First full-resolution and panorama images from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

August 9, 2012

First full-resolution (1024 by 1024 pixels) long-range image of the Martian surface from one of the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover's "head" or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover's descent stage thrusters. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artificial robot muscles that could lift loads 80 times their weight

A future Iron Man technology?
September 4, 2013

An artificial muscle (the transparent strip with thin black lines running down its length) being pre-stretched

National University of Singapore’s (NUS) engineers have created efficient artificial muscles that could one day carry 80 times their own weight and extend to five times their original length when carrying the load.

The team’s invention could lead to life-like robots with superhuman strength and ability and convert and store energy, which could help the robots quickly charge themselves.

Powerful human-like muscles for robotsread more

Next-generation supercomputer will have 180 petaflop/s peak performance

April 9, 2015

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has invested $200 million to deliver a next-generation supercomputer, known as Aurora, with a peak performance of 180 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).

Scheduled for completion in 2018, Aurora will be based on a next-generation Cray supercomputer, code-named “Shasta,” and will use Intel’s HPC scalable system framework. The  supercomputer will be open to all scientific users.

The current fastest supercomputer is… read more

Black holes growing faster than expected

February 14, 2013

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Black holes are growing faster than previously thought possible, according to new research published Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal.

Even the black hole in our own Milky Way Galaxy, which otherwise appears very quiet, has probably been consuming the equivalent of one Sun every 3000 years.

Until recently, astronomers thought that black holes grow mostly when galaxies crash into each other, at which time a large… read more

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

April 29, 2013

HCPVT

The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.*

The system would also provide desalinated water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where they are often in short supply.

The prototype HCPVT system… read more

Google simulates brain networks to recognize speech and images

October 5, 2012

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This summer Google set a new landmark in the field of artificial intelligence with software that learned how to recognize cats, people, and other things simply by watching YouTube videos (see “Self-Taught Software“).

That technology, modeled on how brain cells operate, is now being put to work making Google’s products smarter, with speech recognition being the first service to benefit, Technology Review reports.… read more

3D printed car is as strong as steel, half the weight, and nearing production

March 1, 2013

urbee

Picture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles.

If Jim Kor’s dream is realized, that’s exactly how the next generation of urban runabouts will be produced, Wired reports. His creation is called the Urbee 2 and it could revolutionize parts manufacturing while creating… read more

Computer modeling: brain in a box

February 23, 2012

Neocortical column (credit: EPFL)

Henry Markram’s controversial proposal for the Human Brain Project (HBP) — an effort to build a supercomputer simulation that integrates everything known about the human brain, from the structures of ion channels in neural cell membranes up to mechanisms behind conscious decision-making — may soon fulfill his ambition.

The project is one of six finalists vying to win €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) as one of the European Union’s two new… read more

The drone threat — in the US

March 27, 2012

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Drone proliferation raises an issue that has received too little attention: the threat that they could be used to carry out terrorist attacks.

President Obama signed a sweeping aviation bill in February that will open American airspace to “unmanned aircraft systems,” a.k.a.  drones.

The technology exists to build drones that fit into a backpack and are equipped with a video camera and a warhead so they can be… read more

Eating more plant protein associated with lower risk of death

August 1, 2016

Some high-protein plant-based foods (credit: iStock)

Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death, while eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death — especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking, and being overweight or sedentary — according to an open-access survey article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mingyang Song, M.D., Sc.D., of… read more

‘Mind-Control’ gaming devices leak users’ secrets

August 22, 2012

A sequence of credit cards is presented to the user. Her brainwaves from an EEG device (EPOC from Emotiv Systems in this case) are monitored by a computer.

In a study of 28 subjects wearing brain-machine interface devices built by companies like Neurosky and Emotiv and marketed to consumers for gaming and attention exercises, researchers found they were able to extract hints directly from the electrical signals of the test subjects’ brains that partially revealed private information, like the location of their homes, faces they recognized and even their credit card PINs, Forbes reports.

In… read more

Sequencing the Connectome

Genetic barcoding to trace the brain's wiring down to the neuron level
October 25, 2012

DNA barcode

A team of neuroscientists led by Professor Anthony Zador, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have proposed a revolutionary new way to create a connectivity map (“connectome”) of the whole brain of the mouse at the resolution of single neurons: high-throughput DNA sequencing.

The only current method for obtaining the connectome with high precision relies on laboriously examining individual cell-to-cell contacts (synapses) in electron microscopes, which is slow, expensive… read more

Rollable, foldable e-devices coming

November 2, 2012

foldable_rollable_edevices

What if a tablet screen were a paper-thin plastic that rolled like a window shade?

University of Cincinnati researchers have now announced experiment verification that such “electrofluidic imaging film” works. The breakthrough is a white, porous film coated with a thin layer of reflective electrodes and spacers that are then subjected to unique and sophisticated fluid mechanics in order to electrically transport the colored ink and clear-oil… read more

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