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Elon Musk designs real-world Iron Man gesture interface and 3D modeler

The future of design
September 6, 2013

(Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk has released a video demonstrating SpaceX’s new custom 3D design interface, inspired by Iron Man.

It includes use of Leap Motion control, free-standing glass projections (from Iron Man), 3D projections using glasses, and the Occulus Rift VR headset.

After generating and manipulating the 3D model, Musk then 3D-prints an actual titanium metallic rocket-engine part from the model.

“I believe we are on the… read more

Training the older brain in 3D: video game enhances cognitive performance

Geezers totally p0wn novice 20-somethings
September 6, 2013

NeuroRacer

UC San Francisco scientists have found a way to reverse some of the negative effects of aging on the brain, using a video game designed to improve cognitive performance in healthy older adults.

In the game (developed by the UCSF researchers), participants race a car around a winding track while a variety of road signs pop up. Drivers are instructed to keep an eye out… read more

NSA cracks most Internet encryption, inserts back doors, The New York Times reveals

September 6, 2013

NSA

The NSA has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats, and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, The New York Times reports.

The agency, according to documents provided  to The Times and ProPublica by Edward J. Snowden… read more

How DNA repair helps prevent cancer

September 5, 2013

Bent DNA

The biological information that makes us unique is encoded in our DNA. DNA damage is a natural biological occurrence that happens every time cells divide and multiply. External factors such as overexposure to sunlight can also damage DNA.

Michael Feig, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University, studies the proteins MutS and MSH2-MSH6, which recognize defective DNA and initiate DNA repair. Natural DNA repair… read more

Cancer’s origins revealed

Researchers discover the genetic imprints and signatures left by DNA-damaging processes that lead to cancer
September 5, 2013

cancer_signature

Researchers at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have provided the first comprehensive compendium of mutational processes that drive tumor development. Together, these mutational processes explain most mutations found in 30 of the most common cancer types. This new understanding of cancer development could help to treat and prevent a wide-range of cancers.

Each mutational process leaves a particular pattern of mutations, an imprint or signature, in… read more

A new supercapacitor for energy storage at high temperatures

September 5, 2013

rice_SUPERCAP-1

Rice University researchers who have developed a supercapacitor that can operate at very high temperatures, using clay as a key ingredient.

The supercapacitor is reliable at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), and could be useful for powering devices for use in extreme environments, such as oil drilling, the military and space, Rice scientist Pulickel Ajayan reported in Nature’s… read more

Creating a low-cost, flexible touchscreen

September 5, 2013

nanowire combinations

Future touchscreens* will be flexible, cheap, and give you finer touch-control.

The secret: replace currently used indium tin oxide (ITO) — which is expensive, rare, and worse, brittle — with cheap, flexible metal nanowires that can even be sprayed on.

Unfortunately, there has been no simple way to design a touchscreen using nanowires that will provide an optimum combination of low resistance, evenness, and transparency.

It’s trial-and-error:… read more

Microencapsulation produces uniform drug release vehicle

September 4, 2013

Composite Spheres

Consistently uniform, easily manufactured microcapsules containing a brain cancer drug may simplify treatment and provide more tightly controlled therapy, according to Penn State researchers.

“Brain tumors are one of the world’s deadliest diseases,” said Mohammad Reza Abidian, assistant professor of bioengineering, chemical engineering and materials science and engineering. “Typically doctors resect the tumors, do radiation therapy, and then chemotherapy.”

The majority of chemotherapy is… read more

‘Biological resynchronization’: stem cells keep cardiac beat in synchrony

September 4, 2013

Regeneration of damaged heart tissue synchronizes its motion (credit: Wiley)

Stem cell therapy used to regenerate injured tissue in the heart restores synchronous pumping, a new study by a team at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has found.

The team proposes a novel strategy of “biological resynchronization” in which stem cells repair heart muscle damage to reestablish correct cardiac motion, replacing pacing devices,

Heart attacks limit local oxygen, which can kill areas of cardiac tissue —… read more

DNA-based biological nanostructures for controlled drug delivery

September 4, 2013

A DNA cage (at left), with lipid-like molecules (in blue). The lipids come together in a ‘handshake’ within the cage (center image) to encapsulate small-molecule drugs (purple). The molecules are released (at right) in response to the presence of a specific nucleic acid.

Nanoscale “cages” made from strands of DNA can encapsulate small-molecule drugs and release them in response to a specific stimulus, McGill University researchers report in a new study.

The research marks a step toward the use of biological nanostructures to deliver drugs to diseased cells in patients.

The findings could also open up new possibilities for designing DNA-based nanomaterials.

“This research is important… read more

Remembering Frederik Pohl

September 4, 2013

pohl

Science Fiction Grand Master Fred Pohl passed away on September 2, at age 93.

“I called Fred the ‘essential’ science fiction author. In much the same way that the other ‘pole’ of science fiction – Poul Anderson – was the greatest natural storyteller I ever knew, Fred Pohl was the SF writer who cared most about the gedankenexperiment or what-if thought experiment,” notes scientist/futurist/science-fiction author David Brin in a moving tribute.… read more

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

World’s most precise clock

September 4, 2013

QuASAR atomic clock. Ytterbium atoms are generated in an oven (cylinder on left) and sent to a vacuum chamber (center) to be manipulated and probed by lasers. Courtesy: NIST

Imagine a clock precise to one second in a period comparable to the age of the universe (more than 13 billion years).

That’s what National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have built, with funding from DARPA’s Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program: two optical

read more

Transparent ‘window to the brain’ allows for laser treatments without repeated surgery

September 3, 2013

A cross section of the head that shows how the transparent skull implant works.

University of California, Riverside researchers have developed a novel transparent skull implant that literally provides a “window to the brain.”

They hope to eventually open new treatment options for patients with life-threatening neurological disorders, such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury.

The implant is made of the same ceramic material currently used in hip implants and dental crowns and is well-tolerated by the body — yttria-stabilized zirconia… read more

Self-powered nanoparticles instantly deliver healing drugs to bones

Bioelectric field pulls the negatively charged nanoparticles toward the bone crack
September 3, 2013

Sen_BoneHealing

A novel method for finding and delivering healing drugs to newly formed microcracks in bones has been invented by a team of chemists and bioengineers at Penn State University and Boston University.

The method involves the targeted delivery of the drugs, directly to the cracks, on the backs of tiny self-powered nanoparticles. The energy that revs the motors of the nanoparticles and sends them rushing… read more

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