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Lab-grown model 3D brains

"Cerebral organoids” can model complex human brain disorders and the earliest stages of brain development
August 30, 2013

organoid

Scientists in an Austrian laboratory have developed complex human brain tissue made from stem cells in a laboratory 3D culture system for the first time. The method allows induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (which have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body) to develop into “cerebral organoids” — or “mini brains.”

These mini brains, which are a few millimeters across, develop several… read more

We may all be Martians, says geochemist

It's likely that life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite; conditions suitable for the origin of life may still exist on Mars
August 30, 2013

mars_nasa_image

New evidence has emerged that supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Speaking at the at the annual Goldschmidt conference on Thursday, Professor Steven Benner from The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology told geochemists that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available… read more

NASA to attempt high-speed laser transmission to the Moon

Hundreds of megabits/second laser transmission planned; could be used for telepresence communication from Earth in future asteroid missions
August 30, 2013

Artist's rendering of the LADEE satellite in orbit.<br />
Image Credit: NASA

NASA plans to find out if two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible. If NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) mission succeeds, 3-D high-definition video transmissions in deep space could become possible in the future.

Radio frequency (RF) communication has been the communications platform in space used so far. But RF is reaching its limit just as demand for more data capacity continues to increase.… read more

Gene that controls the birth of neurons discovered

Discovery of long non-coding RNA’s role in neurogenesis may lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
August 29, 2013

RMST Is Necessary for Neuronal Differentiation: overexpression of RMST led to a 3-fold increase in neuron-specific beta tubulin (bottom) compared to control (top)

Scientists at A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have discovered an unusual gene that controls the generation of neurons. This important finding is crucial in understanding serious diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers say.

The central nervous system is composed of numerous cell types that develop into a complex, higher-ordered structure. The birth of neurons (neurogenesis) is a process… read more

Microbiology’s grand challenge: help feed the world

August 29, 2013

microbes can help

A greater focus on the role of microbiology in agriculture combined with new technologies can help mitigate potential food shortages associated with world population increases, according to a new report, How Microbes can Help Feed the World (open access) from the American Academy of Microbiology.

“Microbes are essential partners in all aspects of plant physiology, but human efforts to improve plant productivity have… read more

The Pentagon as Silicon Valley’s incubator

August 29, 2013

iStock_hackerSmall

In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats, The New York Times reports.

In 2012, more than $1 billion in venture financing poured into security start-ups.

Two of the start-ups are Synack and Morta Security, both founded by persons formerly connected… read more

Mars Curiosity: now most advanced autonomous vehicle on another planet

August 29, 2013

mosaic_images_curiosity_f

NASA‘s Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, which lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.

This latest addition to Curiosity’s array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars. The capability uses software that engineers… read more

China to land a probe on the Moon this year

August 29, 2013

NASA Moon

China announced Wednesday that it plans to put a rover on the Moon by the end of the year, Forbes reports.

The Chang’e-3 Lunar probe will include a six-wheeled lunar rover, which will work on the surface for about three months.

If the mission is successful, China will then begin phase 3 of its Lunar exploration program, which will involve a rover to be… read more

NASA tests limits of 3D printing with powerful rocket engine check

August 28, 2013

nasa_3d_printed_hot_fire_test

The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.

This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware. Innovations like additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, foster new and more cost-effective capabilities in the U.S.… read more

70% of American adults have high-speed broadband access at home

August 28, 2013

pew - internet

As of May 2013, 70% of American adults ages 18 and older have a high-speed broadband* connection at home, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Groups with the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be college graduates, adults under age 50, and adults living in households earning at least $50,000, as well as whites and adults living in… read more

First human brain-to-brain interface

August 28, 2013

uw_brain2brain_interface_1

University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.

Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other… read more

First US surgery transmitted live via Google Glass

August 27, 2013

Dr. Kaeding wearing Google Glass while performing surgery (credit: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center)

Dr. Christopher Kaeding, a surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, is the first in the U.S. to consult with a distant colleague using live, point-of-view video from the operating room via Google Glass.

Kaeding wore the device as he performed ligament surgery at the medical center’s University East facility.

Across town, one of Kaeding’s colleagues, Dr. Robert Magnussen, watched the surgery his… read more

World’s smallest autopilot for micro aircraft

August 27, 2013

RTEmagicC_Fotobijkleinsteautopilot_01.jpg

Researcher Bart Remes and his team of the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at the TU Delft faculty of Aerospace Engineering have designed, built and tested the world’s smallest open source autopilot for small unmanned aircraft.

A smaller — and lighter — autopilot allows these small flying robots to fly longer, fit into narrower spaces or carry more payloads, such as cameras. That makes them more… read more

A hierarchical approach to 3D tissue engineering with preformed blood-vessel tissue

Brings researchers closer to viable organ implants
August 27, 2013

Schematic diagram illustrating the concept of a prevascularized hydrogel.<br />
Adjacent fibres could be used to pattern other cell types around the vessels.

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have developed a simple method of organizing cells and their microenvironments in hydrogel fibers.

The method provides a template for assembling complex structures, such as liver and fat tissues, for tissue or organ replacements.

According to IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying, “Our tissue engineering approach gives researchers great control and flexibility… read more

Could a robot beat humans at table football?

August 27, 2013

table football

Masters students from the EPFL Automatic Control Laboratory (LA) are developing a robot that can play foosball (table football) for their semester project.

One of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second.

“This is already enough to beat the average player,” said researcher Christophe Salzmann, who heads… read more

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