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Finding ET may require giant robotic leap

April 24, 2012

NGC Galaxy

Autonomous, self-replicating robots — exobots — are the way to explore the universe, find and identify extraterrestrial life and perhaps clean up space debris in the process, according to John D. Mathews, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State.

“The basic premise is that human space exploration must be highly efficient, cost effective, and autonomous as placing humans beyond low Earth orbit is fraught with political… read more

Is your smartphone making you stupid?

March 6, 2015

(credit: Universal Studios)

A study by University of Waterloo researchers suggests that smartphone users who are intuitive thinkers — more prone to relying on gut feelings and instincts when making decisions — frequently use search engines rather than their own brainpower.

“They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” said Gordon Pennycook, co-lead author of… read more

Brain-boosting technique might help some functions while hurting others

March 6, 2013

transcranial_stimulation

Electrically stimulating the brain may enhance memory, but impede a person’s ability to react without thinking, MIT Technology Review reports.

Using a noninvasive technique called transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) to stimulate the brain, researchers found they could enhance learning when they targeted a certain spot.

But that also made people worse at automaticity, or the ability to perform a task without really thinking about it. Stimulating another… read more

World’s First 3D printing photo booth to open in Japan

November 13, 2012

omote3D-photobooth-6

The world’s first “3D printing photo booth” is set to open for a limited time at the exhibition space EYE OF GYRE in Harajuku, Japan, Spoon & Tamago reports.

From November 24 to January 14, 2013, people with reservations can go and have their portraits taken. Except, instead of a photograph, you’ll receive miniature replicas of yourselves.

Reservations can be madke via… read more

Bioteeth generated from your own cells

March 12, 2013

Current design of a dental implant (credit: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons)

Researchers are developing a method to replace missing teeth with new bioengineered teeth generated from a person’s own gum cells.

Current implant-based methods of whole tooth replacement fail to reproduce a natural root structure and as a consequence of the friction from eating and other jaw movement, loss of jaw bone can occur around the implant.

Research towards producing bioengineered teeth (bioteeth) has largely focused on generating… read more

Brain cells made from urine

December 11, 2012

neurons_from_urine

Some of the waste that humans flush away every day could become a powerful source of brain cells to study disease, and may even one day be used in therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons, Nature News reports.

The method uses ordinary cells present in urine, and transforms… read more

How to use mind-controlled robots in manufacturing, medicine

December 6, 2013

robot control via bci

University at Buffalo researchers are developing brain-computer interface (BCI) devices to mentally control robots.

“The technology has practical applications that we’re only beginning to explore,” said Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, PhD, UB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of UB’s Virtual Reality Laboratory. “For example, it could help paraplegic patients to control assistive devices, or it could help factory workers perform advanced… read more

Milky Way may have 100 million life-giving planets

“It seems highly unlikely that we are alone.”
June 5, 2014

Milky Way arch as seen from Chile (credit: Bruno Gilli/European Southern Observatory)

There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support life above the microbial level, reports a group of astronomers in the journal Challenges (open access), based on a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.

“This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets; we’re saying that there are planetary conditions that… read more

Over-65s at increased risk of developing dementia with benzodiazepine

October 1, 2012

senior_citizens

Patients over the age of 65 who begin taking benzodiazepine (a popular drug used to treat anxiety and insomnia) are at an approximately 50% increased risk of developing dementia within 15 years compared to never-users, an open access study published on bmj.com suggests.

The authors say that “considering the extent to which benzodiazepines are prescribed and the number of potential adverse effects, indiscriminate widespread use… read more

AI game bots ‘more human-like’ than half of human competitors

A ‘Turing test' for game bots
September 27, 2012

ut2_botprize

An artificially intelligent virtual game bot created by computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin has won the BotPrize by convincing a panel of judges that it was more human-like than half the humans it competed against.

The competition, sponsored by 2K Games, was set inside the virtual world of “Unreal Tournament 2004,” a first-person shooter video… read more

Brainwave training boosts brain network for cognitive control

October 25, 2012

eeg_amplitide_change_during_feedback

Researchers at  University of Western Ontario and the Lawson Health Research Institute have found that functional changes within a key brain network occur directly after a 30-minute session of noninvasive, neurofeedback training.

Background

Dysfunction of this cognitive-control network has previously been implicated in a range of brain disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

During neurofeedback, users learn to… read more

Following Sandy, DHS seeks security ‘Cyber Reserve’

November 3, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The damage to the electrical grid from Superstorm Sandy is just a taste of what could happen from a major cyberattack, says Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, CSO Security and Risk reports.

And a DHS task force said this week that one way to minimize that kind of risk is to recruit a “Cyber Reserve” of computer security pros that could be… read more

New multilayer graphene structure allows ‘ultraprecise,’ ‘ultrafast’ water filtering

Next step: reduce the filter size to filter out even the smallest salts like in seawater for drinkable water -- "no longer science fiction"
February 18, 2014

graphene_water

University of Manchester researchers have taken another key step toward a seawater filter: they’ve developed one-atom-wide graphene-oxide (GO) capillaries by building multilayer GO membranes (laminates).

As described in Science, these new laminates allow for “ultraprecise” selection of molecules that can go through the filter and “ultrafast” flow of water.

The new GO filters have an “astonishingly” accurate mesh that allows them to distinguish between atomic species… read more

Navy’s Star Wars-style laser weapon to be tested in Persian Gulf this summer

A "revolutionary capability" -- Chief of Naval Research
April 10, 2014

navy-laws

The U.S. Navy plans to install a prototype of the first laser weapon on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf late this summer.

The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is a “revolutionary capability,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. “It’s absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our Sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change… read more

AR goggles restore depth perception to people blind in one eye

January 21, 2013

Wrap 920AR (credit:

People who’ve lost sight in one eye can still see with the other, but they lack binocular depth perception.

A pair of augmented reality glasses being built at the University of Yamanashi in Japan artificially introduces a feeling of depth in a person’s healthy eye, MIT Technology Review reports.

The researchers created software that makes use of the twin cameras in a Vuzix Wrap… read more

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