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Human muscle, regrown on animal scaffolding

September 17, 2012

Sergeant Strang has grown new leg muscle thanks to a thin sheet of material from a pig, The New York Times reports.

The material, called extracellular matrix, is the natural scaffolding that underlies all tissues and organs, in people as well as animals. It is produced by cells, and for years scientists thought that its main role was to hold them in their proper position.

But… read more

Nanoparticles reprogram immune cells to fight cancer

August 16, 2013

mitochondria-targeted NPs

Researchers at the University of Georgia are developing a new treatment technique that uses nanoparticles to reprogram immune cells so they are able to recognize and attack cancer.

However, most cancerous cells are able to avoid detection by the immune system because they so closely resemble normal cells.

That leaves the cancerous cells free to multiply and grow into life-threatening tumors while the body’s… read more

How terahertz laser scanners will spy on you in airports

July 12, 2012

Genia

Genia Photonics has developed a programmable picosecond laser that is capable of spotting trace amounts of a variety of substances, including explosives, chemical agents, and hazardous biological substances at up to 50 meters.

It’s basically a spectrometer for radiation in the terahertz band. The beam used by Genia’s spectrometer is capable of penetrating most materials including wood, leather, cloth, ceramics, plastic, and paper, and can essentially… read more

Mapping brain circuits for specific functions

New way to image brain-cell activity could shed light on psychiatric disorders
October 19, 2012

MIT neuroscientists used calcium imaging to label these pyramidal cells in the brain (credit: Qian Chen/MIT)

A team led by MIT neuroscientists has developed a way to monitor how brain cells coordinate with each other to control specific behaviors, such as initiating movement or detecting an odor.

The researchers’ new imaging technique, based on the detection of calcium ions in neurons, could help them map the brain circuits that perform such functions.

It could also provide new insights into the… 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

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

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

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

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

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