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Studying ethical questions as the brain’s black box Is unlocked

Excerpt from The New York Times
December 18, 2012

MRI Head

S. Matthew Liao, director of the bioethics program at New York University, has a singular title: neuroethicist.

Some researchers claim to be near to using fMRIs to read thoughts. Is this really happening?

The technology, though still crude, appears to be getting closer. For instance, there’s one research group that asks subjects to watch movies. When they

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Solar-powered 3-D printer prints glass from sand

June 29, 2011

Solar Sinter

Markus Kaiser’s  solar sintering project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance.

In this experiment, sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, combining natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.

His work with solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and the use of solar energy.… read more

Sony announces PS4 PlayStation

February 21, 2013

Sony PS4 controller (credit: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.)

The PlayStation 4, as you’d expect for a seven-years-later follow-up, has impressively bumped specs. An eight-core X86 AMD “Jaguar” CPU and a 1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon graphics engine (with “18 compute units”) comprise the central processing on the PS4, CNET reports.

There’s also 8GB of fast GDDR5 memory. The PS4 will use a hard drive for storage versus an SSD, but the included capacity in the box… read more

1 in 8 chance of catastrophic solar megastorm by 2020

March 4, 2012

Solar flares

The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade,  according to space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, writing n Space Weather on Feb. 23.

This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade to recover from,  according to a 2008 report from the National… read more

Panasonic develops highly efficient artificial photosynthesis system generating organic materials from carbon dioxide and water

August 1, 2012

panasonic_artificial_photosynthesis

Panasonic has developed an artificial photosynthesis system that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic materials by illuminating with sunlight at a world’s top efficiency of 0.2%.

The efficiency is on a level comparable with real plants used for biomass energy. The key to the system is the application of a nitride semiconductor which makes the system simple and efficient.

This development will be a foundation… read more

World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power

November 2, 2012

worlds-largest-offshore-windfarm

The first power has been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced .

The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.

The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.

London… read more

Graphene antennas would enable terabit wireless downloads

March 6, 2013

nanodevice_gatech

Researchers at Georgia Tech have drawn up blueprints for a wireless antenna made from atom-thin sheets of carbon, or graphene, that could allow terabit-per-second transfer speeds at a range of about one meter, MIT Technology Review reports

This would make it possible to obtain 10 high-definition movies by waving your phone past another device for one second. At even shorter ranges, such as a few centimeters, data… read more

IBM invests $3 billion to extend Moore’s law with post-silicon-era chips and new architectures

Pushing limits of chip technology to 7 nanometers and below
July 10, 2014

Graphene Integrated circuit, the first fabricated from wafer-size graphene, announced by IBM in 2011 (credit: IBM)

IBM announced today it is investing $3 billion for R&D in two research programs to push the limits of chip technology and extend Moore’s law.

The research programs are aimed at “7 nanometer and beyond” silicon technology and developing alternative technologies for post-silicon-era chips using entirely different approaches, IBM says.

IBM will be investing especially in carbon nanoelectronics, silicon photonics, new memory technologies, and architectures that support quantum… read more

Mapping the ‘fountain of youth’

April 1, 2013

Tibolium_castaneum_TERT_structure

University of Copenhagen researchers and an international team have for the first time mapped telomerase, an enzyme with a rejuvenating effect on cell aging.

This is one of the results of a major research project involving more than 1,000 researchers worldwide, four years of hard work, DKK 55 million from the EU, and blood samples from more than 200,000 people.

It is the largest collaboration project… read more

Wearable ‘neurocam’ records scenes when it detects user interest

February 10, 2014

Neuroware

Keio University scientists have developed a “neurocam” — a wearable camera system that detects emotions, based on an analysis of the user’s brainwaves.

The hardware is a combination of Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a customized brainwave sensor.

The algorithm is based on measures of “interest” and “like” developed by Professor Mitsukura and the neurowear team.

The users interests are quantified… read more

Reprogramming your brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation

September 11, 2014

A mouse (happy and awake) receiving LI-rTMS (credit: University of Western Australia)

Weak repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations in the brain, researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have demonstrated.

The discovery has implications for treatment of nervous system disorders related to abnormal brain organization, such as depression, epilepsy, and tinnitus.

To better… read more

The Human Brain Project has officially begun

Scientists from the 135 partner institutions meeting in Switzerland this week
October 7, 2013

BlueBrain_web

On Monday, October 7, 2013, scientists from the 135 partner institutions of the Human Brain Project — “the world’s most ambitious neuroscience project”— met at EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), the coordinating institution, in Switzerland.

Over the course of the coming week, neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, and roboticists will fine-tune the project’s details.

Six months after its selection by the EU as one… read more

Self-driving vehicles: benefits to society, policy challenges for lawmakers

January 6, 2014

Imagined autonomous vehicle

Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

“Our research finds that the social benefits of autonomous vehicles — including decreased crashes, increased mobility and increases… read more

A Terminator-style contact-lens display

November 23, 2011

(Credit: University of Washington/

Bringing us a step closer to a Terminator-style augmented-reality display, University of Washington engineers have constructed an experimental contact lens with a single-pixel embedded light-emitting diode (LED) and tested it in a rabbit.

The LED lights up when it receives energy from a remote radio frequency transmission, picked up by an antenna around the edge and collected via a silicon power harvesting and radio integrated circuit.

But the… read more

All-optical switching promises terahertz-speed hard drive and RAM memory

April 4, 2013

Magnetic structure in a colossal magneto-resistive manganite is<br />
switched from antiferromagnetic to ferromagnetic ordering during<br />
about 100 femtosecond laser pulse photo-excitation (credit: DOE Ames Laboratory)

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, and the University of Crete in Greece have found a new way to switch magnetism that is at least 1000 times faster than currently used in magnetic memory technologies.

Magnetic switching is used to encode information in hard drives, magnetic random access memory and other computing devices. The discovery, reported in the April 4 issue… read more

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