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Project Loon looking for Internet-by-balloon testers in central California

August 21, 2013

project_loon

Project Loon is looking for folks in California’s Central Valley who are willing to have a Loon Internet antenna installed on their house or small business building to help test the strength of the Loon Internet balloon connection, Google has announced on Google+.

“When  balloons fly overhead, the Loon Internet antennas will generate traffic that will load-test our service,” Google says.

Google is… read more

Will Google sell ‘pay-per-gaze’ advertising with Google Glass?

August 21, 2013

gaze-tracking

Google has been granted a patent that appears to reveal some far-reaching plans for the eye-tracking sensor that exists — but currently isn’t formally used — on Google Glass, Marketing Land suggests.

In the patent, Google is calling it “pay-per-gaze” advertising, and it involves charging advertisers if the user looks at an ad — online or offline — while wearing a Glass-like device.

The… read more

New biochip could quickly triage people after radiation exposure

August 21, 2013

Scientists are developing a portable device that can measure a person's radiation exposure in minutes using radiation-induced changes in the concentrations of certain blood proteins. This image shows a magneto-nanosensor chip reader station, chip cartridge, and chip. (Credit: S. Wang)

Berkeley Lab scientists have helped to develop a biochip that could quickly determine whether someone has been exposed to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation.

The first-of-its-kind chip has an array of nanosensors that measure the concentrations of proteins that change after radiation exposure.

Although still under development, the technology could lead to a hand-held device that “lights up” if a person needs medical attention… read more

An autonomous quadcopter piloted by a smartphone

August 20, 2013

vienna_quandopter_smartphone_1

A completely autonomous quadcopter has been designed at the Vienna University of Technology, with computing power and imaging provided by a smartphone.

The smartphone  camera provides the visual data and its processor acts as the control center. And the navigation intelligence was coded in a smartphone app. A microcontroller adjusts the rotor speed, so that the quadcopter flies as steadily as possible.

The quadcopter… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013

cordis_mobiserv

A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

New rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage

Design may support widespread use of solar and wind energy
August 20, 2013

(credit:

MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn’t rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.

The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems — a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries… read more

Nanosensors could aid drug manufacturing

Arrays of carbon nanotubes can detect flaws in drugs and help improve production
August 20, 2013

A micrograph of the nanosensor array. The florescence of each carbon nanotube changes in intensity upon binding to a target molecule.<br />
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE RESEARCHERS

Arrays of billions of nanoscale sensors have unique properties that could help pharmaceutical companies produce drugs — especially those based on antibodies — more safely and efficiently, MIT chemical engineers have discovered.

Using these sensors, the researchers were able to characterize variations in the binding strength of antibody drugs, which hold promise for treating cancer and other diseases.

They also used the sensors to… read more

A molecular ‘switch’ to reprogram control pathways in cells

"Molecular network diverter" can tweak the control systems that regulate the inner workings of cells, leading to future medical interventions to switch off diseased states or turn on healthy processes
August 20, 2013

molecular diverter2

Stanford University bioengineer has helped develop a technology dubbed a “molecular network diverter” that can tweak the control systems that regulate the inner workings of cells, pointing the way toward future medical interventions that could switch off diseased states or turn on healthy processes.

This molecular diverter uses the concerted action of three biological sub-systems to redirect signaling pathways — complex networks of molecular interactions that… read more

Adding defects to superconducting wire creates unprecedented performance

August 19, 2013

BZO-doped films

The ability to control nanoscale imperfections in superconducting wires results in materials with unparalleled and customized performance, according to a new study from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Applications for superconducting wires, which carry electricity without resistance when cooled to a critical temperature, include underground transmission cables, transformers and large-scale motors and generators. But these applications require wires to operate under different temperature and… read more

Scientists evolve huge hyperswarming pathogenic bacteria with multiple whipping flagella

What could go wrong?
August 19, 2013

The evolution of hyperswarming, pathogenic bacteria might sound like the plot of a horror film, but such bugs really have repeatedly evolved in a lab, and the good news is that they should be less of a problem to us than their less mobile kin. That's because those hyperswarmers, adorned with multiple whipping flagella, are also much worse at sticking together on surfaces in hard-to-treat biofilms. They might even help us figure out a way to develop anti-biofilm therapies for use in people with cystic fibrosis or other conditions, say researchers who report their findings in Cell Reports, a Cell Press publication, on Aug. 15.</p>
<p>Credit: Cell Reports, van Ditmarsch et al.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers have evolved hyperswarming pathogenic bacteria adorned with multiple whipping flagella — all the way down to the molecular level — and plan to unleash them in a laboratory.

That’s a good thing — or so say researchers in Cell Reports, a Cell Press publication (open access). The idea is to develop anti-biofilm therapies for use in people with cystic fibrosis… read more

Singapore’s first driverless vehicle

August 19, 2013

ntu_driverless

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists have developed Singapore’s first driverless shuttle transportation system.

The Energy Research Institute at NTU will test and optimize Induct’s :”NAVIA” electric shuttle to enable it to intermingle safely with traffic in Singapore.

NAVIA can carry eight passengers and has a maximum speed of 20.1 km/h.

The partnership will develop new charging technologies such as wireless induction and new supercapacitors for… read more

Assembling big structures out of small ultralight pieces

"Can you 3-D print an airplane?" question leads to major design breakthrough
August 19, 2013

Assemblies of the cellular composite material are seen from different perspectives, showing the repeating "cuboct" lattice structure, made from many identical flat cross-shaped pieces.<br />
PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNETH CHEUNG

MIT researchers have developed a lightweight structure whose tiny blocks can be snapped together much like the bricks of a child’s construction toy.

The new material, the researchers say, could revolutionize the assembly of airplanes, spacecraft, and even larger structures, such as dikes and levees.

The new approach to construction is described in a paper appearing in the journal Science, co-authored by postdoc Kenneth Cheung and… read more

A magnetless spin-memory device

Could allow for miniaturization of a memory bit down to a single nanoparticle
August 16, 2013

microscopy_device

Scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a simple magnetization technology that eliminates the need for permanent magnets in memory devices and allows for fabricating inexpensive, silicon-compatible, high-density, universal memory-on-chip devices.

Current memory devices have significant drawbacks: dynamic RAM memory has to be refreshed periodically, static RAM data is lost when the power is off, flash memory lacks speed, and… read more

A ‘universal smart window’ for instant control of lighting and heat

August 16, 2013

Smart-window glass that can be switched to block heat and light (credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a new material to make smart windows even smarter.

The material is a thin coating of nanocrystals embedded in glass that can dynamically modify sunlight as it passes through a window.

Unlike existing technologies, the coating provides selective control over visible light and heat-producing near-infrared (NIR) light independently, so windows can… 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

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