science + technology news

Using supercomputers in the hunt for ‘cheapium’

January 6, 2014

Compound-forming vs non-compound-forming systems.  (Adapted from G. Hart et al./Phys. Rev. X)

In the search for cheaper materials that mimic their purer, more expensive counterparts, researchers are abandoning hunches and intuition for theoretical models and pure computing power.

In a new study, researchers from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering used computational methods to identify dozens of platinum-group alloys that were previously unknown to science but could prove beneficial in a wide range of applications.

Platinum… read more

Automate or perish

July 9, 2012

kiva_robots

Successful businesses will be those that optimize the mix of humans, robots, and algorithms, says Christopher Steiner in Automate This, a book due out next month.

Today, automated trading bots account for nearly three-quarters of U.S. equity trading by volume. Trading houses plow millions into fiber optics and microwave dishes so their algorithms can send trades a millisecond faster than the next guys’.

This month’s Technology Review business… read more

Nanotech yarn behaves like super-strong muscle

Could one day power robots, micromotors, intelligent textiles
November 16, 2012

ut_nanotube_muscles

New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil.

The… read more

Under the skin, a tiny blood-testing laboratory

March 20, 2013

(credit: EPFL)

EPFL scientists have developed a tiny, portable personal blood testing laboratory: a minuscule device implanted just under the skin provides an immediate analysis of substances in the body, and a radio module transmits the results to a doctor over the cellular phone network.

This feat of miniaturization has many potential applications, including monitoring patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Humans are veritable chemical factories — we manufacture… read more

Star Trek-like invisible shield discovered 7200 miles above Earth that blocks ‘killer electrons’

December 1, 2014

Scientists have discovered an invisible shield about 7,200 miles above Earth (credit: Andy Kale/University of Alberta)

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered an invisible shield some 7,200 miles above Earth that blocks “killer electrons,” which whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites, and degrade space systems during intense solar storms.

The barrier to the particle motion was discovered in the Van Allen radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped rings above Earth — an inner… read more

Russian diamonds: Siberian meteorite crater said to hold trillions of carats

September 21, 2012

Artist's impression of asteroid hitting Earth (Credit: Don Davis/NASA)

Russian scientists are claiming that a gigantic deposit of industrial diamonds found in a huge Siberian meteorite crater during Soviet times could revolutionize industry, Huffington Post reports.

The Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences said that the Popigai crater in eastern Siberia contains “many trillions of carats” of “impact diamonds” — good for technological purposes, not for jewelry, and far exceeding the currently known global… read more

A first: Stanford engineers build basic computer using carbon nanotubes

September 26, 2013

A scanning electron microscopy image of a section of the first ever carbon nanotube computer. Credit: Butch Colyear</p>
<p>Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-stanford-carbon-nanotube-technology.html#jCp

A team of Stanford engineers has built a basic computer using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) — a semiconductor material with the potential to launch a new generation of smaller electronic devices that run faster, while using less energy, than those made from silicon chips.

This unprecedented feat culminates years of efforts by scientists around the world to harness this promising but quirky material.

The achievement is reported… read more

Craig Venter’s bugs might save the world

May 31, 2012

Craig_Venter

Inside the laboratories of biotechnology, a literal possibility of artificial life is taking hold: What if machines really were alive?

The possibility of designing a new organism, entirely from synthetic DNA, to produce whatever compounds we want, would mark a radical leap forward in biotechnology and a paradigm shift in manufacturing.

The appeal of biological machinery is manifold:

  • Because organisms reproduce, they can generate not only their

read more

California’s taking the lead on self-driving cars

June 5, 2012

what_driverless_car_sees

Intrigued by the idea of eliminating human error from driving, a California legislator has introduced a bill to clarify that driverless cars are street legal.

The technology has a supporter in state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained mechanical engineer. Padilla’s Senate Bill 1298 would make it clear under California law that autonomous vehicles can use the public roads.… read more

A long-lasting, water-based nuclear-energy-powered battery

Could be used in cars, emergency devices, and spaceships
September 19, 2014

Schematic diagram and photograph of the Pt-nanoporous TiO2 electrode (credit: Baek Hyun Kim & Jae W. Kwon/Scientific Reports)

University of Missouri (MU) researchers have developed a prototype of an efficient nuclear-energy-powered* battery that does not require recharging and could be a reliable energy source in automobiles and space vehicles.

Betavoltaics [a battery technology that generates electrical power from beta-particle radiation] has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s,” said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and… read more

Training the brain to improve on new tasks

April 17, 2013

800px-Memory_(spel)

UPDATE Jan. 7, 2016: 

Lumosity to Pay $2 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges for Its “Brain Training” Program — U.S. Federal Trade Commission

A brain-training task that increases the number of items an individual can remember over a short period of time may boost performance in other problem-solving tasks by enhancing communication between different brain areas.

The new study is one of… read more

Russia developing anti-terrorist robots

May 23, 2013

russian_robots

Russian experts are developing robots designed to minimize casualties in terrorist attacks and neutralize terrorists, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on May 17, RIA Novosti reports.

Robots could also help evacuate injured servicemen and civilians from the scene of a terrorist attack, said Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry.

Other anti-terror equipment Russia is developing includes systems that can see terrorists through obstacles and… read more

A radical new holistic view of health based on cooperation and disease based on competition

September 16, 2013

ytoscape<br />
analysis o

Researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center have developed a radical holistic view of health — seeing it as a cooperative state among cells, while they see disease as result of cells at war that fight with each other for domination.

Their unique approach is backed by experimental evidence. The researchers show a network of genes in cells, which includes the powerful tumor suppressor p53,… read more

Behold the Cheetah Robot. The Singularity is nigh!

March 6, 2012

Cheetah Robot

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding Boston Dynamics’ development of a prototype robot called the Cheetah.

The cat-like bot managed to gallop 18 mph on a treadmill, setting a new land speed record for legged robots. (The previous record: 13.1 mph, set at MIT in 1989.)

The company has a prototype human-like robot in the works called the Atlasread more

With ‘flyover’ 3D rendering and Yelp/Siri integration, Apple Maps makes Google Maps look like child’s play

June 21, 2012

new_apple_maps

Apple just launched its stunning Maps product, with “Flyover” — Apple’s incredible new 3D maps display, which makes Google Maps look antiquated.

“We built an entire new mapping solution from the ground up,” Forstall said while demoing the product, “It is beautiful. We did all the cartography ourselves.”

In addition to the 3D display, Maps will have Siri integrated turn-by-turn directions. Crucial to the new Maps… read more

close and return to Home