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DARPA seeks 2000 percent increase in robot power transmission efficiency

July 6, 2012

DARPA_M3 Actuation

DARPA seeks revolutionary advances in the efficiency of robotic actuation; fundamental research into biology, physics and electrical engineering could benefit all engineered, actuated systems.

DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program, with the goal of achieving a 2,000 percent increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application in robots, to improve performance potential.

A robot that drives into an industrial disaster area and shuts off… read more

A billion-year storage medium that could outlive the human race

... and a holographic coding system using a graphene oxide substrate to protect data from physical damage
October 24, 2013

A QR code etched in tungsten (Credit: University of Twente)

Researcher Dr. Jeroen de Vries from the University of Twente MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology suggests we could store data for one million to one billion years, using a new storage medium based on tungsten and graphene oxide.

He imagines two possible scenarios:

  • Disaster has devastated the earth and society must rebuild the world
  • We need to create a legacy for

read more

Would you eat ‘eco-friendly’ meat created from stem cells?

May 23, 2014

cells to food

In a paper in the Cell Press journal Trends in Biotechnology, Cor van der Weele of Wageningen University in The Netherlands and coauthor Johannes Tramper describe a potential meat manufacturing process, starting with a vial of cells taken from a cell bank and ending with a pressed cake of minced meat.

Cor van der Weele  point out that the rising demand for meat around the world is… read more

An agile humanoid robot

November 6, 2012


University of Bonn computer scientists have developed a scoccer-playing robot called NimbRo-OP intended to develop new capabilities for humanoid bipedal robots, such as using tools, climbing stairs, and using human facial expressions, gestures and body language for communicating.

With 20 drive elements that convert computer commands into mechanical motions, NimbRo-OP is highly agile. For example, it can kick a soccer ball, and get… read more

Nanostructured ‘sandwich’ boosts solar-cell efficiency almost three times

December 10, 2012

A conventional solar cell, left, reflects light off its surface and loses light that penetrates the cell. New technology, right, develop by Princeton professor Stephen Chou and colleagues in electrical engineering, prevents both types of loss and is much thinner. (Credit: Dimitri Karetnikov/Princeton University)

Princeton researchers have found a simple and economical way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power.

The researchers, led by electrical engineer Stephen Chou, the Joseph C. Elgin Professor of Engineering, were able to increase the efficiency of the solar cells 175 percent by using… read more

An automated ‘time machine’ to reconstruct ancient languages

Will greatly accelerate and improve the process of reconstructing hundreds of ancestral languages
February 14, 2013

Computer scientists have reconstructed ancient Proto-Austronesian, which gave rise to languages spoken in Polynesia, among other places  (credit: A. Bouchard-Cote et al./University of California - Berkeley)

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley and the University of British Columbia have created a computer program that can rapidly reconstruct “proto-languages” — the linguistic ancestors from which all modern languages have evolved.

These earliest-known languages include Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Afroasiatic and, in this case, Proto-Austronesian, which gave rise to languages spoken in Southeast Asia, parts of continental Asia, Australasia and the Pacific.

Ancient languages hold… read more

A 50 gigapixel camera five times better than 20/20 human vision

June 21, 2012


By synchronizing 98 tiny cameras in a single device, engineers from Duke University and the University of Arizona have created a prototype camera that could capture up to 50 gigapixels of data (50,000 megapixels) and images with unprecedented detail.

The AWARE-2 camera’s resolution is five times better than 20/20 human vision over a 120 degree horizontal field.

By comparison, most consumer cameras are capable of taking photographs with sizes ranging… read more

Watson provides cancer treatment options to doctors in seconds

February 11, 2013


IBM and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center unveiled Friday the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs.

These innovations stand alone to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence based medicine, says IBM.

For more than a year, IBM has partnered separately with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering to… read more

Gene mutation associated with ‘Internet addiction,’ German researchers suggest

Gene is associated with nicotine addiction, women more affected
August 30, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim found that “pro­blematic” Internet users, especially women, are more often carriers of a variation in the CHRNA4 gene, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene, which that also plays a major role in nicotine addiction and generation of dopamine.

The T- variant (CC genotype) of the rs1044396 polymorphism on the CHRNA4 gene occurred significantly more frequently*, the… read more

‘Revolutionary’ eavesdropping technology patent to help governments monitor Internet chats

November 23, 2012


According to law enforcement agencies, the rising popularity of Internet chat services like Skype has made it difficult to eavesdrop on suspects’ communications.

But now, Dennis Chang, president of Sun Valley-based VOIP-Pal, has received a patent for a “legal intercept” technology that Chang says “would allow government agencies to ‘silently record’ VoIP communications,” Slate Future Tense reports.

Voice over IP chat software allows… read more

New ‘aerogel’ space-age insulating material is world’s lightest

August 21, 2012


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory chemists have developed a new flexible “aerogel” — stuff so light it has been called “solid smoke” — described as the world’s lightest solid material and best solid insulating material.

“The new aerogels are up to 500 times stronger than their silica counterparts,” said Mary Ann B. Meador at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

“A thick piece actually can support the… read more

Deep neural network rivals primate brain in object recognition

December 19, 2014

object category recognition ft

A new study from MIT neuroscientists has found that for the first time, one of the latest generation of “deep neural networks” matches the ability of the primate brain to recognize objects during a brief glance.

Because these neural networks were designed based on neuroscientists’ current understanding of how the brain performs object recognition, the success of the latest networks suggests that neuroscientists have a fairly accurate grasp of… read more

Single-atom transistor is ‘end of Moore’s Law’ and ‘beginning of quantum computing’

February 20, 2012

A controllable transistor engineered from a single phosphorus atom has been developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne. The atom, shown here in the center of an image from a computer model, sits in a channel in a silicon crystal. The atomic-sized transistor and wires might allow researchers to control gated qubits of information in future quantum computers. (Credit: Purdue University)

The smallest transistor ever built has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne.

The latest Intel chip, the “Sandy Bridge,” uses a manufacturing process to place 2.3 billion transistors 32 nanometers apart.

A single phosphorus atom, by comparison, is just 0.1 nanometers across, which would significantly reduce… read more

Stanford University’s president predicts the death of the lecture hall as university education moves online

May 31, 2012


Stanford University recently explored offering online courses to a larger audience with a programming class for iPhone applications, first available in 2009, that has been downloaded more than one million times.

This past fall, more than 100 000 students around the world took three engineering classes — Machine Learning, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, and Introduction to Databases.

Stanford president John L. Hennessy says that’s just the beginning. In fact,… read more

IQ predicted by ability to filter visual motion

May 28, 2013

University of Rochester students participate in photo illustrating a news release. A simple visual task that measures the brain’s unconscious ability to suppress motion predicts IQ, according to a new study. photo taken in Rush Rhees Library May 15, 2013. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on IQ tests, according to a new University of

The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence.

“Because intelligence is such a broad construct, you can’t… read more

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