science + technology news

Craig Venter’s bugs might save the world

May 31, 2012

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

June 21, 2012

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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

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

September 16, 2013

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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

What is 5G and when can I get it?

March 25, 2015

(credit: Huawei)

Imagine being able to download a full-length 8GB HD movie to your phone in six seconds (versus seven minutes over 4G or more than an hour on 3G) and video chats so immersive that it will feel like you can reach out and touch the other person right through the screen.

That’s the vision for the 5G concept — the next generation of wireless networks — presented at the… read more

Will robot pets replace the real thing?

May 20, 2015

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University of Melbourne animal welfare researcher Jean-Loup Rault, PhD says pets will soon become a luxury in an overpopulated, high-density world and the future may lie in robot pets that mimic the real thing.

“It might sound surreal for us to have robotic or virtual pets, but it could be totally normal for the next generation,” Rault said. “If 10 billion human beings live on the… read more

The ‘chemputer’ that could print out any drug

July 26, 2012

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Professor Lee Cronin has turned a 3D printer into a universal chemistry set that could make its own prescription drugs via downloadable chemistry.

Cronin is the leader of a world-class team of 45 researchers at Glasgow University, primarily making complex molecules.

The “inks” are simple reagents, from which more complex molecules are formed.

As he points out, nearly all drugs are made of carbon, hydrogen and… read more

Are you ready for RFID chips built into your money and documents?

May 7, 2013

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North Dakota State University. researchers have developed a new way of embedding traceable chips within “smart” paper — raising the possibility of banks and governments guarding against counterfeiting and even tracking the usage of paper money, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The new method of embedding radio frequency identification chips (RFID) in paper uses a patent-pending technology called Laser Enabled Advanced Packaging (LEAP) to transfer and assemble… read more

New imagery of NASA’s asteroid mission released

August 23, 2013

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NASA released Thursday new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned mission to find, capture, redirect, and study a near-Earth asteroid.

The images show crew operations including the Orion spacecraft’s trip to and rendezvous with the relocated asteroid, and astronauts maneuvering through a spacewalk to collect samples from the asteroid.

NASA plans to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation, and to find potentially… read more

World’s first $1,000 genome enables ‘factory’ scale sequencing for population and disease studies

January 15, 2014

The HiSeq X™ Ten, composed of 10 HiSeq X Systems (credit: Illumina)

 

Illumina, Inc. announced Tuesday that its new HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System has broken the “sound barrier” of human genomics by enabling the $1,000 genome.

“This platform includes dramatic technology breakthroughs that enable researchers to undertake studies of unprecedented scale by providing the throughput to sequence tens of thousands of human whole genomes in a single year in a single… read more

$99 Raspberry Pi-sized ‘supercomputer’ touted in Kickstarter project

September 28, 2012

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Chipmaker Adapteva wants to make parallel computing available to everyone, using a Kickstarter project to raise at least $750,000 and a stretch goal of $3 million, Ars Technica reports.

Adapteva calls it “Parallella: A Supercomputer For Everyone,” a 16-core board hitting 13GHz and 26 gigaflops performance, costing $99 each. If the $3 million goal is hit, Adapteva will make a $199 64-core board hitting… read more

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