science + technology news

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

Woman dies from antibiotic-resistant bacteria when no antibiotics worked

Deadly “CRE” family of superbug bacteria spreading more widely and stealthily, Harvard study finds
January 18, 2017

CRE bacteria

The death of a hospitalized patient in Reno Nevada for whom no available antibiotics worked highlights what World Health Organization and other public-health experts have been warning: antibiotic resistance is a serious threat and has gone global.

The patient — a female in her 70s — was admitted in for an infection and died in September 2016 from septic shock the CDC announced on Jan.… 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

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

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

UltraRope could make kilometer-high elevators possible

June 18, 2013


With a new lightweight material known as UltraRope, however, elevators should now be able to travel up to one kilometer (3,281 ft) continuously, Gizmag reports.

Using traditional steel lifting cables, they can’t go farther than 500 meters (1,640 ft) in one vertical run.

UltraRope from Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone, unveiled this Monday in London, is ribbon- or tape-like in form and composed… read more

Faster, cheaper biofuel production

November 22, 2013


Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae by genetically engineering a key growth component in biofuel.

The researchers say a significant roadblock in algal biofuel research surrounds the production of lipid oils, the fat molecules that store energy that can be produced for fuel: algae mainly produce the desired… read more

Could emotion detectors make driving safer?

March 17, 2014


Researchers in EPFL’s Signal Processing 5 Laboratory (LTS5), working with PSA Peugeot Citroën, have developed an emotion detector based on the analysis of facial expressions in a car, using an infrared camera placed behind the steering wheel.

The researchers say they can read facial expressions and identify which of the seven universal emotions a person is feeling: fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or… read more

Creating a transparent brain

BRAIN initiative just got a powerful new mapping tool
April 10, 2013


Combining neuroscience and chemical engineering, researchers at Stanford University have developed a process that renders a mouse brain transparent. The postmortem brain remains whole — not sliced or sectioned in any way — with its three-dimensional complexity of fine wiring and molecular structures completely intact and able to be measured and probed at will with visible light and chemicals.

The process, called CLARITY, ushers in… read more

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


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

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