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Paul G. Allen commits $300M to expand the Allen Institute for Brain Science to drive toward a complete understanding of how the brain works

March 22, 2012

3D nerve fiber tracts, cortical segmentation, and MRI image of human brain

Paul G. Allen has committed an additional $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science to significantly expand its scientific programs, the Institute announced Wednesday March 21.

Bringing his total commitment to date to $500 million, Allen has charged the Institute with tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today.

The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a… read more

Crowdsourcing a cure for my brain cancer

November 1, 2012

brain_tumor_thingyverse

Digital artist Salvatore Iaconesi, an engineer, artist, hacker and 2012 TED fellow who teaches interaction and digital design at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, hacked his medical records to put them online on his site artisopensource.net/cure in a global search for the best treatments, New Scientist reports.

 What happened?

It’s been incredible. I have been able to become an expert in… read more

IBM unveils concept for a future brain-inspired 3D computer

October 20, 2013

IBM 3D computer

IBM has unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what it calls “electronic blood,” BBC News reports.

The firm says it is learning from nature by building computers fueled and cooled by a liquid, like our minds.

The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy – an efficiency IBM is keen to match.… read more

Singapore scientists create stem cells from a drop of blood

DIY finger prick technique opens door for extensive stem cell banking
March 21, 2014

Schematic on finger-prick blood isolation and treatment for cellular reprogramming (credit: Loh Yuin Han, Jonathan, IMCB)

Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new… read more

Just add water: a portable hydrogen fuel cell

January 25, 2013

A close-up of spherical silicon nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter. In Nano Letters, UB scientists report that these particles could form the basis of new technologies that generate hydrogen for portable power applications. (Credit: Swihart Research Group/University at Buffalo)

Battery dead in the middle of a phone call and you left your charger home, or worse, you’re on a camping trip. Sound familiar?

No prob, just grab some nanosilicon powder, mix with water, and zap: instant hydrogen fuel to generate recharge current — thanks to University at Buffalo researchers, who have discovered that super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogenread more

Competing teams announced for $1 million prize incentive to create an artificial liver

September 16, 2014

The U.S. organ wait list has grown rapidly, while the number of organ donors has stagnated --- but the true need is almost 10x larger than the official waiting list suggests: 900,000 annual deaths are preventable by liver transplantation (credit: New Organ)

New Organ — a collective initiative for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine — announced today (Sept. 16) the initial six teams competing for the $1 million New Organ Liver Prize, a global prize competition launched in December 2013 and  sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation, a biomedical charity.

The award will go to “the first team that creates a regenerative or bioengineered solution that keeps a large animal… read more

NASA video on LENR (low energy nuclear reactions), a clean form of nuclear energy

January 13, 2012

NASA Langley Research Center posted Thursday (but has not announced) a new video on NASA research on LENR (low energy nuclear reactions), entitled “Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate & Sustain LENR.”

The research focuses on “another way of producing energy-efficient nuclear power,” says NASA Senior Research Scientist Joseph Zawodny, featured in the video (posted on YouTube by KurzweilAI). “This other form of nuclear power releases… read more

Can space elevators really work?

February 28, 2014

Climber ascends space elevator, heading spaceward from its aeroshell (credit: Frank Chase/Chase Design Studios)

Yes. A space elevator appears possible and space elevator infrastructure could indeed be built via a major international effort, a study conducted by experts under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics has found, Space.com writer Leonard David reports.

Two technologies pacing the development of the space elevator are an ultra-strong space tether and other space elevator components, and lightweight solar cells, according to study lead… read more

Automated drug design using synthetic DNA self-assembly

Reducing the time required to create and test cancer and other medications
December 6, 2012

A collection of pharmaceutical molecules is shown after self-assembly. The detail shows a single molecule, made up of strands of DNA, a therapeutic agent and other components that improve its ability to target cancer. (Credit: Parabon NanoLabs)

Using a simple “drag-and-drop” computer interface and DNA self-assembly techniques, Parabon NanoLabs researchers have developed a new automated method of drug development that could reduce the time required to create and test medications, with the support of an NSF Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships grant.

“We can now ‘print,’ molecule by molecule, exactly the compound that we want,” says Steven Armentrout, the principal investigator… read more

Privacy challenges of wearable computing

May 27, 2013

EyeTap (credit: Steve Mann)

“I’ve experienced both sides” of the privacy debate on Google Glass, Nick Bilton writes in The New York Times.

But other gadgets have plenty of privacy-invading potential too, he says. Memoto, a tiny, automatic camera that looks like a pin you can wear on a shirt, can snap two photos a minute and later upload it to an online service.

Apple is… read more

Memory implants

A maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories
May 1, 2013

electrode_array

Teodore Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, envisions a day in the not too distant future when a patient with severe memory loss can get help from an electronic implant, MIT Technology Review reports.

In people whose brains have suffered damage from Alzheimer’s, stroke, or injury, disrupted neuronal networks often prevent long-term memories from forming. For more than… read more

Future Day event in Second Life

March 2, 2012

futuredaysl1

A Future Day event was held at Terasem Island in Second Life on March 1, with speakers Natasha Vita-More, Martine Rothblatt, Howard Bloom, Giulio Prisco, Adam A. Ford, and Ben Goertzel (via audio) and about 50 participants.

One of the projects discussed at the event was a Future Day film with positive and solar visions of the future (mostly interviews), for release at Future Day 2013… read more

Why the new iPad is so huge for Apple

March 8, 2012

newipad

Today’s new iPad introduction was Apple’s most important event of the year.

I iPad is the future of Apple and potentially the future of the personal computer.

Today’s new iPad continued two important trends for Apple:

The iPad maintained its lead as the best tablet on the market in terms of hardware, software, and ecosystem, the retina display — unmatched by the competition… read more

Dear science fiction writers: stop being so pessimistic!

March 21, 2012

Neal Stephenson

Stephenson has seen the future — and he doesn’t like it.

Today’s science fiction, he argues, is fixated on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios — think recent films such as The Road and TV series like “The Walking Dead.” Gone are the hopeful visions prevalent in the mid-20th century.

So in Fall 2011, Stephenson launched the Hieroglyph project to rally writers to infuse science fiction with… read more

Turning off the stem-cell aging switch

May 24, 2012

delay_aging_stem_cells

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have uncovered a series of biological events that implicate stem cells’ “niche” (surroundings) as the culprit in loss of stem cells due to aging.

Their findings have implications for treatment of age-related diseases and for the effectiveness of regenerative medicine.

Stem cells are essential building blocks for all organisms, from plants to humans. They can divide… read more

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