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A step toward simulating a worm brain in a computer

December 31, 2013

(Credit: OpenWorm Project)

The OpenWorm Project — an open-source project dedicated to creating a virtual C. elegans nematode in a computer by reverse-engineering its biology—  has now developed software that replicates the worm’s muscle movement.

You can explore that with the OpenWorm browser, or the iOS OpenWorm 3D Browser app.

The ultimate scientific goal of OpenWorm: understanding how the worm brain works via a full  digital… read more

A step toward the $1,000 personal genome using readily available lab equipment

August 5, 2005

The theoretical price of having one’s personal genome sequenced just fell from the prohibitive $20 million dollars to about $2.2 million, and the goal is to reduce the amount further–to about $1,000–to make individualized prevention and treatment realistic.

The sharp drop is due to a new DNA sequencing technology developed by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The new technique calls for replicating thousands of DNA fragments attached to one-micron… read more

A step toward the ‘quantum Internet’

April 12, 2012

Quantumstate transfer

The first elementary quantum network based on interfaces between single atoms and photons has been developed by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ).

It consists of two coupled single-atom nodes that communicate quantum information via coherent, reversible exchange of single photons.

Besides giving insights into fundamental questions in physics, the finding could also have applications in secure communication and the simulation… read more

A step towards ‘programmable materials’

"Could change the world of mechanics forever"
March 13, 2014

A one-dimensional working model. Each stub has a piezoelectric disc (converts mechanical to electrical energy) and is connected to an external circuit to damp (reduce) a specific resonance frequency. (Credit: A. Bergamini et al./Advanced Materials)

Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have developed a prototype of a selective vibration-damping material that they claim “could change the world of mechanics forever” as a step toward “programmable materials.”

Described in the journal Advanced Materials, this “material of the future” can damp mechanical vibrations completely or selectively suppress specific vibration frequencies or ranges of frequencies.

The one-dimensional working model consists of a… read more

A Step Towards Reality for VHF Internet

December 9, 2003

BushLAN, which uses a 7MHz-wide VHF channel, will support symmetrical data rates of around 250Kbps at distances of up to 40 kilometers. Over shorter distances, megabit speeds are feasible.

Note: one statement in the article is erroneous: “VHF–long known and exploited by ham radio, for example, to make international contact–is its ability to reach long distances, both because the signals follow the curvature of the atmosphere, and because they… read more

A step towards repairing the central nervous system

January 31, 2013

Researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the University of Barcelona in Spain have discovered a biomaterial that can  generate new differentiated neural stem cells, as part of a project to develop an implant that allows brain repair and regeneration.

The team tested different types of polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable material allowing neural cell adhesion and growth. They found that PLA with… read more

A step towards total autopilot

Will this solve the drone-collision problem?
September 20, 2012

total_autopilot

Will planes someday fly without pilots? Three EPFL laboratories are working on a completely automated aerial collision-avoidance system by developing collision-prediction, avoidance, and real-time vision algorithms.

The project is a formidable technological challenge. It will first be used for small airplanes or drones in non-military applications, such as forest fire surveillance or monitoring access to industrial sites and borders. And it could prove invaluable in missions that are hazardous or simply… read more

A sticky touch screen lets you feel the buttons

May 11, 2011

Touch Screen-2

A touch screen that lets you feel virtual buttons has been developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia, the University of Canterbury, and Northwestern University.

The T-Pad (Tactile Pattern Display) uses vibration to create variable friction areas on a touch screen so that your finger “feels” a physical structure.

As you pass your finger across the surface it slips… read more

A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America

January 8, 2009

In a report just published, “The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that a $30 billion investment in America’s digital infrastructure — broadband networks, health IT, and a smart power grid — will spur significant job creation in the short run, creating
approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs while leading to higher productivity,… read more

A ‘stone-like’ optical disc that lasts forever’

August 9, 2011

M Disc

Start-up Millenniata and LG plan to soon release a new optical disc and read/write player that will store movies, photos or any other data forever on any current DVD or Blu-ray player.

Millenniata calls the product the M-Disc, and claims you can dip it in liquid nitrogen and then boiling water without harming it. It also has a U.S. Department of Defense study backing up the… read more

A strange computer promises great speed

March 25, 2013

dwave_ones_in_the_lab_large

Academic researchers and scientists at companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard have been working to develop quantum computers.

Now, Lockheed Martin — which bought an early version of such a computer from the Canadian company D-Wave Systems two years ago — is confident enough in the technology to… read more

A strange lonely planet found without a star

October 11, 2013

Multicolor image from the Pan-STARRS1 telescope of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22, in the constellation of Capricornus. The planet is extremely cold and faint, about 100 billion times fainter in optical light than the planet Venus. Most of its energy is emitted at infrared wavelengths. The image is 125 arcseconds on a side. Credit: N. Metcalfe & Pan-STARRS 1 Science Consortium

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star. This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO J318.5-22, is just 80 light-years away from Earth and has a mass only six times that of Jupiter. The planet formed a mere 12 million years ago — -a newborn in planet lifetimes.

It was identified from its faint and unique heat signature by the … read more

A stretchable antenna for wearable health monitoring

March 20, 2014

Yong-Zhu-antenna-image

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a stretchable antenna that can be incorporated into wearable technologies, such as health diagnostic and monitoring devices.

Wearable systems can be subject to a variety of stresses as patients move around, so the researchers wanted to develop an antenna that could be stretched, rolled, or twisted and always return to its original shape.

To create an appropriately resilient, effective… read more

A stretchable, foldable transparent electronic display

Uses include foldable/expandable screens for new classes of smartphones and other personal electronic devices, electronics-integrated clothing, and wallpaper-like lighting
September 25, 2013

ucla_foldable_electronics

Imagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber,  and all of these being made from the same material.

Researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a transparent, elastic organic light-emitting device, or OLED, that could one day make all… read more

A ‘student-centered’ approach to science education

October 18, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A group of educational researchers at Florida State University are drawing widespread attention after their paper measuring the superior results of a more “student-centered” approach to teaching science was published in the pre-eminent journal Science.

The stakes are extraordinarily high, so it is critical that the United States find more effective ways of teaching the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in K-12 classrooms, said the paper’s… read more

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