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Self-braking cars will save thousands of lives

October 8, 2012

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How effective are systems that warn a driver about an impending front collision, then slam on the brakes if the driver doesn’t act quickly enough?

A lot, says a paper recently published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, IEEE Spectrum Tech Talk reports.

Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics studied systems that rely on radar to tell the car when it is coming… read more

Controlling heat like light

New approach using nanoparticle alloys allows heat to be focused or reflected just like electromagnetic waves
January 15, 2013

An MIT researcher has developed a technique that provides a new way of manipulating heat, allowing it to be controlled much as light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors.

The approach relies on engineered materials consisting of nanostructured semiconductor alloy crystals.

Heat is a vibration of matter — technically, a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material — just as sound… read more

Cosmo Wenman’s mind-blowing 3D-printed sculptures

October 22, 2012

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Cosmo Wenman is a California artist who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made, MakerBot Blog reports.

The horse head and human bust you see here were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator.

“We believe so strongly in the potential of the… read more

The future of cryonics debate between physicist Michio Kaku and Alcor CEO Max More

December 22, 2013

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In response to a question, “What are the practical applications of cryogenics today, and what potential improvements can we expect 20 to 30 years down the line?” Michio Kaku, PhD, replied with a critique.

Max More, PhD, CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, offered this response, noting that cryonics is “affordable by regular people. Ice does not form inside cells… read more

Studying ethical questions as the brain’s black box Is unlocked

Excerpt from The New York Times
December 18, 2012

MRI Head

S. Matthew Liao, director of the bioethics program at New York University, has a singular title: neuroethicist.

Some researchers claim to be near to using fMRIs to read thoughts. Is this really happening?

The technology, though still crude, appears to be getting closer. For instance, there’s one research group that asks subjects to watch movies. When they

read more

3D graphene could replace expensive platinum in solar cells

August 22, 2013

A field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) image of 3D honeycomb-structured graphene. The novel material can replace platinum in dye-sensitized solar cells with virtually no loss of generating capacity. Hui Wang image

Michigan Technological University, scientists have replaced expensive ($1,500 an ounce) platinum in solar cells with low-cost 3D graphene.

Regular graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon. Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Caroll McArthur Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MTU, and his team invented a way to synthesize a 3D version, with a honeycomb-like structure.

The 3D graphene had excellent conductivity and high… read more

The future of space

March 9, 2012

Dragon and Falcon 9 Second Stage, post Second Stage Separation Event (credit: NASA)

In the new book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, Neil deGrasse Tyson says America is at a critical moment for future space exploration, as he explained to The Atlantic.

Give NASA the money it needs, he argues, and the agency will stimulate the economy and inspire students to pursue innovative, ambitious projects. (Say, for example, a way to thwart a wayward asteroid that could… read more

Solar-powered 3-D printer prints glass from sand

June 29, 2011

Solar Sinter

Markus Kaiser’s  solar sintering project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance.

In this experiment, sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, combining natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.

His work with solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and the use of solar energy.… read more

Wearable ‘neurocam’ records scenes when it detects user interest

February 10, 2014

Neuroware

Keio University scientists have developed a “neurocam” — a wearable camera system that detects emotions, based on an analysis of the user’s brainwaves.

The hardware is a combination of Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a customized brainwave sensor.

The algorithm is based on measures of “interest” and “like” developed by Professor Mitsukura and the neurowear team.

The users interests are quantified… read more

What zebrafish can teach us about healing brain damage

November 11, 2012

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The zebrafish regenerates its brain after injury, unlike mammals. Is there something we can learn about the process that might help with traumatic brain injury  and neurodegenerative disorders?

A research team at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Germany decided to investigate.

They found that that in zebrafish — in contrast to mammals — inflammation is a positive regulator of neuronal regeneration in the… read more

Biological transistor enables computing within living cells

March 29, 2013

Three-terminal transcriptor-based gates use integrase (Int) control signals to modulate RNA polymerase flow between a separate gate input and output (credit: Bonnet et al./Science)

Stanford University bioengineers have taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology by creating the “transcriptor” — a biological transistor made from DNA and RNA.

In electronics, a transistor controls the flow of electrons along a circuit. Similarly, a transcriptor controls the flow of a specific protein, RNA polymerase, as it travels along a strand of DNA.

“Transcriptors are the… read more

Samsung to offer 5G service by 2020

May 13, 2013

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Samsung Electronics Co. said Sunday that it has successfully developed fifth-generation network (5G) core technology for the first time, allowing users to access faster data services expected to be available by 2020, Yonhap News Agency reports.

Under the new platform, users will be able to download and upload data at speeds of up to tens of gigabits per second (Gbps), compared to 75 megabits per second (Mbps)… read more

Fukushima plant spilling 300 tons of radioactive water every day into the sea since 2011

August 13, 2013

Mass contamination from major radiation exposure events, such as the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, require prompt treatment in the form of a pill, such as the treatment being developed at Berkeley Lab (credit: satellite image from Digital Globe)

Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) that contaminated water has most likely been seeping into the sea since the disaster two-and-a-half years ago.

They do not have much faith in Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) ability to handle the situation and they claim another accident is inevitable.

Japan’s nuclear watchdog has described the leaks as a “state of… read more

Reprogramming your brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation

September 11, 2014

A mouse (happy and awake) receiving LI-rTMS (credit: University of Western Australia)

Weak repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations in the brain, researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have demonstrated.

The discovery has implications for treatment of nervous system disorders related to abnormal brain organization, such as depression, epilepsy, and tinnitus.

To better… read more

Panasonic develops highly efficient artificial photosynthesis system generating organic materials from carbon dioxide and water

August 1, 2012

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Panasonic has developed an artificial photosynthesis system that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic materials by illuminating with sunlight at a world’s top efficiency of 0.2%.

The efficiency is on a level comparable with real plants used for biomass energy. The key to the system is the application of a nitride semiconductor which makes the system simple and efficient.

This development will be a foundation… read more

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