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Laser could trigger rain and lightning

April 22, 2014

Illustration of a high-intensity laser dressed with a secondary laser that helps provide fuel to extend the distance of the primary beam.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics & Photonics and the University of Arizona have further developed a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.

The solution: surround the beam with a second beam to act as an energy reservoir, sustaining the central beam to greater distances than previously possible. The secondary “dress” beam… read more

Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

October 15, 2010

Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

A study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods — carried out at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature — includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.… read more

US road safety agency issues policy on driverless cars

May 31, 2013

google_car

Self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at a stage that it can be authorized for use by the public for general driving, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation recommendation to state governments, PC World reports.

If a state decides to permit operation of self-driving vehicles other than for testing, at a minimum it should require that a person licensed to drive self-driving vehicles should be seated… read more

Research dispels old myths about aging

May 31, 2012

senior_citizens

Professor Tom Kirkwood has demolished a string of misconceptions about the aging process with a groundbreaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation.

His study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, has proved revealing on several fronts:

  • Life expectancy is increasing by about two years every decade.
  • People

read more

Disney Research 3-D printer can combine fabrics, wiring

April 20, 2015

layered fabric 3D printed objects-ft

A team from Disney Research, Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell University have devised a 3-D printer that layers together laser-cut sheets of fabric to form soft, squeezable objects such as phone cases and toys. These objects can have complex geometries and incorporate circuitry that makes them interactive.

“Today’s 3-D printers can easily create custom metal, plastic, and rubber objects,” said Jim McCann, associate… 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

Network theory suggests consciousness is global in the brain

March 16, 2015

The black dots correspond to the 264 areas of the cerebral cortex that the researchers probed, and the lines correspond to the increased strength of the functional connections between each of these brain areas when subjects consciously perceive the target. The "hotter" colors are associated with stronger connections. This figure illustrates that awareness of the target corresponds to widespread increase in the strength of functional connections. (credit: Marois/Godwin).

Vanderbilt University researchers have found evidence that awareness or consciousness results from widespread communication across sensory and association areas of the cortex — challenging previous hypotheses that changes in restricted areas of the brain were responsible for producing awareness.

“Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human… read more

Will robot pets replace the real thing?

May 20, 2015

Sony - A2

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

What campuses can learn from online teaching

October 8, 2012

edx_announcement

Also see the three related posts today (below). — Ed.

Higher education is at a crossroads not seen since the introduction of the printing press, said MIT president L. Rafael Reif* in The Wall Street Journal.

“Residential education’s long-simmering financial problem is reaching a crisis point,” he said. “At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other campuses, the upheaval today is coming from the technological change posed by… read more

How to build a million-qubit quantum computer

December 4, 2012

Hybrid dual-quantum dot/superconducting resonator device

A team led by Princeton‘s Associate Professor of Physics Jason Petta has developed a new method that could eventually allow engineers to build a working quantum computer consisting of millions of quantum bits (qubits).

Quantum computers take advantage of the strange behaviors of subatomic particles like electrons. By harnessing electrons as they spin, scientists could use the particles to form the basis for a… 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

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

Toyota unveils helpful Human Support Robot

September 25, 2012

toyota-helper-robot-7

Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot alled the Human Support Robot (HSR),  designed to help the disabled live more independently, Gizmag reports.

The HSR can be controlled using a simple graphical user interface via tablet. It can also wear a tablet atop its head, which would allow caregivers and family members to communicate with the robot’s owner over Skype or other services.

Unlike recent telepresence robots,… read more

Lifespan-extending drug given late in life reverses age-related heart disease in mice

June 12, 2013

Lightmatter_lab_mice

Elderly mice suffering from age-related heart disease saw a significant improvement in cardiac function after being treated with the FDA-approved drug rapamycin for just three months.

The research, led by a team of scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, shows how rapamycin impacts mammalian tissues, providing functional insights and possible benefits for a drug that has been shown to extend the lifespan… read more

Paralyzed man walks, thanks to pioneering cell transplanation

October 22, 2014

BBC | Watch Darek Fidyka walk with the aid of a frame

Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down following a knife attack, can now walk, using a frame, thanks to a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at University College London (UCL) and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

The technique, developed by UK research team leader Professor Geoff Raisman, Chair of Neural Regeneration at the UCL Institute of Neurology, involved implanting … read more

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