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Chocolate may help keep brain healthy

August 8, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp, according to a study published in the August 7, 2013, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 60 people with an average age of 73 who did not have dementia. The participants drank two cups of… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013

cordis_mobiserv

A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land, Stanford-led study says

Wind farm could reduce peak hurricane wind speeds by up to 92 mph and decrease storm surge by up to 79 percent
February 26, 2014

Offshore wind farm (credit: Seimens)

Computer simulations by Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson have shown that offshore wind farms with thousands of wind turbines could have sapped the power of three real-life hurricanes, significantly decreasing their winds and accompanying storm surge, and possibly preventing billions of dollars in damages.

For the past 24 years,  Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, has been developing a complex computer model… read more

Liquid air ‘offers energy storage hope’

October 2, 2012

wind farms

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers says liquid air can compete with batteries and hydrogen to store excess energy generated from renewables, BBC News reports.

IMechE says “wrong-time” electricity generated by wind farms at night can be used to chill air to a cryogenic state at a distant location. When demand increases, the air can be warmed to drive a turbine.

 

Tesla plans ‘mostly autonomous’ car within three years

September 20, 2013

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Elon Musk has decided that the next step for Tesla Motors cars is to go (mostly) autonomous, IEEE Spectrum reports.

From the Financial Times:
“We should be able to do 90 percent of miles driven within three years,” [Musk] said. Mr Musk would not reveal further details of Tesla’s autonomy project, but said it was “internal development” rather than technology being supplied by another company.read more

‘This house wants to defeat aging entirely’: de Grey vs. Blakemore

April 24, 2012

Aubrey de Grey

Oxford University Scientific Society is hosting a debate on Wednesday, April, 25, 2012, addressing whether aging should be a target of decisive medical intervention — raising the possibility of substantial extension of human lifespan.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey will propose the motion, “This house wants to defeat aging entirely“ and Professor Colin Blakemore will be opposing. The debate will be chaired and moderated by Professor Sir Richard… read more

MIT creates amazing UI from levitating orbs

May 18, 2012

zeron2

In The Avengers, Tony Stark manipulates objects in thin air. MIT Media Lab researchers Jinha Lee and  Rehmi Post have actually created a similar tactile user interface for manipulating real floating objects in 3D space, called the ZeroN.

It’s essentially a small field in which gravity doesn’t overcome an object. Through the efforts of finely tuned electromagnetism, a user can place a metal ball in midair as easily… read more

House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet

May 28, 2012

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House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet, Hillicon Valley reports.

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress,… read more

Gene-modified cow makes milk rich in protein, study finds

October 2, 2012

cows

Scientists have altered the genes of a dairy cow to produce milk that’s rich in a protein used in numerous food products and lacking in a component that causes allergies in humans.

Using a process called RNA-interference that turns certain genes on or off, scientists from New Zealand produced a cow whose milk had increased casein, a protein used to make cheese and other foods, and almost no… read more

Record 100,000 entangled photons detected

October 31, 2012

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A whopping 100,000 entangled photons have been detected for the first time, beating the previous record of just 12, New Scientist reports.

The technique could be useful for safely sharing keys used in encrypted communications.

Entangled photons have linked quantum states, such that measuring the state of one photon determines the state of the others, no matter how far apart they are.

Detecting entanglement usually… read more

UCSD introduces Diego-san, a baby robot with ‘tude

Move over, Roboy, there's a new kidbot in town....
January 10, 2013

diego_san_1

UCSD has introduced Diego-san, a new humanoid robot who mimicks the expressions of a one-year-old child

Demonstrated at CES and in a video, the robot will be used in studies on sensory-motor and social development — how babies “learn” to control their bodies and to interact with other people.

Diego-san’s hardware was developed by two leading robot manufacturers: the head by Hansonread more

Sugar molecules — building blocks of RNA — found around young star

August 30, 2012

Astronomers have for the first time found glycolaldehyde molecules around a young sun-like star. Glycolaldehyde is a an important pre-biotic species, a simple sugar, consisting of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Through observations with ALMA the researchers have shown that the molecules are located within a region with an extent corresponding to our own solar system - and thus exist in the gas from which planets possibly are formed around the young star later in its evolution. (Credit: ESO)

A team of astronomers led by researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, have observed a simple sugar molecule in the gas surrounding a young star, proving that the building blocks of life were already present during planet formation.

They also found other complex organic molecules, including ethylene-glycol, methyl-formate and ethanol.

Sugar around new stars

“In the protoplanetary disc of gas and dust surrounding… read more

How attention helps you remember: the role of astrocytes

New study finds long-overlooked cells help the brain respond to visual stimuli
October 1, 2012

A human astrocyte cell

A new study from MIT neuroscientists sheds light on a neural circuit that makes us likelier to remember what we’re seeing when our brains are in a more attentive state.

The team of neuroscientists found that this circuit depends on a type of brain cell long thought to play a supporting role, at most, in neural processing. When the brain is attentive, those cells, called… read more

Filabot turns your plastic junk into material for 3D printers

January 21, 2013

filabot

Filabot promises to help turn your plastic junk into 3-D printed objects, Wired reports.

Most contemporary printers use plastic filament, available in spools from various suppliers. With Filabo, you can grind up several types of household plastics or even past projects to make new filament lines.

The brain is wired in a 3D grid structure, landmark study finds

March 30, 2012

brainpathways2

The brain appears to be wired in a rectangular 3D grid structure, suggests a new brain imaging study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“Far from being just a tangle of wires, the brain’s white-matter connections turn out to be more like ribbon cables — folding 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles, like the warp and weft of a… read more

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