September 18, 2012
The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled a laboratory in the form of a typical suburban home, designed to demonstrate that a family of four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year.
University of Massachusetts psychologist Dr. Tony McCaffrey has developed a systematic way of overcoming “functional fixedness” (the tendency to fixate on the common use of an object or its parts, hindering people from solving problems). He calls it the “generic parts technique” (GPT).
He found that people trained in GPT solved eight problems 67 percent more often than those who weren’t trained, and the trained group… read more
September 28, 2012
DHS to test unmanned aircraft for variety of applications.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations, Network World Layer 8 reports.
In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the program’s results of… read more
April 3, 2013
An innovative new study from Scotland confirms the observation that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park, The New York Times reports.
Researchers have long theorized that green spaces are calming, requiring less of our so-called directed mental attention than busy, urban streets do, but it had not been possible to study the brains of people while they were actually outside, moving… read more
November 21, 2012
Stony Brook University (SBU) recently unveiled its new Reality Deck, with 1.5 billion pixels total on 416 super-high-resolution screens in a four-walled surround-view theater — the highest-resolution immersive display ever built — and driven by a 220 TFLOPs graphic supercomputer.
Its purpose and primary design principle is to enable scientists, engineers, and physicians to tackle current problems that require the visualization of vast amounts of… read more
December 11, 2012
Some of the waste that humans flush away every day could become a powerful source of brain cells to study disease, and may even one day be used in therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons, Nature News reports.
The method uses ordinary cells present in urine, and transforms… read more
August 19, 2013
The new material, the researchers say, could revolutionize the assembly of airplanes, spacecraft, and even larger structures, such as dikes and levees.
The new approach to construction is described in a paper appearing in the journal Science, co-authored by postdoc Kenneth Cheung and… read more
December 22, 2013
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.
November 3, 2012
The damage to the electrical grid from Superstorm Sandy is just a taste of what could happen from a major cyberattack, says Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, CSO Security and Risk reports.
And a DHS task force said this week that one way to minimize that kind of risk is to recruit a “Cyber Reserve” of computer security pros that could be… read more
April 4, 2012
More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as “potentially hazardous,” based on size and trajectory, says astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson in Wired Science.
Currently, it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide. … Smaller ones, which reflect much less light and are therefore much harder to detect at great distances, carry enough energy to incinerate entire… read more
DARPA’s ‘Targeted Neuroplasticity Training’ program aims to accelerate learning ‘beyond normal levels’
March 23, 2016
DARPA has announced a new program called Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) aimed at exploring how to use peripheral nerve stimulation and other methods to enhance learning.
DARPA already has research programs underway to use targeted stimulation of the peripheral nervous system as a substitute for drugs to treat diseases and accelerate healing*, to control advanced prosthetic limbs**, and to restore tactile sensation.
But now… read more
June 27, 2016
An artificial synapse that emulates a biological synapse while requiring less energy has been developed by Pohang University Of Science & Technology (POSTECH) researchers* in Korea.
A human synapse consumes an extremely small amount of energy (~10 fJ or femtojoules** per synaptic event).
The researchers have fabricated an organic nanofiber (ONF), or organic nanowire (ONW), electronic device that emulates the important working principles and… read more
July 22, 2014
A new carbon-based material structure developed at MIT generates steam from solar energy.
The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water.
When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light,… read more