science + technology news

Are you ready for mood-altering drugs precisely inserted into your brain?

June 24, 2016

PFC-directed oscillatory interactions ft

Imagine if doctors could precisely insert a tiny amount of a custom drug into a specific circuit in your brain and improve your depression (or other mood problems) — instead of treating the entire brain.

That’s exactly what Duke University researchers have explored in mice. Stress-susceptible animals that appeared depressed or anxious were restored to relatively normal behavior this way, according to a study appearing in the… read more

1 in 8 chance of catastrophic solar megastorm by 2020

March 4, 2012

Solar flares

The Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous megaflare erupting from the sun in the next decade,  according to space physicist Pete Riley, senior scientist at Predictive Science in San Diego, California, writing n Space Weather on Feb. 23.

This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade to recover from,  according to a 2008 report from the National… read more

More-efficient solar-powered steam

Can convert 85 percent of incoming solar energy into steam, eliminating need for complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight
July 22, 2014

solar steam generator - ft

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

Homeland Security looking for (more than) a few good drones

September 28, 2012

Reaper Drone (Credit: USAF)

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

‘Nanozyme’ nanoparticles can be programmed to target different diseases

July 19, 2012

Nanozymes (colloidal nanoparticles with a diameter of 48 nm, with a core/shell structure consisting of a 13-nm gold nanoparticle core and a shell of single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides

University of Florida researchers have moved a step closer to treating diseases on a cellular level by creating a nanoparticle that can be programmed to shut down the genetic production line that cranks out disease-related proteins.

In laboratory tests, these newly created nanoparticles eradicated most of a hepatitis C virus infection. The programmable nature of the particle makes it also potentially useful against diseases such… read more

The highest-resolution immersive visualization facility ever built

November 21, 2012

RealityDeck

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

Brain cells made from urine

December 11, 2012

neurons_from_urine

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

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

Following Sandy, DHS seeks security ‘Cyber Reserve’

November 3, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

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

World’s First 3D printing photo booth to open in Japan

November 13, 2012

omote3D-photobooth-6

The world’s first “3D printing photo booth” is set to open for a limited time at the exhibition space EYE OF GYRE in Harajuku, Japan, Spoon & Tamago reports.

From November 24 to January 14, 2013, people with reservations can go and have their portraits taken. Except, instead of a photograph, you’ll receive miniature replicas of yourselves.

Reservations can be madke via… read more

Stumped by a problem? The ‘generic parts technique’ technique unsticks you

March 8, 2012

CocaCola

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

Climbing a tree or balancing on a beam might improve cognitive skills

Working memory capacity increase of 50 percent found in research
July 30, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills, according to a study recently conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida.

The study is the first to show that proprioceptively dynamic activities like climbing a tree, done over a short period of time, have dramatic working memory benefits.

Working memory (the… read more

DARPA’s ‘Targeted Neuroplasticity Training’ program aims to accelerate learning ‘beyond normal levels’

The transhumanism-inspired goal: train superspy agents to rapidly master foreign languages and cryptography
March 23, 2016

neurostimulation_ft

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

A wireless low-power, high-quality EEG headset

October 10, 2012

EEG-imec

Imec, Holst Centre and Panasonic have developed a new prototype of a wireless EEG (electroencephalogram, or brain waves) headset designed to be a reliable, high-quality and wearable EEG monitoring system.
The system combines ease-of-use with ultra-low power electronics. Continuous impedance monitoring and the use of active electrodes increases the quality of EEG signal recording compared to former versions of the system.
How it works

The EEG… read more

Navy’s Star Wars-style laser weapon to be tested in Persian Gulf this summer

A "revolutionary capability" -- Chief of Naval Research
April 10, 2014

navy-laws

The U.S. Navy plans to install a prototype of the first laser weapon on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf late this summer.

The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is a “revolutionary capability,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. “It’s absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our Sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change… read more

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