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Paul G. Allen commits $300M to expand the Allen Institute for Brain Science to drive toward a complete understanding of how the brain works

March 22, 2012

3D nerve fiber tracts, cortical segmentation, and MRI image of human brain

Paul G. Allen has committed an additional $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science to significantly expand its scientific programs, the Institute announced Wednesday March 21.

Bringing his total commitment to date to $500 million, Allen has charged the Institute with tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today.

The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a… read more

Neuroscientists create organic-computing ‘Brainet’ network of rodent and primate brains — humans next

Rodent network performs sophisticated image processing and avatar-control tasks, presaging future hybrid digital-analog parallel-processing organic computers
July 10, 2015

Brainet

Duke University neuroscientists have created a network called “Brainet” that uses signals from an array of electrodes implanted in the brains of multiple rodents in experiments to merge their collective brain activity and jointly control a virtual avatar arm or even perform sophisticated computations — including image pattern recognition and even weather forecasting.

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are computational systems that allow subjects to use their… 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

Self-driving vehicles: benefits to society, policy challenges for lawmakers

January 6, 2014

Imagined autonomous vehicle

Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

“Our research finds that the social benefits of autonomous vehicles — including decreased crashes, increased mobility and increases… read more

Turning off the stem-cell aging switch

May 24, 2012

delay_aging_stem_cells

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have uncovered a series of biological events that implicate stem cells’ “niche” (surroundings) as the culprit in loss of stem cells due to aging.

Their findings have implications for treatment of age-related diseases and for the effectiveness of regenerative medicine.

Stem cells are essential building blocks for all organisms, from plants to humans. They can divide… read more

A Terminator-style contact-lens display

November 23, 2011

(Credit: University of Washington/

Bringing us a step closer to a Terminator-style augmented-reality display, University of Washington engineers have constructed an experimental contact lens with a single-pixel embedded light-emitting diode (LED) and tested it in a rabbit.

The LED lights up when it receives energy from a remote radio frequency transmission, picked up by an antenna around the edge and collected via a silicon power harvesting and radio integrated circuit.

But the… 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

Facebook, CNN, and the rise of social voting

July 13, 2012

choose_your_issues_electnext

CNN and Facebook have joined forces to make the “I’m Voting” Facebook app, which enables Facebook users to endorse candidates and issues, and to commit to voting.

If you use the app and commit to voting for someone, that information appears in your timeline, news feed, and real-time ticker.

During CNN’s political coverage this fall, CNN personalities will use the app to poll users on issues.

“We fundamentally… read more

Crowdsourcing a cure for my brain cancer

November 1, 2012

brain_tumor_thingyverse

Digital artist Salvatore Iaconesi, an engineer, artist, hacker and 2012 TED fellow who teaches interaction and digital design at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, hacked his medical records to put them online on his site artisopensource.net/cure in a global search for the best treatments, New Scientist reports.

 What happened?

It’s been incredible. I have been able to become an expert in… 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

A long-lasting, water-based nuclear-energy-powered battery

Could be used in cars, emergency devices, and spaceships
September 19, 2014

Schematic diagram and photograph of the Pt-nanoporous TiO2 electrode (credit: Baek Hyun Kim & Jae W. Kwon/Scientific Reports)

University of Missouri (MU) researchers have developed a prototype of an efficient nuclear-energy-powered* battery that does not require recharging and could be a reliable energy source in automobiles and space vehicles.

Betavoltaics [a battery technology that generates electrical power from beta-particle radiation] has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s,” said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and… read more

Samsung to offer 5G service by 2020

May 13, 2013

samsung-logo

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

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

Dear science fiction writers: stop being so pessimistic!

March 21, 2012

Neal Stephenson

Stephenson has seen the future — and he doesn’t like it.

Today’s science fiction, he argues, is fixated on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios — think recent films such as The Road and TV series like “The Walking Dead.” Gone are the hopeful visions prevalent in the mid-20th century.

So in Fall 2011, Stephenson launched the Hieroglyph project to rally writers to infuse science fiction with… 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

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