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Did ants invent the Internet?

The behavior of harvester ants as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet
August 26, 2012

Pogonomyrmex barbatus (credit: Steve Jurvetson)

Two Stanford researchers have discovered that harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data.

The researchers are calling it the “anternet.”

Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, has been studying ants for more than 20 years.

When she figured out how the… read more

Student engineers design, build, fly ‘printed’ airplane

October 23, 2012

3D_plane_cropped_tight

The MITRE Corporation hired two University of Virginia engineeering students to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3D printing technology, part of a Department of the Army project to study the feasibility of using such planes.

The result was a plane with a 6.5-foot wingspan, made from assembled “printed” parts.  It achieved a cruising speed of 45 mph and is only the third 3D-printed plane known to… read more

Samsung plans flexible, unbreakable, lighter phones

November 26, 2012

samsung_flexible_phones

Samsung plans to start mass production of  displays using plastic rather than glass to make mobile devices unbreakable, lighter, and bendable, to be released in the first half of next year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Samsung’s flexible displays will incorporate OLEDs, a display technology that the South Korean company is already using in its smartphones and television sets. OLEDs are thin and can beread more

How to print 3D microstructures in seconds

September 14, 2012

fast_printed_3d_microstructures

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale three dimensional (3D) structures out of soft, biocompatible hydrogels.

Near term, the technology could lead to better systems for growing and studying cells, including stem cells, in the laboratory. Long-term, the goal is to be able to print biological tissues for regenerative medicine.

For… read more

A pressure switch inside the head

November 8, 2012

View of the not yet completely enclosed intracranial pressure sensor (credit: Dr. Thomas Velten/Fraunhofer IBMT)

An increase in cerebral pressure may cause dementia or even destroy the brain, but there’s no reliable sensor available (they quickly corrode), and current intracranial pressure systems keep patients in a hospital for days or weeks.

So Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) researchers have developed a small implantable sensor for cerebral pressure that’s waterproof, using a casing made from high-grade titanium. It’s… read more

A video game that teaches how to program in Java

April 10, 2013

One of the characters in the CodeSpells game environment (credit: UC San Diego)

CodeSpells, an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary to high school how to program in the popular Java language, has been developed by University of California, San Diego computer scientists.

The researchers tested the game on a group of 40 girls, ages 10 to 12, who had never been exposed to programming before. In just one hour of play, the girls… read more

Calico and AbbVie announce R&D collaboration

Plan R&D facility in S.F. Bay Area, may co-invest up to $1.5 billion to tackle age-related diseases
September 3, 2014

(Credit: Calico)

 

(Credit: Calico)

Calico and drug company AbbVie announced today a novel R&D collaboration intended to “help the two companies discover, develop, and bring to market new therapies for patients with age-related diseases, including for neurodegeneration and cancer.”

Calico is the Google-backed life sciences company that is led by Arthur D. Levinson Ph.D. (former chairman and CEO of Genentech)… read more

Trapwire surveillance system exposed in document leak

August 14, 2012

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It sounds like something from the film Minority Report: a CCTV surveillance system that recognizes people from their face or walk and analyzes whether they might be about to commit a terrorist or criminal act, The Guardian reports.

According to documents released online by WikiLeaks last week, Trapwire is being used in a number of countries to try to monitor people and threats.

Founded by former… read more

Machines will achieve human-level intelligence in the 2028 to 2150 range: poll

April 26, 2011

Probability density of human-level AI by date -- the blue represents skew Gaussian fits, the red represents triangular fits.(credit: Anders Sandberg)

Machines will achieve human-level intelligence by 2028 (median estimate: 10% chance), by 2050 (median estimate: 50% chance), or by 2150 (median estimate: 90% chance), according to an informal poll at the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) Winter Intelligence conference on machine intelligence in January.

“Human‐level machine intelligence, whether due to a de novo AGI (artificial general intelligence) or biologically inspired/emulated systems, has a macroscopic probability to occurring… read more

Why glial cells should be included in the BRAIN initative

October 2, 2013

23 week fetal brain culture astrocyte, a type of glial cell (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Glia, the non-neuronal cells that make up most of the brain, must not be left out of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, says R. Douglas Fields, chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at NIH, in Nature News.

“A major stumbling block is the project’s failure to consider that although the human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons, it… read more

Internet activist, a creator of RSS, is dead at 26, apparently a suicide

January 15, 2013

AaronSwartzPIPA

Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped develop code that delivered ever-changing Web content to users and who later became a steadfast crusader to make that information freely available, was found dead on Friday in his New York apartment, The New York Times reports.

At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He… read more

Sleep discovery could lead to therapies that improve memory

But a medical study found increased risk of death from taking sleeping pills
March 13, 2013

(Credit: iStock)

A team of sleep researchers led by UC Riverside psychologist Sara C. Mednick has confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process.

Those discoveries could lead to new sleep therapies that will improve memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia.

Earlier research found a correlation between sleep spindles —… read more

Beyond LEDs: brighter, new energy-saving flat-panel lights based on carbon nanotubes

October 20, 2014

This image shows a planar light source device from the front. (Credit: N.Shimoi/Tohoku University)

Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source, based on carbon nanotubes, with very low power consumption of around 0.1 Watt-hours of operation — about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.

In the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, the researchers detail the fabrication and optimization of the device, which is based on a phosphor screen and single-walled carbon nanotubes… read more

Print your own life-size robot for under $1,000

January 28, 2013

InMoov

Gael Langevin, a French sculptor and model-maker, has created a life-size, 3D-printed robot.called InMoov, CNN reports.

Langevin’s animatronic creation can be made by anyone with access to little more than a basic 3D printer, a few motors, a cheap circuit board, and about $800.

A work in progress, the robot boasts a head, arms, and hands — the torso is not far off. On… read more

Google reveals tech specs for Glass

April 18, 2013

google-glass-specs-2

Today we have more info about Glass, after Google released the tech specs of its upcoming smartglasses, Gizmag reports.

The most important part of Glass is its display. Google vividly describes the tiny high-res screen as “the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away.”

Glass shoots 5-megapixel stills and 720p videos. Google had already revealed that Glass delivers audio via bone conduction.… read more

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