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Can space elevators really work?

February 28, 2014

Climber ascends space elevator, heading spaceward from its aeroshell (credit: Frank Chase/Chase Design Studios)

Yes. A space elevator appears possible and space elevator infrastructure could indeed be built via a major international effort, a study conducted by experts under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics has found, writer Leonard David reports.

Two technologies pacing the development of the space elevator are an ultra-strong space tether and other space elevator components, and lightweight solar cells, according to study lead… read more

Laser could trigger rain and lightning

April 22, 2014

Illustration of a high-intensity laser dressed with a secondary laser that helps provide fuel to extend the distance of the primary beam.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics & Photonics and the University of Arizona have further developed a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.

The solution: surround the beam with a second beam to act as an energy reservoir, sustaining the central beam to greater distances than previously possible. The secondary “dress” beam… read more

Toyota unveils helpful Human Support Robot

September 25, 2012


Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot alled the Human Support Robot (HSR),  designed to help the disabled live more independently, Gizmag reports.

The HSR can be controlled using a simple graphical user interface via tablet. It can also wear a tablet atop its head, which would allow caregivers and family members to communicate with the robot’s owner over Skype or other services.

Unlike recent telepresence robots,… read more

A tiny computer attracts a million tinkerers

January 31, 2013

The Raspberry Pi Model B is a credit–card sized computer board that plugs into a TV. It’s a miniature ARM–based PC that can perform many of the functions of a large desktop PC such as spreadsheets, word–processers and games. It also plays High–Definition videos. (Credit: Raspberry Pi)

Almost one million $35 Raspberry Pi computers have shipped since last February, capturing the imaginations of educators, hobbyists and tinkerers around the world, The New York Times reports.

The Raspberry Pi — about 3 inches by 2 inches and less than an inch high — was intended to replace the expensive computers in school science labs. For less than the price of a new keyboard, a… read more

Electrical pulse treatment pokes tiny holes to kill cancer

April 16, 2013

Lung tumor before (left) and after (right)

A new, minimally invasive treatment that creates microscopic holes in tumors without harming healthy tissue is a promising treatment for challenging cancers, suggests a preliminary study being presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology‘s 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.

“Irreversible electroporation (or IRE) is a new way to attack cancer, using microsecond electrical pulses to kill cancer at the cellular level… read more

Reflected hidden faces in photographs revealed in pupil

What do your Instagram and Facebook photos reveal?
December 27, 2013

corneal reflections - featured

The pupil* of the eye in a photograph of a face can be mined for hidden information, such as reflected faces of the photographer and bystanders, according to research led by Dr. Rob Jenkins, of the Department of Psychology at the University of York and published in PLOS ONE (open access).

The researchers say that in crimes in which the victims are photographed, such as hostage… read more

Wearable ‘neurocam’ records scenes when it detects user interest

February 10, 2014


Keio University scientists have developed a “neurocam” — a wearable camera system that detects emotions, based on an analysis of the user’s brainwaves.

The hardware is a combination of Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a customized brainwave sensor.

The algorithm is based on measures of “interest” and “like” developed by Professor Mitsukura and the neurowear team.

The users interests are quantified… read more

Human Longevity Inc. launched to promote healthy aging using advances in genomics and stem-cell therapies

Building world’s largest genotype/phenotype database
March 5, 2014


Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy, high performance human life span, was announced today by co-founders J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Robert Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.

The company, headquartered in San Diego, California, is being capitalized with an initial $70 million in investor funding.

Largest human sequencingread more

Disney Research 3-D printer can combine fabrics, wiring

April 20, 2015

layered fabric 3D printed objects-ft

A team from Disney Research, Carnegie Mellon University and Cornell University have devised a 3-D printer that layers together laser-cut sheets of fabric to form soft, squeezable objects such as phone cases and toys. These objects can have complex geometries and incorporate circuitry that makes them interactive.

“Today’s 3-D printers can easily create custom metal, plastic, and rubber objects,” said Jim McCann, associate… read more

Graphene antennas would enable terabit wireless downloads

March 6, 2013


Researchers at Georgia Tech have drawn up blueprints for a wireless antenna made from atom-thin sheets of carbon, or graphene, that could allow terabit-per-second transfer speeds at a range of about one meter, MIT Technology Review reports

This would make it possible to obtain 10 high-definition movies by waving your phone past another device for one second. At even shorter ranges, such as a few centimeters, data… read more

Paralyzed man walks, thanks to pioneering cell transplanation

October 22, 2014

BBC | Watch Darek Fidyka walk with the aid of a frame

Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down following a knife attack, can now walk, using a frame, thanks to a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at University College London (UCL) and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

The technique, developed by UK research team leader Professor Geoff Raisman, Chair of Neural Regeneration at the UCL Institute of Neurology, involved implanting … read more

Solar at grid parity in most of the world within 2 years

January 13, 2015

solar capacity adds ft

In their 2015 solar outlook, investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity (when an alternative energy source cost is lower or equal to that of electricity from the electrical grid) in up to 80 per cent of the global market within 2 years, Renew Economy notes.

That’s because grid-based electricity prices are rising across the world… read more

A fatigue detection device to help keep your eyes on the road

July 17, 2013


An EPFL student, Peugeot Citroën, has developed a video analysis algorithm able to estimate the level of a driver’s fatigue based on the degree of eyelid closure and has built a prototype to test it in real driving conditions.

Nearly a third of highway accidents are caused by fatigue. Nowadays, there exist several attention detection systems for drivers, such as detection of loss of vehicle… read more

An Earth-like exoplanet in mass and size discovered

October 31, 2013


MIT researchers have found that Kepler 78b, a small, intensely hot planet 400 light-years from Earth discovered by the researchers in August, shares Earth’s mass.

By analyzing the movement of its host star, Kepler 78, the scientists determined that the exoplanet is about 1.7 times as massive as the Earth.

From the same measurements, they calculated that the planet’s density is 5.3 grams… 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

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