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Nanoscale neuronal activity measured for the first time

September 24, 2013

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A new technique that allows scientists to measure the electrical activity in  small synaptic terminals in the hippocampus has been developed by a researcher at Queen Mary University of London.

By applying a high-resolution scanning probe microscope that allows three-dimensional visualization of the structures at a resolution of  approximately 100–150 nm, the team was able to measure and record the flow of current in small… read more

Support for top-down theory of how ‘buckyballs’ form

Discovery could have a bearing on medical imaging, cancer treatment
September 24, 2013

dorn_buckyballs

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Technically known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules have shown great promise for uses in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics.… read more

Crowd-activated Google Hangout On Air broadcasts

September 23, 2013

Crowd-activated HOA

What you see is one person who is filming a video, and then the other person is able to join that video stream just by looking  at it.” — Jon Fisher

This just in from CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher, live at the RocketSpace Glass Hackathon in San Francisco, where his team just demo’d CrowdOptic’s new Android app for social sharing: crowd-activated Google Hangout On Airread more

Stem cell reprogramming made easier

September 23, 2013

iPSCs -- old vs new method

Weizmann Institute scientists show that removing one protein from adult cells enables them to efficiently turn back the clock to a stem-cell-like state.

Embryonic stem cells have the enormous potential to treat and cure many medical problems. That is why the discovery that induced embryonic-like stem cells can be created from skin cells was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2012.

But the process… read more

Jetpack to be available in 2014

September 23, 2013

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New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft is developing the “first practical jetpack” and has done manned and unmanned flight tests of its latest prototype, Aviation Week reports.

When completed it will be aimed at first responders (such as fire services), planned to be available in 2014.

You will have to wait a bit longer for a personal JetPack.

Flight control is fly-by-wire (computer-controlled) and there’s… read more

Earth’s habitable lifetime: at least 1.75 billion years, say astrobiologists

Why we should move to Mars before that
September 23, 2013

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If we can just hold out another 1.75 billion years, we’ll be fine — as long as we move to Mars by then, according to astrobiologists at the University of East Anglia.

“We used the ‘habitable zone’ concept to make these estimates — this is the distance from a planet’s star at which temperatures are conducive to having liquid water on the surface,” said Andrew… read more

Teaching computers to recognize objects better

September 23, 2013

mit_hogles

Object-recognition software (which tries to identify objects in digital images) is still fairly limited.

So, in an attempt to improve it, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have created a system that, in effect, allows humans to see the world the way an object-recognition system does.

The system takes an ordinary image, translates it into the mathematical representation used… read more

Scientists claim discovery of life coming to Earth from space [UPDATED]

September 20, 2013

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Scientists from the University of Sheffield believe they have found life arriving to Earth from space after sending a balloon 27km into the stratosphere.

After it landed, they discovered that they had captured a diatom fragment and some unusual biological entities from the stratosphere, all of which are too large to have come from Earth, the scientists suggest.

The team was led by Professor… read more

A gene for forgetting

Could lead to new PTSD treatments
September 20, 2013

mit_memories_fade_away

A new study from MIT reveals a gene that is critical to the process of memory extinction (when older memories are replaced with new experiences).

Enhancing the activity of this gene, known as Tet1, might benefit people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by making it easier to replace fearful memories with more positive associations, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s… read more

Achieving fault-tolerant quantum computing

September 20, 2013

This schematic of a bismuth selenide/BSCCO cuprate (Bi2212) heterostructure shows a proximity-induced high-temperature superconducting gap on the surface states of the bismuth selenide topological insulator (credit: Berkeley Lab)

Reliable quantum computing would make it possible to solve certain types of extremely complex technological problems millions of times faster than today’s most powerful supercomputers, or things not even feasible with today’s computers.

But first, we need “fault-tolerant” quantum computers. A small but important step toward this goal has been achieved by an international collaboration of researchers from China’s Tsinghua University and the U.S. Department of Energy… read more

Tesla plans ‘mostly autonomous’ car within three years

September 20, 2013

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Elon Musk has decided that the next step for Tesla Motors cars is to go (mostly) autonomous, IEEE Spectrum reports.

From the Financial Times:
“We should be able to do 90 percent of miles driven within three years,” [Musk] said. Mr Musk would not reveal further details of Tesla’s autonomy project, but said it was “internal development” rather than technology being supplied by another company.read more

How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of LEGO + Arduino board

September 19, 2013

An  AFM made from LEGO and electronics (Credit: Alice Pyne, London Centre for Nanotechnology)

The world’s first low-cost atomic force microscope (AFM) has been developed in Beijing by a group of PhD students from University College London (UCL), Tsinghua University, and Peking University — using LEGO.

LEGO2NANO brought together students, experienced makers and scientists to take on the challenge of building a cheap and effective AFM, a device able to probe objects only a nanometer in size… read more

‘Wired microbes’ generate electricity from sewage

September 19, 2013

stanford_wired_microbes

Interdisciplinary team creates ‘microbial battery’ driven by naturally occurring bacteria that evolved to produce electricity as they digest organic material.

Engineers at Stanford University have devised a new way to generate electricity from sewage using naturally occurring “wired microbes” as mini power plants that produce electricity as they digest plant and animal waste.

Yi Cui, a materials scientist, Craig Criddle,… read more

Nearly half of US jobs could be at risk of computerization, Oxford Martin School study shows

Transport, logistics, and office roles most likely to come under threat
September 19, 2013

probability of computerisation featired

Nearly half of U.S. jobs could be susceptible to computerization over the next two decades, a study from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology suggests.

The study, a collaboration between Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey (Oxford Martin School) and Dr. Michael A. Osborne (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford), found that jobs in transportation, logistics, and office/administrative support are at “high… read more

An experimental spaceplane with ‘aircraft-like’ operations in orbit

September 19, 2013

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The current generation of satellite launch vehicles is expensive to operate, often costing hundreds of millions of dollars per flight. Moreover, U.S. launch vehicles fly only a few times each year and normally require scheduling years in advance, making it extremely difficult to deploy satellites without lengthy pre-planning. Quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for U.S. Defense Department operations.

Imagine a fully reusable unmanned vehicle… read more

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