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How to watch the US presidential debates in VR

September 25, 2016

Democracy Plaza

NBC has teamed with AltSpaceVR to stream the U.S. presidential debate Monday night Sept. 26 live in virtual reality for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR devices.

Or as late-night comic Jimmy Fallon put it, “If you’re wearing a VR headset, it will be like the candidates are lying right to your face.”

You’ll be watching the debate on a virtual screen… read more

How to detect emotions remotely with wireless signals

September 23, 2016

emotion detection

MITCSAIL | EQ-Radio: Emotion Recognition using Wireless Signals

MIT researchers from have developed “EQ-Radio,” a device that can detect a person’s emotions using wireless signals.

By measuring subtle changes in breathing and heart rhythms, EQ-Radio is 87 percent accurate at detecting if a person is excited, happy, angry or sad — and can do so without on-body sensors, according to the researchers.

MIT professor and project lead… read more

Someone is learning how to take down the Internet

September 23, 2016

Submarine cable map (credit: TeleGeography)

“Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet,” according to a blog post by security expert Bruce Schneier.

“These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. It feels like a nation’s military… read more

Self-powered ‘materials that compute’ and recognize simple patterns

Could be integrated into clothing and used to monitor the human body, or developed as a skin for “squishy” robots
September 20, 2016

Synchronized pattern recognition

University of Pittsburgh researchers have modeled the design of a “material that computes” — a hybrid material, powered only by its own chemical reactions, that can recognize simple patterns.

The material could one day be integrated into clothing and used to monitor the human body, or developed as a skin for “squishy” robots, for example, according to the researchers, writing in the open-access AAAS journal Science Advances.
read more

These six plant extracts could delay aging

September 16, 2016

Diagram of yeast cell (credit: Frankie Robertson/CC)

Six previously identified plant extracts can delay aging by affecting different signaling pathways that set the pace of growing old, researchers from Concordia University and Idunn Technologies have found, in a study recently published (open-access) in Oncotarget.

Using yeast — a favored cellular aging model — Vladimir Titorenko, a biology professor and the study’s senior author, and his colleagues conducted a screen of a library of… read more

DARPA’s plan for total surveillance of low-flying drones over cities

This is not Skynet. Really.
September 16, 2016

An artist’s concept of Aerial Dragnet system: several UAS carrying sensors form a network that provides wide-area surveillance of all low-flying UAS in an urban setting (credit: DARPA)

DARPA’s recently announced Aerial Dragnet program is seeking innovative technologies to “provide persistent, wide-area surveillance of all unmanned aerial systems (UAS), such as quadcopters, operating below 1,000 feet in a large city.

UAS devices can be adapted for terrorist or military purposes, so U.S. forces will “increasingly be challenged by the need to quickly detect and identify such craft — especially in urban areas, where sight lines are limited… read more

Highest-resolution map of the entire human brain created

September 16, 2016

Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas image (credit: Allen Institute for Brain Science)

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has published the highest-resolution atlas of the human brain to date in a stand-alone issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology. This digital human brain atlas allows researchers to investigate the structural basis of human brain function and is freely available as part of the suite of Allen Brain Atlas tools at brain-map.org.

“To understand the human brain, we need to have a detailed… read more

Engineering ‘backup’ mitochondrial genes to restore power to cells

Re-engineered mutated mitochondrial genes could prevent incurable disorders and slow down aging
September 16, 2016

Mitochondrion structure (credit: Kelvinsong; modified by Sowlos/CC)

A new study by SENS Research Foundation, published in an open-access paper in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, explores the possibility of re-engineering mutated mitochondrial genes, which can otherwise lead to incurable disorders* and contribute to aging.

Mitochondria have their own DNA, allowing them to create proteins to supply nutrients and energy to cells. But sometimes, the DNA becomes mutated by “reactive oxygen species” generated by the… read more

‘Perfect’ low-cost, defect-free graphene directly from graphite

May make it possible for the semiconductor industry to scale up use of graphene
September 15, 2016

Atomic force microscope (AFM) image (scale bar 5 μm) with height profile indicating the single-layer nature of the obtained graphene with lateral dimensions of ~10 micrometers a height of ~1.5 nanometers. (credit: Philipp Vecera et al./Nature Communications)

Chemists at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany and the University of Vienna have succeeded in producing “perfect” defect-free, high-quality graphene directly from graphite (“pencil lead”) for the first time. This new low-cost method may make it possible for the semiconductor industry to scale up use of graphene in pioneering technologies such as transparent electrodes for flexible displays.

The chemists say their method enables the graphene… read more

Paralyzed man regains use of arms and hands after experimental stem cell therapy

Initial results offer hope for patients to reclaim independence after suffering severe spinal injury
September 12, 2016

Kris Boesen (credit: USC)

Doctors at the USC Neurorestoration Center and Keck Medicine of USC injected an experimental treatment* made from stem cells and other cells into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man as part of a multi-center clinical trial.

Two weeks after surgery, Kristopher (Kris) Boesen began to show signs of improvement. Three months later, he’s able to feed himself, use his cell phone, write his name,… read more

How AI may affect urban life in 2030

September 2, 2016

(credit: AI100)

Specialized robots that clean and provide security, robot-assisted surgery, natural language processing-augmented instruction, and helping people adapt as old jobs are lost and new ones are created: these are some of the profound challenges explored by a panel of academic and industrial thinkers that has looked ahead to 2030 to forecast how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) might affect life in a typical North American city.

Titled “Artificialread more

Google’s secret plan for quantum computer supremacy

September 2, 2016

UCSB Martinis Group's superconducting five-qubit array (credit: Erik Lucero)

Google* is developing a quantum computer that it believes will outperform the world’s top supercomputers, according to an August 31 New Scientist article and sourced to researchers contacted by the magazine.

Google’s ambitious goal is to achieve “quantum supremacy”— which would be achieved when “quantum devices without error correction can perform a well-defined computational task beyond the capabilities of state-of-the-art classical computers,” as the authors of an… read more

A cheap, long-lasting, sustainable battery for grid energy storage

Oh, and they don't explode
September 2, 2016

Zinc-ion battery (credit: Dipan Kundu et al./Nature Energy

University of Waterloo chemists have developed a long-lasting, safe, zinc-ion battery that costs half the price of current lithium-ion batteries. It could help communities shift from traditional power plants to renewable solar and wind energy production, where electricity storage overnight is needed.

The battery is water-based and uses cheap but safe, non-flammable, non-toxic materials, compared to expensive, flammable, organic electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries, which are used in the… read more

‘Star in a jar’ could lead to limitless fusion energy

New compact spherical tokamak design may overcome physics challenges
August 30, 2016

Spherical torus/tokamak design for fusion nuclear science facility showing magnets and other systems and structures (credit: J.E. Menard et al./Nucl. Fusion)

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)* are building a “star in a jar” — a miniature version of the how our Sun creates energy through fusion. It could provide humankind with near limitless energy, ending dependence on fossil fuels for generating electricity — without contributing greenhouse gases that warm the Earth, and with no long-term radioactive waste.

But that requires a… read more

Mystery radio signal may be from distant star system — or a military transmitter

August 29, 2016

RATAN-600 radio telescope (credit: nat-geo.ru)

A star system 94 light-years away known as HD 164595 is a possible candidate for intelligent life, based on an announcement by an international team of researchers.

On May 15, 2015, Russian astronomers picked up a radio signal on the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Russia “in the direction of HD164595,” an international group of astronomers stated in a document* now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov,… read more

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