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Improving the experience of the audience with digital instruments

June 2, 2015

Virtual content being displayed on stage and overlapping the instruments and the performers (credit: Dr Florent Berthaut)

University of Bristol researchers have developed a new augmented-reality display that allows audiences to better appreciate digital musical performances

The research team from the University’s Bristol Interaction and Graphics (BIG) has been investigating how to improve the audiences experience during performances with digital musical instruments, which are played by manipulating buttons, mic, and various other controls.

Funded by a Marie Curie grant, the IXMI project, led by Florent Berthaut, aims to… read more

Missing link found between brain, immune system

June 2, 2015

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA's discovery. (credit: University of Virginia Health System)

Overrturning decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist.

The finding could have significant implications for the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.

“It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always… read more

Robot servants push the boundaries in HUMANS

New TV series set to premiere June 28 on AMC
June 2, 2015

(credit: AMC)

AMC announced today HUMANS, an eight-part TV science-fiction thriller that takes place in a parallel present featuring sophisticated, life-like robot servants and caregivers called Synths (personal synthetics).

The show explores conflicts as the lines between humans and machines become increasingly blurred.

The series is set to premiere on AMC June 28 with HUMANS 101: The Hawkins family buys a Synth, Anita. But… read more

Emulating animals, these robots can recover from damage in two minutes

The kind of robot you'd want to take on a hazardous mission
June 1, 2015

This is one of the robots introduced in the paper 'Robots that can adapt like animals.' (credit: Antoine Cully)

Researchers in France and the U.S. have developed a new technology that enables robots to quickly recover from an injury in less than two minutes, similar to how injured animals adapt. Such autonomous mobile robots would be useful in remote or hostile environments such as disaster areas, space, and deep oceans.

The video above shows a six-legged robot that adapts to keep walking even if two of its legs… read more

MIT cheetah robot now jumps over obstacles autonomously

First four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously
June 1, 2015

MIT researchers have trained their robotic cheetah to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously (credits: Haewon Park, Patrick Wensing, and Sangbae Kim)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology| MIT cheetah robot lands the running jump

The MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making it the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

The robot estimates an obstacle’s height and distance, gauges the best distance from which to jump, and adjusts… read more

Scientists recover ‘lost’ memories using brain stimulation by blue light

Amnesia is a fixable result of retrieval impairment, not damage
May 29, 2015

(credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT)

MIT researchers have found they were able to reactivate memories in mice that could not otherwise be retrieved, using optogenetics — in which proteins are added to neurons to allow them to be activated with light.

The breakthrough finding, in a paper published Thursday (May 28) in the journal Science, appears to answer a longstanding question in neuroscience regarding amnesia.

Damaged or blocked memory?

Neuroscience researchers have for… read more

Light electric stimulation of the brain may improve memory for people with schizophrenia

May 29, 2015

Transcranial direct-current stimulation device (credit: GoFlow)

Lightly stimulating the brain with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may improve short-term memory in people with schizophrenia, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The tDCS procedure involves placing sponge-covered electrodes on the head and passing a weak electrical current between them.

David Schretlen, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns… read more

A 99% biodegradable computer chip

May 29, 2015

A cellulose nanofibril (CNF) computer chip rests on a leaf. (credit: Yei Hwan Jung, Wisconsin Nano Engineering Device Laboratory)

University of Wisconsin-Madison and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) researchers have jointly developed a wood chip in an effort to alleviate the environmental burden* of electronic devices.

Well, actually, a wood-substrate-based semiconductor chip. They replaced the silicon substrate portion in a conventional chip with environment-friendly cellulose nanofibril (CNF). CNF is a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood, as the researchers note in an… read more

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified, says psychiatrist

Pre-1967 research showed "beneficial change in many psychiatric disorders"
May 28, 2015

(credit: Salvador Dali)

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD are much less harmful than claimed and should be legally reclassified to allow further research on their medical use, says James Rucker, a psychiatrist and honorary lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.

These substances “were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry” before their prohibition in 1967 and many trials of these drugs in the 1950s and 1960s… read more

Medical ‘millirobots’ could replace invasive surgery

Using a “Gauss gun” principle, an MRI machine drives a “millirobot” through a hypodermic needle into your spinal cord and guides it into your brain to release life-threatening fluid buildup ...
May 28, 2015

Millirobot components (credit: Aaron T. Becker et al./Proceedings of the IEEE)

University of Houston researchers have developed a concept for MRI-powered millimeter-size “millirobots” that could one day perform unprecedented minimally invasive medical treatments.

This technology could be used to treat hydrocephalus, for example. Current treatments require drilling through the skull to implant pressure-relieving shunts, said Aaron T. Becker, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston.

But MRI scanners alone don’t produce enough force to… read more

New tech keeps your smart phone charged for 30 percent longer

Invention captures wasted cell phone energy, feeds it back to battery
May 27, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Engineers  at The Ohio State University claim they have created a circuit that makes cell phone batteries last up to 30 percent longer on a single charge. The trick: it converts some of the radio signals emanating from a phone into direct current (DC) power, which then charges the phone’s battery, they state.

This new technology can be built into a cell phone case, adding minimal bulk and weight.… read more

Disney researchers develop 2-legged robot that walks like an animated character

May 27, 2015

Robot character mimic

Disney researchers have found a way for a robot to mimic an animated character’s walk, bringing a cartoon (or other) character to life in the real world.

Beginning with an animation of a diminutive, peanut-shaped character that walks with a rolling, somewhat bow-legged gait, Katsu Yamane and his team at Disney Research Pittsburgh analyzed the character’s motion to design a robotic frame that could duplicate the walking motion. using… read more

Intelligent handheld robots could make is easier for people to learn new skills

May 27, 2015

An intelligent handheld robot assisting a user in placing the correct colored tiles (credit: University of Bristol)

What if your handheld tools knew what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help you complete jobs that require skills? University of Bristol researchers are finding out by building and testing intelligent handheld robots.

Think of them as smart power tools that “know” what they’re doing — and could even help you use them.

The robot tools would have three levels of autonomy,… read more

A chip implanted under the skin allows for precise, real-time medical monitoring

May 27, 2015

Under-the-skin chip (credit: EPFL)

A tiny (one-centimeter-square) biosensor chip developed at EPFL is designed to be implanted under your skin to continuously monitor concentrations of pH, temperature, and metabolism-related molecules like glucose, lactate and cholesterol, as well as some drugs.

The chip would replace blood work, which may take  hours — or even days — for analysis and is a limited snapshot of conditions at the moment the blood is drawn.

Developer… read more

Dynamically reprogramming matter

Engineering switchable reconfigurations in DNA-controlled nanoparticle arrays could lead to dynamic energy-harvesting or responsive optical materials
May 26, 2015

phase change ft

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed the capability of creating dynamic nanomaterials — ones whose structure and associated properties can be switched, on-demand. In a paper appearing in Nature Materials, they describe a way to selectively rearrange nanoparticles in three-dimensional arrays to produce different configurations, or “phases,” from the same nano-components.

“One of the goals in nanoparticle self-assembly has been to create structures by… read more

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