science + technology news

Rats use GPS to root out land mines

June 8, 2012

Meyers-Rat-Main-Image

Two Bucknell University professors are working with a U.S. Department of Defense contractor to develop faster and more sophisticated technology and methods to detect land mines. The team has devised a system to train rats to recognize and respond to the explosives.

The rats will be outfitted with miniature backpacks and wireless transmitters that track their positions and movements. During the first part of their training, the… read more

Resveratrol found to activate ancient stress response and at 1,000 times lower doses

December 30, 2014

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Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that a fundamental new mechanism for the known beneficial effects of resveratrol — the grapes and red-wine ingredient once touted as an elixir of youth: it powerfully activates an evolutionarily ancient stress response in human cells.

“This stress response represents a layer of biology that has been largely overlooked, and resveratrol turns out to activate it at much lower concentrations… read more

Automated drug design using synthetic DNA self-assembly

Reducing the time required to create and test cancer and other medications
December 6, 2012

A collection of pharmaceutical molecules is shown after self-assembly. The detail shows a single molecule, made up of strands of DNA, a therapeutic agent and other components that improve its ability to target cancer. (Credit: Parabon NanoLabs)

Using a simple “drag-and-drop” computer interface and DNA self-assembly techniques, Parabon NanoLabs researchers have developed a new automated method of drug development that could reduce the time required to create and test medications, with the support of an NSF Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships grant.

“We can now ‘print,’ molecule by molecule, exactly the compound that we want,” says Steven Armentrout, the principal investigator… read more

Research dispels old myths about aging

May 31, 2012

senior_citizens

Professor Tom Kirkwood has demolished a string of misconceptions about the aging process with a groundbreaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation.

His study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, has proved revealing on several fronts:

  • Life expectancy is increasing by about two years every decade.
  • People

read more

Southampton engineers build a Raspberry Pi supercomputer

September 12, 2012

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Computational Engineers at the University of Southampton have built a supercomputer from 64 Raspberry Pi computers and Lego.

The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet.

The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and… read more

Biological transistor enables computing within living cells

March 29, 2013

Three-terminal transcriptor-based gates use integrase (Int) control signals to modulate RNA polymerase flow between a separate gate input and output (credit: Bonnet et al./Science)

Stanford University bioengineers have taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology by creating the “transcriptor” — a biological transistor made from DNA and RNA.

In electronics, a transistor controls the flow of electrons along a circuit. Similarly, a transcriptor controls the flow of a specific protein, RNA polymerase, as it travels along a strand of DNA.

“Transcriptors are the… read more

Why the new iPad is so huge for Apple

March 8, 2012

newipad

Today’s new iPad introduction was Apple’s most important event of the year.

I iPad is the future of Apple and potentially the future of the personal computer.

Today’s new iPad continued two important trends for Apple:

The iPad maintained its lead as the best tablet on the market in terms of hardware, software, and ecosystem, the retina display — unmatched by the competition… read more

Reprogramming your brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation

September 11, 2014

A mouse (happy and awake) receiving LI-rTMS (credit: University of Western Australia)

Weak repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations in the brain, researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have demonstrated.

The discovery has implications for treatment of nervous system disorders related to abnormal brain organization, such as depression, epilepsy, and tinnitus.

To better… read more

Researchers watch video images people are seeing, decoded from their fMRI brain scans in near-real-time

Advanced deep-learning "mind-reading" system even interprets image meaning, providing high-level categories (face, bird, etc.)
October 27, 2017

neural encoding and decoding ft

Purdue Engineering researchers have developed a system that can show what people are seeing in real-world videos, decoded from their fMRI brain scans — an advanced new form of  “mind-reading” technology that could lead to new insights in brain function and to advanced AI systems.

The research builds on previous pioneering research at UC Berkeley’s Gallant Lab, which created a computer program in 2011 that translated fMRI brain-wave patterns… read more

60 billion planets in our galaxy could sustain water, life: researchers

July 2, 2013

A planet with clouds and surface water orbits a red dwarf star in this artist’s conception of the Gliese 581 star system.

A new study by University of Chicago and Northwestern University researchers that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe.

In our Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone.

Current data from NASA’s… read more

Here’s how to best secure your data now that the NSA can crack almost any encryption

October 27, 2013

NSA

The latest Snowden-supplied bombshell shook the technology world to its core on Thursday: The NSA can crack many of the encryption technologies in place today, PC World reports — a day after Pew reported that 90 percent of Internet users have taken steps to avoid surveillance in some way.

PC World recommends several open-source encryption tools, such as… read more

World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power

November 2, 2012

worlds-largest-offshore-windfarm

The first power has been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced .

The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.

The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.

London… read more

Skyscraper-style carbon-nanotube chip design ‘boosts electronic performance by factor of a thousand’

December 9, 2015

A multi-campus team led by Stanford engineers Subhasish Mitra and H.-S. Philip Wong has developed a revolutionary high-rise architecture for computing (Stanford University)

Researchers at Stanford and three other universities are creating a revolutionary new skyscraper-like high-rise architecture for computing based on carbon nanotube materials instead of silicon.

In Rebooting Computing, a special issue (in press) of the IEEE Computer journal, the team describes its new approach as “Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology,” or N3XT.

Suburban-style chip layouts create long commutes and regular traffic jams in electronic circuits, wasting time and energy, they note.… read more

Network theory suggests consciousness is global in the brain

March 16, 2015

The black dots correspond to the 264 areas of the cerebral cortex that the researchers probed, and the lines correspond to the increased strength of the functional connections between each of these brain areas when subjects consciously perceive the target. The "hotter" colors are associated with stronger connections. This figure illustrates that awareness of the target corresponds to widespread increase in the strength of functional connections. (credit: Marois/Godwin).

Vanderbilt University researchers have found evidence that awareness or consciousness results from widespread communication across sensory and association areas of the cortex — challenging previous hypotheses that changes in restricted areas of the brain were responsible for producing awareness.

“Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human… read more

Just add water: a portable hydrogen fuel cell

January 25, 2013

A close-up of spherical silicon nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter. In Nano Letters, UB scientists report that these particles could form the basis of new technologies that generate hydrogen for portable power applications. (Credit: Swihart Research Group/University at Buffalo)

Battery dead in the middle of a phone call and you left your charger home, or worse, you’re on a camping trip. Sound familiar?

No prob, just grab some nanosilicon powder, mix with water, and zap: instant hydrogen fuel to generate recharge current — thanks to University at Buffalo researchers, who have discovered that super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogenread more

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