science + technology news

A Terminator-style contact-lens display

November 23, 2011

(Credit: University of Washington/

Bringing us a step closer to a Terminator-style augmented-reality display, University of Washington engineers have constructed an experimental contact lens with a single-pixel embedded light-emitting diode (LED) and tested it in a rabbit.

The LED lights up when it receives energy from a remote radio frequency transmission, picked up by an antenna around the edge and collected via a silicon power harvesting and radio integrated circuit.

But the… read more

Facebook, CNN, and the rise of social voting

July 13, 2012

choose_your_issues_electnext

CNN and Facebook have joined forces to make the “I’m Voting” Facebook app, which enables Facebook users to endorse candidates and issues, and to commit to voting.

If you use the app and commit to voting for someone, that information appears in your timeline, news feed, and real-time ticker.

During CNN’s political coverage this fall, CNN personalities will use the app to poll users on issues.

“We fundamentally… read more

Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

October 15, 2010

Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

A study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods — carried out at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature — includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.… read more

Neuroscientists create organic-computing ‘Brainet’ network of rodent and primate brains — humans next

Rodent network performs sophisticated image processing and avatar-control tasks, presaging future hybrid digital-analog parallel-processing organic computers
July 10, 2015

Brainet

Duke University neuroscientists have created a network called “Brainet” that uses signals from an array of electrodes implanted in the brains of multiple rodents in experiments to merge their collective brain activity and jointly control a virtual avatar arm or even perform sophisticated computations — including image pattern recognition and even weather forecasting.

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are computational systems that allow subjects to use their… read more

New study challenges consensus that math abilities are innate

November 1, 2016

How do you decide which cart to get behind to check out faster? (credit: iStock)

A new theory on how the brain first learns basic math could alter approaches to identifying and teaching students with math-learning disabilities, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

The widely accepted “sense of numbers” theory suggests people are born with a “sense of numbers,” an innate ability to recognize different quantities, and that this ability improves with age. Early math curricula and tools for diagnosing math-specific… read more

Crowdsourcing a cure for my brain cancer

November 1, 2012

brain_tumor_thingyverse

Digital artist Salvatore Iaconesi, an engineer, artist, hacker and 2012 TED fellow who teaches interaction and digital design at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, hacked his medical records to put them online on his site artisopensource.net/cure in a global search for the best treatments, New Scientist reports.

 What happened?

It’s been incredible. I have been able to become an expert in… read more

MIT researchers design one of the strongest, lightest materials known

10 times as strong as steel but much lighter
January 6, 2017

3-D-printed gyroid models such as this one were used to test the strength and mechanical properties of a new lightweight material (credit: Melanie Gonick/MIT)

MIT scientists said today they’ve just created one the strongest materials known (ten times stronger than steel, but also one of the lightest, with a density of just 5 percent of that of steel) by compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon.

In its two-dimensional form, graphene is thought to be the strongest of all known materials. But researchers until now have had a hard… read more

Scientists grow beating heart tissue on spinach leaves

How crossing plant and animal kingdoms may lead to radical new tissue-engineering breakthroughs
March 31, 2017

(credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

A research team headed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) scientists* has solved a major tissue engineering problem holding back the regeneration of damaged human tissues and organs: how to grow small, delicate blood vessels, which are beyond the capabilities of 3D printing.**

The researchers used plant leaves as scaffolds (structures) in an attempt to create the branching network of blood vessels — down to the capillary scale — required to… read more

Singapore scientists create stem cells from a drop of blood

DIY finger prick technique opens door for extensive stem cell banking
March 21, 2014

Schematic on finger-prick blood isolation and treatment for cellular reprogramming (credit: Loh Yuin Han, Jonathan, IMCB)

Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new… read more

New dimension to high-temperature superconductivity discovered

An unprecedented blend of intense magnetic and X-ray laser pulses produces surprising 3-D effect
November 5, 2015

In this artistic rendering, a magnetic pulse (right) and X-ray laser light (left) converge on a high-temperature superconductor to study the behavior of its electrons. (credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

The dream to push the operating temperature for superconductors to room temperature — leading to future advances in computing, electronics and power grid technologies — has just become more real.

A team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has combined powerful magnetic pulses with some of the brightest X-rays on the planet, discovering a surprising 3-D arrangement of a material’s electrons that appears… read more

Samsung to offer 5G service by 2020

May 13, 2013

samsung-logo

Samsung Electronics Co. said Sunday that it has successfully developed fifth-generation network (5G) core technology for the first time, allowing users to access faster data services expected to be available by 2020, Yonhap News Agency reports.

Under the new platform, users will be able to download and upload data at speeds of up to tens of gigabits per second (Gbps), compared to 75 megabits per second (Mbps)… read more

IBM unveils concept for a future brain-inspired 3D computer

October 20, 2013

IBM 3D computer

IBM has unveiled a prototype of a new brain-inspired computer powered by what it calls “electronic blood,” BBC News reports.

The firm says it is learning from nature by building computers fueled and cooled by a liquid, like our minds.

The human brain packs phenomenal computing power into a tiny space and uses only 20 watts of energy – an efficiency IBM is keen to match.… read more

Dear science fiction writers: stop being so pessimistic!

March 21, 2012

Neal Stephenson

Stephenson has seen the future — and he doesn’t like it.

Today’s science fiction, he argues, is fixated on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios — think recent films such as The Road and TV series like “The Walking Dead.” Gone are the hopeful visions prevalent in the mid-20th century.

So in Fall 2011, Stephenson launched the Hieroglyph project to rally writers to infuse science fiction with… read more

First stable semisynthetic organism created

Scientists hope to "impart life with new forms and functions"
February 3, 2017

DNA --- now with a new base pair! (credit: Romesberg Lab)

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed the first stable semisynthetic organism — a bacterium with two new synthetic bases (called X and Y) added to the four natural bases (A, T, C, and G) that every living organism possesses. Adding two more letters to expand the genetic alphabet can be used to make novel proteins for new therapeutics, according to the researchers.

All life… read more

Fukushima plant spilling 300 tons of radioactive water every day into the sea since 2011

August 13, 2013

Mass contamination from major radiation exposure events, such as the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, require prompt treatment in the form of a pill, such as the treatment being developed at Berkeley Lab (credit: satellite image from Digital Globe)

Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) that contaminated water has most likely been seeping into the sea since the disaster two-and-a-half years ago.

They do not have much faith in Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) ability to handle the situation and they claim another accident is inevitable.

Japan’s nuclear watchdog has described the leaks as a “state of… read more

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