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Introducing Project Morpheus

March 20, 2014

Sony's Project Morpheus (credit: Sony)

Throwing down a challenge to the Oculus Rift virtual reality head-mounted display, Shu Yoshida, President, SCE Worldwide Studios, introduced at GDC 2014 Project Morpheus, a  prototype virtual reality (VR) system that works with PS4 and could radically change gaming.

Yoshida said Sony’s Project Morpheus features a head-mounted display with 1080p HD resolution and a 90 degree field of… read more

Doping carbon-nanotube circuits for more reliable, faster, and power-efficient flexible devices

Stanford engineers invent a process to "dope" carbon filaments to improve their electronic performance, paving the way to better bendable digital devices
March 20, 2014

Doping_bent_CNT_circuit1

Stanford University team has developed a process to create flexible chips using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that can tolerate electrical noise (rapid fluctuations in voltage).

In principle, CNTs should be ideal for making flexible electronic circuitry. These ultra-thin carbon filaments have the physical strength to take the wear and tear of bending, and the electrical conductivity to perform any electronic task. But flexible CNTs circuits didn’t have the… read more

A stretchable antenna for wearable health monitoring

March 20, 2014

Yong-Zhu-antenna-image

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a stretchable antenna that can be incorporated into wearable technologies, such as health diagnostic and monitoring devices.

Wearable systems can be subject to a variety of stresses as patients move around, so the researchers wanted to develop an antenna that could be stretched, rolled, or twisted and always return to its original shape.

To create an appropriately resilient, effective… read more

Largest, sturdiest self-assembling DNA cages built

Could be used to create miniscule factories that produce specialty chemicals or high-sensitivity photonic sensors that diagnose disease
March 19, 2014

DNA cage

Scientists at the Harvard’s Wyss Institute have built a set of self-assembling DNA cages that are up to one-tenth as wide as a bacterium. The structures are some of the largest and most complex structures ever constructed solely from DNA, they report in Science.

Moreover, the scientists visualized them using a DNA-based super-resolution microscopy method — and obtained the first sharp 3D optical images of intact synthetic DNA nanostructures… read more

Nanobionic superplants

Nanotechnology + synthetic biology creates plants capable of supercharged energy production or as sensors for explosives.
March 19, 2014

bionic_plant

MIT researchers are augmenting plants with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give them completely new functions, such as monitoring environmental pollutants.

In a new Nature Materials paper, the researchers report boosting plants’ ability to capture light energy by 30 percent by embedding carbon nanotubes in the chloroplast, the plant organelle where photosynthesis takes place.

Using another type of carbon nanotube, they… read more

The state of the future: 2013–14

March 19, 2014

stateofthefuture2013-14

On Thursday March 20, The Millennium Project, a global participatory think tank, will launch the “2013–14 State of the Future” report at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from about 12:20 to 1:30 pm EDT, with an open-access webcast.

The “State of the Future” is a comprehensive annual overview of the present global situation and prospects for humanity. It integrates forecasts, trends,… read more

Nanoscale optical switch breaks miniaturization barrier

March 18, 2014

vanadium dioxide nanoparticles

A new ultra-fast, ultra-small optical switch could advance the day when photons replace electrons in consumer products ranging from cell phones to automobiles. It was developed by a team of scientists from Vanderbilt University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Described in the March 12 issue of the journal Nano Letters, the new optical device can turn on and off trillions of times per second.… read more

First direct evidence of cosmic inflation

Telescope at the South Pole finds twists in microwave-light remnants from the Big Bang, showing evidence for inflation and gravitational waves
March 18, 2014

bicep2-1

Researchers from the BICEP2 telescope collaboration announced Monday the first direct evidence for cosmic inflation.

The inflation theory posits that almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the Big Bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the current view of our best telescopes.

Their data also… read more

Are three-person designer babies ethical?

The Hastings Center asks how should parents determine what sort of child they have?
March 17, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

From genetic and genomic testing to new techniques in human assisted reproduction, various technologies are providing parents with more of a say about the children they have and “stirring the pot of designer baby concerns,” writes Thomas H. Murray, President Emeritus of The Hastings Center, in a commentary in Science.

Murray calls for a national conversation about how much discretion would-be parents should have. “Preventing a lethal… read more

Neuroscape Lab visualizes live brain functions using dramatic images

Repurposing fitness and game technologies into targeted brain therapies
March 17, 2014

GlassBrain (credit: UCSF)

UC San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, is hoping to paint a fuller picture of what is happening in the minds and bodies of those suffering from brain disease with his new lab, Neuroscape, which bridges the worlds of neuroscience and high-tech.

Gazzaley aims to eliminate the need to immobilize subjects inside big, noisy machines or tether them to computers — making… read more

Could emotion detectors make driving safer?

March 17, 2014

epfl_emotion_recognition_driving

Researchers in EPFL’s Signal Processing 5 Laboratory (LTS5), working with PSA Peugeot Citroën, have developed an emotion detector based on the analysis of facial expressions in a car, using an infrared camera placed behind the steering wheel.

The researchers say they can read facial expressions and identify which of the seven universal emotions a person is feeling: fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or… read more

Smartphone app reads blood oxygen levels, forewarns of life-threatening pre-eclampsia

$2 million investment for testing in developing world obstetrics
March 14, 2014

The Phone Oximeter - phone and sensor

LionsGate Technologies (LGTmedical), a Vancouver-based social enterprise, has secured its first major financial backers to scale up development of the Phone Oximeter.

This is an app and medical sensor that turns a non-specialist, community-level health worker’s smartphone, tablet computer or laptop into an affordable and simple but sophisticated medical-grade diagnostic tool that is typically only available, in the developing world,  in some hospitals.

The… read more

Nanoscale graphene origami cages set world record for densest hydrogen storage

University of Maryland research already exceeds DOE hydrogen storage goal for 2020
March 14, 2014

Graphene nanocage

University of Maryland researchers have created the world’s highest-density hydrogen storage system, using “graphene origami.” (The stored hydrogen could be used in a fuel cell during peak hours, as system backup, or for portable, transportation, or industrial applications.).

Shuze Zhu and Teng Li, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering found that they can make tiny squares of graphene (the world’s thinnest material, at just one-carbon-atom… read more

Stanford lab launches new privacy-based social network

March 14, 2014

Omlet Chat app (credit: MobiSocial Inc.)

With rising public interest in what developers refer to as the “privacy economy,” researchers from the MobiSocial Lab at the Stanford School of Engineering have announced at SXSW a new type of social network, called Omlet that allows users to control their own personal data.

Omlet “shields users from the monetization of their personal lives by giving them total and unquestioned control of their personal… read more

New type of ‘ultracold’ molecule ideal for quantum computing

March 14, 2014

Experimental setup of a magneto-optical trap (credit: Jan Kriege/Wikimedia Commons)

Purdue University researchers have created a new type of “ultracold” molecule, using lasers to cool atoms to about one thousandth of degree above absolute zero using lasers and then gluing them together, a technology that might be applied to quantum computing, precise sensors, and advanced simulations.

At these temperatures, atoms are brought to a near standstill, making possible new kinds of chemical interactions that are predominantly quantum… read more

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