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Unexpected discovery reveals secret of how cancer spreads in the body

Could help develop treatments to prevent metastasis (awesome animated video)
June 23, 2016

primary tumor (credit: Barts Cancer Institute, QMUL)

Metastasis (spread of cancer) is one of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment. It is often not the original tumor that kills, but secondary growths. But a key question in cancer research has been how vulnerable cancer cells are able to survive once they break away from a tumor to spread around the body.

“Metastasis is currently incurable and remains one of the key targets of cancer research,” said… read more

Brain markers of numeric, verbal, and spatial reasoning abilities found

June 23, 2016

A new study found that higher concentrations of NAA (N-acetyl aspartate) in the medial parietal and posterior cingulate cortices of the brain were associated with better performance on verbal and spatial tests. NAA is a byproduct of glucose metabolism and an indicator of brain health. (credit: Graphic by Julie McMahon and Erick Paul)

A new study helps explain how brain structure and chemistry relate to “fluid intelligence” — the ability to adapt to new situations and solve problems one has never encountered before.

The study, reported in an open-access paper in the journal NeuroImage, observed two facets of fluid intelligence*:

  • Verbal or spatial reasoning was linked to higher concentrations of a compound called NAA (N-acetyl aspartate) in the medial parietal

read more

Real-time robot-motion planning

New processor can plan an optimal, energy-efficient robot motion path up to 10,000 times faster
June 21, 2016

New computer processor allows for fast, energy-efficient robot motion planning (credit: Duke Robotics)

Duke University researchers have designed a new computer processor that’s optimized for robot motion planning (for example, for quickly picking up and accurately moving an object in a cluttered environment while evading obstacles). The new processor can plan an optimal motion path up to 10,000 times faster than existing systems while using a small fraction of the required power.

The new processor is fast enough to plan… read more

How to convert graphene into a semiconductor for scalable production

Breakthrough in growing scalable one-dimensional graphene nanoribbons directly on wafers
June 21, 2016

Progressively magnified images of graphene nanoribbons grown on germanium semiconductor wafers. The ribbons automatically align perpendicularly. Scale bars, left to right, are 400, 10, and 1 nanometer. (credit: Image courtesy of Michael Arnold, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Graphene can be transformed in the lab from a semimetal into a semiconductor if it is confined into nanoribbons narrower than 10 nm (with controlled orientation and edges), but scaling it up for commercial use has not been possible. Until now.

University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists have discovered how to synthesize narrow, long “one-dimensional” (1-D) nanoribbons (sub-10 nanometers wide) directly on a conventional germanium semiconductor wafer.

That narrow width is… read more

‘Holy grail’ of breast-cancer prevention in high-risk women may be in sight

June 21, 2016

Breast cancer prevention (credit: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute)

Australian researchers have discovered that an existing medication could have promise in preventing breast cancer in women carrying a faulty BRCA1 gene, who are at high risk of developing aggressive breast cancer.

Currently, many women with this mutation choose surgical removal of breast tissue and ovaries to reduce their chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Notably, in May 2013,… read more

First self-driving ‘cognitive’ vehicle uses IBM Watson Internet of Things

June 20, 2016

Olli (credit: Local Motors)

Local Motors, creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, has developed the first self-driving “cognitive” vehicle, using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive.

The vehicle, dubbed “Olli,” can carry up to 12 people. It uses IBM Watson and other systems to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle. Olli will be used on public roads locally in Washington DC and later… read more

How to 3-D print hair, brushes, and fur

Bypassing computer-aided design (CAD) software, MIT researchers invent a radical pixel-mapping printing technique
June 20, 2016

"It's very inspiring to see how these [hair-like] structures occur in nature and how they can achieve different functions," says Jifei Ou, a graduate student in media arts and sciences at MIT. "We're just trying to think how can we fully utilize the potential of 3-D printing, and create new functional materials whose properties are easily tunable and controllable." Pictured is an example of 3-D printed hair. (credit: Courtesy of Tangible Media Group/MIT Media Lab)

Researchers in MIT’s Media Lab have bypassed a major design step in 3-D printing — quickly and efficiently modeling and printing thousands of hair-like structures.

Instead of using conventional computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw thousands of individual hairs on a computer — a step that would take hours to compute — the team built a new software platform called “Cilllia” that lets users simply define the… read more

China’s Sunway TaihuLight tops world supercomputer ratings

June 20, 2016

Sunway TaihuLight System (credit: National Supercomputing Center)

Chinese supercomputers maintained their No. 1 ranking on the 47th edition of the TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers, announced today (June 20). The new Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer operates at 93 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) Rmax on the LINPACK benchmark — twice as fast and three times as efficient as China’s Tianhe-2 (at 33.86 petaflop/s), now in the #2 spot.… read more

Ultra-flexible solar cells thin enough to wrap around a glass stirring rod

June 20, 2016

Ultra-thin solar cells flexible enough to bend around small objects, such as a 6-mm-diameter glass rod (credit: Juho Kim, et al./APL)

Scientists in South Korea have designed ultra-thin photovoltaics that are flexible enough to wrap around a thin glass rod. The new solar cells could power wearable electronics like smart watches and fitness trackers.

“Our photovoltaic is about 1 micrometer thick” (the thinnest human hair is about 17 micrometers), said Jongho Lee, an engineer at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. Standard photovoltaics are usually hundreds… read more

An augmented-reality head-up display in a diver’s helmet

June 17, 2016

Prototype of the Divers Augmented Vision Display (DVAD) positioned within a dive helmet (credit: U.S. Navy Photo/Richard Manley (RELEASED) 151130-N-PD526-005)

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center has developed what may be the first underwater augmented-reality head-up display (HUD) built into a diving helmet.

The Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD) gives divers a real-time, high-res visual display of everything from sector sonar (real-time topside view of the diver’s location and dive site), text messages, diagrams, and photographs to augmented-reality videos. Having real-time visual data enables them to be more effective… read more

Could deep-learning systems radically transform drug discovery?

AI drug-discovery engine to be presented at Machine Intelligence Summit in Berlin on June 29-30
June 17, 2016

(credit: Insilico Medicine)

Scientists at Insilico Medicine have developed a new drug-discovery engine that they say is capable of predicting therapeutic use, toxicity, and adverse effects of thousands of molecules, and they plan to reveal it at the Re-Work Machine Intelligence Summit in Berlin, June 29–30.

Drug discovery takes decades, with high failure rates. Among the reasons: irreproducible experiments with poor choice of animal models and inability to… read more

Two inventions deal with virtual-reality sickness

June 16, 2016

GVS ft

Columbia Engineering researchers announced earlier this week that they have developed a simple way to reduce VR motion sickness that can be applied to existing consumer VR devices, such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, Gear VR, and Google Cardboard devices.

The trick is to subtly change the field of view (FOV), or how much of an image you can see, during visually perceived motion.… read more

A low-cost ‘electronic nose’ spectrometer for home health diagnosis

June 16, 2016

Current experimental design of transmitter radio-frequency front end for a rotational spectrometer. Using integrated circuits (such as the one below “CHIP1”) in an electronic nose will make the device more affordable. (credit: UT Dallas)

UT Dallas researchers have designed an affordable “electronic nose” radio-frequency front end for a rotational spectrometer — used for detecting chemical molecules in human breath for health diagnosis.

Current breath-analysis devices are bulky and too costly for commercial use, said Kenneth O, PhD, a principal investigator of the effort and director of Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE). Instead, the researchers used CMOS integrated circuits… read more

Bionic leaf 2.0

Uses solar energy to split water molecules + hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels
June 14, 2016

credit: Jessica Polka

Harvard scientists have created a system a system that uses solar energy plus hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels with 10 percent efficiency, compared to the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants.

The system, co-created by Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, and Pamela Silver, the Elliott T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard… read more

Wearable artificial kidney prototype successfully tested

June 14, 2016

Working prototype of wearable artificial kidney developed by Victor Gura, MD, and his team (credit: Stephen Brashear/University of Washington)

An FDA-approved exploratory clinical trial of a prototype wearable artificial kidney (WAK) — a miniaturized, wearable hemodialysis machine —  at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle has been completed, the researchers reported June 2 in an open-access paper in JCI Insight.

The seven patients enrolled in the study reported “significantly greater treatment satisfaction during the WAK treatment period compared with ratings of care during periods of conventional… read more

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