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The Pentagon as Silicon Valley’s incubator

August 29, 2013

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In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats, The New York Times reports.

In 2012, more than $1 billion in venture financing poured into security start-ups.

Two of the start-ups are Synack and Morta Security, both founded by persons formerly connected… read more

Mars Curiosity: now most advanced autonomous vehicle on another planet

August 29, 2013

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NASA‘s Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, which lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.

This latest addition to Curiosity’s array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars. The capability uses software that engineers… read more

China to land a probe on the Moon this year

August 29, 2013

NASA Moon

China announced Wednesday that it plans to put a rover on the Moon by the end of the year, Forbes reports.

The Chang’e-3 Lunar probe will include a six-wheeled lunar rover, which will work on the surface for about three months.

If the mission is successful, China will then begin phase 3 of its Lunar exploration program, which will involve a rover to be… read more

NASA tests limits of 3D printing with powerful rocket engine check

August 28, 2013

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The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.

This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware. Innovations like additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, foster new and more cost-effective capabilities in the U.S.… read more

70% of American adults have high-speed broadband access at home

August 28, 2013

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As of May 2013, 70% of American adults ages 18 and older have a high-speed broadband* connection at home, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Groups with the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be college graduates, adults under age 50, and adults living in households earning at least $50,000, as well as whites and adults living in… read more

First human brain-to-brain interface

August 28, 2013

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University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.

Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other… read more

First US surgery transmitted live via Google Glass

August 27, 2013

Dr. Kaeding wearing Google Glass while performing surgery (credit: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center)

Dr. Christopher Kaeding, a surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, is the first in the U.S. to consult with a distant colleague using live, point-of-view video from the operating room via Google Glass.

Kaeding wore the device as he performed ligament surgery at the medical center’s University East facility.

Across town, one of Kaeding’s colleagues, Dr. Robert Magnussen, watched the surgery his… read more

World’s smallest autopilot for micro aircraft

August 27, 2013

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Researcher Bart Remes and his team of the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at the TU Delft faculty of Aerospace Engineering have designed, built and tested the world’s smallest open source autopilot for small unmanned aircraft.

A smaller — and lighter — autopilot allows these small flying robots to fly longer, fit into narrower spaces or carry more payloads, such as cameras. That makes them more… read more

A hierarchical approach to 3D tissue engineering with preformed blood-vessel tissue

Brings researchers closer to viable organ implants
August 27, 2013

Schematic diagram illustrating the concept of a prevascularized hydrogel.<br />
Adjacent fibres could be used to pattern other cell types around the vessels.

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have developed a simple method of organizing cells and their microenvironments in hydrogel fibers.

The method provides a template for assembling complex structures, such as liver and fat tissues, for tissue or organ replacements.

According to IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying, “Our tissue engineering approach gives researchers great control and flexibility… read more

Could a robot beat humans at table football?

August 27, 2013

table football

Masters students from the EPFL Automatic Control Laboratory (LA) are developing a robot that can play foosball (table football) for their semester project.

One of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second.

“This is already enough to beat the average player,” said researcher Christophe Salzmann, who heads… read more

DARPA’s human-augmentation suit

August 27, 2013

DARPA's Warrior Web program seeks to create a soft, lightweight under-suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers' ability to efficiently perform their missions. The photos above are examples of three prototypes currently under development.

One of the most common risks that dismounted Soldiers face in the field is injury from carrying their gear — often topping 100 pounds — for extended periods over rough terrain.

Heavy loads increase the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury and also exacerbate fatigue, which contributes to both acute and chronic injury and impedes Soldiers’ physical and cognitive abilities to perform mission-oriented tasks.

To… read more

A secure, private internet and cloud at the tactical edge

August 26, 2013

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DARPA has developed a “private Internet” system that allows soldiers or marines on patrol to quickly share current intelligence information and imagery on their mobile devices, instead of waiting until they are back at camp to access a central server.

Called Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN), the program provides an alternative approach to the top-down focus of most military networks.… read more

A giant telescope 80 feet in diameter to capture the Universe

Images 10 times sharper than the Hubble telescope
August 26, 2013

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The Steward Observatory Mirror Lab (SOML) at the University of Arizona is spin-casting the world’s largest telescope mirror: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will be more than 80 feet in diameter.

In comparison, the mirror of the Hubble Telescope measures 94.5 inches (just over 7.5 feet) from one edge to the other; that mirror has allowed astronomers to capture some of the most miraculous… read more

Custom-made ultrathin carbon nanomembranes

Could be used for filtering toxins from the air, for example
August 26, 2013

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Bielefeld University researchers have developed a new way to produce a variety of carbon nanomembranes (CNM) from self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). The CNMs consist of just one layer of molecules, with a thickness of ∼0.5 to ∼3 nm. — much thinner than conventional membranes

In the future, CNMs are expected to be able to filter out very fine materials and allow for separating gases from one… read more

How to reconstruct from brain images which letter a person was reading

August 24, 2013

Each letter is predicted using models trained on fMRI data for the remaining letter classes to improve the reconstructions.

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at.

They did that by analyzing the corresponding functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanned images of activity in the visual cortex of the brain, using a linear Gaussian mathematical model.

The researchers “taught” the model how 1200 voxels (volumetric pixels) of 2x2x2 mm from the… read more

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