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All of a sudden I could see a little flash of light. It was amazing.

First implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes
September 3, 2012

Early bionic eye prototype drawing (credit: Bionics Institute)

Bionic Vision Australia researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes.

Dianne Ashworth has profound vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition. She has now received what she calls a “pre-bionic eye” implant that enables her to experience some vision.

Her implant was switched on last month at the Bionics Institute, while researchers held their breaths in… read more

Male birth control pill may be ready soon

September 7, 2012

control_jq1

Attention men: The day may be coming soon when you can take your own birth control pill with no side effects, according to a study done by a group of scientists that includes a Texas A&M University researcher.

Working on mice, the team found that a compound called JQ1 acts as an inhibitor to sperm production and also sperm mobility.

“Both of these are needed for… read more

IBM ‘silicon nanophotonics’ breakthrough integrates optical and electrical circuits

Light pulses can move data at blazing speeds to help solve bandwidth limitations of servers, datacenters and supercomputers
December 10, 2012

ibm_silicon_nanophotonics_chip

IBM announced today a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing.

The breakthrough technology — called “silicon nanophotonics” — allows the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using, for the first time, sub-100nm semiconductor technology.

Silicon nanophotonics takes advantage of pulses of light for communication and provides… read more

Paramount acquires science-fiction novel ‘Nexus’

March 18, 2013

Nexus

Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Nexus, the science fiction novel by Ramez Naam, to be produced by Mary Parent of Disruption for Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa.

The author, former CEO of Apex Nanotechnology, is the author of the nonfiction book More Than Human: Embracing The Promise Of Biological Enhancement.

Here’s the plot from Amazon:

In the near future,… read more

Where is intelligence located in the brain?

April 11, 2012

Brain Structures

University of Illinois scientists have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain in one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses so far of the brain structures vital to general intelligence and to specific aspects of intellectual functioning, such as verbal comprehension and working memory.

“We found that general intelligence depends on a remarkably circumscribed neural system,” said Neuroscience professor Aron Barbey of the … read more

Rewritable paper

December 4, 2014

Yadong Yin’s lab at the University of California, Riverside has fabricated novel rewritable paper, one that is based on the color switching property of commercial chemicals called redox dyes. (Credit: Yin Lab, UC Riverside)

Chemists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have fabricated a novel rewritable “paper” process in the lab, based on the color-switching property of commercially available chemicals called redox dyes.

Printing is achieved by using ultraviolet light to photobleach the dye, except the masked portions for the text on the paper. The prototype rewritable paper can be erased and written on more than 20 times with no significant loss… read more

How exercise affects the brain

May 21, 2012

Jogging_young_female

Exercise clears the mind. It gets the blood pumping and more oxygen is delivered to the brain. But Dartmouth’s David Bucci thinks there is much more going on.

“In the last several years there have been data suggesting that neurobiological changes are happening — [there are] very brain-specific mechanisms at work here,” says Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

From his… read more

Laser beam guides lightning bolts to a ground target

U.S. Army develops Zeus-like weapon
June 28, 2012

guided_lightning_bolt

Scientists and engineers at the U.S Army’s Picatinny Arsenal are developing a device that can shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy its target.

The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) is designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

“Light travels more slowly in gases and solids than it does in a vacuum,” explained George Fischer,… read more

Golden Spike aims to return humans to the Moon

December 7, 2012

golden_spike_lander

The Golden Spike Company, the first company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon — by the end of this decade — was  unveiled Thursday by former Apollo Flight Director and NASA Johnson Space Center Director Gerry Griffin, Golden Spike’s chairman, and planetary scientist and former NASA science chief Dr. Alan Stern, President and CEO.

The announcement was made on the… read more

Controlled atomic-layer crystal growth is ‘breakthrough’ for solar-cell efficiency

October 30, 2013

InGaN-GaN

Arizona State University and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new approach to growing indium gallium nitride (InGaN) crystals, promising “record-breaking” photovoltaic solar cell efficiencies.

Researchers previously found that the atomic separation of the crystal layers of the InGaN alloy varies, which can lead to high levels of strain, breakdowns in growth, and fluctuations in the alloy’s chemical composition.

“Being able to ease… read more

World’s first solar-powered country

August 3, 2012

3newstokelau

A $7.3 million project to convert the tiny island nation of Tokelau to all solar power is nearing completion.

Once activated, the installations should provide more than 90 percent of the power used by the islands’ 1,711 residents, MSN Future of Tech reports.

Tokelau is a remote nation northeast of New Zealand comprising three atolls, to which goods and passengers can only travel by boat. Their… read more

Quantum Computing Playground lets you run a simulated quantum computer

May 27, 2014

Quantum Computing Playground (credit: Google)

Google engineers have developed a simulated quantum computer called Quantum Computing Playground that allows you to write, run, and debug software using quantum algorithms.

Quantum Computing Playground runs in a Chrome browser with a simple interactive interface. A scripting language called QScript includes debugging and 3D quantum-state visualization features.

You can efficiently simulate quantum registers up to 22 qubits and run Grover’s and Shor’s algorithms. There’s also a… read more

Patent awarded for treating obesity and related conditions [exclusive]

December 3, 2013

Obese vs. normal mouse (unrelated to the experiment) (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Patent No. 8,598,150 was awarded today (Dec. 3) for the use of an antioxidant compound called MnTBAP* for treatment of obesity and obesity-related conditions, such as insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

The patent was filed by two Skidmore College researchers: Jonathan R. Brestoff Parker and professor Thomas H. Reynolds, IV.

In unpublished mouse experiments, they found that the compound decreases obesity by promoting triglyceride breakdown… read more

‘Electronic tongue’ identifies brands of beer with 81.9% accuracy

February 4, 2014

beer

Spanish researchers have managed to distinguish between different varieties of beer using an “electronic tongue,” with an accuracy of 81.9%.

Scientists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona used an array of 21 sensors formed from ion-selective electrodes, including some with response to cations (ammonium, sodium), others with response to anions (nitrate, chloride, etc.), and electrodes with generic (unspecified) responses.

The authors recorded the multidimensional response generated by the… read more

Lightest Material in the World

July 26, 2012

Aerographite

“Aerographite” — a network of interwoven porous carbon microtubes — is the lightest material in the world, at  0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter  (75 times lighter than Styrofoam), scientists of Kiel University (KU) and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) claim.

Although lightweight, Aerographite is designed to be extremely robust to bear strong deformations. And despite its low density, it can be fabricated in various macroscopic shapes on the order of several cubic… read more

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