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‘Materials Genome Initiative’ commitments announced

June 26, 2013

Materials Innovation Infrastructure

The Obama Administration and academic and industry partners have announced a series of commitments in support of the Materials Genome Initiative, a public-private endeavor that aims to cut in half the time it takes to develop novel materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing and bolster the 21st century American economy.

The announcements come two years to the day after President Obama launched the Materials Genome… read more

Generating mind-controlled patterns in a fishbowl

June 26, 2013

magnetic-mind

Magnetic Mind translates brainwaves into kinetic art, using a NeuroSky MindWave brain-computer interface headset, an Arduino board, an electromagnet, and suspended ferrofluid (iron filings in water + alcohol).

Lindsay Browder, creator of the project, uses this device to control an alien-looking liquid in a fishbowl with her thoughts and attention, Neuro Gadget reports.

The ferrofluid follows her mind activity, changes shape, grows… read more

Brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity

June 26, 2013

past_brain_activation

Weizmann Institute scientists discover that spontaneously emerging brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity.

What if experts could dig into the brain, like archaeologists, and uncover the history of past experiences? This ability might reveal what makes each of us a unique individual, and it could enable the objective diagnosis of a wide range of neuropsychological diseases.

New research at the Weizmann Institute hints… read more

Self-assembling DNA molecules act as scaffolding as a first step in creating artificial photosynthesis

June 26, 2013

An artificial light-collecting antenna system. Binding a large number of light-absorbing molecules ("red balls") to a DNA molecule, which is then modified with a porphyrin unit (blue) will result in the creation of a self-assembling system that resembles light harvesting in natural photosynthesis.

A research team at Chalmers University of Technology The team has demonstrated that it is possible to use self-assembling DNA molecules as scaffolding as a first step to create artificial photosynthesis.

Proteins in plants and algae create a complex scaffolding (structure) that organizes chlorophyll molecules to collect light and use it to synthesize sugars and other energy-rich molecules in a reaction center. Previous attempts at… read more

Sugar solution makes tissues see-through for brain imaging at unprecedented resolution

June 25, 2013

embryo_SeeDB

RIKEN Center for Developmental biology researchers have developed a new sugar and water-based solution that turns tissues transparent in just three days, without disrupting the shape and chemical nature of the samples.

Combined with fluorescence microscopy, this technique enabled them to obtain detailed images of a mouse brain at unprecedented resolution.

Over the past few years, teams in the USA and Japan have reported a… read more

New discovery of the ways cells move could boost understanding of spread of cancer

June 25, 2013

Cheekcells_stained

Led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), investigators found that epithelial cells — the type that form a barrier between the inside and the outside of the body, such as skin cells — move in a group, propelled by forces both from within and from nearby cells — to fill any unfilled spaces they encounter.… read more

Two-dimensional atomically flat transistors show promise for next-generation green electronics

June 25, 2013

flat_transistor

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara in collaboration with University of Notre Dame have demonstrated the highest reported drive current on a transistor made of a monolayer of tungsten diselenide (WSe2), a 2-dimensional atomic crystal categorized as a transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD).

The discovery is also the first demonstration of an “n-type” WSe2 field-effect-transistor (FET), showing the tremendous potential of this material for future low-power and… read more

Are you ready for smart ingestible pills that monitor your health and replace passwords?

June 25, 2013

CorTemp pill (credit: HQ Inc.)

People on the cutting edge are swallowing ingestible smart pills containing minuscule sensors and transmitters to monitor a range of health data and wirelessly share this information with a doctor, The New York Times reports.

A pill made by Proteus Digital Health can track medication-taking behaviors, monitor how a patient’s body is responding to medicine, and detect the person’s movements and rest patterns.

People with heart… read more

A key signaling pathway that triggers neuron growth

Transport proteins that play a crucial role in learning and brain disorders
June 24, 2013

A kinesin protein walking on a microtubule, transporting its cargo (credit: The Inner Life of a Cell by Cellular Visions and Harvard)

Neuroscientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a molecular program that controls an essential step in the fast-growing neocortex in brains of young mammals.

The finding fills in a significant gap in the scientific understanding of how neurons mature and of some developmental brain disorders.

“Mutations that may affect this signaling pathway already have been found in some autism cases,” said TSRI… read more

3D-printing miniaturized medical implants, compact electronics, tiny robots, and more

June 24, 2013

For the first time, a research team from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated the ability to 3D-print a battery. This image shows the interlaced stack of electrodes that were printed layer by layer to create the working anode and cathode of a microbattery. [Ke Sun, Teng-Sing Wei, Jennifer Lewis, Shen J. Dillon]

A team based at Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has printed precisely interlaced stacks of tiny battery electrodes, each less than the width of a human hair

3D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand. The printed microbatteries could supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have… read more

Multiview 3D photography made simple

June 24, 2013

Because a light-field camera captures information about not only the intensity of light rays but also their angle of arrival, the images it produces can be refocused later (credit: Kshitij Marwah)

A new technique enables the conversion of an ordinary camera into a light-field camera capable of recording high-resolution, multiperspective images.

Lytro photograph: click to refocus, double-click to zoom
(credit: Amara D. Angelica)

Computational photography is the use of clever light-gathering tricks and sophisticated algorithms to extract more information from the visual environment than traditional cameras can.

The first commercial application of computational photography is… read more

Ferroelectric-graphene-based structure could lead to faster, smaller chips

June 24, 2013

Schematics of a ferroelectric-graphene-ferroelectric nanostructure. Different domains of ferroelectrics can define densely packed waveguide patterns on graphene. Terahertz plasmons at ultrashort wavelength can flow on these waveguides. (Credit: Qing Hu)

MIT researchers have proposed a new system that combines ferroelectric materials — the kind often used for data storage — with graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon known for its exceptional electronic and mechanical properties.

The resulting hybrid technology could eventually lead to computer and data-storage chips that pack more components in a given area and are faster and less power-hungry.

The new system… read more

Measuring the human pulse from tiny head movements to help diagnose cardiac disease

Could possibly be incorporated in a tricorder
June 24, 2013

Using direction and magnitude of movement of feature points for pulse signal extraction

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a new algorithm that can accurately measure the heart rates of people depicted in ordinary digital video by analyzing imperceptibly small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions.

In tests, the algorithm gave pulse measurements that were consistently within a few beats per minute… read more

A battery made of wood: long-lasting, efficient, environmentally friendly

June 23, 2013

wood_fibers

University of Maryland researchers have developed and tested a battery with anodes made of tin-coated wood that are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper.

Using sodium instead of lithium (which is used in many rechargeable batteries) makes the battery environmentally benign. Also, while sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium, its low cost and use of commonly available materials would make… read more

Fear of thinking war machines may push US to exascale

June 23, 2013

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

China’s retaking of the global supercomputing crown was discussed at a congressional forum this week on cognitive computing, Computerworld reports.

Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program.

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), who talked about China’s new 33.89-petaflop system, Tianhe-2, is finalizing a bill “that will push our nation toward exascale” — the American… read more

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