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Look before you Leap Motion

July 24, 2013

leap_motion

Leap Motion’s low-cost gesture-control device is not as easy to use as you might think.

For the past couple days, I’ve been gesticulating even more than normal — at times, subtly, at other times, wildly — while getting to know the latest in gesture-control technology: the Leap Motion controller, Rachel Metz writes at MIT Technology Review.

Long anticipated due to its low cost ($80),… read more

Chips that mimic the brain in real time

July 24, 2013

multi-neuron chip

Neuroinformatics researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich together with colleagues from the EU and U.S. have demonstrated how complex cognitive abilities can be incorporated into electronic systems made with “neuromorphic” chips.

They further show how to assemble and configure these electronic systems to function in a way similar to an actual brain.

No computer works as efficiently as the… read more

Resveratrol counteracts effects of exercise in older men

July 24, 2013

resveratrol

Resveratrol — a natural antioxidant compound found in red grapes and other plants — counteracts many of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in older men,  including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol, according to research conducted at The University of Copenhagen.

Lasse Gliemann, a PhD student who worked on the study at The University of Copenhagen, explains how they conducted the research, and the results they found:

“We… read more

Desktop-printing electronic circuits, other nanofabricated devices

To replace multibillion-dollar centralized facilities with desktop printers for nanofabrication of electronic and biotech devices in two years
July 23, 2013

Inductors, capacitors and a SAW sensor created by actuated BPL. The scale bar is 1 mm.

A much-anticipated, low-cost, high-resolution desktop nanofabrication tool promises to revolutionize fabrication of electronic circuits and other nanofabricated devices, according to a new study by Northwestern University researchers.

“With this breakthrough, we can construct very high-quality materials and devices, such as processing semiconductors over large areas, said Chad A. Mirkin, senior author of the study and a world-renowned pioneer in the field of nanoscience.

And… read more

Super-black carbon nanotubes make spacecraft instruments more sensitive

July 23, 2013

Australia’s Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication applied a catalyst layer using atomic layer deposition to this occulter mask (credit: NASA)

A team led by John Hagopian, an optics engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has demonstrated that it can grow a uniform layer of carbon nanotubes through the use of another emerging technology called atomic layer deposition or ALD.

The super-black nanotechnology that promises to make spacecraft optical instruments more sensitive without enlarging their size.

“The significance of this is that we… read more

Is faster-than-light travel possible?

July 23, 2013

Alcubierre warp drive

Engineers at NASA Johnson Space Center are designing instruments to find out, by slightly warping the trajectory of a photon and measuring the distance it travels, The New York Times reports.

Inspiration for the research came from Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, who proposed in 1994 a method of stretching space in a wave which would in theory cause the fabric of space ahead of a spacecraft to… read more

Happy birthday, good Dr. Sacks

July 22, 2013

Oliver Sacks (credit: Andy Mills)

“One of our favorite human beings turns 80 this week. To celebrate, Robert [Krulwich, co-host of Radiolab] asks Oliver Sacks to look back on his career, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career.”

Radiolab

More Oliver:

Awakenings: The 1990 movie based on Oliver’s book of the same name.

Theread more

Paper-thin e-skin responds to touch by lighting up

Holds promise for sensory robotics and interactive environments
July 22, 2013

eskin375

UC Berkeley engineers can help robots or objects become more touchy-feely, literally.

A research team led by Ali Javey, UC Berkeley associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has created the first user-interactive sensor network on flexible plastic.

The new electronic skin (e-skin), responds to touch by instantly lighting up. The more intense the pressure, the brighter the light it emits.

Addingread more

Ultrasound applied to brain found to elevate mood

Could lead to new treatments for psychological and psychiatric disorders
July 22, 2013

Transcranial ultrasound is applied with gel on the scalp overlying the frontal temporal cortex. The image is shown on the monitor of the LOGIQe device. (Credit: The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)

University of Arizona researchers have found in a recent study that ultrasound waves applied to specific areas of the brain appear able to alter patients’ moods.

The technique could one day be used to treat conditions such as depression and anxiety.

With research committee and hospital approval, and patient informed consent, Dr. Stuart Hameroff, professor emeritus of the UA’s departments of … read more

Inner speech speaks volumes about the brain

July 22, 2013

James_Tissot_-_Inner_Voices

Do you talk to yourself? If so, researcher Mark Scott of the University of British Columbia can help. He’s found evidence that a brain signal called corollary discharge plays an important role in these experiences of internal speech.

This is a signal that helps us distinguish the sensory experiences we produce ourselves from those produced by external stimuli.

It’s a kind of predictive signal generated by the… read more

Graphene ‘onion rings’ grown bottom up — atom by atom

Potential for low-voltage transistors, lithium batteries
July 22, 2013

This set of hexagonal graphene “onion rings” was grown at Rice University. The rings represent the first example of graphene nanoribbons grown from the bottom up – that is, atom by atom – via chemical vapor deposition. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)

A Rice University lab has grown ‘bottom-up’ graphene nanoribbons for the first time.

These concentric hexagons, grown in a furnace, represent the first time anyone has synthesized graphene nanoribbons on metal from the bottom up — atom by atom.

As seen under a microscope, the layers brought onions to mind, said Rice chemist James Tour, until a colleague suggested flat… read more

Nano drug crosses blood-brain tumor barrier, targets brain tumors

Potential treatment for Glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer
July 22, 2013

(credit: Huilin Shao et al./Nature Medicine)

An experimental drug called SapC-DOPS, in early development for aggressive brain tumors, can cross the blood-brain barrier.

There, it can kill tumor cells and block the growth of tumor blood vessels, according to a study led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center at Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The laboratory and… read more

How to feel phantom objects floating in air

July 21, 2013

aireal-21

A groundbreaking project called Aireal lets you feel virtual objects, Fast Company reports.

Aireal is the result of research by University of Illinois PhD student Rajinder Sodhi and Disney Reseach’s Ivan Poupyrev. When set by your television or connected to an iPad, this diminutive machine will puff air rings that allow you to actually feel objects and textures in… read more

Fast time and the aging mind

July 21, 2013

688px-MontreGousset001

The apparent velocity of time is a big fat cognitive illusion and ,,, there may be a way to slow the velocity of our later lives, Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psycho-pharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, writes in The New York Times. …

If you want time to slow down, become a student again.… read more

Companies discover untapped brain power: autistics

July 21, 2013

Autistic_teenage_girl

Companies are discovering the untapped brain power of a group long thought ill suited to the office: adults on the autistic spectrum. Joshua Kendall, author of America’s Obsessives, reports at The Daily Beast on one Danish man’s mission to employ the seemingly unemployable — and successful famous “obsessives”* (think Jefferson and Heinz) in American history.

While the 1% of the population with ASDs may have considerable difficulty navigating… read more

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