science + technology news

3D-printed aerogels enable new energy-storage and nanoelectronic devices

May 15, 2015

Lawrence Livermore researchers have made graphene aerogel microlattices with an engineered architecture via a 3D printing technique known as direct ink writing (credit: Ryan Chen/LLNL)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have made novel graphene aerogel microlattices with an engineered architecture, using a 3D printing technique known as “direct ink writing.” The research, which could lead to better energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis, and separations, is described in an open-access paper in the April 22 edition of the journal Nature Communications.

Lawrence Livermore National

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New evidence that electrical stimulation accelerates wound healing

May 15, 2015

After 10 days, the control would on the left and the ES treated on the right. (Credit: The University of Manchester)

The most detailed study to date of skin wound healing, conducted by University of Manchester scientists with 40 volunteers, has provided new evidence that electrical stimulation accelerates wound healing.

In the new research, half-centimeter harmless wounds were created on each upper arm of the volunteers.  One wound was left to heal normally, while the other was treated with electrical pulses* over a period of two weeks.  The… read more

First large-scale graphene fabrication

By overcoming size, amount required, and other limits, graphene could become competitive on a commercial scale
May 15, 2015

ORNL’s ultrastrong graphene features layers of graphene and polymers and is an effective conductor of electricity. (Credit: ORNL)

Fabrication size limits — one of the barriers to using graphene on a commercial scale — could be overcome using a new method developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Graphene, a one-atom-thick material that is about 100 times stronger than steel by weight, has enormous commercial potential but has been impractical to employ on a large scale, mainly… read more

Limitless, Minority Report sequels coming to TV

May 15, 2015

one pill

Limitless, a TV series sequel to the movie, picks up after the events of the film. Edward Mora (Bradley Cooper), now a powerful senator and presidential hopeful, reveals the power of the mysterious drug NZT to Brian Finch (Jake McDorman) — who is then coerced by the FBI into using his newfound cognitive abilities to solve complex cases. Cooper is also executive producer.

Fall 2015. Moreread more

Google plans to test its new self driving vehicle prototypes on California roads

May 15, 2015

Our safety drivers will test fully self-driving vehicle prototypes like this one on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., this summer (credit: Google)

Google announced today (May 15) that it test a few of its new Volkswagen Beetle-like prototype self-driving vehicles on roads in Mountain View, Calif. this summer Unlike Google’s previous prototype test vehicles, these will have safety drivers aboard, and with a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal if needed.

These vehicles are designed for local driving, with speed capped at 25mph.

Google said the… read more

MIT deep-learning system autonomously learns to identify objects

May 14, 2015

The first layers of a neural network trained to classify scenes seem to be tuned to geometric patterns of increasing complexity, but the higher layers appear to be picking out particular classes of objects (credit: courtesy of the researchers)

MIT researchers have discovered that a deep-learning system designed to recognize and classify scenes has also learned how to recognize individual objects.

Last December, at the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, MIT researchers announced the compilation of the world’s largest database of images labeled according to scene type, with 7 million entries. By exploiting a machine-learning technique known as “deep learning,” they used… read more

New ‘magnonic’ holographic memory device could improve speech and image recognition

May 14, 2015

magnonic holographic memory ft.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and the Russian Academy of Sciences have demonstrated a new type of pattern recognition using a “magnonic” holographic memory device, intended to improve hardware for speech and image recognition.

The device is based on patterns of sound and images that are encoded into the phase (timing) of spin waves, which are collective oscillations of… read more

Restoring sensation for people with prosthetic hands

May 14, 2015

The macro-sieve peripheral nerve interface was designed by Moran's lab to stimulate regeneration of the ulnar and median nerves to transmit information back into the central nervous system (credit: Dan Moran, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis)

A team of engineers and researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a device to restore sensory feedback for those qwith upper limb prosthetic devices, allowing people to feel touch, and hot and cold through their prosthetic hands.

If it works, upper-limb amputees who use motorized prosthetic devices would be able to feel various sensations through the prosthetic by stimulating the nerves in the upper… read more

Mediterranean diet plus olive oil or nuts associated with improved cognitive function

May 13, 2015

(credit: iStock)

Supplementing the plant-based Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts has been associated with improved cognitive function in a study of older adults in Spain, according to an open-access article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Previous research suggests following a Mediterranean diet may be associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia. However, the observational studies that have examined these… read more

A 3D-printed mini jet engine that performs at 33,000 RPM

May 13, 2015

Credits: GE Aviation

GE engineers have made a simple proof-of-concept 3D-printed mini jet engine that operates at 33,000 rotations per minute.

The backpack-sized jet engine was built over the course of several years to test the technology’s abilities and to work on a side project together.

“We wanted to see if we could build a little engine that runs almost entirely out of additive manufacturing parts,” says one of the engineers.… read more

A high-performance microbattery that can be built into chips

May 13, 2015

Image of the holographically patterned microbattery (Credit: University of Illinois)

A high-performance 3D microbattery that could be integrated into microchips at production volumes has been developed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers.

Miniaturizing a battery to fit in a microchip is a major challenge, but it would be important for providing power to microscale devices such as actuators, distributed wireless sensors and transmitters, and portable and implantable medical devices, explained Paul Braun, a professor of … read more

Flexible graphene electrodes embedded in textiles

Allows for wearable electronic devices
May 12, 2015

Photograph of an electric circuit with a LED light, closed with a bent and suspended transparent PP fiber coated with graphene. The visible graphite contacts were only used to define the channel length. (credit: A. I. S. Neves et al./Scientific Reports)

An international team of scientists has developed a new technique to embed transparent, flexible graphene electrodes into fibers commonly used in textiles. The technology makes it possible to create wearable electronic devices, such as clothing containing smartphones and devices for biomedical monitoring and personal security.

The monolayer graphene was grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on copper foil and applied to fibers commonly used by… read more

Powerful new radio telescope array monitors the entire sky 24/7 in real time

Detecting weak radio signals from the time of the births of first stars and galaxies
May 12, 2015

A night-time shot of some of the antennas of the OV-LWA with the center of our galaxy in the background. (Credit: Gregg Hallinan/Caltech)

A new radio telescope array developed by a consortium led by Caltech can simultaneously image the entire sky at radio wavelengths with unmatched speed, helping astronomers to search for objects and phenomena that pulse, flicker, flare, or explode.

The Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OV-LWA) is already producing unprecedented videos of the radio sky. Astronomers hope that it will help them piece together a more complete picture of… read more

IBM’s silicon photonics technology aims to speed up cloud and Big Data applications

First fully integrated silicon chip to use high-speed pulses of light instead of slow electrical signals
May 12, 2015

Cassette carrying several hundred chips intended for 100 Gb/s transceivers, diced from wafers fabricated with IBM CMOS Integrated Nano-Photonics Technology. The dense monolithic integration of optical and electrical circuits and the scalable manufacturing process provide a cost-effective silicon photonics interconnect solution, suitable for deployment in cloud servers, datacenters, and supercomputers. (US quarter coin shown for scale.) (credit: IBM)

IBM announced today (May 12) what is says in the first fully integrated silicon chip to use high-speed pulses of light instead of slow electrical signals over wires. That means the chip will be able to move data at rapid speeds and longer distances in future computing systems.

The silicon photonics chip is wavelength-multiplexed, meaning it can transmit multiple wavelengths of light. IBM says they… read more

Electric brain stimulation decreases IQ scores and racial prejudice

May 11, 2015

Electric field modeling of tDCS-ft

In a double-blinded, randomized study, UNC researchers found that the IQ scores of people who underwent tDCS brain stimulation improved markedly less than did the IQ scores of people in the placebo group.

Using a weak electric current in an attempt to boost brainpower or treat conditions has become popular among scientists and do-it-yourselfers, but a new UNC School of Medicine study shows that using the most common form… read more

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