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Seeing the invisible: visible-light metamaterial superlens made from nanobeads

Adds 5x magnification to existing microscopes
August 12, 2016

mSIL

A team of British and Chinese scientists has developed a new “metamaterial-based solid immersion lens” (mSIL) microscope lens design that can extend the magnification of an optical microscope to see objects smaller than the approximately 200 nanometers Abbe diffraction limit, the smallest size of bacteria.

Led by Zengbo Wang, PhD, at Bangor University UK and Prof Limin Wu at… read more

Anti-inflammatory drug reverses memory loss in Alzheimer’s-disease-model mice

August 12, 2016

(credit: NIH National Institute on Aging)

Anti-inflammatory drug mefenamic acid completely reversed memory loss and brain inflammation in mice genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid beta-induced memory loss, a team led by David Brough, PhD, from the University of Manchester has discovered.

The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) drug targets an important inflammatory pathway called the NLRP3 inflammasome, which damages brain cells, according to Brough. This is the first time… read more

Harvard, Caltech design mechanical signaling, diodes, logic gates for soft robots

August 10, 2016

The SEAS/Caltech system for transmitting a mechanical signal consists of a series of bistable elements (the vertical beam, d, shown here) connected by soft coupling elements (wiggly lines), with two stable states. (Top) When a beam is displaced (by amount x), it stores energy. (Bottom) When it snaps back, it releases that stored energy into the coupling element on the right, which continues down the line. (Scale bars represent 5 mm.) (credit: Jordan R. Raney/PNAS)

A new way to send mechanical signals through soft robots and other autonomous soft systems has been developed by researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Soft autonomous systems, just like the human body, can perform delicate movements that… read more

Self-propelling liquid metals: the future of soft electronics?

"May be possible to build a [T-1000-style] 3D liquid metal humanoid on demand”
August 10, 2016

liquid-metal humanoid ft

Imagine a soft liquid-metal material right out of  the T-1000 Terminator movie character. One that can morph itself into different self-propelling soft electronic circuits that act like live cells, communicating with each other.

Using a liquid metallic core* and semiconducting skin, such a soft material might be used to make instant flexible 3D electronic displays. Or morph into self-propelled biomedical diagnostic sensors, for example, reconfiguring themselves on demand, say… read more

Ultrasonic wireless ‘neural dust’ sensors monitor nerves, muscles in real time

DARPA-funded "electroceutical" devices are designed to monitor and treat patients; may also enable wireless prosthetic control
August 5, 2016

neural dust ft

University of California, Berkeley engineers have designed and built millimeter-scale device wireless, batteryless “neural dust” sensors and implanted them in muscles and peripheral nerves of rats to make in vivo electrophysiological recordings.

The new technology opens the door to “electroceuticals” — bioelectronic methods to monitor and record wireless electromyogram (EMG) signals from muscle membranes and electroneurogram (ENG) signals from local neuron electrical activity, and… read more

No, exercise does not wipe out previous memories

It also enlarges your brain and lowers dementia risk --- and why fidgeting helps prevent arterial dysfunction from sitting and improves learning
August 5, 2016

(credit: NBC --- Opening Ceremony)

A week ago on KurzweilAI, we learned that prolonged sitting may increase risk of death, but that an hour of moderate exercise a day is enough to counter health risks. Now new research suggests that such exercise results in larger brain size and lowered dementia risk, while other new research suggests that the new neurons created in that exercise preserve old memories, contrary to previous research.

Exerciseread more

IBM scientists emulate neurons with phase-change technology

Could lead to high-speed, energy-efficient neuromorphic computers for accelerated cognitive computing
August 3, 2016

An artistic rendering of a population of stochastic phase-change neurons that appears on the cover of Nature Nanotechnology, August 3, 2016. (credit: IBM Research)

Scientists at IBM Research in Zurich have developed artificial neurons that emulate how neurons spike (fire). The goal is to create energy-efficient, high-speed, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic (brain-like) technologies for applications in cognitive computing, such as unsupervised learning for detecting and analyzing patterns.

Applications could include internet of things sensors that collect and analyze volumes of weather data for faster forecasts and detecting patterns in financial transactions, for… read more

Eating more plant protein associated with lower risk of death

August 1, 2016

Some high-protein plant-based foods (credit: iStock)

Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death, while eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death — especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking, and being overweight or sedentary — according to an open-access survey article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mingyang Song, M.D., Sc.D., of… read more

Miniature portable device produces biopharmaceuticals on demand at point-of-care

System will use microbes for manufacturing small amounts of vaccines and other therapeutics
August 1, 2016

Microbioreactor, a polycarbonate-PDMS membrane-polycarbonate sandwiched chip with active microfluidic circuits that are equipped for pneumatic routing of reagents, precise peristaltic injection, growth chamber mixing, and fluid extraction. (credit: Pablo Perez-Pinera et al./Nature Communications)

MIT researchers with DARPA funding have developed a portable device for manufacturing a range of biopharmaceuticals on demand, virtually anywhere.

For medics on the battlefield and doctors in remote or developing parts of the world, getting rapid access to the drugs needed to treat patients can be challenging. That’s because biopharmaceutical drugs, which are used in a wide range of therapies including vaccines and treatments… read more

Study reveals new measure of intelligence involving temporal variability of brain areas

Results could be applied to building advanced deep neural networks and treating mental-health patients
August 1, 2016

Whole-brain temporal (time) variability is high in areas associated with intelligence and low in sensory cortices (credit: Jie Zhang et al./Brain)

A new study of human intelligence by University of Warwick researchers and associates at nine universities in China and NEC Laboratories America has quantified the brain’s dynamic functions, identifying how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times, they reported in the journal Brain.

The more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a… read more

Why prolonged sitting may increase risk of death

But an hour of moderate exercise a day is enough to counter health risks, say scientists in Lancet, based on data from 1 million men and women
July 29, 2016

DVT

American Heart Association | Signs and Symptoms of  VTE

Prolonged sitting, such as watching a lot of television every day, may increase your risk of dying from a blood clot in the lung, according to a new open-access research letter published July 26 in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

A lung blood clot (pulmonary embolism)… read more

New movie display allows for glasses-free 3-D for a theater audience

July 29, 2016

A new prototype display could show 3-D movies to any seat in a theater, with no eyewear required. (credit: Christine Daniloff / MIT)

A new “Cinema 3D” display lets audiences watch 3-D films in a movie theater without cumbersome glasses.

Developed by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Weizmann Institute of Science, the prototype display uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater.

Glasses-free 3-D already… read more

Electric brain stimulation during sleep found to enhance motor memory consolidation

May be new treatment paradigm for neurological and psychiatric disorders
July 29, 2016

Feedback-Controlled Spindle tACS ft

UNC Health Care | UNC Science Short: Sleep Spindles

University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine scientists report using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to enhance memory during sleep, laying the groundwork for a new treatment paradigm for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, offer a non-invasive method to potentially help millions of people with conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s… read more

Imaging the brain at multiple size scales

New technique can reveal both subcellular details and long-range connections
July 27, 2016

A new technique called magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), developed at MIT, allows researchers to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons. (credit: Courtesy of the researchers)

MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons.

This technique, known as “magnified analysis of proteome” (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain, says Kwanghun Chung, the… read more

Neuroscience researchers caution public about hidden risks of self-administered brain stimulation

DIY users of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seek enhanced brain function; scientific community warns of unintended results
July 27, 2016

TheBrainDriver v.2.0 tDCS device (credit: TheBrainDriver, LLC)

“Do-it-yourself” users of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seeking cognitive enhancement are exposing themselves to hidden risks, neuroscientists warn in an open-access Open Letter in the journal Annals of Neurology.

tDCS devices are made up of a band that wraps around one’s head with electrodes placed at specific scalp locations to target specific brain regions. The devices transmit varying levels of electrical current to the brain to achieve… read more

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