science + technology news

Scientists use stem cells to grow new human hair in the lab

Next step: transplant stem-cell-derived human dermal papilla cells back into human subjects (any volunteers?)
January 28, 2015

Sanford-Burnham scientists grew human dermal papillae cells from stem cells. (credit: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute)

A method for initiating human hair growth — using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells — has been developed by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) researchers.

Their idea is to coax human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells — a unique population of cells that regulate hair-follicle formation and growth cycle. (Human dermal papilla cells on their own are… read more

Germany to tap brakes on high-speed trading

October 29, 2012

hft_chart

Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.

The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if… read more

Spintronics advance brings wafer-scale quantum devices closer to reality

June 25, 2015

Light polarizes silicon nuclear spins within a silicon carbide chip. This image portrays the nuclear spin of one of the atoms shown in the full crystal lattice below. (credit: Courtesy of Peter Allen)

Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering have taken a crucial step toward nuclear spintronic technologies that use the “spin” — or magnetization — of atomic nuclei to store and process information. The new technologies could be used for ultra-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging, advanced gyroscopes, and quantum computers.

The researchers used infrared light to make nuclear spins line themselves up in a consistent,… read more

How to build a bionic man

January 31, 2013

Face of a bionic man

Rex the bionic man shows how close technology is to catching up with — and exceeding — the abilities of the human body, The Guardian reports.

Housed within a frame of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs is a functional heart-lung system, complete with artificial blood pumping through a network of pulsating modified-polymer arteries.

He has a bionic spleen to clean the blood, and an artificial pancreas to keep… read more

DARPA flight test of world’s fastest aircraft fails

August 12, 2011

Falcon HTV-2 (credit: DARPA)

In its second flight test, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) fastest (13,000 mph) aircraft ever built, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), was successfully inserted into the desired trajectory at near-orbital speed, but the flight  ended in loss of signal (and control) when the aircraft transitioned to Mach 20 (about 13,000 mph) aerodynamic flight around nine minutes into the flight, DARPA… read more

Sal Khan’s ‘Academy’ sparks a tech revolution in education

May 31, 2012

salman_khan

Salman Khan’s simply narrated, faceless home videos on everything from algebra to French history have been viewed half a billion times.

Last year, a number of schools began “flipping” their classrooms, having students study Khan videos by night and do homework with teachers by day.

His staff has been ramped up to 32, including the recent high-profile addition of Google’s first hired employee, programming ace Craig Silverstein. The staff’s… read more

NASA Mars rover fully analyzes first soil samples

December 5, 2012

curiosity_trenches_mars

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil, including water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances.

The rover’s laboratory includes the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite and the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. SAM used three methods to analyze gases given off from the dusty… read more

Drug-delivery nanoparticles mimic white blood cells to avoid immune rejection

February 4, 2013

Camouflaged nanoparticles (yellow) cloaked in the membranes of white blood cells rest on the surface of an immune system cell (phagocyte, blue) without being recognized, ingested, and destroyed (credit: Methodist Hospital, Houston)

Scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute have found a possible way to fool the immune system to prevent it from recognizing and destroying nanoparticles before they deliver their drug payloads.

“Our goal was to make a particle that is camouflaged within our bodies and escapes the surveillance of the immune system to reach its target undiscovered,” said Department of Medicine Co-Chair Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D.,… read more

The ‘birdman’ is FAKE: Filmmaker behind wing suit flight video admits footage was a hoax and says it was ‘online storytelling’

March 22, 2012

flyinglikeabird

The Dutch “bird man” who posted a video showing a successful “test flight” of a wing suit contraption has admitted that the amazing feat was a hoax all along.

Viewers became sceptical after it emerged that no scientists actually knew “Jarno Smeets,” who claimed to have created the technology.

Now Smeets has confessed that he is actually a “filmmaker and animator” named Floris Kaayk, and… read more

Transhuman week: exploring the frontiers of human enhancement

September 5, 2012

Ekso exoskeleton

Wired U.K.‘s Transhuman Week seeks to navigate transhumanist issues through a series of features, galleries and expert guest posts from September 3 to 7.

Transhumanism explores the application of technology and science to enhance human bodies and minds regardless of whether they are perceived to have any disabilities, and extending human life. It  may include low-level biohacking, physical augmentation, performance-enhancing drugs and even genetic modification.

The London 2012… read more

Scientists and bankers — a new model army

April 12, 2012

450px-New_York_City_Stock_Exchange_NYSE_03

Bankers must surrender more information on their activities to scientists to use it to build better system-wide financial models, says John Liechty, director of the Center for the Study of Global Financial Stability and Professor of Marketing and Statistics at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Existing financial models failed to predict the crisis of 2008 and the follow-on crisis of 2011–12. They missed the huge system-wide risks that… read more

Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium aims to tackle neurodegenerative disease

July 27, 2012

NeuronsandTangles-NIA2

A coalition of academic researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and state government is coming together to confront the challenge of curing neurodegenerative disease.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from neurodegenerative diseases. For most, diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s attack slowly and lead us down a slope of gradually deteriorating mental or physical function that current scientific methods are able to diagnose only after debilitating symptoms have set in, and not… read more

This is your brain on freestyle rap

November 19, 2012

Open Mike Eagle (credit: Mush Records)

Researchers in the voice, speech, and language branch of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of rappers when they are “freestyling” — spontaneously improvising lyrics in real time.

Published online in the November 15 issue of the journal Scientific Reports (open access), the findings… read more

Nontoxic, traceable nanoparticles may be the next weapon in cancer treatment

March 8, 2013

Theranostic NPs (hydrophobic segments are visual-<br />
ized in green and hydrophilic segments in blue)

Swedish scientists have developed “theranostic” (having both a therapeutic and diagnostic function) nanoparticles that can carry cancer drugs to tumor cells without toxicity and are biodegradable and traceable (can be seen in MRI images).

The nanoparticles were developed by a team including KTH Royal Institute of Technology Professor Eva Malmström-Jonsson, from the School of Chemical Science and researchers at Sweden’s Chalmer’s University and the Karolinska… read more

How to detect emotions remotely with wireless signals

September 23, 2016

emotion detection

MITCSAIL | EQ-Radio: Emotion Recognition using Wireless Signals

MIT researchers from have developed “EQ-Radio,” a device that can detect a person’s emotions using wireless signals.

By measuring subtle changes in breathing and heart rhythms, EQ-Radio is 87 percent accurate at detecting if a person is excited, happy, angry or sad — and can do so without on-body sensors, according to the researchers.

MIT professor and project lead… read more

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