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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

Quantum engineers make a major step towards a scalable quantum computer

Quantum interference on a chip
February 3, 2014

(Credit: Nature)

Scientists and engineers from an international collaboration led by Mark Thompson from the University of Bristol have, for the first time, generated and manipulated single photons on a silicon chip — a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer, achieved by shrinking down key components and integrating them onto a silicon microchip, according to the researchers.

Previous attempts have required external… read more

U.S. launches three biodefense centers

June 19, 2012


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded contracts for the creation of three new centers tasked with responding to the threat of future pandemics and biological attacks, Nature News Blog reports.

Based in Maryland, North Carolina and Texas, the three “Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing” are the first tangible result of a review concluded by HHS in 2010.

It… read more

Underground ocean on Titan, alien life on Phobos?

June 29, 2012


Saturn’s moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell in a hidden ocean at depth, data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have revealed.

The evidence is tidal, according to Luciano Iess, the paper’s lead author and a Cassini team member at the Sapienza University in Rome. Saturn’s powerful gravity stretches and deforms Titan as the moon moves around the gas giant planet. If Titan were… read more

These robots install solar panels

Reducing labor costs could help make solar power more affordable
July 25, 2012


Companies such as PV Kraftwerker and Gehrlicher in Germany are developing mobile robots that can automatically install ground-mounted solar panels day and night, in all sorts of weather, Technology Review reports.

The main idea is to save money on labor, which accounts for a growing fraction of the cost of solar power as panels get cheaper.

According to PV Kraftwerker, a construction… read more

Brazil aims to clone endangered animals

November 14, 2012


Conservationists in Brazil are poised to try cloning eight animals that are under pressure, including jaguars and maned wolves, New Scientist reports.

None of the targeted animals are critically endangered, but Brazil’s agricultural research agency, Embrapa, wants a headstart. Working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, it has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostlyread more

Baby’s life saved with 3D printed device to restore breathing

May 24, 2013

A baby’s life was saved with this groundbreaking 3-D printed device that restored his breathing (credit: University of Michigan Health System)

A bioresorbable splint used for first time, successfully stopped life-threatening tracheobronchomalacia, a case featured in New England Journal of Medicine.

Every day, a baby, Kaiba, stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. Parents April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly.

They found hope at the University of Michigan, where a new, bioresorbable device that could help Kaiba was… read more

Solar power much cheaper to produce than most analysts realize, study finds

December 13, 2011

The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen’s University. The real cost in 2011 is under $1 per watt for solar panels purchased in bulk on the global market, he says.

“Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don’t consider recent technological advancements and price reductions,”… read more

Wave-particle duality visualized in quantum movie

March 27, 2012

interference pattern

An international team of scientists has shot a video that shows the build-up of a matter-wave interference pattern from single dye molecules. The pattern is so large (up to 0.1 mm), it can been seen with a video camera.

The video visualizes the dualities of particle and wave, randomness and determinism, and locality and delocalization in an intuitive way.

Physicist Richard Feynman once claimed that… read more

Can a picture inflate the perceived truth of true and false claims?

Scientists discover the truth behind Colbert’s 'truthiness'
August 9, 2012

Stephen Colbert (credit: The Colbert Report)

Trusting research over their guts, scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined the phenomenon that Stephen Colbert, comedian and news satirist, calls “truthiness” — the feeling that something is true.

In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim.

“We wanted to examine how the kinds of photos… read more

Planet found in star system nearest Earth

Earth-mass exoplanet found orbiting Alpha Centauri B
October 17, 2012


European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the star system nearest Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun.

The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Alpha Centauri is one of… read more

Does future hold ‘Avatar’-like bodies for us?

October 18, 2011

Dmitry Itskov introduced his “Project Immortality 2045: Russian Experience” at the Singularity Summit in New York, reports MSNBC’s Innovation blog.  His plans include creating a humanoid avatar body within five to seven years, transplanting a human brain into a new “body B” in 10 to 15 years, digitally uploading a human brain’s consciousness in 20 to 25 years, and moving human consciousness to hologram-like bodies… read more

A ‘shockingly bright’ gamma-ray burst

May 7, 2013

Swift's X-Ray Telescope took this 0.1-second exposure of GRB 130427A at 3:50 a.m. EDT on April 27, just moments after Swift and Fermi triggered on the outburst. The image is 6.5 arcminutes across. (Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler)

A record-setting blast of gamma rays from a dying star in a galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years away has wowed astronomers around the world — the highest-energy light ever detected from such an event.

At 3:47 a.m. EDT, April 27, Fermi’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) triggered on an eruption, designated GRB 130427A, of high-energy light in the constellation Leo.

The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) recorded one gamma ray… read more

Company unveils DNA sequencing device meant to be portable, disposable and cheap

February 18, 2012


DNA sequencing is becoming both faster and cheaper. Now, it is also becoming tinier.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies said on Friday that by the end of 2012 it would begin selling a “pay-as-you-go” disposable gene sequencing device that is the size of a USB memory stick and plugs into a laptop computer to deliver its results.

The less-than-$900 MinION device could allow small sequencing jobs to be done by… read more

The billionaire who is planning his 125th birthday

March 8, 2012

David Howard Murdock

David Murdock, age 87, wants to reach 125, and sees no reason he can’t, provided that he continues eating the way he has for the last quarter century: with a methodical, messianic correctness that he believes can, and will, ward off major disease and minor ailment alike.

He has spent some $500 million of his fortune in recent years to construct the North Carolina Research Campus, a scientific center… read more

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