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Blind mole rats may hold key to cancer

November 6, 2012

Palestine_Mole-rat_1

Some 23% of humans die of cancer, but blind mole rats — which can live for 21 years, an impressive age among rodents — seem to be immune to the disease.

Cell cultures from two species of blind mole rat, Spalax judaei and Spalax golani, behave in ways that render them impervious to the growth of tumors, according to work by Vera Gorbunova at the University of Rochester,… read more

Solar achieves grid parity in India and Italy, others to follow in 2014

April 8, 2013

Solar panels

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have predicted that the global solar PV sector will transition from a subsidized market to a sustainable market within a year, citing the arrival of “grid parity” in a number of key markets, unexpectedly strong demand and rebounding margins, reports Renew Economy.

The Deutsche Bank team said key markets such as India, China and the U.S. are experiencing strong demand and solar… read more

Optical nano-tweezers allow for manipulating molecules, other nanoscale objects

March 7, 2014

The image on the left is an electron beam microscopy image of the extremity of the plasmon nano-tweezers. The image on the right is a sketch illustrating the trapping of a nanoparticle in the bowtie aperture. (Credit: Institute of Photonic Sciences)

Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Catalonia have invented nano-optical tweezers capable of trapping and moving an individual nano-object in three dimensions using the force of light.

“This technique could revolutionize the field of nanoscience since, for the first time, we have shown that it is possible to trap, 3D-manipulate, and release a single nano-object without exerting any mechanical contact or other invasive action,” said Romain… read more

Memory improves for older adults using computerized brain fitness program

August 7, 2012

(Credit: Dakim Brain

UCLA researchers have found that older adults who regularly used a brain fitness program played on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills. The team studied 59 participants with an average age of 84, recruited from local retirement communities in Southern California.

The volunteers were split into two groups:  the first group used a brain fitness program for an average of 73  20-minute sessions across… read more

Google Ventures launches Glass Collective with VC firms

April 11, 2013

glass

Google Ventures is launching a new initiative to fuel the development of Google Glass called Glass Collective, in partnership with venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Forbes reports.

The three firms hope to fund a community of developers to make Google Glass the next major computing platform.

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz said Glass would become a platform… read more

Controlled atomic-layer crystal growth is ‘breakthrough’ for solar-cell efficiency

October 30, 2013

InGaN-GaN

Arizona State University and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new approach to growing indium gallium nitride (InGaN) crystals, promising “record-breaking” photovoltaic solar cell efficiencies.

Researchers previously found that the atomic separation of the crystal layers of the InGaN alloy varies, which can lead to high levels of strain, breakdowns in growth, and fluctuations in the alloy’s chemical composition.

“Being able to ease… read more

‘Electronic tongue’ identifies brands of beer with 81.9% accuracy

February 4, 2014

beer

Spanish researchers have managed to distinguish between different varieties of beer using an “electronic tongue,” with an accuracy of 81.9%.

Scientists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona used an array of 21 sensors formed from ion-selective electrodes, including some with response to cations (ammonium, sodium), others with response to anions (nitrate, chloride, etc.), and electrodes with generic (unspecified) responses.

The authors recorded the multidimensional response generated by the… read more

Cryonics photos delve into the frozen world of the immortality faithful

October 5, 2012

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The Prospect of Immortality is a six-year study by UK photographer Murray Ballard, who has traveled the world pulling back the curtain on the amateurs, optimists, businesses, and apparatuses of cryonics, the preservation of deceased humans in liquid nitrogen, Wired reports.

“It’s not a large industry,” says Ballard, who visited the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona; the Cryonics Instituteread more

Will 2D tin be the next super material for chip interconnects?

New single-layer material could go beyond graphene, conducting electricity with 100 percent efficiency at room temperature
November 25, 2013

Adding fluorine atoms (yellow) to a single layer of tin atoms (grey) should allow a predicted new material, stanene, to conduct electricity perfectly along its edges (blue and red arrows) at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). (Yong Xu/Tsinghua University; Greg Stewart/SLAC)

Move over, graphene. “Stanene” —  a single layer of tin atoms — could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

Stanene — the Latin name for tin (stannum) combined with the… read more

IBM invents ’3D nanoprinter’ for microscopic objects

April 25, 2014

AdvMatCover

IBM scientists have invented a tiny “chisel” with a nano-sized heatable silicon tip that creates patterns and structures on a microscopic scale.

The tip, similar to the kind used in atomic force microscopes, is attached to a bendable cantilever that scans the surface of the substrate material with the accuracy of one nanometer.

Unlike conventional 3D printers, by applying heat and force, the nanosized tip can… read more

Synthetic biology on ordinary paper: a new operating system

A tiny paper color test for a strain-specific Ebola virus, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or other pathogens --- no lab required
October 24, 2014

Wyss Institute scientists have embedded effective synthetic gene networks in pocket-sized slips of paper. An array of RNA–activated sensors uses visible color changing proteins to indicate presence of a targeted RNA, capable of identifying pathogens such as antibiotic–resistant bacteria and strain–specific Ebola virus. (Credit: Harvard's Wyss Institute)

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering announced Thursday (Oct. 23) a way to allow complex cellular recognition reactions to proceed outside of living cells, using pocket-sized slips of paper.

Imagine inexpensive, shippable, and accurate test kits using a pocket-sized paper diagnostic tool using saliva or a drop of blood to identify specific disease or infection — a feat that could be accomplished anywhere in the world, within minutes and… read more

All of a sudden I could see a little flash of light. It was amazing.

First implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes
September 3, 2012

Early bionic eye prototype drawing (credit: Bionics Institute)

Bionic Vision Australia researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes.

Dianne Ashworth has profound vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition. She has now received what she calls a “pre-bionic eye” implant that enables her to experience some vision.

Her implant was switched on last month at the Bionics Institute, while researchers held their breaths in… read more

A ‘Wikipedia’ for neurons

March 31, 2015

neuron types

Carnegie Mellon University | NeuroElectro.org description

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have used data mining to create neuroelectro.org, a publicly available website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing the decades worth of physiological data collected about the billions of neurons in the brain.

The site aims to help accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing this “brain big… read more

Robots master skills with ‘deep learning’ technique

UC Berkeley researchers' new algorithms enable robots to learn motor tasks by trial and error
May 22, 2015

Robot learns to put a cap on a bottle by trial and error (credit: UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley researchers have developed new algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks by trial and error, using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn.

They demonstrated their technique, a type of reinforcement learning, by having a robot complete various tasks — putting a clothes hanger on a rack, assembling a toy plane, screwing a cap on a water bottle, and more — without pre-programmed… read more

New research supports the huge potential of tidal power

January 18, 2013

Artist’s impression of a tidal turbine array (credit: Phil. Trans. R. Soc)

A global group of scientists and engineers, including from the University of Southampton, has published in a special issue journal of the Royal Society in support of tidal power, which has the potential to provide more than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand, they calculate.

While the predictable nature of tides makes them an ideal renewable energy source, more so than wind, the… read more

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