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Raptor robot runs at 28.58 mph, faster than any human

June 2, 2014

Raptor

Inspired by dinosaurs, Raptor is a fast-running biped robot developed by the MSC Lab at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It has two under-actuated legs and a tail inspired by velociraptors, providing stability over high obstacles.

The Raptor robot runs at a speed of 46 km/h (28.58 mph) on a treadmill with off-board power. That’s faster than the fastest human, the Olympic… read more

Self-assembling printable robotic components

June 2, 2014

MITnews_BakableRobots

Printable robotic components that, when heated, automatically self-assemble into prescribed three-dimensional configurations have been developed by MIT researchers.

Printable robots that can be assembled from parts produced by 3-D printers have long been a topic of research in the lab of Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

The printable robotic components are… read more

Teleporting information achieved by TU Delft

A key step toward a "quantum internet"
June 2, 2014

(Credit: TU Delft)

Teleporting people through space, as in Star Trek, is impossible by the laws of physics, but researchers at TU Delft‘s Kavli Institute of Nanoscience have succeeded in teleporting information.

Using quantum entanglement, they transferred the information contained in a quantum bit in a diamond to a quantum bit in another diamond three meters away, without the information having traveled through the intervening space.

The… read more

A wakeup call: what exactly should we do about near-Earth objects?

June 1, 2014

NEOs booklet

The February 2013 event near Chelyabinsk, Russia “has sparked a realization that the incoming rate of small space rocks may be much higher than previously thought, and their impact greater than previously thought,” according to Near-Earth Objects: Responding to the International Challenge, an open-access booklet just published by Secure World Foundation.

The booklet is the first to both bring together the reviews of the… read more

‘Nanodaisies’ deliver more powerful drug cocktail to cancer cells

May 30, 2014

Early tests of the “nanodaisy” drug delivery technique show promise against a number of cancers (credit: Ran Mo)

Nanoscale flower-like structures that can introduce a “cocktail” of multiple drugs into cancer cells have been developed by biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We found that this technique was much better than conventional drug-delivery techniques at inhibiting the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, senior author of the paper and… read more

A research agenda for potential ecological risks of synthetic biology

May 30, 2014

synbio7

Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have developed the first list of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, which could create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.

The Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center and the Program on Emerging Technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology convened the interdisciplinary group of scientists released the report, Creating aread more

How to make robots and self-driving cars think faster

May 30, 2014

A visual odometry algorithm uses low-latency brightness change events from a Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) and the data from a normal camera to provide absolute brightness values. The left photograph shows the camera frame, and the right photograph shows the DVS events (displayed in red and blue) plus grayscale from the camera. (Credit: A.C. and Davide Scaramuzza)

Andrea Censi, a research scientist in MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, has developed a new type of camera sensor system that can take measurements a million times a second.

The new system combines a Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) ) (to rapidly detect changes in luminance) with a conventional CMOS-camera sensor (to provide the absolute brightness values, or grayscale values).

An… read more

Google’s self-driving car prototype: no steering wheel, brake, or accelerator

May 30, 2014

Google car

Google is exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like without a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal. “Our software and sensors do all the work,” says the company.

The early prototypes have sensors that remove blind spots, and can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful on busy streets with lotsread more

Supersonic spray creates high-quality graphene layer

Could lead to Industrial-scale applications
May 29, 2014

Supersonic spray

A simple, inexpensive spray method that deposits a graphene film can heal manufacturing defects and produce a high quality graphene layer on a range of substrates, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University — an alternative to the chemical vapor deposition process developed by MIT and the University of Michigan for creating large sheets of graphene, recently reported by KurzweilAI.… read more

Researchers use light to coax stem cells to regenerate teeth

Low-level light therapy confirmed
May 29, 2014

tooth regeneration

A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue.

The research, reported in Science Translational Medicine and led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member David Mooney, Ph.D., lays the foundation for a host of clinical applications in restorative dentistry and regenerative medicine more broadly, such as wound healing, bone regeneration, and more.… read more

Brain-controlled airplanes

May 29, 2014

Project Brainflight (credit: TUM)

Pilots of the future could fly a plane by just thinking commands, say scientists at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics at Technische Universität München (TUM) and Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) involved in the EU-funded Brainflight project.

The system uses electroencephalography (EEG) to detect brain waves. An algorithm developed by scientists from Team PhyPA (Physiological Parameters for Adaptation)… read more

Improved optical brain-scanning tech rivals fMRI and PET without the risks

May 28, 2014

Research participant Britt Gott wears a cap used to image the brain via diffuse optical tomography (DOT)

Washington University School of Medicine researchers have developed a new form of brain-scanning technology that improves on diffuse optical tomography (DOT).

The new technology now allows researchers to image brain processes taking place in multiple regions and brain networks such as those involved in language processing and self-reflection (daydreaming). DOT was previously limited to small regions of the brain.

DOT avoids the radiation exposure of positron… read more

Large-scale DARPA-funded brain-research program seeks to reduce the severity of neuropsychological illness in service members and veterans

Will focus on neural plasticity, single-neuron recording, and neural stimulation
May 28, 2014

DARPA’s SUBNETS program seeks new neurotechnology for analyzing neuronal activity across sub-networks of the brain to enable next-generation therapies tailored to individual patients (credit: DARPA)

Work on DARPA’s Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program is set to officially launch on June 1, 2014, with teams led by UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The $26 million, multi-institutional research program was announced last October in support of President Obama’s Brain initiative.

The SUBNETS program seeks to reduce… read more

A new way to make large sheets of graphene

Could enable advances in display screens, solar cells, other devices
May 28, 2014

sheets-of-graphene-mit

Researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan have developed a process that lends itself to making graphene directly on materials such as large sheets of glass.

Previous processes have used tiny flakes of graphene or graphene films on metal foil, with limited success.

The new process, described in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports (open access), makes graphene on both the film’s top and… read more

Seeing sound: visual cortex processes auditory information too

May 27, 2014

Ten healthy subjects wearing blindfolds were given  solely auditory stimulation in the absence of visual stimulation. In a separate session, retinotopic mapping was performed for all subjects to define early visual areas of the brain. Sound-induced blood-oxygen-level-dependent activation patterns from these regions of interest (ROIs) were fed into a multivariate pattern analysis. (Credit: Petra Vetter, Fraser W. Smith, nd Lars Muckli/Current Biology)

University of Glasgow scientists studying brain process involved in sight have discovered that the visual cortex also uses information gleaned from the ears when viewing the world.

They suggest this auditory input enables the visual system to predict incoming information and could confer a survival advantage.

“Sounds create visual imagery, mental images, and automatic projections,” said Professor Lars Muckli, of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of… read more

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