People with paralysis control robotic arms using brain-computer interface

May 17, 2012

The sensor technology was developed in part for investigational use in humans by the BrainGate collaboration, a research team that includes Brown, Case Western Reserve University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Providence VA Medical Center, and Stanford University.</p>
<p>The technology is being used in ongoing pilot clinical trials, and was used previously in a study led by Brown neuroengineer Leigh Hochberg in which people with tetraplegia were able to operate a robotic arm simply by thinking about the movement of their own hand. (credit: Brown University)

On April 12, 2011, nearly 15 years after she became paralyzed and unable to speak, a woman controlled a robotic arm by thinking about moving her arm and hand to lift a bottle of coffee to her mouth and take a drink, using the BrainGate neural interface system.

That achievement is one of the advances in brain-computer interfaces, restorative neurotechnology, and assistive robot technology by the BrainGate2… read more

New microscopy method visualizes microtubules in cells of living fish

May 17, 2012

Under green fluorescent light, cell structures, here microtubuli, can be observed in living fish embryos (credit: NIH, KIT)

A new hybrid method to visualize cell structures in living fish larvae has been developed by researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The zebrafish is perfectly suited for genetic studies of cells, as its larvae are completely transparent,” explains Marina Mione of KIT.

Microtubules, a key… read more

Introducing Google’s Knowledge Graph

May 17, 2012


Google has launched the Knowledge Graph, which it says will help you discover new information quickly and easily, according to the Official Google Blog.

Think of it as Google + Wikipedia + Wolfram Alpha + Bing.

Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine, the words [taj mahal]… read more

Rapid-fire single photons for quantum information processing

May 17, 2012

(A) A cold dense sample of atomic 87Rb is prepared in a 1-D optical lattice. The lattice is turned off for the experimental sequence, in which nearly counter-propagating 475 nm (Ω1) and 795 nm (Ω2) light fields excite a spin wave between the ground |5s1/2〉 and a Rydberg |ns1/2〉 level. After a variable delay, a read-out pulse of 475 nm light (Ω3) converts the Rydberg spin wave into a light field. A Hanbury Brown-Twiss setup of a beamsplitter BS followed by two detectors D1 and D2 is used to measure the second-order intensity correlation function g(2)(0) of the idler field. (B) Relevant 87Rb energy levels. Electronic, hyperfine, and Zeeman quantum numbers are shown. The detuning from the intermediate |5p1/2〉 level is Δ1=−40 MHz; the detuning Δ2 is varied for the data in Fig. 2A, otherwise it is fixed at the two-photon resonance |5s1/2, F=2〉↔ |ns1/2, m=±1/2〉 between the ground level and one of the Zeeman sub-levels of the Rydberg level (|Δ2| ≈ 6 MHz).

Researchers at Georgia Tech have used lasers to reliably and individually produce single photons from individual atoms in a cloud of ultra-cooled rubidium gas.

Single photons are an essential element for guaranteed secure communications in quantum cryptography — where an attacker can use extra or stray photons to eavesdrop on a message — and to address individual qubits in quantum memory architectures, where single atoms may serve as… read more

‘Grexit’: Are Greece’s euro fears causing a $1-billion bank run?

May 17, 2012


Greek officials are cobbling together an emergency plan after talks to form a coalition government disintegrated Tuesday. In the meantime, Greeks have withdrawn $900 million from local banks.

With Greece in deep political turmoil (some are even talking apocalyptically of civil war) after voters backed an incoherent constellation of anti-austerity parties, European central bankers and finance ministers have been warning it that its departure from the euro is inevitable if it does… read more

Quantum entanglement in spin qubits demonstrated for the first time

May 17, 2012

A schematic of the electronic charge configurations --- the basis for the electrostatic coupling between the qubits

Harvard scientists have demonstrated quantum entanglement between two spin qubits for the first time, using electrostatic interaction between electrons.

Spin qubits are tiny droplets of free electrons created within quantum dots, small devices fabricated from standard semiconductor materials.

Spin qubits have several advantages as elements in a quantum computer: they operate at room temperature (unlike other devices, which require extremely low temperatures and expensive support systems), they can… read more

Graphite enters different states of matter in ultrafast experiment

May 17, 2012


For the first time, scientists have seen an X-ray-irradiated mineral go to two different states of matter in about 40 femtoseconds (a femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second).

Using the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford, Stefan Hau-Riege of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and colleagues heated graphite to induce a transition from solid to… read more

3-telescope interferometry allows astrophysicists to observe how black holes are fueled

May 18, 2012

This is an artist's view of a dust torus surrounding the accretion disk and the central black hole in active galactic nuclei (credit: NASA E/PO - Sonoma State University, Aurore Simonnet (http://epo.sonoma.edu/))

By combining the light of three powerful infrared telescopes, an international research team has observed the active accretion phase of a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy tens of millions of light years away, yielding an unprecedented amount of data for such observations.

The resolution at which they were able to observe this highly luminescent active galactic nucleus (AGN) has given them direct confirmation of how… read more

Enhanced cosmetics

May 18, 2012


Growing demand for “enhanced cosmetics” is fostering research on micro-capsules and other technology to package those ingredients in creams, lotions and other products to take advantage of a global market valued at $425 billion in 2011.

To meet that demand, chemical companies are looking for better ways to encapsulate these additives — which can reduce inflammation, repair hair or prevent wrinkles — to stop them from breaking down in… read more

MIT creates amazing UI from levitating orbs

May 18, 2012


In The Avengers, Tony Stark manipulates objects in thin air. MIT Media Lab researchers Jinha Lee and  Rehmi Post have actually created a similar tactile user interface for manipulating real floating objects in 3D space, called the ZeroN.

It’s essentially a small field in which gravity doesn’t overcome an object. Through the efforts of finely tuned electromagnetism, a user can place a metal ball in midair as easily… read more

A mind to walk again

May 18, 2012


Dr. José Contreras-Vidal of the University of Houston has designed a pair of bionic legs that respond directly to signals from the brain.

The problem with the current brain-computer interface approach — implanting electrodes into a brain, as in the BrainGate2 system, is that it’s a dangerous procedure and can also lead to infections. It also requires a bulky hardware system.

Contreras-Vidal’s approach gets round these difficulties by… read more

Cognitive software captures experts’ performance on flight simulators

May 18, 2012

Debrief Tool With Automated Event Flagging. The debrief tool used in the experiment displays a video replay of the operator console (similar to this map display), and a timeline of events suggested by AEMASE for discussion during debrief. The tool also includes visualizations of entity movement over time. (Credit: S. M. Stevens-Adams et al.)

Navy pilots and other flight specialists soon will have a new “smart machine” installed in training simulators that learns from expert instructors to more efficiently train their students.

Sandia National Laboratories’ Automated Expert Modeling & Student Evaluation (AEMASE, pronounced “amaze”) is being provided to the Navy as a component of flight simulators.

Components are now being used to train Navy personnel to fly H-60 helicopters and… read more

Mapping damaged connections in Phineas Gage’s brain

May 18, 2012

(Credit: )

In 1848, Phineas Gage, the supervisor for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad in Vermont was using a 13-pound, 3-foot-7-inch rod to pack blasting powder into a rock when he triggered an explosion that drove the rod through his left cheek and out of the top of his head.

Miraculously, Gage lived, becoming the most famous case in the history of neuroscience because of the injury’s reported effects on his personality… read more

How telecom convergence may widen the digital divide

May 18, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Technology is helping communication companies merge telephone, television and Internet services, but a push to deregulate may leave some customers on the wrong side of the digital divide during this convergence, according to a Penn State telecommunications researcher.

“Moving away from copper lines is an example of abandoning obsolete technology and embracing technology that is faster, better, cheaper and more convenient,” said Rob Frieden, Pioneers Chair in… read more

Googling cancer: search algorithms can scan disease for patient risk

May 18, 2012

Network showing genes that are regulated by FOS and SP1. It contains many literature-associated and highly correlated genes. Genes reported in the literature associated with pancreatic cancer survival are represented with larger circles. The absolute correlation coefficient of gene expression with survival in the screening dataset is shown in red.


The algorithm Google uses to rank search results can now scan cancers to see which molecules best reveal the risks patients face, researchers have found, Txchnologist reports.

By seeing how proteins are linked in a kind of molecular Facebook, search engine algorithms could also help unearth new targets for drugs to help combat tumors, investigators added.


The algorithm Google uses… read more

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