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Practical Cloaking Devices On The Horizon?

August 11, 2008

University of California, Berkeley scientists have created a multilayered, “fishnet” metamaterial that unambiguously exhibits negative refractive index, allowing for invisibility in three dimensions for the first time, Nature magazine plans to report this week.

Robot explores abandoned mines

June 15, 2003

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have demonstrated a wheeled robot in an abandoned coal mine. Named Groundhog, it is equipped with an array of cameras, gas, tilt and sinkage sensors, laser scanners and a gyroscope to help it surmount the obstacles it may encounter in mines.

The robot uses perception technology to build maps from sensor data. It must make its own decisions about where to go, how to get… read more

New tasks become as simple as waving a hand with brain-computer interfaces

A new marker for BCI task learning
June 13, 2013

This image shows the changes that took place in the brain for all patients participating in the study using a brain-computer interface. Changes in activity were distributed widely throughout the brain. (Credit: University of Washington)

Small brain-computer interface (BCI) electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions.

This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease.

Now, University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that… read more

Real-Time Search

April 22, 2010

Google is on a quest to track and rank real-time (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) data to incorporate it into search results.

Google continuously scans for shifts in language and other deviations from predicted behavior. For example, users whose tweets are often retweeted by other users, or Facebook users with more friends can generally be assumed to have more authority.

Low-Calorie Diet May Lead to Longer Life

April 5, 2006

A low-calorie diet, even in people who are not obese, can lead to changes in metabolism and body chemistry that have been linked to better health and longer life, researchers are reporting.

A six-month study published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that calorie restriction led to decreases in insulin levels and body temperature. Both are considered signs of longevity, partly because an earlier study… read more

Hollywood Hair is Captured at Last

August 15, 2008
The left two images demonstrate different aspects of a real hairstyle that the computer scientists captured. The third image from left is the reference photograph of the real hairstyle. The new algorithms created the image on the right, which has photorealistic highlights and texture, even through there are no photographs that were taken at that angle.

UC San Diego, Adobe, and MIT researchers have developed a new method for accurately capturing the shape and appearance of a person’s hairstyle for use in animated films and video games.

The researchers captured about 2,500 real-world images of hair using 16 cameras, 150 light sources and three projectors arranged in a dome setup. With this data, the computer scientists determined the physical position and orientation of… read more

New Technique May Simplify Nanotech Manufacturing

June 26, 2003

Researchers have successfully grown silicon nanowires directly on a sensor surface at room temperature, instead of requiring a furnace heated to between 600 and 1,000 degrees Celsius.

The method localizes the heating to the areas where they want the nanowires to grow by passing a current through specific sections of a microchip.

They successfully manufactured silicon wires up to 10 micrometers long and between 30 and 80 nanometers… read more

MEMS device generates power from body heat

April 30, 2010

Thermoelectric power generator

A team of researchers from Singapore has developed an energy-harvesting device using stacked thermocouples that generates a few microwatts of electrical power from body heat or any environment where there is a temperature gradient.

By accumulating this energy over time, it could be used to prolong the battery life of electronic devices such as pressure sensors, and also recycle heat generated from the devices during operation. By… read more

Paint-on laser brings optical computing closer

April 20, 2006

A laser created by simply painting a solution of crystals onto glass could be used to make super-fast computers that use light instead of electricity. The technology could also provide cheap sensors for biomedical and motoring applications.

The researchers made the laser by painting a thin tube of glass with a solution of quantum dots, which produce a laser beam when a “pump” beam of normal light is shined… read more

Watson vs Venter: the loser is race-based medicine

August 21, 2008

A new comparison of the publicly available genome sequences of James Watson and Craig Venter indicates that skin color doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the rest of their genome or how they’ll respond to drugs or which drugs they’ll respond to, says Venter.

But the availability of cheap genetic testing — and soon complete individual genome sequencing — means that such personalized information will become increasingly important in… read more

Light pipes track motion

July 8, 2003

Researchers at Duke University have devised a simple tracking method that promises to dramatically reduce the computing resources needed for computer vision systems that allow computers and robots to sense their surroundings.

The researchers’ method dispenses with the complicated software and lenses and instead maps the angles of light radiating from a source by channeling the light through set of pipes onto a set of light detectors. As an… read more

How To Take Photographs Through Opaque Objects

May 6, 2010

Opague Imaging

Langevin Institute physicists have devised a way to reconstruct randomly scattered images to allow pictures to be transmitted (or viewed) through certain kinds of opaque objects.

Just send several known wavefronts through the material and record how they are distorted. The “transmission matrix” (how light is scattered by the opaque medium) can be deduced from the difference between the projected and transmittted wavefronts. Then send the inverse of the… read more

Battery electrodes self-assembled by viruses

May 4, 2006

Genetically modified viruses that assemble into electrodes could one day revolutionize battery manufacturing.

The MIT team genetically modified viruses to create the electrodes. They introduced snippets of single-stranded DNA that caused the viruses to manufacture specific molecules on their outer coating that attach to cobalt ions and gold particles. This combination turns the virus into an efficient anode as they provide an ideal conduit for electrons.

A Helping Hand for Surgery

August 28, 2008
(Timothy Leong/JHU)

Johns Hopkins University researchers have developed a tiny handlike gripper that can grasp tissue or cell samples and could make it easier for doctors to perform minimally invasive surgery, such as biopsies.

The device curls its “fingers” around an object when triggered chemically, and it can be moved around remotely with a magnet.

Nano-tool breakthrough enables ‘world’s smallest robots’

July 17, 2003
Controlled by a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or laser, multiple "micro-robots" can "walk" or grip and manipulate nanoscale objects as small as 100 nanometers. The SEM can also monitor their actions.

A new patented electron-beam “micro-robot” technology was announced today by Technology Innovations and Innovation On Demand, which have been issued U.S. Patent No. 6,588,208, “Wireless Technique for Microactivation.”

The breakthrough idea was to use focused beams of electron-beam or laser energy to wirelessly heat shape memory alloy (SMA) material. This bends when heated, causing movement. By eliminating bulky batteries and wires, microactuators can now be… read more

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