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Custom-made ultrathin carbon nanomembranes

Could be used for filtering toxins from the air, for example
August 26, 2013

nanomembranes - featured

Bielefeld University researchers have developed a new way to produce a variety of carbon nanomembranes (CNM) from self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). The CNMs consist of just one layer of molecules, with a thickness of ∼0.5 to ∼3 nm. — much thinner than conventional membranes

In the future, CNMs are expected to be able to filter out very fine materials and allow for separating gases from one… read more

How to reconstruct from brain images which letter a person was reading

August 24, 2013

Each letter is predicted using models trained on fMRI data for the remaining letter classes to improve the reconstructions.

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at.

They did that by analyzing the corresponding functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanned images of activity in the visual cortex of the brain, using a linear Gaussian mathematical model.

The researchers “taught” the model how 1200 voxels (volumetric pixels) of 2x2x2 mm from the… read more

Brain circuit that controls anxiety levels discovered

Research could help find better drugs to treat anxiety.
August 23, 2013

The tips of long neuronal extensions from the amygdala (green) contact neurons of the hippocampus (blue). This communication pathway helps to modulate anxiety. (Credit: Ada Felix-Ortiz)

Researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory  have discovered a communication pathway between two brain structures — the amygdala and the ventral hippocampus — that appears to control anxiety levels.

By turning the volume of this communication up and down in mice, the researchers were able to boost and reduce anxiety levels. The research could help find better drugs to treat… read more

NASA spacecraft reactivated to hunt for asteroids

August 23, 2013

This artist's concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. In September of 2013, engineers will attempt to bring the mission out of hibernation to hunt for more asteroids and comets in a project called NEOWISE. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA will revive the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) next month with the goal of discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs), space rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) from Earth’s path around the sun.

NASA anticipates WISE will use its 16-inch (40-centimeter) telescope and infrared cameras to discover about 150 previously unknown NEOs and characterize the… read more

New imagery of NASA’s asteroid mission released

August 23, 2013

Astronaut on asteroid - featured

NASA released Thursday new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned mission to find, capture, redirect, and study a near-Earth asteroid.

The images show crew operations including the Orion spacecraft’s trip to and rendezvous with the relocated asteroid, and astronauts maneuvering through a spacewalk to collect samples from the asteroid.

NASA plans to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation, and to find potentially… read more

How to print wall-sized displays

August 22, 2013


Adapting conventional printing technology, UC Berkeley researchers have developed a way to rapidly and inexpensively make uniform arrays of high-performing transistors out of carbon nanotubes on flexible plastic sheets, MIT Technology Review reports.

The process could eventually lead to a tool for manufacturing large-area, low-power sensor arrays and displays.

Thin-film transistors made from carbon nanotubes are attractive for these types of applications because they are robust and mechanically… read more

Iris, a ready-to-fly UAV quadcopter

August 22, 2013


3D Robotics (3DR) has announced Iris — an advanced quadcopter with full GPS-guided autonomous capabilities.

Iris is designed to provide an “out-of-the-box” flying experience that brings the power of professional-grade aerial robotics to the mass market, the company says.

Iris can be controlled by an Android tablet or phone (iOS coming soon) or through a nine-channel radio control transmitter (included). With a mobile app,… read more

3D graphene could replace expensive platinum in solar cells

August 22, 2013

A field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) image of 3D honeycomb-structured graphene. The novel material can replace platinum in dye-sensitized solar cells with virtually no loss of generating capacity. Hui Wang image

Michigan Technological University, scientists have replaced expensive ($1,500 an ounce) platinum in solar cells with low-cost 3D graphene.

Regular graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon. Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Caroll McArthur Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MTU, and his team invented a way to synthesize a 3D version, with a honeycomb-like structure.

The 3D graphene had excellent conductivity and high… read more

Should we use iris images for positive identification?

August 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A new report by biometric researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used data from thousands of frequent travelers enrolled in an iris recognition program to determine that no consistent change occurs in the distinguishing texture of their irises for at least a decade.

The new study counters a previous study of 217 subjects over a three-year period that… read more

NSA scans 75% of the Internet

August 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the existence of several NSA programs that allow for far greater surveillance than the government has admitted to, and, importantly, detail how the government forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over raw data, TechCrunch reports.

The programs have the ability to “reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic,” according to the Journal, “including a wide array of… read more

Project Loon looking for Internet-by-balloon testers in central California

August 21, 2013


Project Loon is looking for folks in California’s Central Valley who are willing to have a Loon Internet antenna installed on their house or small business building to help test the strength of the Loon Internet balloon connection, Google has announced on Google+.

“When  balloons fly overhead, the Loon Internet antennas will generate traffic that will load-test our service,” Google says.

Google is… read more

Will Google sell ‘pay-per-gaze’ advertising with Google Glass?

August 21, 2013


Google has been granted a patent that appears to reveal some far-reaching plans for the eye-tracking sensor that exists — but currently isn’t formally used — on Google Glass, Marketing Land suggests.

In the patent, Google is calling it “pay-per-gaze” advertising, and it involves charging advertisers if the user looks at an ad — online or offline — while wearing a Glass-like device.

The… read more

New biochip could quickly triage people after radiation exposure

August 21, 2013

Scientists are developing a portable device that can measure a person's radiation exposure in minutes using radiation-induced changes in the concentrations of certain blood proteins. This image shows a magneto-nanosensor chip reader station, chip cartridge, and chip. (Credit: S. Wang)

Berkeley Lab scientists have helped to develop a biochip that could quickly determine whether someone has been exposed to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation.

The first-of-its-kind chip has an array of nanosensors that measure the concentrations of proteins that change after radiation exposure.

Although still under development, the technology could lead to a hand-held device that “lights up” if a person needs medical attention… read more

An autonomous quadcopter piloted by a smartphone

August 20, 2013


A completely autonomous quadcopter has been designed at the Vienna University of Technology, with computing power and imaging provided by a smartphone.

The smartphone  camera provides the visual data and its processor acts as the control center. And the navigation intelligence was coded in a smartphone app. A microcontroller adjusts the rotor speed, so that the quadcopter flies as steadily as possible.

The quadcopter… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013


A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

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