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Shocked into walking

February 4, 2002

A partially paralysed man is walking with the help of tiny electric shocks to his spine. With training, doctors hope to help other paraplegics walk again.
The University of Arkansas team planted electrodes in his lower back and gave low-level electrical stimulation.
After months of training, the patient can now walk up to a kilometer. The stimulation method involves reactivating an innate walking program in the spinal cord that coordinates… read more

Shocking cancer treatment may also yield weapon

March 5, 2009

A technique using 60-nanosecond pulses thought to be a promising cancer treatment is also being investigated by Old Dominion University as the basis for a Taser-like weapon that stuns for longer.

Shocking Cells Into Submission

June 6, 2003

A new treatment called electroporation uses pulses of electric current to force cells to accept DNA, which is designed to fight HIV, cardiovascular disease and other maladies.

Shocking Way to Transform Waste

March 16, 2004

For the first time, a microbial fuel cell has generated electricity while cleaning wastewater, a development that could make sewage treatment more affordable for both industrialized and developing nations. While a typical fuel cell runs on hydrogen, a microbial fuel cell relies on bacteria to metabolize food, releasing electrons that yield a steady electrical current. The fuel for this particular microbial fuel cell was skimmed from the settling pond of… read more

Shoe power

April 11, 2011

Rubber Generator

Bioengineers from the University of Auckland have developed cheap, lightweight rubber power generators that could harvest power if embedded in shoes.

The generators are built with dielectric elastomer generator technology that uses the movements of a flexible, non-conductive material to build up charge in attached electrodes.

A single 110-millimeter-wide, plunger-shaped generator is capable of producing 10 milliwatts of power. The researchers say that the flexible, integrated rubber components… read more

Shoes and sheets get wired

December 26, 2002

“Electrotextiles” woven with wires and electronic devices are being fashioned into speedometer shoes, chameleon curtains. singing shirts, and to measure footfalls, detect explosions and spot smuggling. “Soft keypads” allow wearers to control remote devices. And antennas can be woven in.

Gadgets could be next: clothes and woven-in sensors could record athletes’ heart rate, hydration and blood sugar levels.

Shooting clouds with lasers triggers electrical discharge

April 15, 2008

French and German researchers have used an ultra-high-power, five terawatt mobile laser to trigger electrical activity in storm clouds over New Mexico.

The beams created channels of ionized molecules known as “filaments” that conduct electricity through clouds. The researchers say enhancements could achieve thunderbolts.

Shooting for Space

October 7, 2003

Cisco and its partners, including NASA, have launched a router into low Earth orbit as a test of extending the Internet into space.

Space-based routers could be used to tie the military’s myriad networks together and the government’s research networks together so that personnel on land, in the air or at sea can communicate directly.

Cisco also sees private-sector enterprise and consumer applications.

Short Mental Workouts May Slow Decline of Aging Minds, Study Finds

December 26, 2006

Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body.

Older adults who did the basic exercises followed by later sessions were three times as fast as those who got… read more

Short probabilistic programming machine-learning code replaces complex programs for computer-vision tasks

April 13, 2015

Two-dimensional images of human faces (top row) and front views of three-dimensional models of the same faces, produced by both a new MIT system (middle row) and one of its predecessors (bottom row). (credit: Courtesy of the researchers)

Probabilistic programming does in 50 lines of code what used to take thousands

On some standard computer-vision tasks, short programs — less than 50 lines long — written in a probabilistic programming language are competitive with conventional systems with thousands of lines of code, MIT researchers have found.

Most recent advances in artificial intelligence — such as mobile apps that convert speech to text… read more

Short-term stress can affect learning and memory

March 12, 2008

University of California at Irvine researchers have found that short-term stress lasting as little as a few hours can impair brain-cell communication in areas associated with learning and memory.

The acute-stress-activated selective corticotropin molecules released hormones (CRH), which disrupted the process the brain uses to collect and stores memories.

In rat and mouse studies, the researchers found that the release of CRH in the hippocampus led to rapid… read more

Should every computer chip have a cosmic ray detector?

March 10, 2008

Intel has been awarded a US patent for building cosmic ray detectors into every chip to avoid “soft errors” caused by electrons displaced by cosmic rays.

When triggered, it could activate error-checking circuits that refresh the nearby memory, repeat the most recent actions, or ask for the last message from outside circuits to be sent again.

Should nanotech research be halted?

June 22, 2001

Ethical questions need to be asked now before we enter the brave new nanoworld, says Bill Joy.

Nanotechnology and information technology developments raise ethical issues regarding protecting intellectual property, privacy, moral rights and responsibilities of machines; and blur the distinction between “real” and “virtual” reality, points out

Should we fire the first shot in a cyberwar?

December 14, 2011

Military bureaucracies around the world are likely to see offensive capabilities as increasingly attractive in any cyberwar, suggests  Herbert Lin, chief scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Research Council.

“Offensive cybertechnology and operations are inherently stronger than defensive operations — that is, offense beats defense in cyberspace, in most cases, and given enough time,” says Lin, who spoke last week at an MIT… read more

Should we live to 1,000?

December 13, 2012


Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation and the world’s most prominent advocate of anti-aging research, argues that it makes no sense to spend the vast majority of our medical resources on trying to combat the diseases of aging without tackling aging itself, writes ethicist Peter Singer on Project Syndicate.

De Grey believes that even modest progress in this area over the coming decade could… read more

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