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Inquisitive robot uses arms, location and more to discover objects

May 8, 2013

HERB can use its arms to gain information that it can use to discover objects and determine how it can pick up or manipulate that object. By using all of the information available to it, visual or otherwise, HERB is able to continually discover objects on its own and refine its understanding of those objects as it gains experience. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

HERB (Home-Exploring Robot Butler) is new class of  robot developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University‘s Robotics Institute that can discover objects in its surroundings by using more than just computer vision.

The Lifelong Robotic Object Discovery (LROD) process developed by the research team enabled HERB, a two-armed, mobile robot, to use color video, a Kinect depth camera, and non-visual information to discover more than 100… read more

Personalized bone substitutes created from skin cells

May 8, 2013

Actual image of the bone after it was in vivo (credit: Giuseppe Maria de Peppo/The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute)

Patient-specific bone substitutes from skin cells for repair of large bone defects are now possible, thanks to research by a team of New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute scientists.

The study represents a major advance in personalized reconstructive treatments for patients with bone defects resulting from disease or trauma. It promises to lead to customizable, three-dimensional bone grafts on-demand, matched to fit the exact… read more

Nanotechnology breakthrough may improve drug delivery

May 8, 2013


Columbia Engineering researchers have developed a technique to encapsulate a single water molecule inside a buckyball (C60) molecular structure.

Using computer modeling, they discovered that the resulting structure responds in a surprising way to an electric field: the whole structure can be driven in either direction through a narrow channel, with adjustable transport velocity

The researchers believe their discovery could have practical applications, such… read more

Boosting ‘cellular garbage disposal’ can delay the aging process, UCLA biologists report

May 8, 2013

In this image, fewer protein aggregates (green) accumulate in the aged fly brain when the gene parkin is overexpressed. (F-actin, a cytoskeleton protein, is seen in red and cell nuclei are seen in blue.) (Credit: Anil Rana/UCLA Life Sciences)

UCLA life scientists have identified a gene previously implicated in Parkinson’s disease that can delay the onset of aging and extend the healthy life span of fruit flies. The research, they say, could have important implications for aging and disease in humans.

The gene, called parkin, serves at least two vital functions: it marks damaged proteins so that cells can discard them before they become… read more

Injectable nano-network controls blood sugar in diabetics for days at a time

May 7, 2013

The nano-network releases insulin in response to changes in blood sugar (credit: Zhen Gu/NC State University)

In a promising development for type 1 diabetes treatment, researchers have developed a network of nanoscale particles that can be injected into the body and release insulin when blood-sugar levels rise, maintaining normal blood sugar levels for more than a week in animal-based laboratory tests.

The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Massachusetts Institute… read more

Are you ready for RFID chips built into your money and documents?

May 7, 2013


North Dakota State University. researchers have developed a new way of embedding traceable chips within “smart” paper — raising the possibility of banks and governments guarding against counterfeiting and even tracking the usage of paper money, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The new method of embedding radio frequency identification chips (RFID) in paper uses a patent-pending technology called Laser Enabled Advanced Packaging (LEAP) to transfer and assemble… read more

Fighting words against Big Data

May 7, 2013


Jaron Lanier’s new tech manifesto, Who owns the future? “delivers “Olympian, contrarian fighting words about the Internet’s exploitative powers” and big Web entities and their business models, The New York Times reports.

The book reiteraties ideas from Lanier’s previous book — Web businesses exploit a peasant class, users of social media may not realize how entrapped they are, a thriving middle class is essential… read more

Portable devices provide rapid, accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis, other bacterial infections

May 7, 2013

On this 2.5- by 7.5-cm cartridge, DNA extracted from sputum samples is amplified in the chambers on the left. TB-specific sequences are magnetically labeled in the microfluidic mixing channels in the center and detected by passage through the micro-NMR coil on the right. (Credit: Center for Systems Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital)

Two new portable diagnostic devices for rapid, accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis and other bacterial infections have been developed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),  Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Broad Institute.

A microfluidic device for diagnosing TB, other infectious bacteria

A handheld diagnostic device that MGH investigators first developed to diagnose cancer has been adapted to rapidly diagnose tuberculosis… read more

A ‘shockingly bright’ gamma-ray burst

May 7, 2013

Swift's X-Ray Telescope took this 0.1-second exposure of GRB 130427A at 3:50 a.m. EDT on April 27, just moments after Swift and Fermi triggered on the outburst. The image is 6.5 arcminutes across. (Credit: NASA/Swift/Stefan Immler)

A record-setting blast of gamma rays from a dying star in a galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years away has wowed astronomers around the world — the highest-energy light ever detected from such an event.

At 3:47 a.m. EDT, April 27, Fermi’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) triggered on an eruption, designated GRB 130427A, of high-energy light in the constellation Leo.

The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) recorded one gamma ray… read more

First fully 3D-printed gun test-fired

May 7, 2013


Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson has test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun — “the Liberator.”

The CAD file is downloadable* at DEFCAD, operated by Defense Distributed — a “makeshift response to Makerbot Industries’ decision to censor files uploaded in good faith at Thingiverse, specifically firearms-related files.”


Meet The ‘Liberator’: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gunread more

Scientists adroitly manipulate a quantum bit using laser light alone

May 6, 2013

An artist's rendering of all-optical control of an individual electronic spin within a diamond. This spin is associated with a naturally occurring defect in diamond known as the nitrogen-vacancy center, a promising quantum bit (qubit) for quantum information processing. In their recently published paper, Yale et al. develop techniques to initialize, manipulate, and read out the electronic spin of this qubit using only pulses of light. Image courtesy of Peter Allen. (Credit: UC Santa Barbara)

By using light, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have manipulated the quantum state of a single atomic-sized defect in diamond — the nitrogen-vacancy center — in a method that allows for more unified control than conventional processes.

The method is also more versatile, and opens up the possibility of exploring new solid-state quantum systems.

“In contrast to conventional electronics, we developed an all-optical scheme… read more

Turning human stem cells into brain cells sheds light on neural development

May 6, 2013


Scientists from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research have led a study team that has manipulated human stem cells into producing types of brain cells known to play important roles in neurodevelopmental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism.

The new model cell system allows neuroscientists to investigate normal brain development, as well as to identify specific disruptions in biological signals… read more

Scientists revolutionize creation of genetically altered mice to model human disease

May 6, 2013


Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch, who helped transform the study of genetics by creating the first transgenic mouse in 1974, is again revolutionizing how genetically altered animal models are created and perhaps even redefining what species may serve as models.

“This new method is a game changer,” says Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at MIT. “We can now make a… read more

Government lab reveals it has operated quantum internet for over two years

May 6, 2013


A quantum internet capable of sending perfectly secure messages has been running at Los Alamos National Labs for the last two and a half years, MIT Technology Review reports.

One of the dreams for security experts is the creation of a quantum internet using quantum cryptography that allows perfectly secure communication based on the powerful laws of quantum mechanics.

The researchers created a quantum network based around… read more

Quantum-assisted nano-imaging

May 6, 2013

Basic configuration of NV-NMR detection, showing sample geometry along the diamond axis with NV spin embedded 20-nm deep within 12C diamond layer. The NV center detects NMR of protons in the PMMA polymer layer. (Credit: H.J. Mamin et al./Science)

Two separate teams of researchers working on DARPA’s Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program, led by the University of Stuttgart in Germany and IBM’s Almaden Research Center, have developed a nanoscale magnetometer that enables magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with sufficient resolution to measure as few as 10,000 protons in a volume of only 125 cubic nanometers, which approaches the level of individual protein molecules. read more

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