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How to use an iPhone to diagnose eye disease

September 26, 2013

Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers have developed a simple technique of fundus (retinal) photography in human and rabbit eyes using a iPhone, an inexpensive app, and instruments that are readily available in an ophthalmic practice, as described in the Journal of Ophthalmology (open access).

Commercial fundus cameras can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, making the technology out of reach for smaller ophthalmic… read more

Improving ‘plastic’ semiconductors to achieve flexible electronics

September 26, 2013

flexible semiconductor graphic

Understanding how the molecular structure of polymers influences their electrical characteristics could hasten the advent of flexible electronics.

Flexible electronics could spawn new products: clothing wired to cool or heat, reading tablets that could fold like newspaper, and so on.

However, electronic components such as chips, displays and wires are generally made from metals and inorganic semiconductors — materials with physical properties that make them fairly stiff and… read more

A computer-like brain mechanism that makes sense of novel situations

September 26, 2013


Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have demonstrated that our brains could process new situations by relying on a method similar to the “pointer” system used by computers.

Pointers are used to tell a computer where to look for information stored elsewhere in the system.

For the study, the research team relied on sentences with words used in unique ways to test the… read more

Hawking predicts uploading the brain into a computer

September 26, 2013


Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that it could be possible to preserve a mind as powerful as his on a computer — but not with technology existing today, The Telegraph reports.

Hawking said the brain operates in a way similar to a computer program, meaning it could in theory be kept running without a body to power it.

“I think the… read more

A first: Stanford engineers build basic computer using carbon nanotubes

September 26, 2013

A scanning electron microscopy image of a section of the first ever carbon nanotube computer. Credit: Butch Colyear</p>
<p>Read more at:

A team of Stanford engineers has built a basic computer using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) — a semiconductor material with the potential to launch a new generation of smaller electronic devices that run faster, while using less energy, than those made from silicon chips.

This unprecedented feat culminates years of efforts by scientists around the world to harness this promising but quirky material.

The achievement is reported… read more

Colossal explosion from supermassive black hole at center of galaxy revealed

September 25, 2013


Two million years ago, a supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy erupted in an explosion so immensely powerful that it lit up a cloud 200,000 light years away, a team of researchers led by the University of Sydney has revealed.

The finding is an exciting confirmation that black holes can “flicker,” moving from maximum power to switching off over short periods of… read more

Scientists closer to universal flu vaccine after pandemic ‘natural experiment’

September 25, 2013


Scientists have moved closer to developing a universal flu vaccine by using the 2009 pandemic to study why some people seem to resist severe illness.

Researchers at Imperial College London asked volunteers to donate blood samples just as the swine flu pandemic was getting underway and report any symptoms they experienced over the next two flu seasons.

They found that those who avoided severe… read more

Integrating a graphene photodetector into a computer chip

Graphene can convert all telecommunications wavelengths, unlike germaniuim
September 25, 2013


Vienna University of Technology scientists have succeeded in combining graphene photodetectors with semiconductor chips, allowing for transforming light used in telecommunications (such in as fiber optics) into electronic signals.

Two years ago, the team of Thomas Müller (Institute of Photonics, Vienna University of Technology) demonstrated that graphene is ideally suited to turn light into electrical current, allowing for fast conversion,” says Müller.

“A narrow… read more

A stretchable, foldable transparent electronic display

Uses include foldable/expandable screens for new classes of smartphones and other personal electronic devices, electronics-integrated clothing, and wallpaper-like lighting
September 25, 2013


Imagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber,  and all of these being made from the same material.

Researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a transparent, elastic organic light-emitting device, or OLED, that could one day make all… read more

Researchers observe never-before-detected brain activity in deep coma

September 25, 2013

Flat line and Nu-complex (credit: Daniel Kroeger et al./PLoS ONE)

University of Montreal researchers have found brain activity that kicks in after a patient’s EEG shows an isoelectric (“flat line”) EEG, according to their paper in PLoS ONE (open access).

The flatline EEG (brainwave) pattern is usually recorded during very deep coma and is considered to be one of the limit points in establishing brain death. In particular clinical conditions, it is accepted as the only criterion.… read more

New method of creating twisted light may allow fibers to carry more information

September 24, 2013


Scientists at SLAC have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light — light that spirals around a central axis as it travels.

The method has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities, and a much wider range of wavelengths (including X-rays) than is currently possible.

First described two decades ago, twisted light is attracting attention from… read more

Nanoscale neuronal activity measured for the first time

September 24, 2013


A new technique that allows scientists to measure the electrical activity in  small synaptic terminals in the hippocampus has been developed by a researcher at Queen Mary University of London.

By applying a high-resolution scanning probe microscope that allows three-dimensional visualization of the structures at a resolution of  approximately 100–150 nm, the team was able to measure and record the flow of current in small… read more

Support for top-down theory of how ‘buckyballs’ form

Discovery could have a bearing on medical imaging, cancer treatment
September 24, 2013


Researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have reported the first experimental evidence that supports the theory that a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle commonly called a buckyball is the result of a breakdown of larger structures rather than being built atom-by-atom from the ground up.

Technically known as fullerenes, these spherical carbon molecules have shown great promise for uses in medicine, solar energy, and optoelectronics.… read more

Crowd-activated Google Hangout On Air broadcasts

September 23, 2013

Crowd-activated HOA

What you see is one person who is filming a video, and then the other person is able to join that video stream just by looking  at it.” — Jon Fisher

This just in from CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher, live at the RocketSpace Glass Hackathon in San Francisco, where his team just demo’d CrowdOptic’s new Android app for social sharing: crowd-activated Google Hangout On Airread more

Stem cell reprogramming made easier

September 23, 2013

iPSCs -- old vs new method

Weizmann Institute scientists show that removing one protein from adult cells enables them to efficiently turn back the clock to a stem-cell-like state.

Embryonic stem cells have the enormous potential to treat and cure many medical problems. That is why the discovery that induced embryonic-like stem cells can be created from skin cells was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2012.

But the process… read more

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