3D printing: the desktop drugstore

Printers that create artificial limbs, cheap drugs, and replacement organs could radically change medicine in poorer countries.
September 27, 2012


A small Indian village is perhaps the last place you would expect to see the future of manufacturing, but in the Maharashtra region, there are plans to create one of the hottest pieces of technology around, BBC Future reports.

“Learning while doing” is the philosophy behind an educational project in Pabal called the Vigyan Ashram — part of a worldwide project called FabLab, set up… read more

Can computers understand art?

Another “only humans can…” belief has just been shattered
September 27, 2012


Computer scientists Computer scientists Lior Shamir and Jane Tarakhovsky of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan have developed a program that analyzes paintings in a manner similar to how expert art historians perform their analysis, and conducted an  experiment that showed that machines can outperform untrained humans in the analysis of fine art.

In the experiment, the researchers used approximately 1, 000 paintings of 34 well-known artists, and let the computer… read more

AI game bots ‘more human-like’ than half of human competitors

A ‘Turing test' for game bots
September 27, 2012


An artificially intelligent virtual game bot created by computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin has won the BotPrize by convincing a panel of judges that it was more human-like than half the humans it competed against.

The competition, sponsored by 2K Games, was set inside the virtual world of “Unreal Tournament 2004,” a first-person shooter video… read more

Google venture fund seeks forward-thinking biotech entrepreneurs

September 27, 2012


Google’s venture fund is planning to invest $1 billion in a wide-range of start-ups over the next five years and seeks entrepreneurs that “have a healthy disregard for the impossible,” with forward-thinking ideas, especially in biotech,William Maris, says Google Ventures managing partner.

Maris said some of the areas he is interested in include businesses that are focused on radical life extension, cryogenics, and nanotechnology,  CNBC reports.

One biotech… read more

Cyborg surgeon: new surgical tool enables superhuman precision

September 28, 2012


By harnessing a specialized optical fiber sensor, a new “smart” surgical tool can compensate for a surgeon’s imperceptible hand tremor by making hundreds of precise position corrections each second — fast enough to keep the surgeon’s hand on target.

Even the most skilled and steady surgeons experience minute, almost imperceptible hand tremors when performing delicate tasks. Normally, these tiny motions are inconsequential, but for doctors specializing in fine-scale… read more

Biodegradable electronics that vanish in the body

A new class of tiny electronic devices capable of dissolving completely in water or bodily fluids
September 28, 2012

A biodegradable integrated circuit (credit: John Rogers)

A new type of biodegradable electronics technology that could revolutionize medical implants, environmental monitors, and consumer devices has been developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Tufts University and Northwestern University.

“We refer to this type of technology as transient electronics,” said John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I., who led the multidisciplinary research team.… read more

‘Bi-Fi’ — the biological Internet

September 28, 2012


Using the innocuous M13 bacterial virus, bioengineers at Stanford have created a biological mechanism to send genetic messages from cell to cell — which they term the “biological Internet,” or “Bi-Fi.”

The system greatly increases the complexity and amount of data that can be communicated between cells and could lead to greater control of biological functions within cell communities.

The advance could prove a boon to bioengineers looking… read more

$99 Raspberry Pi-sized ‘supercomputer’ touted in Kickstarter project

September 28, 2012


Chipmaker Adapteva wants to make parallel computing available to everyone, using a Kickstarter project to raise at least $750,000 and a stretch goal of $3 million, Ars Technica reports.

Adapteva calls it “Parallella: A Supercomputer For Everyone,” a 16-core board hitting 13GHz and 26 gigaflops performance, costing $99 each. If the $3 million goal is hit, Adapteva will make a $199 64-core board hitting… read more

NASA rover finds old streambed on Martian surface

September 28, 2012


NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving.

There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind.

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate… read more

A spinning black hole at a galaxy’s center

September 28, 2012


An international team, led by researchers at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, has for the first time measured the radius of a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy — the closest distance at which matter can approach before being irretrievably pulled into the black hole.

Black holes that can be billions of times more massive than our sun may reside at the heart of most galaxies.… read more

Homeland Security looking for (more than) a few good drones

September 28, 2012

Reaper Drone (Credit: USAF)

DHS to test unmanned aircraft for variety of applications.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations, Network World Layer 8 reports.

In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows,  the program’s results  of… read more

Weeding out problem stem cells for safer therapy

September 28, 2012

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (credit: UCSD)

Mayo Clinic researchers have found a way to detect and eliminate potentially troublemaking stem cells to make stem cell therapy safer.

Induced Pluripotent Stem cells, also known as iPS cells, are bioengineered from adult tissues to have properties of embryonic stem cells, which have the unlimited capacity to differentiate and grow into any desired types of cells, such as skin, brain, lung and heart cells.… read more

Snakes on a plane!

October 1, 2012

Snakes on a plane!

Engineers at firms like Rolls-Royce and GE are developing “snake robots” with intelligent algorithms to find and repair problems in plane engines, New Scientist reports.

The slithering simulants would be about 12.5 millimeters (1/2 inch) in diameter, controlled by a technician as they are guided through the engine’s insides, beaming back images — a bit like telesurgery, a Rolls-Royce executive said.

Finding and fixing defects in planes is currently a… read more

Animals are conscious and should be treated as such

October 1, 2012


Are animals conscious? Yes, says the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, publicly proclaimed by three eminent neuroscientists, David Edelman of the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, Philip Low of Stanford University and Christof Koch of the California Institute of Technology, Marc Bekoff writes in New Scientist.

“Non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious… read more

The new medicine: hacking our biology

October 1, 2012


The New Medicine: Hacking Our Biology is part of the series “Engineers of the New Millennium” from IEEE Spectrum magazine and the Directorate for Engineering of the National Science Foundation. These stories explore technological advances in medical inventions to enhance and extend life.

AFTER A STROKE: REGAINING MUSCLE CONTROL — A “music glove” based on the video gameFrets on Fire makes rehabilitation more fun.

SYNAPSEread more

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