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Brain connectivity predicts reading skills

Children could benefit from personalized lessons based on brain scans
October 10, 2012

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The growth pattern of long-range connections in the brain predicts how a child’s reading skills will develop, according to research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature News reports.

Literacy requires the integration of activity in brain areas involved in vision, hearing and language. These areas are distributed throughout the brain, so efficient communication between them is essential for proficient reading.

Jason Yeatman,… read more

Zapping cancer cells with magnets

October 10, 2012

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Magnetic nanoparticles can be used to kill cancer cells by controlling cell signaling pathways, researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea have demonstrated.

They developed magnetic nanoparticles that turn on apoptosis cell signaling (commands to kill cells) in cancer cells by using a remote, non-invasive magnetic field.

The magnetic switch uses zinc-doped iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (Zn0.4Fe2.6O4), combined with a targeting antibody for death receptor 4 (DR4, a… read more

A wireless low-power, high-quality EEG headset

October 10, 2012

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Imec, Holst Centre and Panasonic have developed a new prototype of a wireless EEG (electroencephalogram, or brain waves) headset designed to be a reliable, high-quality and wearable EEG monitoring system.
The system combines ease-of-use with ultra-low power electronics. Continuous impedance monitoring and the use of active electrodes increases the quality of EEG signal recording compared to former versions of the system.
How it works

The EEG… read more

SpaceX Dragon capsule arrives at Space Station with precious cargo

October 10, 2012

Dragon ISS

A privately built robotic space capsule arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Oct. 10) to make the first-ever commercial cargo delivery to the orbiting lab under a billion-dollar deal with NASA, Space.com reports.

The unmanned Dragon spacecraft was captured by station astronauts using a robotic arm after an apparently flawless approach by the cargo-laden space capsule, which was built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX. It… read more

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 — Robert J. Lefkowitz, Brian K. Kobilka

October 10, 2012

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The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2012 to Robert J. Lefkowitz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA, and Brian K. Kobilka, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA, for studies of G-protein–coupled receptors.

Smart receptors on cell surfaces

Your body is a fine-tuned… read more

A tactile glove provides subtle guidance to locate objects

October 11, 2012

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Researchers from the University of Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics have developed a prototype of a glove that uses vibration feedback on the hand to guide the user’s hand towards a predetermined target in 3D space.

The glove could help users in daily visual search tasks in supermarkets, parking lots, warehouses, libraries etc.

Their study shows an almost three-fold advantage… read more

How to print headphones

October 11, 2012

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What if printed prototypes could become actual products? John Mabry of Teague Labs.decided to try it by creating printable headphones.

The idea was to print an object that could be assembled without any tools and be made functional by adding readily attainable components. He decided to stress-test the premise with the challenge of making electronically simple yet functionally complex headphones.

“My first go resulted in a… read more

Mysterious algorithm was 4% of trading activity last week

October 11, 2012

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A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity.

The motive of the algorithm is still unclear, CNBC reports.

The program placed orders in 25-millisecond bursts involving about 500 stocks, according to Nanex, a… read more

Researchers unravel the secret to making cheap, high-density data storage

October 11, 2012

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Researchers from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered that an ultra-smooth surface is the key factor for “self-assembly” — a cheap, high-volume, high-density patterning technique for data storage.

This technique allows manufacturers to use the method for data storage on a variety of different surfaces. This discovery paves the way for the development of… read more

3D printing may put global supply chains out of business: report

October 11, 2012

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Will 3D printing make global supply chains unnecessary? That’s a real possibility, according to a recent report from Transport Intelligence, Smart Planet reports.

3D printing (or “additive manufacturing,” as it’s called in industrial circles) takes offshore manufacturing and brings it back close to the consumer. It has enormous potential to shift the trade balance. Goods will be cheaper to reproduce within the domestic market, versus manufacturing and then shipping them… read more

Glowing DNA allows for high speed disease detection

October 11, 2012

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University of Copenhagen scientists have invented a method that promises to shave days off the lab work done to reveal diseases, using cheap methods and easy to use analytical apparatuses.

Many diseases, including cancers, leave genetic clues in the body just as criminals leave DNA at the scene of a crime. But tools to detect the DNA-like sickness clues known as miRNAs, tend to be slow… read more

Extending Einstein’s theory beyond light speed

October 11, 2012

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University of Adelaide applied mathematicians have extended Einstein’s theory of special relativity to work beyond the speed of light.

Einstein’s theory holds that nothing could move faster than the speed of light, but Professor Jim Hill and Dr Barry Cox in the University’s School of Mathematical Sciences have developed new formulas that allow for travel beyond this limit.… read more

A ‘compound eye’ on light sent from galaxies 10 billion years ago

October 12, 2012

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At ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile they are about to fit a new instrument called KMOS that can record the light from 24 galaxies simultaneously.

KMOS has 24 robotic arms tipped with gold-plated mirrors that can be trained on a different galaxy — each arm has almost 200 facets making them rather like an insect’s compound eye. Light from these mirrors is channelled… read more

Panetta warns of dire threat of cyberattack on US

October 12, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government, The New York Times reports.

He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness… read more

The world’s first 3D-printed guitar

October 12, 2012

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Scott Summit created a 3D model of his ideal guitar and sent the computer design to 3D Systems, which used its massive 3D printers to transform the graphic model into an actual acoustic instrument that Summit can play, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

As far as anyone seems to know, this is the first 3D-printed guitar on the planet, and it raises all kinds musical possibilities. “It’s rich and full and… read more

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