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How to draw a chemical sensor with carbon-nanotube ‘pencil lead’

October 10, 2012

drawing-nanotubes-mit

New low-cost, durable carbon nanotube sensors can be etched with mechanical pencils.

The methods typically used to fabricate carbon nanotube sensors are hazardous and not suited for large-scale production. But a new  method created by MIT chemists — as simple to use as drawing a line on a sheet of paper — may overcome that obstacle.

MIT postdoc Katherine Mirica has designed a new type… read more

Kinect-based system detects touch and gestures on any surface

October 10, 2012

skettchpad

People can let their fingers — and hands — do the talking with a new touch-activated system that projects onto walls and other surfaces and allows users to interact with their environment and each other.

The system uses a Microsoft Kinect camera, which identifies the fingers of a person’s hand while touching any plain surface. It also recognizes hand posture and gestures, revealing individual users by their… read more

How cancer cells break free from tumors and spread

New MIT study identifies adhesion molecules key to cancer’s spread through the body
October 10, 2012

mit-cancer-cells

A new study from MIT cancer researchers reveals some of the cellular adhesion molecules that are critical to this how cancer cells break free from tumors, spread, and reattach to a new site.

Although tumor metastasis (spreading) causes about 90 percent of cancer deaths, the exact mechanism that allows cancer cells to spread from one part of the body to another is not well understood.… read more

Phil Zimmermann’s Silent Circle builds a secure, seductive fortress around your smartphone

October 10, 2012

silent_circle

The cryptography legend Phil Zimmermann is teaming up with two ex-Navy SEALs to offer encrypted phone calls, video conferencing, and text messages with no learning curve whatsoever.

The target market? Businesspeople and government employees traveling abroad, Fast Company reports.

Silent Circle, which launches on October 15, is a secure communications product for Android and iOS that works on a paid subscription model. Users will… read more

DNA’s half-life identified using fossil bones

October 10, 2012

bones-old-dna

A study of bones from extinct birds suggests the double helix too has a measurable half-life — and that we have underestimated its ability to survive in the fossil record, New Scientist reports.

Part of the reason a DNA half-life has been so elusive is that it is hard to find a large enough cache of samples that have been exposed to similar conditions. The moa bones… read more

Brain connectivity predicts reading skills

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

white_matter_connections_reading

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

magnetic_switch_cancer_1

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

EEG-imec

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

nobel_chemistry_2012

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

tactile_glove

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

TEAGUE_3D_Headphones_2_LABS

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

hft_chart

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

surface smoothness

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

make_replicator_2

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

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