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NASA pursues atom optics to detect gravitational waves

October 21, 2012

Goddard-designed breadboard laser system

A pioneering technology capable of atomic-level precision is now being developed to detect what so far has remained imperceptible: gravitational waves or ripples in space-time caused by cosmic cataclysmic events, including even the Big Bang itself.

A team of researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Stanford University, and AOSense, Inc. recently won funding under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to advance atom-optics technologies.… read more

Cell mechanism findings could one day be used to engineer organs

October 21, 2012

ut_dallas_biofilms

Biologists have teamed up with mechanical engineers from the the University of Texas at Dallas to conduct cell research that provides information that may one day be used to engineer organs.

The research, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (open access), sheds light on the mechanics of cell, tissue, and organ formation. The research revealed basic mechanisms about… read more

Minnesota bans free online education, caves to Internet pressure

October 21, 2012

Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education was forced by public pressure Friday to cancel its bizarre bureaucratic decision to prohibit free online college courses offered through Coursera and other websites, Slate reported Friday.

Twitter improves student learning

October 21, 2012

twitter_logo

Twitter has become a new literary format that is improving student learning, according to Christine Greenhow, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, who found that college students who tweet as part of their instruction are more engaged with the course content and with the teacher and other students, and also have higher grades.

Twitter use among U.S. teens has doubled in less… read more

Breakthrough may lead to large-scale quantum computing

October 21, 2012

Nanowire-double quantum dot (DQD) device stores spin qubits (credit:

In a key step toward creating a working quantum computer, Princeton University researchers have developed a method that may allow for quick, reliable transfer of quantum information throughout a computing device.

The finding, by a team led by Princeton physicist Jason Petta, could eventually allow engineers to build quantum computers consisting of millions of quantum bits, or qubits. So far, quantum researchers have only been able to… read more

Self-assembled nanoparticles release chemotherapy drug and heat to treat cancer

October 21, 2012

gold nanorods

In new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), researchers have invented self-assembled, multifunctional, near-infrared-light-responsive nanoparticles to treat cancer.

The nanoparticles can deliver a chemotherapy drug specifically targeted to cancer cells and selectively release the drug in response to an external beam of light. They can also create heat for synergistic thermo-chemo-mediated anti-tumor effects.

Excitement around the potential for targeted nanoparticles (NPs) that can be controlled… read more

Creating complex 3D metallic structures at nanoscale

October 21, 2012

Micro-particles of lactose are trapped in self-organized structures made from the thin film metal. The scale bar represents 4 micrometers. (Credit: Khattiya Chalapat, et al./Aalto University)

Scientists from Aalto University in Finland and the University of Washington have demonstrated how to create complex 3D structures at nanoscale by combining ion processing and nanolithography.

The fabrication of many objects, machines, and devices rely on the controlled deformation of metals by industrial processes such as bending, shearing, and stamping. Is this technology transferrable to nanoscale? Can we build similarly complex devices and machines with… read more

Next-generation-sequencing report published

Detailed overview of the landscape of next-generation sequencing technology and its clinical relevance and impact on improving patient care
October 21, 2012

genome

The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) has published the report of the Whole Genome Analysis (WGA) Working Group of the AMP Clinical Practice Committee in the November 2012 issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics (JMD).

Titled Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Clinical Diagnostic Genome Sequencing, the open-access report provides an overview of the landscape of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, its clinical relevance, and its… read more

New hope for the blind from neuroscientists?

Electrical stimulation of the visual cortex generates flashes of light
October 22, 2012

Phosphenes

Scientists in the Texas Medical Center believe that there may be a way to use mental images to help some of the estimated 39 million people worldwide who are blind.

Scientists in the laboratories of Michael Beauchamp, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, and Daniel Yoshor, M.D., an associate… read more

Viruses act like ‘self-packing suitcases’

October 22, 2012

virus-packing

Researchers at the University of Leeds have identified a crucial stage in the life cycle of simple viruses like polio and the common cold that could open a new front in the war on viral disease.

The team is the first to observe at a single-molecule level how the genetic material (genome) that forms the core of a single-strand RNA virus particle packs itself into… read more

Cold viruses point the way to new cancer therapies

Salk findings on cold virus proteins may spur new cancer treatments
October 22, 2012

Salk researchers discovered that a small protein produced by cold viruses disables large cellular machines involved in growth, replication and cancer. These proteins accomplish this by forming a three-dimensional web inside a cell's nucleus (yellow) that traps these components. The findings point the way to new ways to target and destroy tumors. (Credit: Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

Cold viruses generally get a bad rap — which they’ve certainly earned — but new findings by a team of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies suggest that these viruses might also be a valuable ally in the fight against cancer.

Adenovirus, a type of cold virus, has developed molecular tools — proteins — that allow it to hijack a cell’s molecular machinery,… read more

Microsoft’s plan to bring about the era of gesture control

October 22, 2012

windows.kinectx616

With its Kinect for Windows program, Microsoft wants to make it common to wave your arms at or speak to a computer, Technology Review reports.

“We’re trying to encourage [software] developers to create a whole new class of app controlled by gesture and voice,” says Peter Zatloukal, head of engineering for the Kinect for Windows program.

Zatloukal says the result will be on a par with other… read more

Cosmo Wenman’s mind-blowing 3D-printed sculptures

October 22, 2012

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Cosmo Wenman is a California artist who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made, MakerBot Blog reports.

The horse head and human bust you see here were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator.

“We believe so strongly in the potential of the… read more

Student engineers design, build, fly ‘printed’ airplane

October 23, 2012

3D_plane_cropped_tight

The MITRE Corporation hired two University of Virginia engineeering students to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3D printing technology, part of a Department of the Army project to study the feasibility of using such planes.

The result was a plane with a 6.5-foot wingspan, made from assembled “printed” parts.  It achieved a cruising speed of 45 mph and is only the third 3D-printed plane known to… read more

Optical vortex beams on a chip

October 23, 2012

optical_vortex_3_emitters

An international research group has  demonstrated integrated arrays of emitters of “optical vortex beams” on a silicon chip.

Light in such beams does not propagate in straight rays. Instead, it travels in a spiral fashion in a hollow conical beam shape.

In quantum mechanics, this feature is associated with the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of photons.

When such light interacts with matter, it asserts a… read more

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