Help discover dark matter in the universe, win money

November 5, 2012

Galaxy Cluster Abell 1689

Can you generate new algorithms to spot dark matter in Hubble images?

Observing Dark Worlds aims to capitalize on the ever-growing field of citizen science, where non-experts are asked to sift through data to help make discoveries, Wired Science reports.

Dark matter is thought to be a strange form of matter that doesn’t interact with electromagnetism and light, accounting for roughly 85 percent of… read more

Physicists build laser tweezers controlled with Kinect

November 5, 2012


Now anybody can pick up and move micron-scale particles using their hands and arms thanks to a Kinect-controlled infrared holographic laser device called HoloHands. The interface allows user to “pick up” and “push” particles they see on a computer screen using hand, arm and body movements alone, Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

The system shows users the field of view in which the tweezers operate. A wave… read more

Asteroid belts at just the right place are friendly to life

November 6, 2012


Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to astronomers.

They suggest that the size and location of an asteroid belt, which is shaped by the evolution of the sun’s planet-forming disk and by the gravitational influence of a nearby giant Jupiter-like planet, may determine whether complex life will evolve on an Earth-like… read more

An agile humanoid robot

November 6, 2012


University of Bonn computer scientists have developed a scoccer-playing robot called NimbRo-OP intended to develop new capabilities for humanoid bipedal robots, such as using tools, climbing stairs, and using human facial expressions, gestures and body language for communicating.

With 20 drive elements that convert computer commands into mechanical motions, NimbRo-OP is highly agile. For example, it can kick a soccer ball, and get… read more

Fast, low-cost early cancer detection from a drop of blood

November 6, 2012


It may soon be possible to test a person for cancer with just a drop of their blood and a small machine.

An EPFL team is developing an extremely sensitive, easy-to-use device for detecting the HSP70 protein, which is over-expressed in patients with many types of cancer.

The suitcase-size device is expected to be on the market in 2014. The objective: to make a… read more

A holographic microscope for just $250

November 6, 2012


You can build a holographic microscope for $250 (for parts), MIT Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

Holographic microscopes record the 3D shape of tiny objects such as cells in high resolution, unlike traditional microscopes, which have a tiny field of view and shallow depth of field.

With a holographic microscope, you make a hologram of the sample: split a laser beam in two, use one as… read more

Can you design the ultimate augmented-reality system for warfighters?

November 6, 2012


Imagine a single camera that can fuse (integrate) images across a wide spectrum on light, from visible light to near-infrared and far-infrared (thermal) images (for night vision), replacing multiple cameras.

It would be part of a head-up display (HUD) that is helmet-mounted. It would be lightweight, low-cost, easy to use, and draw minimal power. And it would interface wirelessly with an Android-based smart phone for fusing images and networking… read more

Blind mole rats may hold key to cancer

November 6, 2012


Some 23% of humans die of cancer, but blind mole rats — which can live for 21 years, an impressive age among rodents — seem to be immune to the disease.

Cell cultures from two species of blind mole rat, Spalax judaei and Spalax golani, behave in ways that render them impervious to the growth of tumors, according to work by Vera Gorbunova at the University of Rochester,… read more

Political posts

November 6, 2012

Last evening, I posted a video and a blog item related to the U.S. economy and election, meant to stimulate a one-time discussion on a subject that is normally off-topic on KurzweilAI. Some readers found them offensive or irrelevant to the science/technology focus of KurzweilAI. I have now removed them, with apologies to anyone who was offended. It was solely my decision to post them, based on my own political… read more

VISTA gigapixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way

November 7, 2012


This striking view of the central parts of the Milky Way was obtained with the VISTA survey telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This huge picture is 108,500 by 81,500 pixels — nearly nine billion pixels. It was created by combining thousands of individual images from VISTA, taken through three different infrared filters, into a single monumental mosaic. VISTA has a… read more

Researchers create laser the size of a virus particle

Miniature laser operates at room temperature and defies the diffraction limit of light
November 7, 2012

Plasmonic lasers (credit: Jae Yong Suh et al./NANO Letters)

A Northwestern University research team has found a way to manufacture single laser devices that are the size of the HIV virus (about 150 nm.) and operate at room temperature.

These plasmonic nanolasers could be readily integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, all-optical circuits, and nanoscale biosensors.

Reducing the size of photonic (such as lasers) and electronic elements is critical for ultra-fast data processing and ultra-dense… read more

Are you elderly and having memory or concentration problems?

November 7, 2012


They might be caused by common medications used to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies, according to Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Research Chair at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM, Montreal Geriatric University Institute) and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Montreal (UdeM).

Up to 90 percent of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescription medication. Eighteen… read more

A pressure switch inside the head

November 8, 2012

View of the not yet completely enclosed intracranial pressure sensor (credit: Dr. Thomas Velten/Fraunhofer IBMT)

An increase in cerebral pressure may cause dementia or even destroy the brain, but there’s no reliable sensor available (they quickly corrode), and current intracranial pressure systems keep patients in a hospital for days or weeks.

So Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) researchers have developed a small implantable sensor for cerebral pressure that’s waterproof, using a casing made from high-grade titanium. It’s… read more

How the Internet of everything will change the world

November 8, 2012


From the Internet of Things (IoT), where we are today, we are just beginning to enter a new realm: the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power, and greater sensing abilities, says Cisco in their blog.

Add people and information into the mix and you get a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create unprecedented opportunities and… read more

Recyclable electronics: just add hot water

November 8, 2012


The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), along with partners In2Tec Ltd (UK) and Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd, have developed a printed circuit board (PCB) whose components can be easily separated by immersion in hot water.

The project partners designed, developed and tested a series of unzippable polymeric layers that allow the assemblies to be easily separated at end-of-life into their constituent parts, after immersion in hot… read more

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