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Gunning for Starbucks, Coffee & Power expands to LA

December 16, 2011

Coffee and Power

Coffee & Power, an online network for connecting people together to hire each other for small jobs, or “missions,” has opened its first official workclub in Santa Monica, CA.

It’s the first expansion of Philip Rosedale’s (Second Life) “meta-company” outside the San Francisco Bay Area.

Brain implant reveals the neural patterns of attention

February 25, 2010

A paralyzed patient implanted with a brain-computer interface device has allowed University of Chicago scientists to determine the relationship between brain waves and attention.

Using a small chip containing nearly 100 microelectrodes that was previously implanted in a patient’s primary motor cortex, they found that beta waves indicate how much attention a subject is paying to the task at hand, while slower delta waves act as an internal metronome,… read more

Humans and computers compete in virtual creature game

December 8, 2003

Sodarace, an online game that lets contestants build and race virtual beasts, is being used to pit humans against a variety of artificial-intelligence algorithms.

Each creature is constructed of “mass,” muscles,” “limbs” and “joints” that control the way it moves. A creature’s key parameters can driven by a computer program; AI programmers are being invited to take part.

A variety of programming approaches are being tested, including genetic… read more

Smart contact lens feels the pressure of glaucoma

July 10, 2008
Prototype lenses with pressure sensors (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co)

University of California, Davis researchers have made a contact lens with a built-in pressure sensor that could help monitor conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane, the organic polymer traditionally used for contact lenses) usually cannot conduct electricity or have complicated features, so they developed new techniques to embed conducting circuits with circuit features of 10 micrometers. A transparent sensor could be worn continuously, sending… read more

Artificial memory aid mimics the brain’s audio cues

November 1, 2006

An artificial memory aid that mimics the way the human brain replays verbal information could help people with brain damage, Alzheimer’s or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The handheld device is modelled on a function of the brain known as the “phonological loop.” It has a microphone and controls for recording and playing audio.

To use it, a user presses “record” and says a phrase they want to keep… read more

Reconfigurable silicon nanowire transistors

December 22, 2011

Universal transistor

Technical University Munich researchers have developed a nanoscale universal transistor that can be configured as p-FET or n-FET simply by applying a voltage.

The design can be flexibly reconfigured during operation to perform different logic computations, allowing for unprecedented circuit design flexibility.

Ref.: André Heinzig et al., Reconfigurable Silicon Nanowire Transistors, Nano Letters, 2011 [DOI: 10.1021/nl203094h]

Carbon nanotubes generate electricity that could be harnessed for new energy systems

March 8, 2010

Carbon Nanotubes with a Lit Fuel Coating

Carbon nanotubes with a lit fuel coating generate an electrical current, the result of a fast-moving combustion wave (thermal wave) traveling along the length of the carbon nanotube that drags electrons along, MIT scientists have discovered.

The system puts out about 100 times greater energy in proportion to its weight than a lithium-ion battery. In theory, says Michael Strano, MIT’s Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor… read more

Execs beg nanotech funding; paying for better homeland security devices called risky

December 17, 2003

Nanotechnology could strengthen the nation’s shield against terrorist bombs, biological weapons or attacks on power plants and reservoirs, participants at the Nanotechnology and Homeland Security Forum said Monday.

But homeland security may not benefit from nanotechnology’s potential unless government funding lays the groundwork for the private businesses that could produce new defense products, most experts agreed.

Possible nanotech uses could include self-copying nanoparticles that could be spread in… read more

‘Ten Commandments’ of race and genetics issued

July 18, 2008

A multidisciplinary group focused on contentious issues related to race, genetic markers and medicine has released a set of 10 guiding principles for the scientific community.

The group–ranging from geneticists and psychologists to historians and philosophers–was led by anthropologist Sandra Soo-Jin Lee of Stanford University.

The guidelines include “members of the same race may have different underlying genetics,” and “oversimplified science feeds popular misconceptions.”

Fiber-optic pen helps see inside brains of children with learning disabilities

June 20, 2013

Todd Richards demonstrates the pen and pad device while inside the fMRI (credit: Center on Human Development and Disability/University of Washington)

For less than $100, University of Washington researchers have designed a computer-interfaced drawing pad that helps scientists see inside the brains of children with learning disabilities while they read and write.

A paper describing the tool, developed by the UW’s Center on Human Development and Disability, was published this spring in Sensors, an online open-access journal.

“Scientists needed a tool that allows them to see… read more

Robot cars rev up for the city

November 16, 2006

Sebastian Thrun and his team at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are ready to try in-car artificial intelligence, developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge last year, on city streets in the ultimate test of robot cars.

Next year’s DARPA Urban Challenge will pit robot racers against each other in negotiating a 60-mile course through a simulated city environment.

US Army unveils 1.8 gigapixel camera helicopter drone

December 30, 2011


New helicopter-style drones with 1.8 gigapixel color cameras are being developed by the U.S. Army.

The army said the technology promised “an unprecedented capability to track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet (6.1km) across almost 65 square miles (168 sq km).

AMARSi project could see robots learn from co-workers

March 15, 2010

If successful, the four-year, 7 million euro, EU-funded AMARSi (Adaptive Modular Architecture for Rich Motor Skills) project (which started this month) will enable humanoid (and quadruped) bots to autonomously learn and develop motor skills in open-ended environments in the same way humans do — by learning from the data provided by movement and essentially rewiring their circuits to process and store the new knowledge they’ve acquired.

New Understanding Of Why Brain Cells Die After Stroke

December 31, 2003

Scientists have found a major mechanism that causes brain cells to die from stroke: when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients, as happens to parts of the brain affected by a stroke, a special channel on the surface of those brain cells is activated, triggering a lethal chain reaction.

The “TRPM7″ channel, when activated causes brain cells to produce large quantities of free radicals — toxic… read more

“Consensus” on Man-Made Warming Shattering

July 23, 2008

Physics & Society, The journal of the American Physical Society, has published “Climate Sensitivity Revisited,” a debate.

“There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution,” the paper notes.

“Global mean surface temperature… read more

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