science + technology news

Brain Interfaces Made of Silk

April 19, 2010

Brain x220

A group of researchers is building biocompatible electronics on thin, flexible substrates made of biodegradable, mechanically strong silk films.

When it’s placed on brain tissue and wetted with saline, a silk film will shrink-wrap around the surface of the brain, bringing electrodes with it into the wrinkles of the tissue, without scarring.

2028 vision for mechanical engineering: bio- and nanotechnology will dominate

August 13, 2008

Nanotechnology and biotechnology will dominate technological development in the next 20 years and will be incorporated into all aspects of technology that affect lives on a daily basis, says an American Society of Mechanical Engineers report, “2028 Vision for Mechanical Engineering.”

Humanoid avatar plays a competitive game of table tennis

January 4, 2007

Scientists have designed and built an immersive table tennis simulation that allows a human to compete against a computer.

The objective was to determine how quick a response time virtual reality systems could achieve using standard hardware components, and with a high immersion quotient, making human players forget they are in a virtual environment.

Probing the brain’s mysteries

January 25, 2012


Researchers at the Human Connectome Project, the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle and other centers are beginning to chart the brain’s major circuits.

The Human Connectome Project is a five-year, $40 million effort funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers at 11 institutions are mapping the largest conduits among brain regions by combining four imaging techniques, including a new method called diffusion magnetic-resonance imaging that allows… read more

CMU the favorite in robot race across Mojave

February 23, 2004

On March 13, up to 20 robotic vehicles will compete in a $1 million Grand Challenge race sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The winner will be the first machine to cover the still-undisclosed route from somewhere outside Barstow, Calif., to somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas within 10 hours.

No robot has ever done anything like this. Never has an autonomous vehicle gone so far,… read more

Nanotechnology’s road to artificial brains

April 26, 2010

Memristor concept and crossbar design (American Chemical Society)

Memristor devices (resistive devices with a memory property) are capable of emulating biological synapses with properly designed CMOS neuron components, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated.

The team also demonstrated that an electrical circuit consisting of CMOS “neurons” and memristor synapses can achieve spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP), an important synaptic activity.

These findings show that it is now possible to build a brain-like computer using electronic… read more

Brain’s counting skill ‘built-in’

August 19, 2008

Humans have an innate ability to do mathematics even if they do not have the language to express it, a research team has suggested.

A study in Australian Aboriginal children, whose languages lack number words, found they did just as well as English-speaking children in number skills, contradicting other research that found having “counting words” was needed.

Brain activity provides novel biometric key

January 17, 2007

An electronic security system that identifies people by monitoring the unique pattern of electrical activity within their brain is being tested by scientists at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, in Greece.

The authentication system requires a user to have EEG measurements taken beforehand. The result of each authentication test is compared with the user’s pre-recorded measurements, using signal-processing algorithms.

Designing Minds to the Millstone

March 5, 2004

What makes 800 of the country’s smartest, most wildly successful architects, designers, inventors, chief executives, psychologists, ichthyologists, cosmologists, economists, digital artists and other members of the creative, academic and financial elite happy?

Answer: Ruminating about “The Pursuit of Happiness” at the TED conference, the annual $4,000-a-pop three-and-a-half-day hedonistic be-in for the brain that brings together “thought leaders” from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design.

The Data-Driven Life

May 3, 2010

“Almost imperceptibly, numbers are infiltrating the last redoubts of the personal,” observes writer Gary Wolf.

“Sleep, exercise, sex, food, mood, location, alertness, productivity, even spiritual well-being are being tracked and measured, shared and displayed.

“First, electronic sensors got smaller and better. Second, people started carrying powerful computing devices, typically disguised as mobile phones. Third, social media made it seem normal to share everything. And fourth, we began to… read more

At Conference on the Risks to Earth, Few Are Optimistic

August 25, 2008

At a conference on global risks like cyberterrorism, climate change, nuclear weapons and the world’s lagging energy supply, participants were not particularly optimistic.

They presented data showing that the boom in biofuels was depleting Southeast Asian rain forests, that “bot herders” — computer hackers for hire — were hijacking millions of computers, and that the lack of progress over handling nuclear waste was both hampering the revival of nuclear… read more

Do ‘You’ really matter?

January 24, 2007

User-generated content is all the rage right now. But the thought of “You” controlling the media and marketing world is little more than breathless hype.

Half of Fortune 500s, US govt. still infected with DNSChanger trojan

February 6, 2012


More than two months after authorities shut down a massive Internet traffic hijacking scheme, the malicious software that powered the criminal network is still running on computers at half of the Fortune 500 companies, and on PCs at nearly 50 percent of all federal government agencies, new research shows, Krebs on Security reports.

The malware, known as the “DNSChanger Trojan,” quietly alters the host computer’s Internet settings… read more

Britain Gives Go-Ahead for First GM Crop

March 16, 2004

Britain has approved its first genetically modified crop for commercial growing: a kind of maize engineered to be resistant to the weed killer glufosinate ammonium.

In the British government’s three-year “farm-scale evaluations,” the GM maize turned out to be better for farmland wildlife than conventional maize treated with the power weed killer atrazine.

The Need for Speed on the Web

May 11, 2010

Aptimize, a startup based in Wellington, New Zealand, that launches its service for websites in the United States today, says its software can speed up website load times, bringing increases of 200 to 400 percent in some cases.

The software gets into the middle of the normally sluggish page-processing pipeline and makes it more efficient. It combines resources so they only have to be downloaded once. For example, it… read more

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