How to paste augmented-reality video graffiti on streets

October 31, 2012


Look closely and you can find digital graffiti — videos, animations, and comments superimposed on buildings and streets around the world.

They are created using apps for smartphones or tablets to edit augmented reality (AR) YouTube videosNew Scientist reports.

Most major cities are teeming with these digital annotations. You just need to identify a tagged location using your smartphone’s map, and watch through the… read more

An autonomous flying robot that avoids obstacles

As smart as a bird in maneuvering around obstacles
October 31, 2012

Miniature autonomous flying robot avoids a tree on the Cornell Arts Quad (credit: Saxena lab)

Able to guide itself through forests, tunnels, or damaged buildings, an autonomous flying robot developed by Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell University, and his team could have tremendous value in search-and-rescue operations, according to the researchers.

The test vehicle is a quadrotor, a commercially available flying machine table with four helicopter rotors. Human controllers can’t always react swiftly enough, and radio signals may… read more

Advanced exoskeleton promises more independence for people with paraplegia

November 1, 2012

Parker-Hannifin design concept for the commercial version of the exoskeleton (credit: Parker-Hannifin Corporation)

A new powered exoskeleton that enables people with severe spinal cord injuries to stand, walk, sit and climb stairs has been developed by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Intelligent Mechatronics. Its light weight, compact size, and modular design promise to provide users with an unprecedented degree of independence.

Parker Hannifin Corporation has signed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop a commercial version of the device, which it plans to introduce in… read more

Colloidal microparticles that self-assemble into novel 3D structures

Could lead to photonic crystals that improve displays and computer chips
November 1, 2012

Scientists have created new kinds of particles, 1/100th the diameter of a human hair, that spontaneously assemble themselves into structures resembling molecules made from atoms.</p>
<p>Credit: Illustration courtesy of Yufeng Wang and Yu Wang.

Researchers from NYU, Harvard, and Dow Chemical have created new colloidal microparticles that spontaneously self-assemble into structures resembling molecules made from atoms.

These structures were previously impossible to make and hold promise for manufacturing advanced optical materials and ceramics, such as photonic crystals that could improve displays and computer chips.

The method was developed by a team of chemists, chemical engineers, and physicists at New York University (NYU), the Harvard School of… read more

The first all-carbon solar cell

Imagine low-cost solar cells painted on buildings, windows, and cars to provide electricity
November 1, 2012

All-carbon solar cell consists of a photoactive layer, which absorbs sunlight, sandwiched between two electrodes (credit: Bao group, Stanford University)

Stanford University scientists have built the first solar cell made entirely of carbon, a promising alternative to the expensive materials used in photovoltaic devices today.

“Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost,” said study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of… read more

’1000 genomes barrier’ broken

Will help researchers interpret genetic changes in people with disease
November 1, 2012


A landmark project that has sequenced 1,092 human genomes from individuals around the world will help researchers to interpret the genetic changes in people with disease.

This first study to break the “1000 genomes barrier” will enable scientists to begin to examine genetic variations at the scale of the populations of individual countries, as well as guiding them in their search for the rare genetic variations related… read more

China is building a 100-petaflops supercomputer

November 1, 2012


As the U.S. launched what’s expected to be the world’s fastest supercomputer at 20 petaflops (peak performance), China announced it is building a machine intended to be five times faster when it is deployed in 2015, IT World reports.

China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer will run at 100 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second) peak performance, designed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, according to the Guangzhou… read more

Crowdsourcing a cure for my brain cancer

November 1, 2012


Digital artist Salvatore Iaconesi, an engineer, artist, hacker and 2012 TED fellow who teaches interaction and digital design at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, hacked his medical records to put them online on his site artisopensource.net/cure in a global search for the best treatments, New Scientist reports.

 What happened?

It’s been incredible. I have been able to become an expert in… read more

IBM’s Watson goes to medical school

November 2, 2012

(Credit: IBM)

Next up for Watson: a stint as a medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, New York Times Bits reports.

The collaboration includes a bit of controlled crowdsourcing, with the Cleveland clinicians and medical school students answering Watson’s questions and correcting its mistakes.

“Hopefully, we can contribute to the training of… read more

World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power

November 2, 2012


The first power has been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced .

The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.

The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.

London… read more

Imec and Nantero launch joint carbon-nanotube-memory program for high-density next-generation memory below 20nm

November 2, 2012

Illustration of CNTs forming an electrical connection (credit:


Imec, a world-leading research institution in nanoelectronics, and Nantero, Inc., a nanotechnology company using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for the development of next-generation semiconductor devices, have announced a joint development program.

The collaboration will focus on the carbon-nanotube-based memory developed by Nantero, NRAM, and its application in high-density next-generation memories with a size under 20nm.

Carbon nanotubes… read more

NASA’S Fermi measures cosmic ‘fog’ produced by ancient starlight

November 2, 2012


Astronomers using data from NASA‘s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have made the most accurate measurement of starlight in the universe and used it to establish the total amount of light from all of the stars that have ever shone, accomplishing a primary mission goal.

“The optical and ultraviolet light from stars continues to travel throughout the universe even after the stars cease to… read more

Privately owned genetic databases may hinder diagnosis

November 2, 2012


This week, the European Journal of Human Genetics published an article showing that Myriad Genetics, providers of the BRCA1/2 genetic test, has amassed vast quantities of clinical data without sharing it, Professor Martina Cornel, chair of the European Society of Human Genetics‘ Professional and Public Policy committee, said:

“We are very concerned that such important data is being withheld from those who most need it. Interpreting the… read more

Rollable, foldable e-devices coming

November 2, 2012


What if a tablet screen were a paper-thin plastic that rolled like a window shade?

University of Cincinnati researchers have now announced experiment verification that such “electrofluidic imaging film” works. The breakthrough is a white, porous film coated with a thin layer of reflective electrodes and spacers that are then subjected to unique and sophisticated fluid mechanics in order to electrically transport the colored ink and clear-oil… read more

Following Sandy, DHS seeks security ‘Cyber Reserve’

November 3, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The damage to the electrical grid from Superstorm Sandy is just a taste of what could happen from a major cyberattack, says Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, CSO Security and Risk reports.

And a DHS task force said this week that one way to minimize that kind of risk is to recruit a “Cyber Reserve” of computer security pros that could be… read more

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