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Automotive X Prize Revs Up for 100-mpg Race

March 23, 2008

The X Prize Foundation has officially launched its 100-mpg challenge, a two-year competition to build a car that can achieve 100 miles per gallon (or its energy equivalent), create a viable manufacturing plan, and be a top performer during the competition’s staged races in fall 2009.

Planned entrants include a lithium-ion biodiesel hybrid and compressed-air powered car.

Math Will Rock Your World

January 12, 2006

The mathematical modeling of humanity promises to be one of the great undertakings of the 21st century. It will grow in scope to include much of the physical world as mathematicians get their hands on new flows of data, from atmospheric sensors to the feeds from millions of security cameras. It’s a parallel world that’s taking shape, a laboratory for innovation and discovery composed of numbers, vectors, and algorithms.… read more

Bionic body parts offer hope to the disabled

July 5, 2011

eLegs (credit:

An 11-minute PBS News Hour video demonstrates several bionics projects that use state-of-the-art robotics technologies to create artificial body parts capable of assisting people with disabilities, suggests DeviceGuru.

This includes a robotic exoskeleton called eLegs, an artificial arm called Luke, and glasses that provide “bionic eyesight.”

Desktop kit slows light to a crawl

April 3, 2003

Light can been slowed down to just over 200 kilometres per hour or even stopped, using only simple desktop equipment at room temperature.

The work could make it easier to control information transmitted via light at a network switching station, for example.

Reading Kafka Improves Learning, Suggests Psychology Study

September 16, 2009

Exposure to information that does not makes sense (such as surrealistic literature) — or is a threat to meaning or creates a sense that expected associations are violated — enhances adaptive cognitive mechanisms like finding patterns, psychologists at UC Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia have found in two experiments.

They suggest that the lack of meaning motivates people to look for patterns and find structure.… read more

Robotic Guidance for Knee Surgery

March 28, 2008

MAKO Surgical Corp. has developed a robotic surgical system using a robotic arm equipped with a saw that allows more patients to have partial knee replacement surgery, which is difficult to do by eye.

The MAKO system generates a 3-D model of a patient’s knee, which surgeons use to determine how much bone to remove from the tibia and femur, and where to place the implants that replace inflammed… read more

Who is messing with your head?

January 24, 2006

New brain science research is developing techniques using surgery, medication, deep brain stimulation, genetic and other methods for cognitive enhancement, raising ethical issues.

GM Blood Kills Human Cancer Cells

April 18, 2003

“Genetically modifying a patient’s white blood cells turns them into potent cancer killers, UK researchers have revealed.”

The researchers isolated T-lymphocyte cells from cancer patients and genetically modified these cells to carry a gene that produces an antibody that recognizes a specific molecule in the cancer cells.

“This antibody allows the T-cell to bind onto the cancer cell and trigger a chain of events that turns the T-cells… read more

EU funding ‘Orwellian’ artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for “abnormal behaviour”

September 23, 2009

The EU’s Project Indect aims to develop computer programs that monitor and process information from web sites, discussion forums, file servers, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers for “automatic detection of threats, abnormal behavior, or violence.”

At Hearing, Real and Virtual Worlds Collide

April 2, 2008

The congressional subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing on the promise and perils of the online virtual world, broadcast simultaneously in Second Life.

Alien Animal Planet

February 6, 2006

Computer models created by NASA and SETI Project researchers have helped identify which stars among the universe’s 70 sextillion are most likely to support life.

They used two scenarios formulated by the SETI Project: a planet orbiting a sun close enough to keep water from freezing out, yet far enough away to avoid evaporation and a moon orbiting a gas giant and warmed by twin suns.

Then life… read more

Replacing lost abilities with a robot

July 20, 2011

Robot Human

Henry Evans has been using a two-armed PR2 robot created by Willow Garage to shave himself — since a stroke left him mute and partly paralyzed 10 years ago.

But Evans cannot yet be left alone with PR2. That will require it to respond to commands more intelligently, and cope with unexpected problems — such as a person getting in its way.

Some of these refinements… read more

Embryonic stem cells turned into eggs

May 2, 2003

Embryonic stem cells have been turned into egg cells — the first time scientists have duplicated the process of egg formation and ovulation in the test tube.

The finding opens the possibility that human eggs could be made in large numbers in a culture dish, instead of relying on donors. That could advance research on infertility, the understanding of menopause, and help perfect the process of cloning. Embryonic stem… read more

A step toward better brain implants using conducting polymer nanotubes

September 30, 2009

Brain implants developed at the University of Michigan are coated with nanotubes made of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), a biocompatible and electrically conductive polymer that has been shown to record neural signals better than conventional metal electrodes.

Hydrogen-powered plane takes off

April 6, 2008

The first manned, hydrogen-powered plane has been successfully tested in the skies above Spain, Boeing says.

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