science + technology news

At one with the universe

February 10, 2003

Is the brain simply a computer, and is consciousness merely the feeling we get when we think? Or is consciousness a primary component of the universe, which the brain can latch on to, like a radio receiver?

Marines want lots of robots they can throw

August 20, 2009

The US Marine Corp has a request: build and rapidly deploy 10lb or under robots its personnel can throw into dangerous situations that can quickly gather information without endangering Marines.

Unlikely graphene-nanotube combination forms high-speed digital switch

August 4, 2015

Hair-like boron nitride nanotubes intersect a sheet of graphene to create a digital switch. (credit: Michigan Tech, Yoke Khin Yap)

By themselves, graphene is too conductive while boron nitride nanotubes are too insulating, but combining them could create a workable digital switch — which can be used for controlling electrons in computers and other electronic devices.

To create this serendipitous super-hybrid, Yoke Khin Yap, a professor of physics at Michigan Technological University, and his team exfoliated (peeled off) graphene(from graphite) and modified the material’s surface… read more

DARPA pushes limits of unmanned aircraft capability to extremes

March 11, 2008
NASA concept for on high-altitude unmanned aircraft (NASA)

DARPA is pushing the boundaries of unmanned aviation to extremes, with its Vulture program to demonstrate an unmanned aircraft capable of staying aloft for five years, and its Rapid Eye, a UAV that could be rocket-deployed to anywhere in the world within hours.

Faster Plastic Circuits

December 14, 2005

Researchers have built working circuits on plastic that run at 100 megahertz — as much as a hundred times faster than previous ones on plastic.

The Sarnoff/Columbia advance could lead to displays measuring three meters or more diagonally that can also be rolled up and easily transported.

Fast transistors on plastic could also lead to portable phased-array antennas. Such antennas direct a transmission at a precise target, which… read more

What makes us decide to stay or go?

June 16, 2011

Michael Platt and colleagues at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University have found that a small group of neurons in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the primate brain steadily increases its firing rate during foraging until a threshold is reached and the animal moves on.

The experimenters had the rhesus macaque monkeys direct their gaze to selected portions of a computer screen to… read more

Sci-Fi War Uniforms?

February 25, 2003

MIT’s new Army-funded Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies is designing the perfect uniform protection for soldiers, using nanotech.

Designs will include “smart surfaces” that can change from being water-repellent to water-absorbent, fibers that can be woven into a soldier’s uniform to make it identifiable even in the dark, and the ability to adapt to biological and chemical threats.

The Wall Has Fallen: 3 Augmented Reality Apps Now Live in iPhone App Store

August 30, 2009

Three augmented reality apps (overlaying information on the camera view) have come to the iPhone, thanks to an unofficial developer workaround (Apple’s next OS, due this Fall, will support AR apps officially).

Google Sky Rises Above Google Earth

March 14, 2008

Google said that Google Sky, previously a star-viewing option in the Google Earth desktop application, can now be viewed on its own in a Web browser.

Gyroscope sets course to fight cancer

December 26, 2005

Micro-gyroscopes can make sensitive biosensors for fast detection of the proteins associated with diseases by measuring the subtle change in vibration caused when a protein binds to a DNA coating.

The researchers plan to produce hand-held devices to test blood, smear and biopsy samples and immediately relay the results to a doctor.

Iraq to Assist with Robot Testing

March 10, 2003

Iraq seems to be on the verge of becoming one of the biggest testing grounds for military robotics in history.

Large-scale study probes how cells fight pathogens

September 4, 2009

Scientists have deciphered a key molecular circuit that enables the body to distinguish viruses from bacteria and other microbes, providing a deep view of how dendritic cells cells in mammals fend off different pathogens.

They found a dendritic cell circuit with two major arms: an inflammatory arm, which is highly active during bacterial infections and can initiate a system-wide immune response; and an anti-viral arm, which is induced upon… read more

Singularity Summit 2008 announced

March 19, 2008

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence plans to hold Singularity Summit 2008 at the Montgomery Theater in San Jose, California on October 1825, 2008, SIAI Executive Director Tyler Emerson told

Speakers, program, and registration details will be forthcoming.

Computers estimate emotions

January 9, 2006

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research in Germany have developed a glove that senses a computer operator’s heartbeat and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and electrical resistance and connects to a device that infers emotions.

They are also working on techniques that will enable computers to interpret facial expressions and extract emotional elements from voice signals.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft news

Trapped ions make logic gates

March 27, 2003

Two independent research groups report the creation of logic gates using pairs of “entangled” trapped ions. The researchers believe that these logic gates could be scaled up to include many qubits in a large, workable quantum computer.

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