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A better brain implant: listening to single neurons

November 12, 2012

SEM image of a fully assembled, functional microthread electrode (credit: Takashi Kozai)

A thin, flexible electrode developed at the University of Michigan is 10 times smaller than the nearest competition and could make long-term measurements of neural activity practical.

This kind of technology could also be used eventually to send brain-computer-interface (BCI) signals to prosthetic limbs, overcoming inflammation caused by larger electrodes, resulting in damage to both the brain and the electrodes.

Existing electrodes are stiff and enormous… read more

Cray unveils Cray XC30 supercomputer, capable of scaling to 100 petaflops

November 12, 2012

Cray XC30 supercomputer (credit:

Cray Inc. has launched the Cray XC30 supercomputer, previously code-named “Cascade,” designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops, with more than one million cores.

Cray did not specify whether the 100 petaflops was Rpeak or Rmax, or when a 100 petaflops installation might be planned.

China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center also recently announced the development of a supercomputer… read more

Astronaut on ISS uses interplanetary Internet to control robot in Germany

November 12, 2012

legorobot_esa

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) used an experimental version of interplanetary Internet in late October to control an educational rover from the International Space Station, NASA says.

The experiment used NASA’s Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit messages and demonstrate technology that one day may enable Internet-like communications with space vehicles and support habitats or infrastructure on another planet.

Space station Expedition… read more

Climbing 103 floors with a neural-controlled bionic leg

November 12, 2012

RIC unveils world's first neural-controlled bionic leg at fourth annual skyrise Chicago event

In the world’s tallest indoor stair climb event, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) research subject Zac Vawter climbed 103 floors of the Chicago Willis Tower Nov. 4 using the first “Bionic Leg,” a neural-controlled prosthetic leg driven by his own thoughts

RIC’s Center for Bionic Medicine pioneered the Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) technique, which allows amputees to have more natural control of prosthetic devices.… read more

Modeling pulmonary edema in a lung-on-a-chip

November 12, 2012

Combining microfabrication techniques with modern tissue engineering, lung-on-a-chip offers an in vitro approach to drug screening by mimicking the complicated mechanical and biochemical behaviors of a human lung (credit: Donald Ingber et al./Wyss Institute)

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have mimicked pulmonary edema in a microchip lined by living human cells. They used this “lung-on-a-chip” to study drug toxicity and identify potential new therapies to prevent this life-threatening condition.

The study offers further proof-of-concept that human “organs-on-chips” hold tremendous potential to replace traditional approaches to drug discovery and development, according to the… read more

How to detect microvesicles in the bloodstream to diagnose and monitor brain cancer

System combining nanotechnology and NMR detects particles shed by brain tumors in bloodstream
November 13, 2012

glioblastoma

Diagnosing glioblastoma brain cancer is a real challenge for neurologists because they are deep in the brain and hard to test for. Now there’s a promising new solution.

A novel miniature diagnostic platform using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology that can detect minuscule cell particles known as microvesicles (shed by cancer cells) in a drop of blood has been developed by investigators at theread more

How to connect your home appliances to the Internet of Things

Is it really smart to connect smart grids to the Internet?
November 13, 2012

sigfox

French startup SigFox thinks it can help usher in a second mobile Internet boom by connecting millions of low-power sensors worldwide to the Internet, MIT Technology Review reports.

SigFox is focused on connecting cheap sensors and “dumb” home appliances to the Internet. The goal is to make all kinds of appliances and infrastructure, from power grids to microwave ovens, smarter by letting them share data.… read more

World’s First 3D printing photo booth to open in Japan

November 13, 2012

omote3D-photobooth-6

The world’s first “3D printing photo booth” is set to open for a limited time at the exhibition space EYE OF GYRE in Harajuku, Japan, Spoon & Tamago reports.

From November 24 to January 14, 2013, people with reservations can go and have their portraits taken. Except, instead of a photograph, you’ll receive miniature replicas of yourselves.

Reservations can be madke via… read more

Thermoelectric generator converts light and heat to electrical current

November 13, 2012

SWNT–CuS

University of Texas at Arlington associate physics professor Wei Chen has helped create a hybrid nanomaterial that can be used to convert light and thermal energy into electrical current, surpassing earlier methods that used either light or thermal energy, but not both.

The team synthesized a combination of copper sulfide nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes to build a prototype thermoelectric generator that they hope can… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind published

November 13, 2012

Ray Kurzweil’s new book — How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed* — was published today, Nov. 13, Viking has announced.

The book opened on Monday as #1 among all books on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list. It is now available from the book website or from all major booksellers, and available in all popular e-book formats.… read more

Self-assembling smart scaffolds aim to rebuild tissue and future organs

Smart scaffolding can guide cells, proteins, and small-molecule drugs to make new tissue and repair damage inside the body
November 14, 2012

At top, a graphic shows multidomain peptide self-assembling into a nanofiber. The scanning electron microscope image at bottom left shows formed nanofibers; at bottom right, a histological section of cells (blue dots) grows in a dentin cylinder, where they mimic the desired dental-pulp regeneration. (Credit: Hartgerink Lab/Rice University)

A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry has received a $1.7 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a hydrogel that can be injected into a patient to form an active biological scaffold for tooth repair, and possibly spinal cord regeneration, among other uses.

Rice bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink and co-investigator Rena D’Souza of Baylor won… read more

Longevity gene that makes Hydra immortal also controls human aging

November 14, 2012

hydra_kiel

Why is the polyp Hydra immortal? Researchers from Kiel University decided to study it — and unexpectedly discovered a link to aging in humans.

The study carried out by  together with the Keil University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH)

The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra does not show any signs of aging and is potentially immortal. There is a rather simple biological explanation for this: these animals exclusively reproduceread more

Self-assembling-polymer advances could increase computer memory density fivefold

November 14, 2012

computermemory_increase_fivefold

The storage capacity of hard disk drives could increase by a factor of five thanks to processes developed by chemists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.

The researchers’ technique, which relies on self-organizing substances known as block copolymers, is being given a real-world test run in collaboration with HGST, a leading innovator in disk drives.

Near the end ofread more

Brazil aims to clone endangered animals

November 14, 2012

750px-Maned_Wolf_11,_Beardsley_Zoo,_2009-11-06

Conservationists in Brazil are poised to try cloning eight animals that are under pressure, including jaguars and maned wolves, New Scientist reports.

None of the targeted animals are critically endangered, but Brazil’s agricultural research agency, Embrapa, wants a headstart. Working with the Brasilia Zoological Garden, it has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostlyread more

Doubling the efficiency of wireless networks to cope with increasing data traffic

New full-duplex method could have broad impacts on mobile Internet and wireless industries
November 14, 2012

ucriverside_bandwidth

Two professors at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a new method that doubles the efficiency of wireless networks and could have a large impact on the mobile Internet and wireless industries.

Efficiency of wireless networks is key because there is a limited amount of spectrum to transmit voice, text… read more

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