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This is your brain on freestyle rap

November 19, 2012

Open Mike Eagle (credit: Mush Records)

Researchers in the voice, speech, and language branch of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of rappers when they are “freestyling” — spontaneously improvising lyrics in real time.

Published online in the November 15 issue of the journal Scientific Reports (open access), the findings… read more

The library of Utopia

November 19, 2012

The_Reading_Room_at_the_British_Museum

Google’s ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online, MIT Technology Review reports.

Robert ­Darnton. A distinguished historian, prize-winning author, and director of Harvard’s library system, has an ardent desire to see a universal library established online, a library that would, as he puts it, “make all knowledge availableread more

Stanford physicists take first step toward quantum cryptography

November 19, 2012

To achieve the desired result, the group sends the laser through a series of lenses and other instruments (credit: Kristiaan De Greve et al./Stanford University)

Quantum mechanics promises the potential to create absolutely secure telecommunications networks by harnessing a fundamental phenomenon of quantum particles.

Now, a team of Stanford physicists has demonstrated a crucial first step in creating a quantum telecommunications device that could be built and implemented using existing infrastructure.

The work doneread more

The Last Pictures launches with EchoStar XVI satellite

November 19, 2012

lastpictures_publication_cover

On November 20, Creative Time will launch an archival disc created by artist Trevor Paglen called The Last Pictures into outer space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Made of ultra-archival materials, the disc is expected to orbit the earth for billions of years affixed to the exterior of the communications satellite EchoStar XVI.

To create the artifact, Paglen micro-etched one hundred photographs selected to… read more

A warning system for the planet

November 20, 2012

599px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

There is no centralized system to monitor and report changes in the Earth’s life-support systems. So scientists in 77 nations have established the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), which integrates existing data streams into one platform to provide a  global warning system for Earth’sread more

How to create an animated character from your facial expressions in real time

An avatar reproduces your facial expressions in real time. You move, it moves. You smile, it smiles.
November 20, 2012

faceshift

Faceshift, announced Monday, is software that uses Kinect and similar cameras to read your face and create a moving avatar from it. It could enhance the future of video games and make video chats more fun, says Thibaut Weise, founder of Faceshift, a spinoff of EPFL’s Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory.

The software needs only ten minutes to recognize your face as you create basic expressions requested by the program:… read more

Breakthrough nanoparticle halts multiple sclerosis, diabetes, allergies

November 20, 2012

Microsphere image (credit: Daniel R. Getts et al./Northwestern University)

Northwestern Medicine researchers have developed a biodegradable nanoparticle  that stealthily delivers an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and haltd a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new research.

The nanoparticles can also be applied to other immune-mediated diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies, and asthma.

In… read more

Optogenetics illuminates pathways of motivation and depression through brain

November 20, 2012

optogenetic fluorescence

Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, a professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, and postdoctoral scholar Melissa Warden, PhD, have isolated the neurons that carry the split-second decisions to act, from the higher brain to the brain stem. In doing so, they have provided insight into the causes of severe brain disorders such as depression.

In organisms… read more

How to optimize light sources for vision

November 20, 2012

Fluorescent lamps (credit: Wikipedia)

Vision researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute have made a groundbreaking discovery into the optimization of light sources to human vision. By tuning lighting devices to work more efficiently with the human brain, the researchers believe billions of dollars in energy costs could be saved.

The research, conducted by Stephen Macknik, PhD, of Barrow’s Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology, and Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD, of Barrow’s Laboratory of… read more

FRINGE series repeat premieres on Science Channel @ 8pm

November 20, 2012

singularityfringe

A 3D light switch for the brain

New device for delivering light to individual neurons could one day help treat Parkinson's disease, epilepsy; aid understanding of consciousness, how memories form
November 21, 2012

Optical image of the 3-D array with individual light ports illuminated. The array looks like a series of fine-toothed combs laid next to each other with their teeth pointing in the same direction. (Credit: A.N. Zorzos et al./Optics Letters)

A new fiber-optic device created by MIT biologists and engineers is the first tool that can deliver 1000 precise points of light to a 3D section of living brain tissue matter smaller than a sugar cube.

This is a step forward for a technique called optogenetics, which uses gene treatments to turn individual brain cells on and off with light.

Scientists can use this new 3D… read more

The highest-resolution immersive visualization facility ever built

November 21, 2012

RealityDeck

Stony Brook University (SBU) recently unveiled its new Reality Deck, with 1.5 billion pixels total on 416 super-high-resolution screens in a four-walled surround-view theater — the highest-resolution  immersive display ever built — and driven by a 220 TFLOPs graphic supercomputer.

Its purpose and primary design principle is to enable scientists, engineers, and physicians to tackle current problems that require the visualization of vast amounts of… read more

Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology

November 21, 2012

The solar steam device developed at Rice University has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent, far surpassing that of photovoltaic solar panels. It may first be used in sanitation and water-purification applications in the developing world. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Rice University scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses silicon dioxide/gold nanoshells and N115 carbon nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The new “solar steam” method from Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) is so effective it can even produce steam from icy cold water.

The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have… read more

New augmented-reality glasses due out in 2013

November 21, 2012

Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 (credit: Vuzix Corporation)

Google Glass now has a competitor: Vuzix Corporation’s Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 — designed for on-the-go data access from your smartphone and the Internet.

It will have a WQVGA color 16×9 screen, look like a 4” cellphone screen at 14” and will work on either eye, and will be available commercially for $500 in mid-2013, Vuzix CEO Paul J. Travers told KurzweilAI.

Like Google Glass, the Vuzix M100 contains a virtual… read more

Is college credit for massive open online courses coming?

November 21, 2012

Some of the 19 Coursera courses on AI and robotics (credit: Coursera)

The American Council on Education (ACE) has announced a wide-ranging research and evaluation effort that will examine the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) will evaluate for potential college credit select courses offered by Coursera, a leading provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

“MOOCs are an intriguing, innovative new approach that holds much promiseread more

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