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‘Facebook for scientists’

April 13, 2010

Indiana University has received more than $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on a $12.2 million, seven-university project designed to network researchers around the country.

Comprehensive model is first to map protein folding at atomic level

November 12, 2006

Scientists at Harvard University have developed a computer model that can fully map and predict protein folding for some 10 microseconds — about as long as some proteins take to assume their biologically stable configuration, and at least a thousand times longer than previous methods.

“This appears to have achieved a holy grail: simulating and predicting protein folding from a linear amino acid sequence,” said Ray Kurzweil. “It is… read more

Practical Cloaking Devices On The Horizon?

August 11, 2008

University of California, Berkeley scientists have created a multilayered, “fishnet” metamaterial that unambiguously exhibits negative refractive index, allowing for invisibility in three dimensions for the first time, Nature magazine plans to report this week.

New robot brain takes to the skies

December 23, 2003

“Mantis,” the world’s first small robotic helicopter that can see and think for itself, is based in part on the workings of the human inner ear.

Mantis uses an inertial sensing system and computer vision system to guide the aircraft and provide flight stability. The robot’s two cameras and software detect where objects are and how fast the Mantis is moving relative to objects around it.

Applications include… read more

Real-Time Search

April 22, 2010

Google is on a quest to track and rank real-time (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) data to incorporate it into search results.

Google continuously scans for shifts in language and other deviations from predicted behavior. For example, users whose tweets are often retweeted by other users, or Facebook users with more friends can generally be assumed to have more authority.

Can Facebook solve the unemployment problem?

October 21, 2011

Facebook and the U.S. Labor department announced Thursday a new program to help unemployed workers find jobs. The program, called The Social Jobs Partnership, will seek to leverage the power of social media to connect unemployed workers with jobs.

The program will include a central page on Facebook providing resources and content to help both employers and job seekers. In the states with the highest unemployment rates, Facebook will… read more

How to live long and prosper

November 26, 2006

University of Chicago researchers found that first-born children were 1.7 times as likely as their siblings to live to be 100 and those whose mothers were less than 25 years old were twice as likely to survive beyond a century.

Hollywood Hair is Captured at Last

August 15, 2008
The left two images demonstrate different aspects of a real hairstyle that the computer scientists captured. The third image from left is the reference photograph of the real hairstyle. The new algorithms created the image on the right, which has photorealistic highlights and texture, even through there are no photographs that were taken at that angle.

UC San Diego, Adobe, and MIT researchers have developed a new method for accurately capturing the shape and appearance of a person’s hairstyle for use in animated films and video games.

The researchers captured about 2,500 real-world images of hair using 16 cameras, 150 light sources and three projectors arranged in a dome setup. With this data, the computer scientists determined the physical position and orientation of… read more

First brainstem implants aim to tackle deafness

January 9, 2004

Two deaf women have become the first people to undergo the risky procedure of having implants in their brainstems. The devices are designed to restore hearing by directly stimulating nerves.

The procedure is needed by people with a damaged cochlea or auditory nerve, where cochlear implants cannot help. The researchers hope that the implant, in which eight electrodes of different lengths are inserted into the brainstem, will be able… read more

MEMS device generates power from body heat

April 30, 2010

Thermoelectric power generator

A team of researchers from Singapore has developed an energy-harvesting device using stacked thermocouples that generates a few microwatts of electrical power from body heat or any environment where there is a temperature gradient.

By accumulating this energy over time, it could be used to prolong the battery life of electronic devices such as pressure sensors, and also recycle heat generated from the devices during operation. By… read more

Stem Cells Are Where It’s At

December 6, 2006

There are now more than 1,000 stem-cell therapies in early human trials around the world.

Last month saw the first patient treated with embryonic cells, which have triggered much debate in the United States. After years of being thought of as science fiction, stem-cell therapies are becoming a scientific fact.

Watson vs Venter: the loser is race-based medicine

August 21, 2008

A new comparison of the publicly available genome sequences of James Watson and Craig Venter indicates that skin color doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the rest of their genome or how they’ll respond to drugs or which drugs they’ll respond to, says Venter.

But the availability of cheap genetic testing — and soon complete individual genome sequencing — means that such personalized information will become increasingly important in… read more

Brave New Babies

January 20, 2004

Parents now have the power to choose the sex of their children. But as technology answers prayers, it also raises some troubling questions.

How To Take Photographs Through Opaque Objects

May 6, 2010

Opague Imaging

Langevin Institute physicists have devised a way to reconstruct randomly scattered images to allow pictures to be transmitted (or viewed) through certain kinds of opaque objects.

Just send several known wavefronts through the material and record how they are distorted. The “transmission matrix” (how light is scattered by the opaque medium) can be deduced from the difference between the projected and transmittted wavefronts. Then send the inverse of the… read more

Nano-cables convert light into electricity

December 15, 2006

Nanocables that convert light into electricity could one day be used to power nanorobots, because of their similarity in size and function to the antennas used by bacteria for photosynthesis.

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