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The most important education technology in 200 years

November 3, 2012

NLP_course

Education is about to change dramatically, says Anant Agarwal, who heads edX, a $60 million MIT-Harvard effort to stream a college education over the Web, free, with plans to teach a billion students, Technology Review reports.

“Massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, offered by new education ventures like edX, Coursera, and Udacity, to name the most prominent (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”) will affect markets… read more

The most realistic virtual reality room in the world

May 11, 2006

More than $4 million in equipment upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University’s six-sided virtual reality room.

That’s twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State’s C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3-D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at… read more

The Muse Is in the Software

November 24, 2003

“Inventing is about catching the wave,” said Ray Kurzweil, who addressed a national convention of inventors in Philadelphia last Monday. “Most inventions fail not because the inventor can’t get them to work but because the invention comes at the wrong time.”

Kurzweil’s latest invention, with engineer John Keklak, is cybernetic poet, recently awarded patent No. 6,647,395. Like many of Kurzweil’s inventions, it’s based on pattern recognition.

The music of the silks

Researchers synthesize a new kind of silk fiber --- and find that music can help fine-tune the material’s properties
November 30, 2012

This diagram of the molecular structure of one of the artificially produced versions of spider silk depicts one that turned out to form strong, well-linked fibers. A different structure, made using a variation of the same methods, was not able to form into the long fibers needed to make it useful. Musical compositions based on the two structures helped to show how they differed. (Credit: Markus Buehler/MIT)

Research by MIT’s Markus Buehler — together with David Kaplan of Tufts University and Joyce Wong of Boston University — has synthesized new variants on silk’s natural structure, and found a method for making further improvements in the synthetic material.

The work stems from a collaboration of civil and environmental engineers, mathematicians, biomedical engineers and musical composers. The results are reported in a paper published… read more

The mystery behind anesthesia

December 20, 2011

This spectrogram shows EEG recordings from a patient undergoing general anesthesia. Two doses of the intravenous anesthetic propofol lead to bursts of activity (minute seven). Then an inhaled anesthetic, isoflurane, is added, and at minute 14, a characteristic pattern of slow-wave and alpha oscillations begins. Surgery ends at minute 16, and the isoflurane is switched off. The EEG gradually shifts to high-frequency, less intense oscillations. (Credit: Emery Brown)

Mapping how our neural circuits change under the influence of anesthesia could shed light on one of neuroscience’s most perplexing riddles: consciousness.

Emery Brown, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, is part of a small but growing group of anesthesiology researchers who are using the electroencephalogram (EEG), a tool for monitoring the brain’s electrical activity, to systematically probe each aspect of anesthesia in humans and animals.

Working with bioengineer… read more

The Naked Ear

January 17, 2008

Two fully implantable hearing aids are now in clinical trials.

(Otologics/Peter Belanger)

The nanoelectronic road ahead

September 17, 2001

The semiconductor industry has the potential for at least 20 more years of exponential progress ahead of us,” said James D. Meindl, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in a paper published in the September 14 issue of the journal Science.Based on a comprehensive analysis of the fundamental, material, device, circuit and system limits on silicon semiconductors,… read more

The Nanoethics Group publishes nanotechnology anthology with Springer

April 29, 2008

The Nanoethics Group has released “Nanotechnology and Society: Current and Emerging Ethical Issues,” a collection of papers addressing a range of near-term issues related to nanotechnology’s ethical and social implications.

Published by Springer, the essays tackle such contentious issues as environmental impact, health dangers, medical benefits, intellectual property, professional code of ethics, privacy, and international governance.

The Nanomaterials Market Is Starting To Climb The Growth Curve

August 29, 2003

Nanomaterials are vying for new markets in electronics, food packaging, industrial processing and other areas.

Nanotechnology is now a $385 million-per-year business in the United States, a figure that is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2008 and $20 billion by 2013,

The Nanotech Schism

March 9, 2004

The field of nanotechnology is divided between those who think it will simply improve our lives and those who think it will completely transform them.

The former group thinks of nanotechnology as essentially a new branch of materials science. The latter group, inspired by nanotechnologist Eric Drexler, hews to a more ambitious vision in which molecular manufacturing, nanomedicine, and even nanoweapons will radically reshape the world.

The Nanotechnology Revolution

September 5, 2003

From science fiction to the halls of Congress, the promise and perils of nanotechnology have become big news. But just what is nanotechnology, what are its prospects, and how should policymakers and citizens think about it? Adam Keiper explores the surprisingly varied meanings of nanotech, and the implications of our growing control over the very small.

The Nanotube Computer

February 14, 2002

The nano future is emerging through the haze of hype: the road to terabit memory and cheap flat-screen displays will be paved with carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are, in theory at least, the ideal material for building tomorrow’s nanoelectronics. And now, a little more than 10 years after their discovery, nanotubes seem ready to make the transition from exotic laboratory wonders to materials useful in actual technologies. Prototypes of… read more

The Napster of Nano

October 7, 2003

Nanotech file sharing could bridge the “nano divide” by helping developing countries launch their own nanotech industries.

The Need for Speed on the Web

May 11, 2010

Aptimize, a startup based in Wellington, New Zealand, that launches its service for websites in the United States today, says its software can speed up website load times, bringing increases of 200 to 400 percent in some cases.

The software gets into the middle of the normally sluggish page-processing pipeline and makes it more efficient. It combines resources so they only have to be downloaded once. For example, it… read more

The Networked Pill

March 20, 2008

Proteus Biomedical has developed a system that monitors pill taking and its effects, using pills that report when they’ve been taken and sensors that monitor the body’s responses, allowing doctors to monitor compliance and side effects.

Each pill contains an “ingestible event marker” (IEM), a sand-grain-size microchip with a thin-film battery activated upon ingestion. Each IEM sends a unique high-frequency electrical current throughout the body’s tissues, logged by a… read more

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