science + technology news

Congenitally blind learn to see and read with soundscapes

November 9, 2012

Example of seeing an object with sound (credit: Striem-Amit et al./Neuron)

Congenitally blind people have learned to ”see” and describe objects, and even identify letters and words, by using a visual-to-auditory sensory-substitution algorithm and sensory substitution devices (SSDs), scientists at Hebrew University and in France have found.

SSDs are non-invasive sensory aids that provide visual information to the blind via their existing senses. For example, using a visual-to-auditory SSD in a clinical or everyday setting, users wear a miniature camera… read more

‘Conflict index’ warns when a nation faces civil war

October 29, 2001

A “conflict barometer” system providing a weekly measure of unrest could predict countries approaching civil war.
Raw material for the barometer is several thousand Reuters news stories. A sentence-analysing program called a parser classifies events into roughly 200 categories. From the category counts, researchers calculate the proportions of events involving civil protests, repressive government actions and outbreaks of violence to give a nation’s “conflict carrying capacity.”

They found that… read more

Conference brings together nanomedicine and telemedicine

December 24, 2009

The Unither Nanomedical & Telemedical Technology Conference (Quebec, February 23-26, 2010) will focus on development of medical nanobots and nanomedical therapies, nanomedical pharmaceuticals, nano-bio interfaces and hybrids, systems biology to accelerate nanomedical therapies, and telemanagement of miniature in-vivo medical devices, with a keynote by Ray Kurzweil.

Conference co-chairs are Martine Rothblatt, Présidente directrice générale, Unither Biotech, Inc., and
Baruch S. Blumberg, Senior Advisor to the President, Fox… read more

‘Cone of silence’ keeps conversations secret

May 11, 2009

MIT engineers Joe Paradiso and Yasuhiro Ono have applied for a patent for a system that makes confidential conversations possible in open-plan offices, and will even let a conversing group move around a room and still remain in a secure sound bubble.

Conductive ink for drawing circuits for flexible electronic books, displays, wearables

January 10, 2014


Chinese researchers have developed a novel conductive metal ink made of  copper nanosheets that can be used in a pen to draw a functioning, flexible electric circuit on regular printer paper.

This development could be a step beyond the inkjet-printed circuits that KurzweilAI previously reported. The new process could pave the way for a wide range of new bendable gadgets, such as electronic books that look and… read more

Conductive ‘Energy Textiles’ enable new wearable electronics with better energy storage

January 21, 2010

A new process for making stretchable, porous, and conductive “Energy Textiles” using “ink” made from single-walled carbon nanotubes has been developed by Stanford University scientists, according to the American Chemical Society’s Nano Letters.

These highly conductive textiles can provide new design opportunities for wearable electronics, including energy storage applications using supercapacitors.

Concepts are born in the hippocampus

September 29, 2009

The hippocampus creates and stores concepts and passes this information onto the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, where it is put to use while making decisions, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging researchers have found from experiments using fMRI scanning.

Concentration hampers simple tasks

December 6, 2004

University of Cambridge researchers have used functional MRI brain imaging to show that thinking too hard about simple actions interferes with the learning process.

Scientists already knew that consciously trying too hard to learn can cause trouble. In this study, researchers watched the brain activity of people who were putting deliberate effort into mastering a challenge (they explicitly knew a pattern existed in the challenge) and compared it with… read more

Concentrating solar powered desalination — a water solution?

March 31, 2009

Concentrating solar powered desalination is a promising new technology for providing global drinking water supplies.

Computing’s Big Shift: Flexibility in the Chips

June 16, 2003

An emerging type of chip architecture known as adaptive, or reconfigurable, computing, could transform technology, combining the programmability of the microprocessor with the speed of dedicated hardware.

With this new approach, software is able to effectively redraw a chip’s physical circuitry on the fly. Adaptive computing enables a single chip to perform tasks normally requiring several; it can add speed while saving cost and energy, compared to today’s conventional… read more

Computing, One Atom at a Time

March 27, 2001

Scientists are Los Alamos National Laboratory are pushing the state of the art in quantum computing. Currently, they’ve achieved calculations involving seven atoms. This year they are shooting for 10 atoms, allowing for 1024 calculations at the same time.

Computing, 2016: What Won’t Be Possible?

October 31, 2006

Computing and algorithmic processes are transforming business, the gloabl economy, culture, and even social sciences.

Future trends in computer imaging and storage will make it possible for a person, wearing a tiny digital device with a microphone and camera, to essentially record his or her life. The potential for communication, media and personal enrichment is striking.

Computing with RNA

October 17, 2008

California Institute of Technology scientsits have created molecular biocomputers that self-assemble using strips of RNA within living cells, opening up the possibility of computing devices that can respond to specific conditions within the cell.

For example, drug delivery systems could target cancer cells from within by sensing the genes used to regulate cell growth and death, programmed to release a drug when the conditions are just right.

The… read more

Computing with a wave of the hand

December 14, 2009

(Matthew Hirsch, Douglas Lanman, Ramesh Raskar, Henry Holtzman)

A display that lets users manipulate on-screen images using hand gestures has been developed by the MIT Media Lab.

Computing power speeds safer CT scans

March 13, 2012


A new Intel algorithm slashes compute time for low radiation dose scans from 100 hours per image to less than an hour while reducing radiation by four times.

In a hospital emergency room, standard CT scanners can quickly look over the affected area, and in less than 5 minutes generate images of the inside of a patient’s body, helping doctors make life-saving decisions.

But there’s a catch,  ”The… read more

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