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Organic transistors for brain mapping

April 15, 2013

This micro transistor can now obtain high-quality amplification and brain-signal recording better than ever before. A French scientific team used the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility to develop the prototypes. (Credit: Department of Bioelectronics, Ecole des Mines)

To improve brain mapping, a group of French scientists have produced the world’s first biocompatible microscopic organic transistors that can amplify and record signals directly from the surface of the brain, building on prototypes developed at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF).

This is the first in vivo use of transistor arrays to record brain activity directly on the surface of the cortex… read more

How the Internet (and sex) amplifies irrational group behavior

April 15, 2013

(Credit: New Line Home Video)

New research from the University of Copenhagen combines formal philosophy, social psychology, and decision theory to understand and tackle these phenomena.

“Group behavior that encourages us to make decisions based on false beliefs has always existed.

However, with the advent of the Internet and social media, this kind of behavior is more likely to occur than ever, and on a much larger scale, with… read more

Tiny wireless LED activates neurons to release dopamine

April 15, 2013

This implantable LED light can activate brain cells to release dopamine and is smaller than the eye of a needle (credit: John A Rogers, Ph.D. and Michael R. Bruchas, Ph.D./Washington University in St. Louis)

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed tiny devices containing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) the size of individual neurons that activate brain cells with light.

“This strategy should allow us to identify and map brain circuits involved in complex behaviors related to sleep, depression, addiction, and anxiety,” says co-principal investigator Michael R. Bruchas, PhD, assistant… read more

Google Glass: how it works (infographic)

April 15, 2013


German artist Martin Missfeldt has created an infographic that attempts to show how Google Glass works, based on various sources (listed below). One correction: an image is actually not projected directly onto the retina; it is refracted by the cornea and focused by the lens.

Optogenetic/PET-scan technique for mapping brain activity in moving rats

PET scans monitor brain circuits activated by light, opening new window to brain diseases
April 12, 2013

Immunolabeling of c-Fos expression following optogenetic stimulation in rats

A technique that uses light-activated proteins to stimulate particular brain cells and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to trace their effects throughout the entire brain of fully-awake, moving animals has been developed by U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

The method will allow researchers to map exactly which downstream neurological pathways are activated or deactivated by stimulation of targeted brain regions, and how that brain activity… read more

‘Germanane’ may replace silicon for lighter, faster electronics

May replace silicon in semiconductors
April 12, 2013

Germanane single- or multiple-atom-layer sheets can be place onto silicon dioxide or silicon surfaces

In a paper published online in the journal ACS NanoJoshua Goldberger, assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State University, and colleagues describe how they created a stable, one-atom-thick single layer of germanium atoms.

In this form, the crystalline material is called germanane.

The chemists found that it conducts electrons more than ten times faster than silicon and five times faster than conventional germanium — the same material that… read more

Future ‘microrockets’ and ‘micromotors’ to deliver drugs, perform microsurgery

April 12, 2013

Self-propelled microrockets (left, purple) and micromotors (right, green) could someday deliver drugs, perform microsurgery or clean up oil spills (credit: Wei Gao and Joseph Wang, Ph.D./American Chemical Society)

An advance in micromotor technology is opening the door to broad new medical and industrial uses for these tiny devices, scientists said the national American Chemical Society meeting this week.

Akin to the invention of cars that fuel themselves from the pavement or air, rather than gasoline or batteries,

Joseph Wang, D.Sc., who leads research on the motors, said that efforts to build minute,… read more

Ultra-high-res 100,000 dpi color printing

April 12, 2013

Variation in post size and spacing in the metal array alters which incoming wavelength of light (red, green or blue) is reflected back (K. Kumar et al./A*STAR)

Commercial laser printers typically produce pin-sharp images with spots of ink about 20 micrometers apart, resulting in a resolution of 1,200 dots per inch (dpi).

By shrinking the separation to just 250 nanometers — 80 times smaller, a research team at A*STAR can now print images at an incredible 100,000 dpi, the highest possible resolution for a color image.

These images could be used… read more

Pentagon says nuclear missile is in reach for North Korea

April 12, 2013

North Korean test site where a nuclear test took place February 12, 2013 (credit: Google Earth)

A new assessment by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has concluded for the first time, with “moderate confidence,” that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile, according to The New York Times Thursday.

But late Thursday, the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., released a statement saying that the assessment did not represent a consensus of… read more

Distracted driving habits of San Diegans

Phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold, with hands-free and handheld devices equally dangerous; equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content at the legal limit of .08
April 12, 2013


A team of researchers has released survey results that reveal the habits of San Diego County drivers who use their cell phone while behind the wheel — currently the leading cause of driver distraction crashes in California.

“Studies have shown that phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold, with hands-free and handheld devices equally dangerous; this is the same as driving with a blood alcohol… read more

How the BRAIN intiative will support national security

April 12, 2013


As part of the new BRAIN research initiative, DARPA plans $50 million in 2014 investments to increase understanding of brain function and create new capabilities.

DARPA plans to explore two key areas to elicit further understanding of the brain. New tools are needed to measure and analyze electrical signals and the biomolecular dynamics underpinning brain function. Researchers will also explore, abstract and model the… read more

Advancing secure communications: a better single-photon emitter for quantum cryptography

April 11, 2013

An atomic force microscope image of a nanowire single photon emitter (credit: Pallab Bhattacharya/University of Michigan)

In a development that could make the advanced form of secure communications known as quantum cryptography more practical, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a simpler, more efficient single-photon emitter that can be made using traditional semiconductor processing techniques.

Single-photon emitters release one particle of light, or photon, at a time, as opposed to devices like lasers that release a stream of them.

Single-photon… read more

Ultrasonic lasso can grip and move cells

Could be used to assemble human tissue on a tissue engineering production line
April 11, 2013

The researchers moved a 10micrometer sphere to spell write and S and a T, SonoTweezers is the name of the project that funds the work (credit:

A “sonic lasso” that can grip microscopic objects, such as cells, and move them around has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Department of Mechanical Engineering  and University of Dundee’s Institute for Medical Science and Technology.

The cells and other small objects are trapped by a spinning ultrasonic vortex, which acts as a lasso that can be controlled and moved.… read more

Nanowire-memristor networks emulate brain functions

April 11, 2013


A Trinity College Dublin chemistry professor has been awarded a €2.5 million ($3.2 million) research grant by the European Research Council (ERC) to continue research into nanowire networks.

Professor John Boland, Director of CRANN, a nanoscience institute, and a Professor in the School of Chemistry, said the research could result in computer networks that mimic the functions of the human brain and vastly improve… read more

Google Ventures launches Glass Collective with VC firms

April 11, 2013


Google Ventures is launching a new initiative to fuel the development of Google Glass called Glass Collective, in partnership with venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Forbes reports.

The three firms hope to fund a community of developers to make Google Glass the next major computing platform.

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz said Glass would become a platform… read more

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