science + technology news

Stanford joins BrainGate team developing brain-computer interface to aid people with paralysis

November 16, 2011

The implantable BrainGate neural interface can detect and record brain signals, allowing persons who have lost the use of arms and legs to have point-and-click control of a computer (credit: Matthew McKee/BrainGate Collaboration)

Stanford University researchers are enrolling participants in a pioneering study investigating the feasibility of allowing people with paralysis to use a technology that interfaces directly with the brain to control computer cursors, robotic arms and other assistive devices.

Those eligible to enroll in the trial include people with weakness of all four limbs resulting from cervical spinal cord injury, brainstem stroke, muscular dystrophy, or motor… read more

Stanford lab launches new privacy-based social network

March 14, 2014

Omlet Chat app (credit: MobiSocial Inc.)

With rising public interest in what developers refer to as the “privacy economy,” researchers from the MobiSocial Lab at the Stanford School of Engineering have announced at SXSW a new type of social network, called Omlet that allows users to control their own personal data.

Omlet “shields users from the monetization of their personal lives by giving them total and unquestioned control of their personal… read more

Stanford NLP course open; enrollment closes Sunday March 18

March 16, 2012

Enrollment for Stanford University’s Natural Language Processing course is now open. To create an account and enroll: (closes on March 18).

Once you are enrolled, you will also be able to start seeing the first lecture videos, and participate in the discussion forum. The first assignments are also available now. Note that if this is the first time you’re logging into a course, you will need to… read more

Stanford online course on natural language processing

January 2, 2012

Stanford University is offering a course on Natural Language Processing free and online to students worldwide, January 23 to March 18.

Students will have access to screencast lecture videos, quiz questions, assignments and exams; receive regular feedback on progress; and can participate in a discussion forum, with a certificate of successful completion.

Taught by Professors Jurafsky and Manning, the curriculum… read 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

Stanford psychologists uncover brain-imaging inaccuracies

March 12, 2013

The researchers found that traditional methods of processing fMRI data may lead scientists to overlook smaller brain structures, thus skewing their results (credit:

Traditional methods of fMRI analysis systematically skew which regions of the brain appear to be activating, potentially invalidating hundreds of papers that use the technique, according to Stanford School of Medicine researchers.

Pictures of brain regions “activating” are by now a familiar accompaniment to any neurological news story (including some in KurzweilAI — see Editor’s note below). With functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, you can see… read more

Stanford researcher scans his own brain for a year and a half — the most studied in the world

Psychologist experiments on himself, documenting his neural, metabolic, and genetic changes over 18 months
December 16, 2015

fMRI scan

You’ve probably seen the “connectome” map of the major networks between different functional areas of the human brain. Cool graphic. But this is just an average.

It raises a lot of questions: How does this map relate to your brain? Do these connections persist over a period of months or more? Or do they vary with different conditions (happy or sad mood, etc.)? And what if you’re a schizophrenic, alcoholic,… read more

Stanford researchers develop full-duplex wireless radios

February 18, 2011

Stanford researchers have developed the full-duplex first wireless radios, meaning that can send and receive signals simultaneously on a single channel. Their research could help build faster, more efficient communication networks, at least doubling the speed of existing networks.

“Textbooks say you can’t do it,” said Philip Levis, assistant professor of computer science and of electrical engineering. “The new system completely reworks our assumptions about how wireless networks can… read more

Stanford researchers develop the next generation of retinal implants

December 11, 2009

A team of Stanford researchers has developed a new generation of higher-resolution retinal implants* with approximately 1,000 electrodes (compared to 60 electrodes commonly found in fully implantable systems) to make artificial vision more natural.

* Retinal implants are arrays of electrodes, placed at the back of the eye, which partially restore vision to people with diseases that cause their light-sensing photoreceptors to die. Typically, a camera embedded in glasses… read more

Stanford researchers developing 3-D camera with 12,616 lenses

March 19, 2008

Stanford electronics researchers are building a camera with thousands of tiny lenses that could make a 3D electronic “depth map” containing the distance from the camera to every object in the picture.

The “multi-aperture image sensor” has 0.7-microns pixels grouped in arrays of 256 pixels each, with a lens on top of each array, resulting in 12,616 “cameras” on the chip.

A depth-information camera could be used for… read more

Stanford researchers produce short-term reversal of skin aging in mice

December 5, 2007

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have reversed the effects of aging on the skin of mice, at least for a short period, by blocking the action of a single critical protein, NF-kappa-B.

After two weeks, the skin of 2-year-old mice had the same genes active as cells in the skin of newborn mice.

The work backs up the theory that aging is the result of… read more

Stanford researchers unmask proteins in telomerase, which enables cancer

March 20, 2008

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues have identified two new proteins that make up the telomerase complex–the protein conglomerate that maintains cells’ genetic material–providing potential new targets for cancer treatments.

Studying telomerase has been difficult because it’s available only in small quantities and no technology was sensitive enough to detect it at minute levels.

To get around the quantity problem, the researchers chopped it into… read more

Stanford scientists fit light-emitting bioprobe in a living cell

Light-based probes can be inserted without damage to the cell, could have profound impact on biological research
February 20, 2013

This image shows a photonic nanobeam inserted in a cell. Clearly visible are the etched holes through the beam as well as the sandwich-like layer structure of the beam itself. The beam structure alternates between layers of gallium arsenide and photonic crystal containing the light-producing quantum dots. (Photo credit: Gary Shambat, Stanford School of Engineering)

Stanford engineers have developed a new class of biophotonic (light-emitting) probes small enough to be injected into individual cells for intracellular sensing and control, without harm to the host.

The researchers call their device a “nanobeam,” because it resembles a steel I-beam with a series of round holes etched through the center. This beam, however, is not massive, but measures only a few microns in length and… read more

Stanford scientists make major breakthrough in regenerative medicine

April 25, 2007

Findings described in a new study by Stanford scientists may be the first step toward a major revolution in human regenerative medicine — a future where advanced organ damage can be repaired by the body itself.

In the May 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers show that a human evolutionary ancestor, the sea squirt, can correct abnormalities over a series of generations, suggesting that a similar regenerative process… read more

Stanford software engineering MOOC aims at future startup CEOs

Instructors hope to provide people worldwide with crucial skills for starting their own companies
June 6, 2013

Balaji S. Srinivasan & Vijay S. Pande (credit: Stanford)

Vijay Pande, professor of chemistry at Stanford and colleague, Balaji Srinivasan, both with strong research and entrepreneurial backgrounds, taught a traditional classroom course in software engineering winter quarter aimed at future chief technology officers.

It was so successful they’re now going to go virtual, and starting June 17 they will begin teaching a 10-week massive open online course titled Startup Engineering. The idea is to reach thousands… read more

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