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Metamaterials generate gecko-like adhesive force

January 18, 2012


Physicists predict that metamaterials ought to generate an entirely new kind of force that can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch, Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

John Zhang and colleagues at the University of Southampton predict that a powerful optical force can exist between a metal or dielectric plate and a metamaterial, a substance with optical properties that have been engineered… read more

New Power Suit Amplifies Human Strength

September 29, 2006

Engineers in Japan are perfecting a wearable power suit that amplifies human strength to help lift hospital patients or heavy objects.

Quantum Leap

July 18, 2008

An international team of researchers has shown that it can control the quantum state of a single electron in a silicon transistor–even putting the electron in two places at once. Their discovery could help pave the way toward a practical quantum computer.

The electronc could be in one of three states. At low electric fields, the electron remained bound to an arsenic atom. At high electric fields, the electron… read more

Researcher studies human brain with digital orangutan

November 11, 2003

A robot baby orangutan named Lucy may someday tell us about how the cerebral cortex works and help people develop and build new computational architectures inspired by biological systems, according to Steve Grand, Lucy’s creator and author of Growing Up With Lucy: How to Build an Android in Twenty Easy Steps (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), due out in January.

Rutgers plans online course on the Singularity

March 16, 2010

This summer, Rutgers University plans to offer “Special Topics in Sociology: Singularity Studies, the first accredited college course on the Singularity and associated technologies.

The three-credit summer course will feature online lectures and discussions every Monday and Wednesday evening throughout the summer and is available to students internationally.

The textbook will be The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil, supplemented… read more

Annihilation omens

October 11, 2006

Ever-faster advances in brain science and computers are merging to build superhuman intelligence systems, says Fred C. Ikle in his latest book, “Annihilation from Within.”

Homo connectus will relegate the obsolete nation-state and its dysfunctional institutions to artifacts of history, quaint but useless. This gigantic leap of history will “obliterate all previous notions about military power, pose a fundamental challenge to all religions, and eventually upend human civilization.”… read more

Making Genetic Testing Useful

July 24, 2008

In a new $31 million project to connect genetic variations with actual health risks, researchers will combine epidemiological studies (detailed long-term health studies) of tens of thousands of people with those participants’ genetic data.

The study, sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute, will provide data that genome-wide association studies (GWAS–comparing genetic variations in groups of people with and without a disease) alone cannot provide. GWAS have identified… read more

UK debut for ‘blind’ mobile

November 24, 2003

The first mobile phone designed specifically for blind and partially sighted people will go on sale in Spain next week. A speech synthesizer reads everything that would normally appear on the screen and speaks the name or number of incoming callers.

Scans of brain networks may help predict injury’s effects

March 24, 2010

Clinicians may be able to better predict the effects of strokes and other brain injuries by adapting an MRI scanning method called “resting-state functional connectivity” (FC), which assesses the health of brain networks that let multiple parts of the brain collaborate.

Scientists decode brain waves to eavesdrop on what we hear

January 31, 2012

An X-ray CT scan of the head of one of the volunteers, showing electrodes distributed over the brain’s temporal lobe, where sounds are processed. )Credit: Adeen Flinker, UC Berkeley)

Neuroscientists may one day be able to hear the imagined speech of a patient unable to speak due to stroke or paralysis, according to University of California, Berkeley researchers.

These scientists have succeeded in decoding electrical activity in the brain’s temporal lobe — the seat of the auditory system — as a person listens to normal conversation. Based on this correlation between sound and brain… read more

Tamiflu could boost drug-resistant flu in wild birds

October 18, 2006

In a flu pandemic, millions of people are expected to take the antiviral drug Tamiflu, but new research shows that ultimately much of the drug will pass through the people taking it and end up in waterways. Chances are it will then linger long enough to promote Tamiflu-resistant flu viruses in wild birds.

Gray Matters: Brain’s Sleep-Time Memory Storage Gets Muddled with Age

July 30, 2008

University of Arizona in Tucson researchers have found that the brain’s ability to store or consolidate memories (“replaying” and filing away events while we sleep) is impaired in old age.

The researchers recorded the activity in the hippocampuses of rats while they repeatedly navigated tracks and mazes in search of food. The exact patterns seen in young animals as they completed the exercises played back as they slept; but… read more

Microbeams have big impact on cancer cells

December 4, 2003

Scientists microbeams have discovered that targeting just a few cells with a “microbeam,” which launches streams of helium ions a micron wide, can cause massive destruction to other diseased cells.

The findings could have important implications for improving the effectiveness of radiotherapy for cancer. It also means that even very low doses of radiation may be doing more damage to normal cells than scientists thought.

Geminoid F: Hiroshi Ishiguro Unveils New Smiling Female Android

April 5, 2010

Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University, unveiled today his latest creation: a female android called Geminoid F.

The new robot, a copy of a woman in her 20s with long dark hair, can laugh, smile, and exhibit other facial expressions more naturally than Ishiguro’s previous androids.

High-Tech Military in Due Course

November 1, 2006

The kind of a war scenario seen in a science fiction film like Star Wars is likely to become a reality in about 10 years, as the government is accelerating plans to equip the South Korean military with high-tech unmanned weapons systems and versatile combat robotic systems.

By 2025, the Army plans to introduce unmanned state-of-the-art vehicles, called Experimental Autonomous Vehicles (XAV), for use in light and heavy combat… read more

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