science + technology news

New technique for deep brain stimulation surgery proves accurate and safe

June 10, 2013

X-ray showing electrodes used in deep brain stimulation (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oregon Health & Science University neurosuirgeons have developed a safer new way to perform the surgery for Parkinson’s disease. It allows for more accurate placement of the brain electrodes and is likely safer for patients.

The success and safety of the new surgical technique could have broad implications for deep brain stimulation,(DBS) surgical procedures.

With traditional DBS surgery,  there is a small chance of… read more

160-lumen white power LED lighting

October 25, 2006

New LED lamps capable of 70 lumens per watt may cut our light-based electrical bill ultimately by more than 90 percent.

And Toyota has said that replacing a car’s lights with LEDs would be equivalent to getting an extra 20 percent mileage through reducing vehicle weight.

Is there a Moore’s law for energy efficiency?

December 20, 2011

The energy needed to perform computations is falling exponentially, a trend that predates the transistor.

IEEE Spectrum Podcast interviews Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, who published a paper looking at the Moore’s Law-like exponential progress in the energy efficiency of computers over the past six decades.

Download an mp3 of this podcast

Humanity? Maybe It’s in the Wiring

December 10, 2003

The conscience or sense of free will may be located in spindle cells in the frontoinsular cortex of the brain, according to California Institute of Technology neuroscientist Dr. John M. Allman.

This is a region closely connected to the insula and part of the same elaborate circuitry in which emotions are generated and experienced.

Robots to rescue soldiers

March 1, 2010

The Pentagon is asking inventors to come up with designs for a robot with strong, dexterous arms and grippers to rescue injured troops, with little or no help from outside, and that can cooperate with swarms of similar machines for mass rescues.

How to run faster, smarter AI apps on smartphones

July 24, 2017

(credit: iStock)

When you use smartphone AI apps like Siri, you’re dependent on the cloud for a lot of the processing — limited by your connection speed. But what if your smartphone could do more of the processing directly on your device — allowing for smarter, faster apps?

MIT scientists have taken a step in that direction with a new way to enable artificial-intelligence systems called convolutional neuralread more

Sneeze-sensing software gives avatars a good laugh

July 14, 2008

Software that can automatically recognize “non-linguistic” sounds such as laughter and generate an appropriate facial animation sequence, could improve the quality of web-based avatars or computer-animated movies.

University of Bath and University of Cardiff scientists used optical motion capture to record the facial expressions of four participants as they performed a number of laughs, sobs, sneezes and yawns. The researchers also recorded the participants’ voices during their performances. They… read more

Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory

November 7, 2006

Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, University of Luebeck researchers report.

They believe this is due to the pattern of the applied current mimicking that seen in naturally occurring deep sleep, where memory consolidation is thought to take place.

PDA translates speech

December 18, 2003

Researchers have put together a two-way speech-to-speech system that translates medical information from Arabic to English and English to Arabic and runs on an iPaq handheld computer.

Fiber-wireless (Fi-Wi) to provide ultra-high-speed, short-range communication

March 10, 2010


“Fiber-wireless” (Fi-Wi) networks are overcoming problems with wireless congestion, providing high-speed connectivity (faster than 1 Gb/s) by combining fiber (for connection to a central office) and 60 GHz signals (for local high-speed wireless inside a house or office), Christina Lim from the University of Melbourne and her coauthors explain.

Google and the Real Search for Meaning on the Web

July 18, 2008

Google has been publishing a series of posts about how its search engine works with meaning, going beyond page rank.

Colon cancer stem cells identified

November 21, 2006

Scientists have identified a population of human colon cancer stem cells that can initiate tumor growth and differentiate into mature tumors, according to two reports in Nature.

These cells, representing just two to three percent of the overall tumor, should be the focus of cancer therapies, according to Ruggero De Maria, research director, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, who led one of the two… read more

Understanding the science for tomorrow: myth and reality

January 3, 2012

Understanding the science for tomorrow

In 24 video lectures on Understanding the Science for Tomorrow: Myth and Reality, Jeffrey C. Grossman, a research scientist and professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and MIT, presents a “scientifically accurate and enlightening survey of today’s most advanced research” in fields such as engineering, biology, chemistry, and theoretical physics, including nanotechnology, quantum computing, genetic engineering, and AI.

First integrated circuit with nanotube transistors created

January 6, 2004

UC Berkeley and Stanford Researchers have created the first working integrated circuit that successfully incorporates carbon nanotubes.

They developed the integrated circuit to speed the analysis of thousands of synthesized carbon nanotubes, sorting them into metallic and semiconducting nanotubes. To do that, they grew carbon nanotubes directly onto “islands” on the circuit platform that contained the necessary catalyst for nanotube synthesis.

By turning certain switches on and off,… read more

Nanocomposite said to boost lithium batteries by 5X

March 17, 2010

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed nanocomposites that boost the capacity of lithium ion batteries by five times by hanging nanometer-sized silicon particles on trees of carbon black, which then self-assemble into porous micron-sized spheres.

The resulting electrode remains stable due to the durable carbon-superstructure that prevents cracking, but benefits from the increased surface area afforded by the smaller silicon nanoparticles.

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