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Musk launches company to pursue ‘neural lace’ brain-interface technology

March 27, 2017

image credit | Bloomberg

Elon Musk has launched a California-based company called Neuralink Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday, March 27, 2017), citing people familiar with the matter, to pursue “neural lace” brain-interface technology.

Neural lace would help prevent humans from becoming “house cats” to AI, he suggests. “I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” Musk… read more

Travelers to Mars risk leukemia cancer, weakened immune function from radiation, NASA-funded study finds

March 27, 2017

The spleen from a mouse exposed to a mission-relevant dose (20 cGy, 1 GeV/n) of iron ions (bottom) was ~ 30 times the normal volume compared with the spleen (top) from a control mouse. (credit: C Rodman et al./Leukemia)

Radiation encountered in deep space travel may increase the risk of leukemia cancer in humans traveling to Mars, NASA-funded researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and colleagues have found, using mice transplanted with human stem cells.

“Our results are troubling because they show radiation exposure could potentially increase the risk of leukemia,” said Christopher Porada, Ph.D., associate professor of regenerative medicine and… read more

Scientists reverse aging in mice by repairing damaged DNA

Could lead to an anti-aging drug that counters damage from old age, cancer, and radiation
March 26, 2017

Disarming a rogue agent: When the NAD molecule (red), binds to the DBC1 protein (beige), it prevents DBC1 from attaching to and incapacitating a protein critical for DNA repair. (credit: David Sinclair)

A research team led by Harvard Medical School professor of genetics David Sinclair, PhD, has made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary new drug that allows cells to repair DNA damaged by aging, cancer, and radiation.

In a paper published in the journal Science on Friday (March 24), the scientists identified a critical step in the molecular process related to DNA damage.… read more

A printable, sensor-laden ‘skin’ for robots (or an airplane)

March 24, 2017

Illustration of 3D-printed sensory composite (credit: Subramanian Sundaram)

MIT researchers have designed a radical new method of creating flexible, printable electronics that combine sensors and processing circuitry.

Covering a robot — or an airplane or a bridge, for example — with sensors will require a technology that is both flexible and cost-effective to manufacture in bulk. To demonstrate the feasibility of their new method, the researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have… read more

Mayo Clinic discovers high-intensity aerobic training can reverse aging

March 24, 2017

A Mayo Clinic study found high-intensity aerobic exercise may reverse aging (credit: Flickr user Global Panorama via Creative Commons license)

A Mayo Clinic study says the best training for adults is high-intensity aerobic exercise, which they believe can reverse some cellular aspects of aging.

Mayo researchers compared 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training (workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods), resistance training, and combined training. While all three enhanced insulin sensitivity and lean mass, only high-intensity interval training and combined training improved aerobic capacity and… read more

Infrared-light-based Wi-Fi network is 100 times faster

March 22, 2017

Schematic of a beam of white light being dispersed by a prism into different wavelengths (the TU/e system is actually based on near-infrared light, which is invisible) (credit: Lucas V. Barbosa/CC)

A new infrared-light WiFi network can provide more than 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) for each user* — about 100 times faster than current WiFi systems — say researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands.

The TU/e WiFi design was inspired by experimental systems using ceiling LED lights (such as Oregon State University’s experimental WiFiFO, or WiFi Free space Optic, system), which… read more

Do-it-yourself robotics kit gives science, tech, engineering, math students tools to automate biology and chemistry experiments

March 22, 2017

liquid-handling robot

Stanford bioengineers have developed liquid-handling robots to allow students to modify and create their own robotic systems that can transfer precise amounts of fluids between flasks, test tubes, and experimental dishes.

The bioengineers combined a Lego Mindstorms robotics kit with a cheap and easy-to-find plastic syringe to create robots that approach the performance of the far more costly automation systems found at universities and biotech labs.

Step-by-step DIYread more

Graphene sheets allow for very-low-cost diagnostic devices

March 20, 2017

Mild heating of graphene oxide sheets makes it possible to bond particular compounds to the sheets’ surface, a new study shows. These compounds in turn select and bond with specific molecules of interest, including DNA and proteins, or even whole cells. In this image the treated graphene oxide on the right is nearly twice as efficient at capturing cells as the untreated material on the left. (credit: Courtesy of the researchers)

A new method developed at MIT and National Chiao Tung University, based on specially treated sheets of graphene oxide, could make it possible to capture and analyze individual cells from a small sample of blood. It could potentially lead to very-low-cost diagnostic devices (less than $5 a piece) that are mass-producible and could be used almost anywhere for point-of-care testing, especially in resource-constrained settings.

A… read more

Deep-brain imaging using minimally invasive surgical needle and laser light

March 20, 2017

This is an image of cells taken inside the mouse brain using a new method developed by University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and his team. (credit: Rajesh Menon)

Using just a simple inexpensive micro-thin glass surgical needle and laser light, University of Utah engineers have developed an inexpensive way to take high-resolution pictures of a mouse brain, minimizing tissue damage — a process they believe could lead to a much less invasive method for humans.

Typically, researchers must either surgically take a sample of the animal’s brain to examine the cells under a microscope or use… read more

This low-power chip could make speech recognition practical for tiny devices

March 17, 2017

MIT automated speech recognizer ft

MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition. A cellphone running speech-recognition software might require about 1 watt of power; the new chip requires 100 times less power (between 0.2 and 10 milliwatts, depending on the number of words it has to recognize).

That could translate to a power savings of 90 to 99 percent, making voice control practical for wearables (especially watches,… read more

Space X plans global space internet

March 17, 2017

(credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has applied to the FCC to launch 11,943 satellites into low-Earth orbit, providing “ubiquitous high-bandwidth (up to 1Gbps per user, once fully deployed) broadband services for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and globally,” according to FCC applications.

Recent meetings with the FCC suggest that the plan now looks like “an increasingly feasible reality — particularly with 5G technologies just a few years away, promising new devices and new… read more

Whole-body vibration may be as effective as regular exercise

March 16, 2017

Hate treadmills? The Tranquility Pod uses “pleasant sound, gentle vibration, and soothing light to transport the body, mind, and spirit to a tranquil state of relaxation” --- and maybe lose weight (and $30,000). (credit: Hammacher Schlemmer)

If you’re overweight and find it challenging to exercise regularly, now there’s good news: A less strenuous form of exercise known as whole-body vibration (WBV) can mimic the muscle and bone health benefits of regular exercise — at least in mice — according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology.

Lack of exercise is contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemics, according to the researchers. These… read more

Transcranial alternating current stimulation used to boost working memory

March 16, 2017

The scans show that stimulation 'in beat' increases brain activity in the regions involved in task performance. On the other hand, stimulation 'out of beat' showed activity in regions usually associated with resting. (credit: Ines Violante)

In a study published Tuesday Mar. 14 in the open-access journal eLife, researchers at Imperial College London found that applying transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) through the scalp helped to synchronize brain waves in different areas of the brain, enabling subjects to perform better on tasks involving short-term working memory.

The hope is that the approach could one day be used to bypass… read more

First nanoengineered retinal implant could help the blind regain functional vision

Nanowires provide higher resolution than anything achieved by other devices --- closer to the dense spacing of photoreceptors in the human retina
March 16, 2017

nanowire device ft

A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego and La Jolla-based startup Nanovision Biosciences Inc. have developed the first nanoengineered retinal prosthesis — a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light.

The technology could help tens of millions of people worldwide suffering from neurodegenerative diseases that affect eyesight, including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and loss of… read more

Reboot of The Matrix in the works

Yes, please.
March 14, 2017

MATRIX

Warner Bros. is in the early stages of developing a relaunch of The Matrix, The Hollywood Reporter revealed today (March 14, Pi day, appropriately).

The Matrix, the iconic 1999 sci-fi movie, “is considered one of the most original films in cinematic history,” says THR.

The film “depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called… read more

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