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Aug 8, 2016

IBM scientists emulate neurons with phase-change technology

Posted by in categories: computing, finance, internet

A prototype chip with large arrays of phase-change devices that store the state of artificial neuronal populations in their atomic configuration. The devices are accessed via an array of probes in this prototype to allow for characterization and testing. The tiny squares are contact pads used to access the nanometer-scale phase-change cells (inset). Each set of probes can access a population of 100 cells. There are thousands to millions of these cells on one chip and IBM accesses them (in this particular photograph) by means of the sharp needles (probe card). (credit: IBM Research)

Scientists at IBM Research in Zurich have developed artificial neurons that emulate how neurons spike (fire). The goal is to create energy-efficient, high-speed, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic (brain-like) technologies for applications in cognitive computing, such as unsupervised learning for detecting and analyzing patterns.

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Aug 8, 2016

Ultrasonic wireless ‘neural dust’ sensors monitor nerves, muscles in real time

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Prototype wireless battery-less “neural dust” mote (3 × 1 x 1 millimeters) with electrodes attached to a nerve fiber in a rat. The mote contains a piezoelectric crystal (silver cube) that converts ultrasonic signals to electrical current, powering a simple electronic circuit containing a transistor (black square) that responds to the voltage generated by a nerve firing and triggers the piezoelectric crystal to create ultrasonic backscatter, which indicates detection of a neural signal. (photo credit: Ryan Neely/UC Berkeley)

University of California, Berkeley engineers have designed and built millimeter-scale device wireless, batteryless “neural dust” sensors and implanted them in muscles and peripheral nerves of rats to make in vivo electrophysiological recordings.

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Aug 8, 2016

Navigating in deep space: The recipe to make Interstellar travel a reality

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

An accurate method for spacecraft navigation takes a leap forward today as the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Leicester publish a paper that reveals a spacecraft’s position in space in the direction of a particular pulsar can be calculated autonomously, using a small X-ray telescope on board the craft, to an accuracy of 2km. The method uses X-rays emitted from pulsars, which can be used to work out the position of a craft in space in 3D to an accuracy of 30 km at the distance of Neptune.

Pulsars are dead stars that emit radiation in the form of X-rays and other electromagnetic waves. For a certain type of pulsar, called ‘millisecond pulsars’, the pulses of radiation occur with the regularity and precision of an atomic clock and could be used much like GPS in space.

The paper, published in Experimental Astronomy, details simulations undertaken using data, such as the pulsar positions and a craft’s distance from the Sun, for a European Space Agency feasibility study of the concept. The simulations took these data and tested the concept of triangulation by pulsars with current technology (an X-ray telescope designed and developed by the University of Leicester) and position, velocity and timing analysis undertaken by NPL. This generated a list of usable pulsars and measurements of how accurately a small telescope can lock onto these pulsars and calculate a location.

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Aug 8, 2016

How do we colonize Mercury?

Posted by in category: space

Humanity has long dreamed of establishing itself on other worlds, even before we started going into space. We’ve talked about colonizing the Moon, Mars, and even establishing ourselves on exoplanets in distant star systems. But what about the other planets in our own backyard? When it comes to the solar system, there is a lot of potential real estate out there that we don’t really consider.

Well consider Mercury. While most people wouldn’t suspect it, the closest planet to our sun is actually a potential candidate for settlement. Whereas it experiences extremes in temperature – gravitating between heat that could instantly cook a human being to cold that could flash-freeze flesh in seconds – it actually has potential as a starter colony.

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Aug 8, 2016

Will Warp Drive Finally Become A Reality?

Posted by in categories: genetics, quantum physics, space travel

Not so long ago we had to assume that we’ll never be able to travel faster than light. This was based on scientists’ sensible belief that we can travel through space but cannot change the nature of space itself. Then the idea of ‘Warp Drive’ came along to challenge and seemingly change all of the barriers that Einstein’s theory identified. Warp Drive is all about squashing and stretching space — a pretty ambitious task to begin with. So maybe it’s time again to have a look at how far we’ve already come or how close we are to seeing a real warp drive built by humans.

In May 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre finally presented his proposal of “The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity” in a scientific journal called Classical and Quantum Gravity.

He indeed was inspired by Star Trek and its creator Gene Roddenberry, who famously coined the expression “Warp Drive” to explain the inexplicable propulsion of the Starship Enterprise as prodigious speed was just necessary to enable his fictional space travelers to leap from star to star on their trek.

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Aug 7, 2016

Five New Ideas to be Explored by NASA Aeronautics Teams

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, energy, transportation

They might not work, but no one will know for sure unless they’re given a chance.

That’s the general idea behind the recent selection of five aviation-related technologies for vigorous study as part of NASA’s ongoing Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project during the next two years of so, which itself is now in its second year.

Researchers will study a new kind of fuel cell, increasing electric motor output with the help of 3D printing, use of Lithium-Air batteries to store energy, new mechanisms for changing the shape of a wing in flight and basing a new antenna design on the use of lightweight aerogel.

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Aug 7, 2016

LIGO’s black holes may be dark matter

Posted by in category: cosmology

Two analyses indicate that LIGO could have detected black holes that formed just after the Big Bang.

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Aug 7, 2016

5 Future Visions to Fuel Your Imagination of What’s Possible

Posted by in category: futurism

Through the lens of imagination, humankind has the ability to see far beyond the present. The strongest of these guiding visions tend to coalesce and together steer the trajectory of where we’re headed—even if we don’t arrive exactly where expected.

But what fuels the imagination? The information we consume paints a picture of the world we inhabit. Both sci-fi and forecasting offer fertile ground for stimulating thoughts about the future, while also helping us imagine the steps necessary to get us closer or further from the destination.

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Aug 6, 2016

IBM lab on a chip can sort 20 nanometer nanoparticles such as DNA, viruses and exos

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

IBM scientists have developed a new lab-on-a-chip technology that can, for the first time, separate biological particles at the nanoscale and could help enable physicians to detect diseases such as cancer before symptoms appear.

As reported today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology*, the IBM team’s results show size-based separation of bioparticles down to 20 nanometers (nm) in diameter, a scale that gives access to important particles such as DNA, viruses and exosomes. Once separated, these particles can be analyzed by physicians to potentially reveal signs of disease even before patients experience any physical symptoms and when the outcome from treatment is most positive. Until now, the smallest bioparticle that could be separated by size with on-chip technologies was about 50 times or larger, for example, separation of circulating tumor cells from other biological components.

IBM is collaborating with a team from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to continue development of this lab-on-a-chip technology and plans to test it on prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the U.S.

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Aug 6, 2016

Porsche concept electronic Mission E car

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Click on photo to start video.

Porsche concept electric Mission E car.

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