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Nov 7, 2015

Bitdrones: Interactive quadcopters allow for ‘programmable matter’ explorations

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials, robotics/AI

Could an interactive swarm of flying “3D pixels” (voxels) allow users to explore virtual 3D information by interacting with physical self-levitating building blocks? (credit: Roel Vertegaal)

We’ll find out Monday, Nov. 9, when Canadian Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab professor Roel Vertegaal and his students will unleash their “BitDrones” at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Nov 7, 2015

The light side of dark matter

Posted by in category: cosmology

New technology and new thinking are pushing the dark matter hunt to lower and lower masses.

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Nov 7, 2015

Interesting Futurism Animation 2

Posted by in category: futurism

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Nov 7, 2015

The White House has a plan in case a solar storm wipes out our technology

Posted by in category: space

Apparently NASA state that there’s a 12% chance of the Earth being hit by an extreme solar storm within the next ten years.


VIDEO: The last major solar storm left the entire province of Quebec in a blackout.

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Nov 6, 2015

New 3D Printing Method Produces Uniform Blocks of Embryonic Stem Cells

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

Researchers from Beijing and Philadelphia develop a method to 3D print embryonic stem cells in highly uniform blocks.

Researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and Drexel University in the US have developed an extrusion-based 3D printing method to produce highly uniform “blocks” of embryonic stem cells. These blocks are a grid-like 3D structure that was able to demonstrate cell viability and rapid self-renewal while maintaining high pluripotency. Lead author Wei Sun says, “It was really exciting to see that we could grow embryoid body in such a controlled manner. The grown embryoid body is uniform and homogenous, and serves as much better starting point for further tissue growth.”

Other common methods of printing stem cells are either done in 2D or with the “suspension” method, but these methods do not produce cells with the same cell uniformity and homogenous proliferation as that of the 3D method. This new method would enable researchers to perform experiments on tissue regeneration. Another author on the paper, Rui Yao, adds, “Our next step is to find out more about how we can vary the size of the embryoid body by changing the printing and structural parameters, and how the varying the embryoid body size leads to “manufacture” of different cell types.”

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Nov 6, 2015

Scientists have finally measured the force that holds antimatter together

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

For the first time, physicists in the US have managed to measure the force that attracts antimatter particles to each other. And, surprisingly, it’s not that different to the attractive force that holds regular matter together.

The results take us one step closer to understanding one of the biggest mysteries of our Universe: why there’s so much more matter than antimatter, and suggest that the imbalance isn’t a result of antiparticles not being able to ‘stick’ together.

For every particle that exists – electrons, protons, quarks – there’s an equal and opposite antiparticle, which has the opposite electrical charge and spin, and these antiparticles make up what’s known as antimatter. When the Universe was formed, physicists believe that equal amounts of antimatter and matter were produced, but today it’s very hard to find any naturally occurring antimatter left.

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Nov 6, 2015

Swincar E-Spider

Posted by in category: futurism

More Videos by Interesting Engineering

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Nov 6, 2015

GlobalFoundries announces 14nm validation with AMD Zen silicon

Posted by in category: computing

GlobalFoundries has announced 14nm validation with AMD and confirmed Zen’s tapeout.

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Nov 6, 2015

Researchers have designed a battery that’s 90 percent more efficient than lithium-ion

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, mobile phones

Smartphones, laptops, and all manner of electronics have advanced by leaps in bounds over the past few decades, but an essential component of most of them — the battery, or more precisely the lithium-ion battery — hasn’t. The technological remnant of the mid-’90s has a tendency to degrade and isn’t particularly efficient, which is why scores of researchers have spent years pursuing alternatives. Until now, though, practical limitations — i.e., physical dimensions and mass manufacturing constraints — have permanently relegated many to laboratories. But a new design, a refinement of so-called lithium-air design by scientists at the University of Cambridge, looks to be one of the most feasible yet.

Lithium-air (Li-air) batteries have been around for a while — chemist K. M. Abraham is credited with developing the first rechargeable variant in 1995 — but they’ve never been considered very practical. That’s because they use carbon as an electron conductor instead of the metal-oxide found in conventional Li-ion batteries, and generate electricity from the reaction of oxygen molecules and lithium molecules, a process which leads to the production of electrically resistant lithium peroxide. As the lithium peroxide builds up, the power-producing reaction diminishes until it eventually ceases completely.

Related: Why batteries suck, and the new tech that might supercharge them.

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Nov 6, 2015

Can Humans Actually Have A Brain Like A Computer?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, neuroscience, science

With modern innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, wi-fi, tablet computing and more, it’s easy for man to look around and say that the human brain is a complex and well-evolved organ. But according to Author, Neuroscientist and Psychologist Gary Marcus, the human mind is actually constructed somewhat haphazardly, and there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I called my book Kluge, which is an old engineer’s word for a clumsy solution. Think of MacGyver kind of duct tape and rubber bands,” Marcus said. “The thesis of that book is that the human mind is a kluge. I was thinking in terms of how this relates to evolutionary psychology and how our minds have been shaped by evolution.”

Marcus argued that evolution is not perfect, but instead it makes “local maxima,” which are good, but not necessarily the best possible solutions. As a parallel example, he cites the human spine, which allows us to stand upright; however, since it isn’t very well engineered, it also gives us back pain.

“You can imagine a better solution with three legs or branches that would distribute the load better, but we have this lousy solution where our spines are basically like a flag pole supporting 70 percent of our body weight,” Marcus said.

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