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Mar 3, 2017

Pixel-perfect play confronts the reality of immersive therapy

Posted by in category: virtual reality

Ugly Lies The Bone, US writer Lindsey Ferrentino’s debut at London’s National Theatre, is more than just a survivor story. It’s a visually arresting meditation on virtual reality exposure therapy.

The therapy was first trialled in 1997 by Albert Carlin and Hunter Hoffman at the University of Washington Human Interface Lab in Seattle. The pair designed a virtual reality environment, Spiderworld, which enabled a phobic individual to safely encounter and interact with the object of their irrational fear – in this case, a 3D-rendered arachnid. After 12 sessions, the subject’s symptoms seemed to.

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Mar 3, 2017

Novel 3D manufacturing leads to highly complex, bio-like materials

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology

Washington State University researchers have developed a unique, 3D manufacturing method that for the first time rapidly creates and precisely controls a material’s architecture from the nanoscale to centimeters. The results closely mimic the intricate architecture of natural materials like wood and bone.

They report on their work in the journal Science Advances and have filed for a patent.

The work has many high-tech engineering applications.

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Mar 3, 2017

Researchers demonstrate new type of laser

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, quantum physics

Lasers are everywhere nowadays: Doctors use them to correct eyesight, cashiers to scan your groceries, and quantum scientist to control qubits in the future quantum computer. For most applications, the current bulky, energy-inefficient lasers are fine, but quantum scientist work at extremely low temperatures and on very small scales. For over 40 years, they have been searching for efficient and precise microwave lasers that will not disturb the very cold environment in which quantum technology works.

A team of researchers led by Leo Kouwenhoven at TU Delft has demonstrated an on-chip laser based on a fundamental property of superconductivity, the ac Josephson effect. They embedded a small section of an interrupted superconductor, a Josephson junction, in a carefully engineered on-chip cavity. Such a device opens the door to many applications in which microwave radiation with minimal dissipation is key, for example in controlling qubits in a scalable computer.

The scientists have published their work in Science on the 3rd of March.

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Mar 3, 2017

Look inside the SpaceX capsule that will take two beyond the moon

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX has shared scant details about its newly announced plan to send private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year.

The company hasn’t disclosed the space tourists’ identities or said how much they’ll pay for the chance to buzz the moon and go far beyond before returning to Earth. Nor did SpaceX say exactly what training the tourists will undergo or how they will occupy themselves during the week or so between lift-off from Kennedy Space Center’s near Cape Canaveral, Florida and their return to Earth.

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Mar 3, 2017

Big nanotechnology advance could spell end of deadly organ shortage

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Frozen organs could be brought back to life safely one day with the aid of nanotechnology, a new study finds. The development could help make donated organs available for virtually everyone who needs them in the future, the researchers say.

The number of donated organs that could be transplanted into patients could increase greatly if there were a way to freeze and reheat organs without damaging the cells within them.

In the new work, scientists developed a way to safely thaw frozen tissues with the aid of nanoparticles — particles only nanometers or billionths of a meter wide. (In comparison, the average human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide.)

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Mar 3, 2017

Like start-ups, most intentional communities fail – why?

Posted by in category: space

Like all communities, space colonies need to be socially stable. What do succeeded and failed Utopias on Earth teach us?


Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What makes the difference between failure and success?

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Mar 3, 2017

Want more crop variety? Researchers propose using CRISPR to accelerate plant domestication

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics, sustainability

The more crops we cultivate, the less chance our food supply wil get wiped out by a disease.


Out of the more than 300,000 plant species in existence, only three species—rice, wheat, and maize—account for most of the plant matter that humans consume, partly because in the history of agriculture, mutations arose that made these crops the easiest to harvest. But with CRISPR technology, we don’t have to wait for nature to help us domesticate plants, argue researchers at the University of Copenhagen. In a Review published March 2 in Trends in Plant Science, they describe how gene editing could make, for example, wild legumes, quinoa, or amaranth, which are already sustainable and nutritious, more farmable.

“In theory, you can now take those traits that have been selected for over thousands of years of crop domestication—such as reduced bitterness and those that facilitate easy harvest—and induce those mutations in plants that have never been cultivated,” says senior author Michael Palmgren, a botanist who heads an interdisciplinary think tank called “Plants for a Changing World” at the University of Copenhagen.

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Mar 3, 2017

The Impossible Burger Just Made Major Strides

Posted by in category: food

Meat production gobbles up more than half of all land in use by agriculture. Shrinking this will allow us to restore nature and open up land for recreation and living. Also, the pressure on the tropical rainforests will diminish.


Silicon Valley plant-based beef from Impossible Foods is now in Bareburger at 535 LaGuardia Place in New York, its first chain restaurant.

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Mar 3, 2017

New strain of algae produces five times more hydrogen fuel

Posted by in categories: energy, genetics, transportation

Hydrogen can be used in combustion like a regular gas engine or mixed with oxygen in a fuel cell for an electric engine.


A Tel Aviv University team led by Iftach Yacoby genetically engineered algae to emit hydrogen five times more efficiently to potentially power hydrogen cars.

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Mar 3, 2017

Growing tissue grafts on humanoid robots: A future strategy in regenerative medicine?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, space travel

Humanoid robots may enhance growth of musculoskeletal tissue grafts for tissue transplant applications.

Over the past decade, exciting progress has been made in the development of humanoid robots. The significant potential future value of humanoids includes applications ranging from personal assistance to medicine and space exploration. In particular, musculoskeletal humanoids (such as Kenshiro and Eccerobot) were developed to interact with humans in a safer and more natural way (1, 2). They aim to closely replicate the detailed anatomy of the human musculoskeletal system including muscles, tendons, and bones.

With their structures activated by artificial muscles, musculoskeletal humanoids have the ability to mimic more accurately the multiple degrees of freedom and the normal range of forces observed in human joints. As a result, it is not surprising that they offer new opportunities in science and medicine. Here, we suggest that musculoskeletal robots may assist in the growth of musculoskeletal tissue grafts for tissue transplant applications.

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