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Building a Robot Which Can 3D Print A Steel Bridge In Mid-Air Without Human Intervention

Building a Robot Which Can 3D Print A Steel Bridge In Mid-Air Without Human Intervention | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In 2017, Dutch designer Joris Laarman will wheel a robot to the brink of a canal in Amsterdam. He'll hit an "on" button. He'll walk away. And when he comes back two months later, the Netherlands will have a new, one-of-a-kind bridge, 3-D printed in a steel arc over the waters. This isn't some proof-of-concept, either: when it's done, it will be as strong and as any other bridge. People will be able to walk back and forth over it for decades.


That's the plan, anyway. To make his dream a reality, Laarman has created a new research and development company called MX3D, which specializes in building six-axis robots that can 3-D print metal and resin in mid-air. The tech allows for large-scale objects like infrastructure to be printed in the exact spot where they'll live, which has radical implications for the construction industry and opens up a wealth of new design possibilities.


MX3D isn't some high-tech concept; it actually works. In February 2014, Laarman showed off the MX3D system's ability to 3-D printgravity-defying metal sculptures in mid-air. But printing out a bridge on location is a decidedly different challenge than 3-D printing something in a lab.


"We thought to ourselves: what is the most iconic thing we could print in public that would show off what our technology is capable of?" Laarman says in a phone interview. "This being the Netherlands, we decided a bridge over an old city canal was a pretty good choice. Not only is it good for publicity, but if MX3D can construct a bridge out of thin air, it can construct anything."


The finished bridge will be around 24 feet long, support normal Amsterdam foot traffic, and feature a beautiful, intricate design that looks far more handcrafted than the detailing on most bridges. Because 3-D printing allows for a granular control of detail that industrial manufacturing does not, designs can be much more ornate, and almost bespoke in appearance.


Most 3-D printers use resin or plastic to construct objects. MX3D's bridge will be made of a new steel composite that the University of Delft created. As strong as regular steel, it can be dolloped out by a 3-D printer, drop by drop. The result? A 3-D printed bridge as strong as any other, Laarman says.


As for the printer: it isn't much like a Makerbot or any other desktop 3-D printer. For one thing, it has no printer bed. Instead, it works like a train. Except instead of running along existing tracks, it can actually print out its own tracks as it goes along. An additive printing technology that is more like welding than squirting out drops of plastic means that the tracks can go in any direction: not just horizontally, but vertically and diagonally as well. That allows the MX3D to cross gaps, like the empty space between walls, or the banks on a river, just by printing its way across them. A useful skill for a robot to have if it wants to 3-D print a bridge, or any other large structure, for that matter.

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TJ Allard's curator insight, July 27, 10:44 AM

I can already see the battle with the Steel Workers' Union looming in the distance. (they tuk yer jobs!)

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New Tool for Investigating RNA: Sticky-flare nanotechnology exposes RNA misregulation in living cells

New Tool for Investigating RNA: Sticky-flare nanotechnology exposes RNA misregulation in living cells | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

RNA is a fundamental ingredient in all known forms of life -- so when RNA goes awry, a lot can go wrong. RNA misregulation plays a critical role in the development of many disorders, such as mental disability, autism and cancer.


A new technology -- called “Sticky-flares” -- developed by nanomedicine experts at Northwestern University offers the first real-time method to track and observe the dynamics of RNA distribution as it is transported inside living cells.


Sticky-flares have the potential to help scientists understand the complexities of RNA better than any analytical technique to date and observe and study the biological and medical significance of RNA misregulation. Details will be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Previous technologies made it possible to attain static snapshots of RNA location, but that isn’t enough to understand the complexities of RNA transport and localization within a cell. Instead of analyzing snapshots of RNA to try to understand functioning, Sticky-flares help create an experience that is more like watching live-streaming video.


“This is very exciting because much of the RNA in cells has very specific quantities and localization, and both are critical to the cell’s function, but until this development it has been very difficult, and often impossible, to probe both attributes of RNA in a live cell,” said Chad A. Mirkin, a nanomedicine expert and corresponding author of the study. “We hope that many more researchers will be able to use this platform to increase our understanding of RNA function inside cells.”


Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering.


Sticky-flares are tiny spherical nucleic acid gold nanoparticle conjugates that can enter living cells and target and transfer a fluorescent reporter or “tracking device” to RNA transcripts. This fluorescent labeling can be tracked via fluorescence microscopy as it is transported throughout the cell, including the nucleus.


In the PNAS paper, the scientists explain how they used Sticky-flares to quantify β–actin mRNA in HeLa cells (the oldest and most commonly used human cell line) as well as to follow the real-time transport of β–actin mRNA in mouse embryonic fibroblasts.


Sticky-flares are built upon another technology from Mirkin’s group called NanoFlares, which was the first genetic-based approach that is able to detect live circulating tumor cells out of the complex matrix that is human blood.


NanoFlares have been very useful for researchers that operate in the arena of quantifying gene expression. AuraSense, Inc., a biotechnology company that licensed the NanoFlare technology from Northwestern University, and EMD-Millipore, another biotech company, have commercialized NanoFlares. There are now more than 1,700 commercial forms of NanoFlares sold under the SmartFlare™ name in more than 230 countries.

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A jet engine powered by lasers and nuclear explosions? Boeing gets awarded with patent

A jet engine powered by lasers and nuclear explosions? Boeing gets awarded with patent | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded a patent (US 9,068,562) to Boeing engineers and scientists for a laser- and nuclear-driven airplane engine.


“A stream of pellets containing nuclear material such as Deutrium or Tritium is fed into a hot-stop within a thruster of the aircraft,” Patent Yogi explains. “Then multiple high powered laser beams are all focused onto the hot-spot. The pellet is instantly vaporized and the high temperature causes a nuclear fusion reaction. In effect, it causes a tiny nuclear explosion that scatters atoms and high energy neutrons in all directions. This flow of material is concentrated to exit out of the thruster thus propelling the aircraft forward with great force.


“And this is where Boeing has done something extremely clever. The inner walls of the thurster are coated with a fissile material like Uranium-238 that undergoes a nuclear fission upon being struck by the high energy neutrons. This releases enormous energy in the form of heat. A coolant is circulated along the inner walls to pick up this heat and power a turbine which in turn generates huge amounts of electric power. And guess what this electric power is used for? To power the same lasers that created the electric power! In effect, this space-craft is self-powered with virtually no external energy needed.


“Soon, tiny nuclear bombs exploding inside a plane may be business as usual.”

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Researchers Build Smallest Transistor from a Molecule and a Few Atoms

Researchers Build Smallest Transistor from a Molecule and a Few Atoms | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A team of physicists from the Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik (PDI) and the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), Germany, the NTT Basic Research Laboratories (NTT-BRL), Japan, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), United States, has used a scanning tunneling microscope to create a minute transistor consisting of a single molecule and a small number of atoms. The observed transistor action is markedly different from the conventionally expected behavior and could be important for future device technologies as well as for fundamental studies of electron transport in molecular nanostructures. The complete findings are published in the August 2015 issue of the journal Nature Physics.


Transistors have a channel region between two external contacts and an electrical gate electrode to modulate the current flow through the channel. In atomic-scale transistors, this current is extremely sensitive to single electrons hopping via discrete energy levels. Single-electron transport in molecular transistors has been previously studied using top-down approaches, such as lithography and break junctions. But atomically precise control of the gate – which is crucial to transistor action at the smallest size scales – is not possible with these approaches. 


The team used a highly stable scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to create a transistor consisting of a single organic molecule and positively charged metal atoms, positioning them with the STM tip on the surface of an indium arsenide (InAs) crystal. Kiyoshi Kanisawa, a physicist at NTT-BRL, used the growth technique of molecular beam epitaxy to prepare this surface. Subsequently, the STM approach allowed the researchers, first, to assemble electrical gates from the +1 charged atoms with atomic precision and, then, to place the molecule at various desired positions close to the gates.


Stefan Fölsch, a physicist at the PDI who led the team, explained that “the molecule is only weakly bound to the InAs template. So, when we bring the STM tip very close to the molecule and apply a bias voltage to the tip-sample junction, single electrons can tunnel between template and tip by hopping via nearly unperturbed molecular orbitals, similar to the working principle of a quantum dot gated by an external electrode. In our case, the charged atoms nearby provide the electrostatic gate potential that regulates the electron flow and the charge state of the molecule”.


But there is a substantial difference between a conventional semiconductor quantum dot – comprising typically hundreds or thousands of atoms – and the present case of a surface-bound molecule: Steven Erwin, a physicist at NRL and expert in density-functional theory, pointed out that “the molecule adopts different rotational orientations, depending on its charge state. We predicted this based on first-principles calculations and confirmed it by imaging the molecule with the STM”. This coupling between charge and orientation has a dramatic effect on the electron flow across the molecule, manifested by a large conductance gap at low bias voltages. Piet Brouwer, a physicist at FUB and expert in quantum transport theory, said that “this intriguing behavior goes beyond the established picture of charge transport through a gated quantum dot. Instead, we developed a generic model that accounts for the coupled electronic and orientational dynamics of the molecule”. This simple and physically transparent model entirely reproduces the experimentally observed single-molecule transistor characteristics.


The perfection and reproducibility offered by these STM-generated transistors will enable the exploration of elementary processes involving current flow through single molecules at a fundamental level. Understanding and controlling these processes – and the new kinds of behavior to which they can lead – will be important for integrating molecule-based devices with existing semiconductor technologies.

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Neuroscientists establish brain-to-brain networks in primates and rodents

Neuroscientists establish brain-to-brain networks in primates and rodents | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Neuroscientists at Duke University have introduced a new paradigm for brain-machine interfaces that investigates the physiological properties and adaptability of brain circuits, and how the brains of two or more animals can work together to complete simple tasks.


These brain networks, or Brainets, are described in two articles to be published in the July 9, 2015, issue of Scientific Reports. In separate experiments reported in the journal, the brains of monkeys and the brains of rats are linked, allowing the animals to exchange sensory and motor information in real time to control movement or complete computations.


In one example, scientists linked the brains of rhesus macaque monkeys, who worked together to control the movements of the arm of a virtual avatar on a digital display in front of them. Each animal controlled two of three dimensions of movement for the same arm as they guided it together to touch a moving target.


In the rodent experiment, scientists networked the brains of four rats complete simple computational tasks involving pattern recognition, storage and retrieval of sensory information, and even weather forecasting.


Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are computational systems that allow subjects to use their brain signals to directly control the movements of artificial devices, such as robotic arms, exoskeletons or virtual avatars.


The Duke researchers, working at the Center for Neuroengineering, have previously built BMIs to capture and transmit the brain signals of individual rats, monkeys, and even human subjects to artificial devices.


"This is the first demonstration of a shared brain-machine interface, a paradigm that has been translated successfully over the past decades from studies in animals all the way to clinical applications," said Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph. D., co-director of the Center for Neuroengineering at the Duke University School of Medicine and principal investigator for the study. "We foresee that shared BMIs will follow the same track, and could soon be translated to clinical practice."


To complete the experiments, Nicolelis and his team outfitted the animals with arrays implanted in their motor and somatosensory cortices to capture and transmit their brain activity. For one experiment highlighted in the primate article, researchers recorded the electrical activity of more than 700 neurons from the brains of three monkeys as they moved a virtual arm toward a target. In this experiment, each monkey mentally controlled two out of three dimensions (i.e., x-axis and y-axis; see video) of the virtual arm.

The monkeys could be successful only when at least two of them synchronized their brains to produce continuous 3-D signals that moved the virtual arm. As the animals gained more experience and training in the motor task, researchers found that they adapted to the challenge.


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A fleet of autonomous taxis could dramatically slash vehicle emissions, study suggests

A fleet of autonomous taxis could dramatically slash vehicle emissions, study suggests | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Whenever we hear the latest buzz about driverless vehicles — like the ones currently in development by Google — one of the first benefits brought up is safety. The gist is that the vast majority of car accidents are the result of human error, and taking the human out of the equation would thus make streets a lot safer.


But that’s hardly the only benefit, suggests a new study in Nature Climate Change by Jeffrey Greenblatt and Samveg Saxena of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The researchers model a future in which electric-powered driverless cabs or “autonomous taxis” roam the streets, in a range of sizes and specifically tasked to pick up a matching number of passengers for a given ride.


Autonomous taxis are anticipated to be deployed according to each trip’s occupancy need (‘right-sizing’) because it is cost-effective for owners (capital and operating costs are lower) and passengers (who pay only for needed seats and storage),” the authors write. Smaller vehicles will save energy, and moreover, the authors project, there will be additional efficiency gains from two sources. These vehicles will be more likely to be electric, and thus powered from an increasingly renewable energy source; and they will travel considerably more miles per year,  meaning that more miles will be clean-powered.


It all adds up to a strong business case, meaning the vehicles would be “likely to gain rapid early market share.” The result is that by the year 2030, autonomous taxis could be dramatically cleaner not only than current cars, but also than projected hybrids in that year. The emissions reduction over cars we currently drive would be 87 to 94 percent, Greenblatt and Saxena find, and over future hybrids would be 63 to 82 percent.

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Better, Stronger, Faster: The Future of the Bionic Body

In the future, a woman with a spinal cord injury could make a full recovery; a baby with a weak heart could pump his own blood. How close are we today to the bold promise of bionics—and could this technology be used to improve normal human functions, as well as to repair us? Join Bill Blakemore, John Donoghue, Jennifer French, Joseph J. Fins, and P. Hunter Peckham at "Better, Stronger, Faster," part of the Big Ideas Series, as they explore the unfolding future of embedded technology.
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Three year clinical trial has recently been completed for bionic eye retinal implants

Three year clinical trial has recently been completed for bionic eye retinal implants | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The experimental device, known as the Argus II, functions to improve the vision in people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa. RP is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment. The Argus II restores low levels of vision in functionally blind patients.


The device works by using a microscopic video camera, located in the glasses of the patient. The device sends collected information to a special processing unit. The unit then converts the signals to an electronic device implanted into the patient’s retina.


Trials were conducted on 30 subjects in 10 centers in the United States and Europe. Tests showed that 89 percent of the subjects in a trial reported that they received strong images when using the device. Further tests are continuing, based on the very promising results. The Argus II has a unit cost of around $100,000.


The experimental device, known as the Argus II, functions to improve the vision in people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa. RP is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment. The Argus II restores low levels of vision in functionally blind patients.

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Fairy Lights in Femtoseconds: Scientists have created a hologram that can be touched

Fairy Lights in Femtoseconds: Scientists have created a hologram that can be touched | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Hologram technology already exists. Whatever is not yet sufficiently advanced, however, we have witnessed some progress in this area as: hologram created in mid air by laser, 3D hologram displays, holograms in the toy industry and the like. Unfortunately Hologram display can not be touched and interaction with it would feel more natural.

That at least was true till now when a Japanese team of scientists from Digital Nature Group managed to create a hologram display that you can touch. The concept is similar to the hologram which was created in mid air (also in Japan). Namely, the laser is used to create display emits superfast and supershort radiation (measured in femtoseconds). These radiations wiggle molecules of air, while helping to ionize (resulting in their lighting). As we know, a set of ionized particles to a place called plasma, which is generated by the laser.


The very fact that the molecules are forced to move in the air is causing the ability to touch them. Namely, when you put a finger in the hologram air, molecules are hitting your skin and you feel like it you touched something. According to lead author of the study it feels like you're touching sand paper or electrostatic shock. Additionally, by using a camera which is placed under the display you can recognize when you touched the display and where, and to convey the command somewhere in the software. 


Scientists say that they have chosen femtosecond display nanoseconds because it is safer for the skin because there is not enough time to warm up and damage. This will allow interactive 3D holograms that can be touched, which will contribute to significant progress in hologram technology. The projection of such holograms may allow upgrading of our reality in the case if these kind of devices are placed all around us and project images and objects that we could touch.


This femtosecond laser-based volumetric display will be demonstrated to the public as a part of the Siggraph 2015 exhibition in August.

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New nanogenerator harvests power from rolling tires

New nanogenerator harvests power from rolling tires | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car's rolling tire friction.


An innovative method of reusing energy, the nanogenerator ultimately could provide automobile manufacturers a new way to squeeze greater efficiency out of their vehicles.


The researchers reported their development, which is the first of its kind, in a paper published May 6, 2015, in the journal Nano Energy.


Xudong Wang, the Harvey D. Spangler fellow and an associate professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison, and his PhD student Yanchao Mao have been working on this device for about a year.


The nanogenerator relies on the triboelectric effect to harness energy from the changing electric potential between the pavement and a vehicle's wheels. The triboelectric effect is the electric charge that results from the contact or rubbing together of two dissimilar objects. Wang says the nanogenerator provides an excellent way to take advantage of energy that is usually lost due to friction.


"The friction between the tire and the ground consumes about 10 percent of a vehicle's fuel," he says. "That energy is wasted. So if we can convert that energy, it could give us very good improvement in fuel efficiency." The nanogenerator relies on an electrode integrated into a segment of the tire. When this part of the tire surface comes into contact with the ground, the friction between those two surfaces ultimately produces an electrical charge-a type of contact electrification known as the triboelectric effect.

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Water splitter produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel 24/7

Water splitter produces clean-burning hydrogen fuel 24/7 | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In an engineering first, Stanford University scientists have invented a low-cost water splitter that uses a single catalyst to produce both hydrogen and oxygen gas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The researchers believe that the device, described in anopen-access study published today (June 23) in Nature Communications, could provide a renewable source of clean-burning hydrogen fuel for transportation and industry.


“We have developed a low-voltage, single-catalyst water splitter that continuously generates hydrogen and oxygen for more than 200 hours, an exciting world-record performance,” said study co-author Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and of photon science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.


Hydrogen has long been promoted as an emissions-free alternative to gasoline. But most commercial-grade hydrogen is made from natural gas — a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. So scientists have been trying to develop a cheap and efficient way to extract pure hydrogen from water.


A conventional water-splitting device consists of two electrodes submerged in a water-based electrolyte. A low-voltage current applied to the electrodes drives a catalytic reaction that separates molecules of H2O, releasing bubbles of hydrogen on one electrode and oxygen on the other.


In these devices, each electrode is embedded with a different catalyst, typically platinum and iridium, two rare and costly metals. But in 2014, Stanford chemist Hongjie Dai developed a water splitter made of inexpensive nickel and iron that runs on an ordinary 1.5-volt battery.


In conventional water splitters, the hydrogen and oxygen catalysts often require different electrolytes with different pH — one acidic, one alkaline — to remain stable and active. “For practical water splitting, an expensive barrier is needed to separate the two electrolytes, adding to the cost of the device,” Wang explained.


“Our water splitter is unique because we only use one catalyst, nickel-iron oxide, for both electrodes,” said graduate student Haotian Wang, lead author of the study. “This bi-functional catalyst can split water continuously for more than a week with a steady input of just 1.5 volts of electricity. That’s an unprecedented water-splitting efficiency of 82 percent at room temperature.”


Wang and his colleagues discovered that nickel-iron oxide, which is cheap and easy to produce, is actually more stable than some commercial catalysts made of expensive precious metals. The key to making a single catalyst possible was to use lithium ions to chemically break the metal oxide catalyst into smaller and smaller pieces. That “increases its surface area and exposes lots of ultra-small, interconnected grain boundaries that become active sites for the water-splitting catalytic reaction,” Cui said. “This process creates tiny particles that are strongly connected, so the catalyst has very good electrical conductivity and stability.”

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FDA allows marketing of vision aid via tongue for blind

FDA allows marketing of vision aid via tongue for blind | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
This month Wisconsin-based company Wicab announced that the US Food and Drug Administration cleared a nonsurgical vision aid for the profoundly blind. The safety and effectiveness of their product, BrainPort V100, were supported by clinical data.


An FDA press announcement on June 18 said the FDA "today allowed marketing of a new device that when used along with other assistive devices, like a cane or guide dog, can help orient people who are blind by helping them process visual images with their tongues." What exactly is BrainPort V100? This is an oral electronic vision aid, said the company. It makes use of electro-tactile stimulation in orientation, mobility, and object recognition.


The FDA described the components in the BrainPort V100 as "a battery-powered device that includes a video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and a small, flat intra-oral device containing a series of electrodes that the user holds against their tongue. Software converts the image captured by the video camera into electrical signals that are then sent to the intra-oral device and perceived as vibrations or tingling on the user's tongue." This product does not replace a guide dog and cane; it is an "adjunctive" device to assistive methods such as dog and cane.


How does it work? The BrainPort V100's video camera mounted on sunglasses has an adjustable field of view (zoom). It translates digital information from a video camera to electrical stimulation patterns perceived as vibrations or tingling on the surface of the user's tongue. The tongue item is connected to the glasses by flexible cable. A small hand-held unit provides user controls and houses a rechargeable battery. The system will run for approximately three hours on a single charge.


"Users describe the experience as streaming images drawn on their tongue with small bubbles. With training, users are able to interpret the shape, size, location and position of objects in their environment, and to determine if objects are moving or stationary."

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‘Brain-to-Text’ system converts speech brainwave patterns to text with less than 50% error rate

‘Brain-to-Text’ system converts speech brainwave patterns to text with less than 50% error rate | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

German and U.S. researchers have decoded natural continuously spoken speech from brain waves and transformed it into text — a step toward communication with computers or humans by thought alone.


Their “Brain-to-Text” system recorded signals from an electrocorticographic (ECoG)* electrode array located on relevant surfaces of the frontal and temporal lobes of the cerebral cortex of seven epileptic patients, who participated voluntarily in the study during their clinical treatment.


The patients read sample text (from a limited set of words) aloud during the study. Machine learning algorithms were then used to extract the most likely word sequence from the signals, and automatic speech-to-text methods created the text output. The system achieved word error rates as low as 25% and phone (instances of phonemes in utterances) error rates below 50%.


The researchers suggest that the Brain-to-Text system might lead to a speech-communication method for locked-in (unable to communicate) patients in the future.


The open-access research was conducted by an interdisciplinary collaboration of informatics, neuroscience, and medicine researchers. The brain recordings were conducted at Albany Medical Center (Albany, NY).  The signal processing and automatic speech recognition methods were developed at the Cognitive Systems Lab of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany.


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Testing shows using microwaves to propel a craft into space might work

Testing shows using microwaves to propel a craft into space might work | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A team of researchers at Colorado based Escape Dynamics is reporting that initial tests indicate that it might really be possible to launch space-planes into space using microwaves sent from the ground, to allow for a single stage spacecraft. If the idea pans out, the cost savings for sending satellites (or perhaps humans) into orbit could be considerable.


Today's rockets are all based on the same idea, a multi-stage rocket is used, each part filled with propellant that pushes the rocket into space as the propellant is burned. It is a really expensive way to go because the propellant is extremely heavy. ED's idea is to use microwaves beamed from the ground to heat hydrogen carried by the space-plane to push the craft into space, a much more efficient approach. They are reporting that testing done at their facility shows that the idea might be possible.


The testing involved building a thruster that operates on the ground and then testing to see how much thrust is generated—the team is reporting that they achieved a specific impulse of 500 seconds when using helium, and believe that when they switch to hydrogen that number will jump to 600 seconds—enough, they claim, to push a small craft into space.


With a real space plane, the microwaves would strike the heat shield on the bottom of the craft (both at liftoff and as it made its way into space) powering an electromagnetic motor which in turn would heat hydrogen as it was released from a tank—the result would be pushed through a nozzle, resulting in thrust. Once in orbit the plane would stay aloft long enough to deploy a satellite, then glide back down to Earth. The trick here is that the entire system does not have to be efficient, just the craft itself. The microwave array would be powered by electricity, generated by any number of means, down here on Earth.


There are of course still a number of hurdles to pass before the idea can be deemed viable—the microwave array would have to prove strong enough and able to maintain tracking of the craft as it climbed into space, likely the main ones. There might also be safety issues surrounding the firing of such a massive amount of microwaves into space. On the other hand, if the idea proves viable, it could mean sending satellites into orbit for a fraction of the cost of today's systems.

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Development of smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating

Development of smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Instead of heating or cooling your whole house, imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature — regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. That’s the goal of an engineering project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating) at the University of California, San Diego, funded with a $2.6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).


By regulating the temperature around an individual person, rather than a large room, the smart fabric could potentially cut the energy use of buildings and homes by at least 15 percent, said project leader Joseph Wang, distinguished professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego.


“In cases where there are only one or two people in a large room, it’s not cost-effective to heat or cool the entire room,” said Wang. “If you can do it locally, like you can in a car by heating just the car seat instead of the entire car, you can save a lot of energy.”


The smart fabric will be designed to regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin — keeping it at 93° F — by adapting to temperature changes in the room. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter, the fabric will become thinner, using polymers inside the smart fabric that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat.


“93° F is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people,” added Renkun Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego, and one of the collaborators on this project.


The clothing will incorporate printable “thermoelectrics” into specific spots of the smart fabric to regulate the temperature on “hot spots” — such as areas on the back and underneath the feet — that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.


“With the smart fabric, you won’t need to heat the room as much in the winter, and you won’t need to cool the room down as much in the summer. That means less energy is consumed,” said Chen.


The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself, using rechargeable batteries to power the thermoelectrics and biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat.


The 3-D printable wearable parts will be thin, stretchable, and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy. The material will also be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight. “We also hope to make it look attractive and fashionable to wear,” said Wang.

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A guide to the Internet of Things

A guide to the Internet of Things | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

You wake up in the morning and the fitness tracker on your wrist has recorded how well you slept, uploading the results to your Twitter account. Your coffee machine reads your Twitter feed and knowing you're awake, begins brewing your first coffee of the day.

Your bedroom lights, following your fitness tracker, turn on low and begin their slow brightening over the next few minutes as the bathroom starts warming your towel. Lights automatically turn on and off as you walk down the hall to the kitchen where your coffee is now waiting. As you leave for work, the robotic vacuum cleaner begins and updates its cleaning progress map to your phone.

Welcome to the world increasingly being envisioned by tech giants that's powered by the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) and promising to change the way we live. But what actually is this 'Internet of Things'? Basically, it's the combination of low-cost, low-power processors with 'real-world' electronic sensors and wireless network connectivity increasingly being added to a wide range of electrical devices. These sensors can measure everything from temperature and humidity to pressure, proximity, sound, light, gravity, movement, feedback and through on-board software, devices can record and action those measurements over the internet.


IoT was front-and-centre at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, starting what will inevitably be a year we see tech ventures, large and small, announce a vast array of gadgets that connect to the internet. Vacuum cleaner king Dyson will launch its 360 Eye robotic vacuum cleaner this year. With built-in Wi-Fi and Dyson's patented Cyclone cleaning tech, it'll update your phone showing you its cleaning map and progress.


Like the idea of a coffee machine you control from an app? Denmark's Scanomat has developed the stylish TopBrewer that lets you choose your coffee type from your Android or iOS phone or tablet. And if you're ever in Copenhagen, head to the TopBrewer Café, where there are no queues, just your coffee ordered, brewed and paid for by your phone.


Key to this IoT boom has been the continuing fall in the cost of the technology involved. We've seen this over the last couple of years with everything from 3D printing to smartwatches. The cost of adding Bluetooth wireless connectivity to a device has also crashed through the floor. Photodetector sensors in new heart-rate fitness trackers sell for as little as 50 cents each in commercial quantities; their green LEDs for as little as one cent. But it's the ever-falling cost of processing power that's putting computer chips into almost any gadget.



Unlike previous technology revolutions, the low cost of components has torn down the traditional 'barrier to entry' this time. Today, you just need an understanding of how IoT tech works – the sensors, the wireless technology, the processors, the cloud computing that increasingly forms the backbone – and a great idea. An idea alone won't make you millions, but thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and indiegogo, IoT innovation can be driven as much by the tech community as it can by the big end of town (think LIFX). And those big corporates know it.


In late 2013, chip giant Intel joined the burgeoning DIY 'maker' market by releasing its first small computer development board called Galileo. Part of the 'Intel Maker' campaign, Galileo is powered by a 32-bit 400MHz single-core Pentium-class processor called the Quark X1000 and designed specifically to promote development of IoT projects.


To push it along, Intel planned on donating 50,000 boards to 1,000 selected universities worldwide, such as the University of Melbourne, during 2014. Since then, the Galileo 2 and super-tiny Edison boards have also been released.

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Atomic force microscope advance leads to new breast cancer research

Atomic force microscope advance leads to new breast cancer research | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers who developed a high-speed form of atomic force microscopy have shown how to image the physical properties of live breast cancer cells, for the first time revealing details about how deactivation of a key protein may lead to metastasis. The new findings also are providing evidence for the mechanisms involved in a cell's response to anti-cancer drugs, said Arvind Raman, Purdue University's Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering.


In atomic force microscopy (AFM), a tiny vibrating probe called a cantilever passes over a material, precisely characterizing its topography and physical properties. However, before now the procedure has been too slow to record some quickly changing biological processes in action.


“Before this advance you could see only the before and after, but not what happened in between, the dynamics of the event,” Raman said. “There is evidence based on this work and our previous findings that there might be a mechanical signature to drug resistance.”


Advanced models allow researchers to convert AFM data into properties about the cell’s internal scaffolding, called the cortical actin cytoskeleton, including the motion of fibers called actin. Findings are detailed in a paper appearing Monday (June 29) in the research journal Scientific Reports,the open access journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The researchers used the technique to study breast cancer cells, probing a key enzyme called spleen tyrosine kinase, or Syk.


Kinases cause phosphorylation of proteins, a biochemical process that can alter enzymes and plays a significant role in a wide range of cellular processes. “So if you turn the kinase off, proteins will get dephosphorylated and then changes could occur,” said Robert L. Geahlen, Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Purdue. “We were able to show the turn off of this kinase very rapidly alters the physical properties of the cell. So it’s undoubtedly due to the phosphorylation events that are having immediate effects on cytoskeletal proteins.”


The paper was authored by former doctoral student Alexander X. Cartagena-Rivera, now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD); Purdue postdoctoral research associate Wen-Horng Wang; Geahlen; and Raman.


The researchers studied breast cancer cells exposed to a chemical “inhibitor” that blocks the functioning of Syk, leaving the cells free to metastasize. Because of the new higher-speed AFM, the researchers for the first time have been able to observe what happens when the inhibitor is added. After adding the inhibitor, actin bands propagate across the cell, causing the cell to change shape. "This takes about 10 minutes, which is quite fast compared to many biological processes," Raman said.


The images can be taken at a speed of about 50 seconds per frame.

“Before we did this it would take roughly 15 to 20 minutes to take one frame, which is too slow to observe this transition process,” he said.

Bands of actin were shown to move in a sweeping motion across the cell. “You think of actin as a scaffolding, but it’s a dynamic scaffolding,” Raman said. “We can see bands of actin that are going around and changing the physical properties during the transition, which was not understood before.”


When Syk is missing or deactivated, breast cancer cells undergo a process called EMT, or epithelial-mesenchymal transition, causing them to become highly motile and to undergo metastasis. “If this kinase is in the cells, the cells cannot metastasize, so we’ve been trying to figure out what the mechanisms are by which you have to get rid of this kinase in order to become highly motile and metastatic,” said Geahlen, who is affiliated with the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. “And that’s one of the reasons we were looking at this particular type of cancer cell with this particular form of Syk in it.”


One goal of the research is to correlate physical properties of cells with tumor suppression and the action of the kinase on the cell.

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3D omnidirectional free space wireless charging developed

3D omnidirectional free space wireless charging developed | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The simultaneous charging of multiple mobile devices at 0.5 meter away from the power source is now possible under the international electromagnetic field guidelines.


Daejeon, Republic of Korea, July 7, 2015--Mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, have become indispensable portable items in modern life, but one big challenge remains to fully enjoying these devices: keeping their batteries charged.


A group of researchers at KAIST has developed a wireless-power transfer (WPT) technology that allows mobile devices to be charged at any location and in any direction, even if the devices are away from the power source, just as Wi-Fi works for Internet connections. With this technology, so long as mobile users stay in a designated area where the charging is available, e.g., the Wi-Power zone, the device, without being tethered to a charger, will pick up power automatically, as needed.


The research team led by Professor Chun T. Rim of the Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Department at KAIST has made great strides in WPT development. Their WPT system is capable of charging multiple mobile devices concurrently and with unprecedented freedom in any direction, even while holding the devices in midair or a half meter away from the power source, which is a transmitter. The research result was published in the June 2015 on-line issue of IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, which is entitled "Six Degrees of Freedom Mobile Inductive Power Transfer by Crossed Dipole Tx (Transmitter) and Rx (Receiver) Coils."


Professor Rim's team has successfully showcased the technology on July 7, 2015 at a lab on KAIST's campus. They used high-frequency magnetic materials in a dipole coil structure to build a thin, flat transmitter (Tx) system shaped in a rectangle with a size of 1m2. Either 30 smartphones with a power capacity of one watt each or 5 laptops with 2.4 watts each can be simultaneously and wirelessly charged at a 50 cm distance from the transmitter with six degrees of freedom, regardless of the devices' three-axes positions and directions. This means that the device can receive power all around the transmitter in three-dimensional space. The maximum power transfer efficiency for the laptops was 34%. The researchers said that to fabricate plane Tx and Rx coils with the six-degree-of-freedom characteristic was a bottleneck of WPT for mobile applications.


The research team used the Dipole Coil Resonance System (DCRS) to induce magnetic fields, which was developed by the team in 2014 for inductive power transfer over an extended distance. The DCRS is composed of two (transmitting and receiving) magnetic dipole coils, placed in parallel, with each coil having a ferrite core and connected with a resonant capacitor. Comparing to a conventional loop coil, the dipole coil is very compact and has a less dimension. Therefore, a crossed dipole structure has 2-dimension rather than 3-dimension of a crossed loop coil structure. The DCRS has a great advantage to transfer power even when the resonance frequency changes in the range of 1% (Q factor is below 100). The ferrite cores are optimally designed to reduce the core volume by half, and their ability to transfer power is nearly unaffected by human bodies or surrounding metal objects, making DCRS ideal to transmit wireless power in emergency situations. In a test conducted in 2014, Professor Rim succeeded in transferring 209 watts of power wirelessly to the distance of five meters.


See KAIST's press release on DCRS for details: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-04/tkai-wpt041714.php

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Brain Imaging Shows How Children Inherit Their Parents' Anxiety

Brain Imaging Shows How Children Inherit Their Parents' Anxiety | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In rhesus monkey families – just as in their human cousins – anxious parents are more likely to have anxious offspring. And a new study in an extended family of monkeys provides important insights into how the risk of developing anxiety and depression is passed from parents to children.


The study from the Department of Psychiatry and the HealthEmotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows how an over-active brain circuit involving three brain areas inherited from generation to generation may set the stage for developing anxiety and depressive disorders.


The study is being published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It shows that elevated activity in this prefrontal- limbic -midbrain circuit is likely involved in mediating the in-born risk for extreme anxiety, anxious temperament that can be observed in early childhood.


“Over-activity of these three brain regions are inherited brain alterations that are directly linked to the later life risk to develop anxiety and depression,” says senior author Dr. Ned Kalin, chair of psychiatry at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “This is a big step in understanding the neural underpinnings of inherited anxiety and begins to give us more selective targets for treatment.”


Previous research by Kalin’s group has shown that anxious temperament is inherited, and explained the brain circuits involved. About half of children who show extreme anxiety go on to develop stress-related psychiatric disorders later in life.


Monkeys, like humans, can be temperamentally anxious and pass their anxiety-related genes on to the next generation. By studying nearly 600 young rhesus monkeys from a large multi-generational family, Drs. Andrew Fox, Kalin, and colleagues found that about 35 percent of variation in anxiety-like tendencies is explained by family history.

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A colloidal quantum dot spectrometer that fits on your cell phone and let you scan for skin cancer

A colloidal quantum dot spectrometer that fits on your cell phone and let you scan for skin cancer | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

We use them to spy on exoplanets, diagnose skin-cancer, and ID the makeup of unknown chemicals. They're on NASA spacecraft flying around Saturn's moons right now. Yes, right alongside the microscope, the optical spectrometer—an instrument that breaks down the light that something reflects or emits, telling you what its made of—is one of the most ubiquitous tools in all of science. Today, Jie Bao, a physicist at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, has just discovered a fascinating way to make them smaller, lighter, and less expensive than we ever thought possible.


By using tiny amounts of strange, light-sensitive inks, Bao and his colleague Moungi Bawendi—a chemist at MIT—have designed a working spectrometer that's small enough to fit on your smartphone. Because of the tool's simple design and its need for only an incredibly small amount of the inks, Bao says, his spectrometer only requires a few dollars worth of materials to make. They report the research today in the journal Nature.


"Of course we still have a lot of room for improvement. But performance-wise, even at this preliminary stage, our spectrometer works very close to what's currently being sold in the market," Bao says. "I think that's one of the most attractive results of our research: This spectrometer is already so close to a real product."


As if making micro-sized stained glass windows, Bao prints a tiny grid of 195 different-colored liquid inks directly onto a flat sensor. (That sensor, called a CCD sensor, is what your phone's camera uses to pick up light.) Each of the 195 windows is made of a material called colloidal quantum dots, and each "absorbs certain wavelengths of light, and lets others go," says Bao. When light hits each window and travels through, the underlying sensor records how the light changed. Later, a computer can compare the data from all of the windows and reconstruct what wavelengths made up the original light.


Right now, Bao's spectrometer is about the size of a quarter, and he says the underlying CCD sensors he uses can be bought online for less than a dollar a pop. Because he's using just a tiny drop of each of the colloidal quantum dot inks (which have only recently been developed) the cost all 195 drops is only on the order of a few dollars.

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Underwater farmers grow strawberries in balloon gardens

Underwater farmers grow strawberries in balloon gardens | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

This is a snapshot of life at one of the world's strangest farms. In the eerie blue light, a diver drifts between underwater greenhouses, where the first seeds of the year – basil, strawberry, lettuce and beans – were planted last week. The transparent "biospheres" beneath the Bay of Noli, in Savona, Italy, are part of the three-year-old Nemo's Garden project, which aims to find innovative ways of growing crops in places that lack freshwater or fertile soil.


Resembling large balloons, the air-filled structures are anchored to the sea floor and float between 5 and 10 meters below the surface. Inside, water condenses on the roof of the spheres, dripping back down to keep the plants watered, while the warm, near-constant sea temperature nurtures the plants.


The site is equipped with four cameras that stream back live video, allowing the unusual farmers to be watched in action online. Sensors collecting live data can also be monitored from a website, revealing for example the humidity and air temperature in the greenhouses. It's not the only unlikely garden around. An island of green was built in the middle of a sea of garbage in Djenné, Mali.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 4, 9:03 PM
Innovative ideas for future food production?
Eric Larson's curator insight, July 7, 12:58 PM

One way to grow strawberries.

Anaëlle Tanquerey-Cado's curator insight, July 9, 7:08 AM

Des fraises cultivées dans des ballons d'air, sous la mer... Un moyen de valoriser les surfaces sans eau potable ni sol fertile.

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SpaceX’s Rocket Explodes on the Way to the ISS

SpaceX’s Rocket Explodes on the Way to the ISS | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Less than three minutes into its flight, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated along with the cargo it was carrying to the ISS.


In the eternal war between SpaceX’s reusable rockets and SpaceX’s robot boat, the rockets lost again. Elon Musk’s company loaded up a Dragon capsule full of supplies this morning in what would have been its seventh mission to the International Space Station—and its third attempt to salvage the capsule’s rocket, Falcon 9, by landing on an autonomous barge. But the poor thing didn’t even get the chance to try. Less than three minutes into flight, the rocket and its cargo exploded, their disintegrating parts cloaked by a huge cloud of smoke. Astronaut Scott Kelly, watching the catastrophic failure from his perch in the ISS above, said it right: “Space is hard.”


It’s not clear yet what caused the rocket to break up. At the time of “launch vehicle failure,” in NASA-speak, Falcon was still firing all of its nine first-stage engines, with the Dragon capsule and second stage Merlin vacuum engine attached. Right now, the NASA mishap and anomaly teams are trying to piece together video analysis of the flight path with the two minutes or so of data sent from the craft before it exploded. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield speculated that the failure might have started at the front of the craft—near the second stage engine and the Dragon capsule.


In a NASA press conference today, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell confirmed that a problem occurred in that general location, noting an overpressurization event in the liquid oxygen tank in the second stage of the rocket. But SpaceX doesn’t know yet what caused it. Even the typically speculation-happy Musk can’t say more yet, tweeting only that their “data suggests [a] counterintuitive cause.”


The Dragon capsule was carrying more than 4,000 pounds of supplies for the ISS. This is the third resupply mission to fail in the last eight months; at the end of April, a Russian Progress spacecraft and its Soyuz rocket similarly failed early in their launch, and last October, an Antares rocket from Orbital Sciences blew up right on the launch pad.


While that might seem to indicate a troubling trend, “there’s no commonality across these three events other than that it’s space and it’s difficult to fly,” says NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier.


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A New Facebook Lab Plans to Deliver Internet Access by Drone

A New Facebook Lab Plans to Deliver Internet Access by Drone | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Watch out, Google. Facebook is gunning for the title of World’s Coolest Place to Work. And its arsenal includes unmanned drones, lasers, satellites and virtual reality headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, announced on Thursday that the company was creating a new lab of up to 50 aeronautics experts and space scientists to figure out how to beam Internet access down from solar-powered drones and other “connectivity aircraft.”


To start the effort, Facebook is buying Ascenta, a small British company whose founders helped to create early versions of an unmanned solar-powered drone, the Zephyr, which flew for two weeks in July 2010 and broke a world record for time aloft.


“We want to think about new ways of connectivity that dramatically reduce the cost,” said Yael Maguire, engineering director for the new Facebook Connectivity Lab. “We want to explore whether there are ways from the sky to deliver the Internet access.”


It’s the second head-spinning announcement from Facebook this week and the third this year. On Tuesday, the company said it would spend at least $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, a Southern California start-up that is developing virtual reality headsets for playing games and other uses. Last month, it said it would buy WhatsApp, a messaging app that offers free texting around the world, for as much as $19 billion.


The lab is part of Mr. Zuckerberg’s ambitious Internet.org project to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world’s population without Internet access. With partners like Qualcomm and Nokia, Facebook is working on technology to compress Internet data, cut the cost of mobile phones and extend connections to people who can’t afford them or live in places that are too difficult to reach.


That last part of the problem — reaching the 10 percent of the world’s population that are in areas difficult to reach via traditional Internet solutions — is the initial focus of the connectivity lab, said Mr. Maguire.


Currently, satellites can deliver Internet to sparsely populated areas with spotty Internet connections, but the cost is very high, said Mr. Maguire.


Facebook wants to explore whether access could be delivered more cheaply through both new types of satellites and unmanned aircraft.


The company envisions drones that could stay aloft for months, even years, at a time at an altitude of more than 12 miles from the surface of the earth — far above other planes and the ever-changing weather.

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This Radio Bug Can Steal Laptop Crypto Keys, Fits Inside a Pita Bread

This Radio Bug Can Steal Laptop Crypto Keys, Fits Inside a Pita Bread | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The list of paranoia-inducing threats to your computer’s security grows daily: Keyloggers, trojans, infected USB sticks, ransomware…and now the rogue falafel sandwich.


Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Technion research institute have developed a new palm-sized device that can wirelessly steal data from a nearby laptop based on the radio waves leaked by its processor’s power use. Their spy bug, built for less than $300, is designed to allow anyone to “listen” to the accidental radio emanations of a computer’s electronics from 19 inches away and derive the user’s secret decryption keys, enabling the attacker to read their encrypted communications. And that device, described in a paper they’re presenting at the Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems in September, is both cheaper and more compact than similar attacks from the past—so small, in fact, that the Israeli researchers demonstrated it can fit inside a piece of pita bread.


“The result is that a computer that holds secrets can be readily tapped with such cheap and compact items without the user even knowing he or she is being monitored,” says Eran Tomer, a senior lecturer in computer science at Tel Aviv University. “We showed it’s not just possible, it’s easy to do with components you can find on eBay or even in your kitchen.”


Their key-stealing device, which they call the Portable Instrument for Trace Acquisition (yes, that spells PITA) consists of a loop of wire to act as an antenna, a Rikomagic controller chip, a Funcube software defined radio, and batteries. It can be configured to either collect its cache of stolen data on an SD storage card or to transmit it via Wifi to a remote eavesdropper. The idea to actually cloak the device in a pita—and name it as such—was a last minute addition, Tomer says. The researchers found a piece of the bread in their lab on the night before their deadline and discovered that all their electronics could fit inside it.

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Network model for tracking Twitter memes sheds light on information spreading in the brain

Network model for tracking Twitter memes sheds light on information spreading in the brain | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

An international team of researchers from Indiana University and Switzerland is using data mapping methods created to track the spread of information on social networks to trace its dissemination across a surprisingly different system: the human brain.


The research team from the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing found that applying social network models to the brain reveals specific connections and nodes that may be responsible for higher forms of cognition. The results are reported in the journal Neuron.


"This study suggests that answers about where in the brain higher cognition occurs may lie in the way that these areas are embedded in the network," said IU Distinguished Professor Olaf Sporns, who is senior author on the study. "You can't see this just by looking at a static network. You need to look at dynamic patterns.


"Each thought or action involves multiple signals, cascading through the brain, turning on other nodes as they spread. Where these cascades come together, that's where integration of multiple signals can occur. We think that this sort of integration is a hallmark of higher cognition."


Other lead researchers on the paper are Yong-Yeol Ahn and Alessandro Flammini, both of the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing. An expert on complex networks, Ahn had previously used data from Twitter to track information spreading through social networks, including constructing analyses that predict which memes will go viral.


To conduct the brain study, the team performed diffusion spectrum imaging on the brains of 40 research volunteers at University Hospital Lausanne in Switzerland. The team then created a composite map of regions and long-range connections in the brain and applied a dynamic model for information spreading based in part upon Ahn's model for tracking viral memes.


"Like information in social networks, information in the brain is traveling along connections that form complex networks," said Sporns, who is a co-founder of the emerging field of connectomics, which aims to produce comprehensive network maps of the neural elements in the brain and their interconnections. "It was not too far a stretch for us to think of the brain this way."

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