Items tagged with Science

It's not quite Skynet, but scientists have created "lifelike" machines seem like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Researchers from Cornell University has crafted what they call artificial machines using synthetic DNA that can move on their own, grow, evolve, consume resources and eventually die.  Now before you start putting on your judgmental hats and questioning the ethics of the researchers, they are quick to point out that their creations are not true "living" organisms. "We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism," writes Dan Luo, who serves as a professor of biological and environmental engineer at Cornell. "We are... Read more...
SpaceX has performing admirably in its efforts to move the U.S. one step closer to being able to put its own astronauts into orbit again. The company was able to successfully launch its Crew Dragon capsule early this month, and the capsule later splashed down safely on return from the ISS. SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk, have a future that sees SpaceX doing more than putting astronauts into low Earth orbit; and that future includes interplanetary missions. Before those missions can be considered, the spacecraft that will be used has to be built and tested; SpaceX is into that testing process with Musk offering up a video of the critical heat shield tiles in testing. Heat shield tiles are the difference... Read more...
Elon Musk and SpaceX have been doing some very cool things over the past decade with rockets. While the rockets SpaceX has been sending into space aren’t the sort capable of flying to the moon or Mars, they are capable of ferrying cargo safely to the ISS in Earth orbit and mostly returning to Earth in one piece. The big news this week was the unveiling of the SpaceX BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) spacecraft that can fly to the moon and beyond. During the unveiling of the rocket, Musk said that the BFR already has its first passenger booked, but during the event, no names were offered. When Musk was asked if he was going to be the first passenger to fly around the moon, he simply tweeted a Japanese... Read more...
Engineers and researchers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to find problems inside the human body that allow doctors to determine what's going on internally without having to resort to cutting. A team from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Professor Dina Katabi is working on a new wireless system that the team likens to an in-body GPS system called ReMix. The system is designed specifically to locate ingestible implants inside the body using a low-power wireless signal from outside the body. MIT Prof. Dina Katabi The idea is that the ReMix wireless system could allow medical personnel to determine the exact location of ingestible implants... Read more...
A group of researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new battery breakthrough that could have a big impact on runtimes for the gadgets. The researchers have developed new material that can address the two chief complaints of batteries used in electronic devices now: relatively runtimes life and unwanted heat production. The team has applied for a patent for a magnetic material that has a unique honeycomb lattice structure that offers distinct electronical properties. “Semiconductor diodes and amplifiers, which often are made of silicon or germanium, are key elements in modern electronic devices,” said Deepak K. Singh, head researcher on the project, who also serves... Read more...
Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have announced that they have created a new material that is a key step in creating the next generation of supercomputers. These next-generation quantum computers will be far faster than current supercomputers while consuming much less energy. The scientists on the project work in the OSU College of Science and the compound they have developed is an inorganic material that adopts a crystal structure. The material is capable of sustaining a new state of matter that is known as quantum spin liquid. That new compound is lithium osmium oxide and it has osmium atoms that form a honeycomb-like lattice, and can enforce a phenomenon called "magnetic... Read more...
MIT is poised to make a massive investment into the future of nuclear fusion power. This move is significant because fusion power is potentially inexhaustible and produces zero carbon emissions. Fusion power could quite literally change the world as we know it today. MIT has announced a new collaboration with a private company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) that will see $50 million poured into the creation of a working fusion power plant. MIT and CFS want to perform rapid, staged research that will lead to a new generation of fusion experiments and ultimately power plants based on advancement in high-temperature superconductors. The work will be built on decades of federal government... Read more...
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced a new power generating device that is able to use temperature fluctuations to create electricity. The technology is based on principals of thermoelectric devices able to generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature than the other. The device the MIT team has created doesn't require two different temperature inputs at the same time, rather this device harnesses changes in ambient temperature to create electric power as a virtually perpetual renewable energy source. MIT's Thermal Resonator - Virtually Infinite Power Source? The new system is called a thermal resonator and has the potential for... Read more...
One of the most memorable scenes in all of science fiction films is the scene in the original Star Wars movie where Luke first sees the holographic projection of Princess Leia while trying to clean R2-D2. Many fans of that film have been waiting for decades for a similar projection system to launch. Physicists have now created a very close approximation to that Star Wars projection using a laser and particle system. The technique is known as a volumetric display and can make 3D moving images that a viewer can see from any angle. "This is doing something that a hologram can never do — giving you an all-round view, a Princess Leia-style display — because it’s not a hologram,"... Read more...
A group of Japanese scientists have made an accidental discovery that could have a huge impact on smartphones and other gadgets in the future. The scientists developed a new type of glass that can self-heal, fusing itself back together when it cracks. This could mean the end to shattered smartphone screens and costly repairs. The discovery was made at the University of Tokyo while the scientists were studying new adhesives. Though this isn't the first claim of self-healing materials for phones, this new breakthrough material does seem to have significant merit. One of the scientists on the team noticed while he was studying a polymer for its usefulness as a glue that it had the ability to adhere... Read more...
If you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you have certainly run across CAPTCHA on a few occasions. CAPTCHA is the security device that forces you to read squiggly words and type them into the box to prove you are a person and not a spamming robot sent from the future to troll forums and steal all of our memes. The schtick for CAPTCHA is that computer programs can't read the words, but that is no longer true. AI has been created that is able to defeat CAPTCHA security meaning all our memes aren't safe after all. The AI was inspired by a human brain, specifically the human visual cortex. To rub salt in CAPTCHA's wound, the new AI needed 50,000 times fewer training examples to crush the... Read more...
CTRL-Labs is a startup that is working diligently in the brain-machine interface, or BMI field. BMI is a type of interface that allows people to control computers using their brain and assistive technology. It could be a huge breakthrough for allowing people with disabilities to make better use of computers, for both work and fun. It's not the first time we've seen functional technology demos in this space. Years back, OCZ actually demonstrated their NIA or Neural Impulse Actuator technology, but it never really took off. However, the BMI that CTRL-Labs is working on is pretty slick according to Wired, which was able to watch a few demos of the technology. In one demo, the user wears sensor-laden... Read more...
A team of scientists from the University of Washington have figured out how to infect a computer using malicious code inside DNA. This attack vector isn't aimed at your everyday PC sitting on your desk at home or in the office; this hack aims directly at the infrastructure around the DNA transcription and analysis industry. The team behind the hack was concerned about the security with that infrastructure after finding basic vulnerabilities in some of the open-source software used in labs that analyze DNA all around the world. While the basic issues with the software could be vulnerable to hacks using traditional tools, like malware and viruses, the team of researchers went the extra... Read more...
We have been talking about benefits of machine-learning investments for quite some time. There's simply an incredible amount of potential and opportunities that can come from these learning machines - especially where the medical field is concerned. IBM's Watson might have been one of the first major computers to be used in this way, but the number of dedicated learning machines out there continues to grow by the day. The human body (and the systems of any living thing, in general) is seriously complex. Doctors can do their best to diagnose issues, but as a mere mortal, there's just no guarantee that they'll be able to correctly detect all ailments, especially when diagnosing certain issues in... Read more...
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