Items tagged with Science

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...
Any way you look at it, today's storage technologies are impressive. We can hold a tiny memory card no larger than our finger nails that can fit thousands of images, songs, and documents, and potentially hundreds of videos. We even just wrote about a new consumer hard drive from Seagate that packs 10 terabytes inside of its frame. Today, as consumers, finding enough storage isn't really a major issue, but that could change in the future. Given some breakthrough technologies we've heard about in recent months, though, that could definitely change in the future. Just earlier this month, we reported on Microsoft accomplishing placing 200MB on a single strand of DNA, and if that wasn't impressive... Read more...
Either for work or just for fun, science can be one of the most rewarding and exciting fields to delve into. This is something that Google apparently has a passion for as well, as the company has released a very cool new science app for Android devices. Called Science Journal, this app will let anyone with an interest in science create and manage their own projects. The app is made even more useful by the fact that it interacts with Google's science initiative called Making & Science, and based on its name, it's not that hard to figure out what it's all about. Users of the app can easily browse the many projects available, and make use of the app to help manage and make progress with each... Read more...
While some fail to reach their goal of creating something truly amazing, a team of researchers at UC Irvine seems to have done the impossible. While working to create better batteries for our electronics, these researchers managed to develop a makeshift battery with a life so long, it'd always outlive the device it's in. To accomplish this, the researchers make use of gold nanowires to store electricity, in lieu of using traditional lithium. The reason batteries in our devices die after a while (and the reason so many are rightfully miffed when a smartphone doesn't have a swappable battery) is because wear and tear eventually becomes too much, and it just ceases to work. Prepare to have your... Read more...
Last month HotHardware reported on how Ohio-based Nikola Labs wowed the crowd at the Disrupt conference — and the Internet — by presenting a smartphone case. Of course, it didn't trot out one of your typical keep-the-dings-off smartphone cases, though, but one that can capture the 90 percent of waste energy pumped out by a typical smartphone in the form of radio frequencies (RF), and convert that energy into DC power that can be channeled back into the encased device to provide it with a 30% energy boost.  Science or science-fiction? Too good to be true? The punditry and would-be scientists served and volleyed the idea for a cycle or two, weighing... Read more...
The consortium governing the planning and construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope — which will be the worlds largest optical telescope when completed — has approved its $500 million assembly phase, which is roughly half of the project's $1 billion overall budget. The massive celestial-gazing instrument and its support facility will be built in Chile, on the Las Campanas Peak in the Andes mountain range. A seven-mirror telescope spanning 25.5 meters, or nearly 84 feet, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will focus six times the amount of light that is harnessed by the biggest optical telescopes in operation today. As described on the project website, the GMT will have “six off-axis 8.4 meter... Read more...
Mobile phones charged with energy taken out of thin air. What sounds like a modern take on a very old magic trick is actually the Unique Selling Proposition of a smartphone case developed by Nikola Labs and presented for the first time on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt event taking place this week in New York City (the Ohio-based company was selected to pitch to the crowd "after being selected by the TechCrunch editorial team and the audience").  According to its developers, the Nikola Labs case is able to use its proprietary energy harvesting circuit to capture the 90 percent of waste energy that a smartphone pumps out in the form of radio frequencies (RF) — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE,... Read more...
Leaving the realm of science fiction behind, the super-fast charging mobile phone is inching its way ever more closer to science-fact. As reported in Stanford Magazine in advance of publication this week in the journal Nature, researchers at Stanford University have developed a high-performance aluminum-ion battery that can recharge in about a minute and do so thousands of times without significant loss of capacity. And along with being faster to charge and more durable, the new battery is also much safer than the lithium-ion batteries so many of us currently carry around these days in the mobile phones and other battery-dependent gadgets populating our pockets and purses. “We have developed... Read more...
Scientists are getting a new tool for sharing information from the publisher of Nature. Macmillan is making all articles available to subscribers in a digital format and is encouraging them to share articles with colleagues both in and out of its subscriber network. The publisher will also let news organizations link to its articles (so their readers can enjoy them without a subscription), potentially introducing the scientific journal to new audiences.Macmillan is making it easy to share Nature articles. Image credit: Macmillan“We exist to serve the information needs of researchers, to help them in their work, and ultimately in making discoveries in order to improve the way we all live,” said... Read more...
Google is responsible for a lot of things that have made our lives better. Better search, better email, and one impressive mobile operating system. But beyond its commercial success sits a research department that's doing fascinating stuff. Project Loon is helping rural areas around the globe receive Internet for the first time, and it appears that Google's fixation on health is going to extend well beyond a simple app. The company's Google X division has announced a project whereby researchers are building nanoparticles that "combine a magnetic material with antibodies or proteins that can attach to and detect other molecules inside the body." The goal? To enable patients to simply swallow a... Read more...
It's no secret that caffeine can be addictive... we've known it for years. But have you ever wondered why your body may feel an urge to make another pot of joe or grab a soda? Believe it or not, the science behind it is rather simple, and definitely interesting. An addiction to something implies that you "need" to intake it often, and while it is about as simple a drug as they come, caffeine is in fact a drug. Many who consume lots of caffeine usually experience withdrawals after going without it for a while, much the same as someone who's trying to kick the smoking habit will, though it goes without saying that kicking caffeine is by far the easier of the two. Because caffeine is both water... Read more...
If you’ve been secretly wondering whether you’re a double-crossing secret agent, you’ll be excited (or disheartened) to know that the technology to fiddle with memories really is under development. Scientists at MIT have successfully programmed a hapless mouse to remember receiving an electric shock from a situation in which it wasn’t actually shocked. Scientists are able to change memories in mice. Image credit: Rama (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr], via Wikimedia Commons If you’re thinking that the mouse didn’t get shocked as part of the experiment, stop reading now. The researchers implanted optical fibers in the mouse’s brain and then sent it into a room... Read more...
Every now and then, it's easy to forget that certain items sure could use a dash of innovation. Every eight or so years, our entertainment + gaming consoles are completely overhauled. Even now, automobiles are evolving from gas to electric. But what about the flashlight? Sure, there have been minor advances, but when is the last time you saw a flashlight innovation making the evening news? Now, a 15-year old girl has been selected into the finals of the Google Science Fair, and she's shining nearly as brightly as the hollow flashlight project that has brought her here. Ann Makosinski, a 10th-grader, is just one of 15 students from a global pool to find themselves in the finals. This certainly... Read more...
At 83-years-old, Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men ever to set foot on the moon (second behind only Neil Armstrong), hasn't lost a step, nor has his passion for space exploration wavered in the years since that day in 1969. Just the opposite, the retired United States Air Force pilot and famous astronaut thinks its high time mankind pulls up its britches and sets out to colonize Mars. Ask him why he thinks we should send astronauts to the red planet, as BBC News reporter Theo Leggett did, and he'll tell you, "Why did the pilgrims on the Mayflower set out to open up the New World? Because it's in human nature to explore, to find a location to begin a settlement. And it is in reach." All valid... Read more...
DARPA is known for doing some pretty outlandish things, partly in the world of technology and partly in the world of military. And often, those sectors cross paths. DARPA's Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program has launched this week, aiming to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry. The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process. The program has developed the core ADAPT hardware and software package... Read more...
Most days, we're content just hearing about a new operating system or tablet. But when you really think about it, it's raw science that delivers that kind of stuff to consumers. Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are digging deep into that science, and have developed a new biological computer. Specifically, they've engineered an "advanced biological transducer, a computing machine capable of manipulating genetic codes, and using the output as new input for subsequent computations." The trick? They're using only biomolecules such as DNA and enzymes. "Our results show a novel, synthetic designed computing machine that computes iteratively and produces biologically relevant... Read more...
What's going on at Google? Maybe the better question is: "What isn't going on at Google?" The company has pulled its focus in recently, shutting down certain aspects that it can't provide adequate focus on, but also using the opportunity to focus even more intently on areas that it truly sees a future in. Now, Google is acquiring a neural networks start-up, along with employees Geoffrey Hinton and two of his research students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. Roughly, the team is expected to boost Google's research in "deep learning networks," and it doesn't take too long to understand how this might be useful. Google is quite clearly interested in being more of a people-facing company. Just... Read more...
George Lucas may have sold his Star Wars franchise to Disney a little too soon, missing out on an opportunity to release yet another re-mastered special edition with authentic looking hyperspace travel. That's right folks, we've all been misled by Hollywood (shocking, but true!); traveling through galaxies at warp speed in real-life would look nothing like it does on the big screen in practically any sci-fi flick you can think of. Here's how most of us think about traveling at lightspeed: Turns out that's a bogus depiction of what it would actually look like, according to University of Leicester students. Don't go gloating, Star Trek fans, those same students also dismissed all these fancy Warp... Read more...
Hey, good news everyone! After we're done ravaging the natural resources on this rock we call Earth and have turned it into an uninhabitable wasteland, there's another planet the human race can relocate to and nary skip a beat. Unfortunately, that planet is 12 light years away, which puts a small kink into our relocation plans. The planet in question is one of five rocks orbiting Tau Ceti, a far away star that resembles the Sun, according to Science. It's a single, bright G-type star, so there's no second ball of flames and gas to pull planets away via gravity. All five planets are said to lie closer to Tau Ceti than Mars does to the Sun, though only one is thought to be inhabitable. The three... Read more...
Research dating back to the 1960s ultimately gave birth to the Internet, which at a glance doesn't seem to have much in common with ants. Look closely, however, and you'll discover certain parallels between today's vast network of interconnected computers and the underground tunnels of those social insects that belong to the family Formicidae. That's the conclusion reached by two Standford researchers who discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in similar fashion to the way Internet protocols examine how much bandwidth is available for transferring data. They're calling it the "anternet." Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science... Read more...
Fraunhofer IIS may not be a super familiar name in the consumer realm, but in the world of research, there's hardly a company that comes up with crazier things than these guys and girls. The company has chosen Mobile World Congress as the place to present the world's first Full-HD Voice mobile phone calls over an LTE network. Verizon Wireless has toyed with VoLTE (voice over LTE) before, but we've seen nothing beyond semi-promising demonstrations. This particular method enables mobile phone calls to sound as clear as talking to another person in the same room, at a quality level that is equal to that experienced by consumers on any other audio/video device. At the floor, there will be a live... Read more...
Over the years, exploding batteries have becoming quite the issue in consumer electronics (as seen here in this melted iPhone). And not just exploding, but overheating, melting and combusting ones, too. But now, we're making progress on potentially stopping that ruckus. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., have developed an inexpensive sensor that can warn of impending catastrophic failure in lithium-ion batteries. The sensor is based on the researchers' discovery of an intrinsic relationship between the internal temperature of lithium-ion cells and an easily measured electrical parameter of the cell. Due to their high energy density, lithium-ion... Read more...
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