Archive | February, 2013

Brain Activity Map Project is futile, say some scientists

Complete human brain generates about 300,000 petabytes of data each year (Credit: iStockphoto) In setting the nation on a course to map the active human brain, President Obama may have picked a challenge even more daunting than ending the war in Afghanistan or finding common ground with his Republican opponents, The New York Times reports. Many neuroscientists are […]

This Is how Dennis Tito plans to send people to Mars

(Credit: Inspiration Mars) If Dennis Tito has his way, two people will leave our planet in January 2018 and make a trip to Mars and back, with a quick flyby, SpaceRef reports. The project is being spearheaded by a non-profit organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation. Tito’s mission will be facilitated by donors, not investors. Tito and a group of […]

Insects inspiring new robot vision technology for collision avoidance

Reverse-engineering the locust’s motion sensitive movement-detector interneuron Khepera II robot (credit: Shigang Yue and F. Claire Rind/International Journal of Advanced Mechatronic Systems) A computerized system that allows for autonomous navigation of mobile robots based on the locust’s unique visual system has been created by scientists from the University of Lincoln and Newcastle University The work could provide the blueprint […]

Independent Mars mission planned for 2018

Dennis Tito (credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons) The Inspiration Mars Foundation,  led by Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, will announce on Wednesday Feb. 27 a planned mission to Mars in 2018. The mission would take advantage of a unique window of opportunity; the orbits of Earth and Mars will be closely aligned. The round-trip journey would start in […]

IT’S TIME FOR A REAL POLICY ON ASTEROIDS

by Peter A. Garretson Edge-on view of our solar system with Sun (white) in the center, showing the population of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) that scientists think are likely to exist based on the NEOWISE survey. Positions of a simulated population of PHAs on a typical day are shown in bright orange, […]

NEW RETINAL IMPLANT GIVES SIGHT TO NINE BLIND PEOPLE

1500 pixels, with no camera required; patients able to read letters Subretinal implant (credit: K. Stingl et al./Proc. Royal Soc. B) German and Hungarian researchers have brought sight to nine blind patients with hereditary retinal degeneration, using a subretinally implanted microelectronic chip with 1500 pixels. The chip size is approximately 3mm x 3mm and is […]

Russia asteroid impact: ESA update and assessment

The estimated orbit around the Sun of the Chelyabinsk object. It illustrates the orbits of Venus, Mars and Earth, together with the Sun and Earth at impact. The illustration is based on data provided by Dr Peter Brown. (Credit: NASA) The first firm details of the 15 February asteroid impact in Russia, the largest in […]

QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY TO PROTECT ELECTRIC GRID SECURITY

A miniature transmitter communicates with a trusted authority via fiber optic cables to generate random cryptographic keys to encode and decode information (credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory) Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have completed the first-ever demonstration of using quantum cryptography to make control data for electric grids secure  . Controllers for the electric distribution grid tend to […]

OBAMA SEEKING TO BOOST STUDY OF HUMAN BRAIN

(Credit: iStockphoto) The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics, The New York Timesreports. The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, […]

ARTIFICIAL RETINA RECEIVES FDA APPROVAL

Argus II is first approved prosthesis to restore limited vision to those blinded by retinitis pigmentosa Argus II (credit: Second Sight) In an historic move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted market approval to an artificial retina technology, the first bionic eye to be approved for patients in the U.S. The device, called the Argus […]