Archive | April, 2013

The Brain Supremacy: Notes from the Frontiers of Neuroscience

Author: Kathleen Taylor Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (10/25/2012) Advances in physics, chemistry and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. But today the balance of power in the sciences is changing, as research on the brain and mind has produced important breakthroughs in our understanding of ourselves and of our environment. As […]

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

Rendering by Airlight Energy of the prototype HCPVT system under development The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.* The system would also provide […]

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits

by Ramez Naam (Credit: NASA) This is part two of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth.  Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems.  Both parts […]

NASA’s Kepler discovers its smallest ‘habitable zone’ planets to date

Relative sizes of all of the habitable-zone planets discovered to date alongside Earth. Left to right: Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f and Earth (except for Earth, these are artists’ renditions). (Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech) NASA‘s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the […]

3D printer makes tiniest human liver ever

Cross-section of multi-cellular bioprinted human liver tissue, stained with hematoxylin & eosin (H&E) (credit: Organovo) Lab-grown livers have come a step closer to reality thanks to a 3D printer loaded with cells, New Scientistreports. Created by Organovo in San Diego, California, future versions of the system could produce chunks of liver for transplant. The mini-livers that Organovo made […]

NASA successfully launches three tiny smartphone satellites

Phonesat (credit: NASA) Three “PhoneSats” rode to space Sunday aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. The goal of NASA‘s PhoneSat mission is to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone — such as the Nexus One phones running Android, used here — can be used as the main flight avionics […]

Organic transistors for brain mapping

This electrocorticography (ECoG) sensor array with transistors can now obtain direct, high-quality amplification and brain-signal recording (credit: Department of Bioelectronics, Ecole des Mines) To improve brain mapping, a group of French scientists have produced the world’s first biocompatible microscopic organic transistors that can amplify and record signals directly from the surface of the brain, building on prototypes […]

Google Glass: how it works (infographic)

German artist Martin Missfeldt has created an infographic that attempts to show how Google Glass works, based on various sources (listed below). One correction: an image is actually not projected directly onto the retina; it is refracted by the cornea and focused by the lens.