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IBM to announce low-cost, more-powerful cloud-based Watson

] IBM Watson (credit: IBM) On Thursday, IBM will announce that Watson will be available to companies, academics and individual software developers as a cloud product that is “more than twice as powerful via the Internet … and at a small fraction of the previous cost,” The New York Times revealed Wednesday. In October,  IBM announced that “organizations gaining competitive […]

Faster, cheaper biofuel production

A scanning electron microscope image of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego) Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae by genetically engineering a key growth component in biofuel. The researchers say a significant roadblock in algal […]

Cyborg swarm maps unknown environments

(Credit: Edgar Lobaton.) Remember the much-debated “biobots” (remotely controlled cockroaches — see How to remotely control cockroach cyborgs and Kinect tracks bionic rescue roaches) created by researchers from North Carolina State University? Well, here’s an update: they have now developed software that allows for mapping unknown environments — such as collapsed buildings — based on the movement of a swarm of […]

Singularity University Summit Europe 2013

Dates: Nov 15 – 16, 2013; Location: Budapest, Hungary Join technology experts, global CEOs, CTOs and Chief Strategists at the first Singularity University (SU) European Summit on Exponential Technologies 2013 is the year that Singularity University will expand its presence abroad. In November of this year, SU will launch the Summit Europe, bringing together thought leaders and high […]

Restoring touch for amputees using a touch-sensitive prosthetic hand

New research at the University of Chicago is laying the groundwork for touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs that one day could convey real-time sensory information to amputees via a direct interface with the brain (credit: PNAS) New research at the University of Chicago is laying the groundwork for touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs that one day could convey real-time sensory information to amputees via […]

Minority Report-style pre-crime prediction using Twitter data: possible?

Retweet graph of Project X dataset (snapshot at 2012-09-26 04:32:15). (credit: Marijn ten Thij/University o Twente) It’s the year 2054, where “PreCrime,” a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called “precogs.” That’s the premise of the Minority Report film. Now University of Twente (UT) mathematics student Marijn ten Thij* has developed a mathematical model that he says […]

The Human Brain Project has officially begun

Scientists from the 135 partner institutions meeting in Switzerland this week Simulated neuronal network showing 3D shapes of individual cells (reconstructed from lab data). Blue cells are silent, red cells are firing. (Credit: EPFL/Blue Brain Project) On Monday, October 7, 2013, scientists from the 135 partner institutions of the Human Brain Project — “the world’s most ambitious […]

Existing cropland could feed 4 billion more

An abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden in plain sight In many areas (lighter areas), crops used for non-food uses (biofuels, other) were not delivered to the food system. Credit: Emily S Cassidy et al./Environmental Research Letters Reallocating croplands away from fuels and animal feed could boost food available for people by 70 […]

Is faster-than-light travel possible?

Alcubierre warp drive (credit: Anderson Institute) Engineers at NASA Johnson Space Center are designing instruments to find out, by slightly warping the trajectory of a photon and measuring the distance it travels, The New York Times reports. Inspiration for the research came from Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, who proposed in 1994 a method of stretching space in […]