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Schematic of the ionic liquid-gated SmNiO3 synaptic transistor (Photo: Harvard Univ.)

In a development that may enable a wholly new approach to artificial intelligence, researchers at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have invented a type of transistor that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse. Called a synaptic transistor, the new device self-optimizes its properties for the functions it has carried out in the past.  Read More

The avatar monkey used in the research – although the test monkeys saw its arms from a fir...

Recently there's been increasing hope for people who have lost the use of their arms, as various research institutes have started developing prosthetic arms that can be controlled by thought alone. So far, all of the systems have just allowed users to control a single arm – for many of the tasks that we perform on a daily basis, that's simply not enough. Now, however, scientists at North Carolina's Duke University have succeeded in getting two rhesus monkeys to control both arms of animated digital avatars, using nothing but their mind.  Read More

A 'cocktail boat' is a novel way to serve a drink inspired by natural phenomena (Photo: Mi...

Context is everything. Drinking a cocktail containing an aquatic beetle and a water lily might prove disconcerting, but in the lab of John Bush, a fluid dynamicist at MIT, and the kitchen of José Andrés, a well-known culinary innovator, these natural inspirations give rise to mixed drink magic. The aquatic beetle is transformed into an edible liquor-dispensing boat and the lily into an elegant floral “pipette” which captures and dispenses small amounts of drinks.  Read More

Laser enrichment of isotopes has major potential to reduce the cost of nuclear power (Phot...

With the world’s first laser enrichment plant having received a construction and operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, the stage has been set for a radical change in the industry. So how does laser enrichment work, and what commercial benefits, along with proliferation concerns, does this new process present compared to current methods?  Read More

SafeFlame technology converts water into hydrogen and oxygen gas

The pressurized acetylene and propane gas used in brazing and related tasks is highly flammable, and thus very dangerous. You know what isn't flammable, though? Water. Bearing that in mind, the European Union-funded SafeFlame consortium has developed a torch system that generates a flame using nothing but H2O and electricity.  Read More

Prof. Som Mitra (left) invented a flexible battery with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a do...

Scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have joined the ranks of those from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Stanford University and LG, by creating prototype flexible batteries. Designed for use in electronic devices with flexible displays, they could conceivably be manufactured in any size or shape, or even made at home.  Read More

It glows when licked, and presumably doesn't taste like jellyfish

Late last month, as a definitely unique way of celebrating Hallowe'en, Bristol-based specialty ice cream-maker Charlie Harry Francis unveiled what is probably the world's first-ever glow-in-the-dark ice cream. His secret ingredient? Jellyfish protein.  Read More

There's bomb-making residue in them thar sewers – and EMPHASIS may be able to tell where i...

When people make improvised explosive devices (IEDs), many of the waste products end up simply going down the drain. With that in mind, the European Union-funded EMPHASIS consortium is now developing technology to track those chemicals within the waste stream, so that their point of origin can be located.  Read More

50 kW CO2 laser in action (Photo: Laser Effects Test Facility - US Government)

A group of researchers at NIST working with engineers from Colorado-based Scientech has developed a new approach to measuring laser power using a mirror and a scale. This method, which measures the force on the mirror driven by the radiation pressure of the laser light, presents a more rugged and more portable solution than current meters.  Read More

A cross-sectional view of the LUX dark matter detector (Image: LUX)

The Large Underground Xenon experiment, buried nearly a mile beneath South Dakota, has completed 85 days of seeking dark matter particles. The results are consistent with a null result, and essentially rule out the 8.6 GeV dark matter candidate noted in the data of other experiments.  Read More

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