Computational creativity and the future of AI

Science

Thin films of gallium arsenide appear to reduce energy loss in stacked solar cells

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new system for strengthening the connections between stacked solar cells which could improve the overall efficiency of concentrated photovoltaic technology and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The hardened connections could theoretically enable these cells to operate at concentrations of up to 70,000 suns while minimizing wasted energy.  Read More

Might the new development help shield astronauts from cosmic radiation? (Image: Shuttersto...

Using data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, scientists have reported progress in understanding the longstanding mystery of how and where cosmic rays originate, in a development that might help us find ways to shield astronauts and electronics from cosmic radiation.  Read More

Major the dog, suited up with the control system

Trained dogs can do a lot of things – they can locate victims at disaster sites, sniff out drugs or explosives, and subdue criminals. One thing that they can’t do in all situations, however, is hear commands made by their handlers. That’s why scientists at Alabama’s Auburn University have created a control system to guide them.  Read More

Did life as we know it originate on Mars? (Image: Shutterstock)

New evidence presented by Prof. Steven Benner at The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida suggests that, billions of years ago, Mars was a much better place for the first cells to have formed compared to Earth. This gives more weight to the theory that life may have started on the Red Planet and then found its way to Earth aboard a meteorite.  Read More

The Shipping Gallery was open for fifty years (Image: ScanLAB Projects Ltd)

At least one writer at Gizmag was saddened when the Science Museum in London removed its famous Shipping Gallery. Closed in May 2012, the venue of many a childhood rainy Sunday will be replaced by the new Information Age exhibit, which opens in September 2014. However, though the Shipping Gallery is gone, it’s also, paradoxically, still with us. That’s because the Science Museum, with the help of the University College London and ScanLAB, has created a virtual version of the gallery to make the exhibit available to future generations.  Read More

A cross section of one of the 'mini brains'

Within the past few years, scientists have successfully grown organs such as kidneys and livers in laboratories. It’s possible that some day, such lab-grown organs could be used as transplants, particularly when grown from the recipient’s own cells. Now, a team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has succeeded in growing miniature human brains. While no one is suggesting that they could be swapped in for a patient’s existing brain, they could prove to be a boon to the field of medical research.  Read More

Recent findings suggest the Moon contains underground reservoirs of magmatic water (Image:...

Data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) aboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe has shown that there is water locked in mineral grains on the surface on our satellite's surface. Scientists had previously thought that small amounts of moisture were being generated by solar wind and other factors, but the latest findings are strong evidence that the Moon contains large quantities of its own "magmatic water" from deep within its core.  Read More

2.5 liter V6 magnesium alloy engine block (Photo: US Department of Energy)

Magnesium alloys are very attractive for a range of weight-sensitive applications. They have the largest strength-to-weight ratio of the common structural metals, are lighter than aluminum and are particularly favored for being easy to machine and for their ability to be die cast to net shape. Unfortunately, magnesium alloys tend to corrode too easily. A team at Monash University in Australia has now discovered a novel and potentially game-changing approach to the problem: poisoning the chemical reactions leading to corrosion of magnesium alloys by adding a dash of arsenic to the recipe.  Read More

Images taken by the 6.5 meter Clay telescope with and without the new adaptive optics syst...

Astronomers have developed a new visible-light adaptive optics (AO) system for the 6.5 meter diameter Magellan-Clay telescope in Chile's Atacama desert. The new AO system replaces the secondary mirror of the telescope with a thin adaptive mirror that can be deformed by its 585 mechanical actuators at a rate of more than 1000 times a second to correct for the image smearing effects of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the sharpest astronomical images ever produced – more than twice as sharp as can be achieved by the Hubble space telescope viewing objects through the vacuum of space.  Read More

Rajesh Rao (left) has used his mind to move the hand of Andrea Stucco (right)

Brain-to-brain interfacing – it’s previously been accomplished between two rats, but now it’s been achieved between two humans. Rajesh Rao, who studies computational neuroscience at the University of Washington, has successfully used his mind to control the hand of his colleague, Andrea Stucco. The two were linked via a Skype connection.  Read More

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