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Science

Berkeley scientists have created the first map of how the brain organizes what we see (Ima...

How does our brain organize the visual information that our eyes capture? Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used computational models of brain imaging data to answer this question and arrived at what they call “continuous semantic space” – a notion which serves as the basis for the first interactive maps showing how the brain categorizes what we see.  Read More

The Ikei Laboratory's virtual body technology

Despite improvements in telepresence, most virtual “traveling” amounts to little more than staring at a screen and listening to headphones. In an effort to bring the other three sense to bear, the Ikei Laboratory at the Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduate School of System Design is developing what it calls “virtual body technology.” Unveiled at the Digital Contents Expo 2012 in Tokyo last October, the system claims to use all five senses to provide an immersive virtual experience akin to inhabiting another person’s body.  Read More

Artist's impression of the ILC tunnels (Graphic: Fermilab/Sandbox Studio)

According to Nature, Japan is the frontrunner for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC), for which Europe and the United States are also in the running to host. Scientists and engineers are already examining potential sites in the island nation for the US$7 to $8 billion machine, which is intended to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The head of the global design effort for the ILC, physicist Barry Barish, presented finalized blueprints at a ceremony in Tokyo earlier this month.  Read More

One of the decal-like solar panels, applied to a business card

Traditionally, thin-film solar cells are made with rigid glass substrates, limiting their potential applications. Flexible versions do exist, although they require special production techniques and/or materials. Now, however, scientists from Stanford University have created thin, flexible solar cells that are made from standard materials – and they can applied to just about any surface, like a sticker.  Read More

It probably won't look like this, but colorful LEDs are heading for the ISS (originals: Sh...

Sleep deprivation is no joke. It can cause lower performance, decreased memory, and even sickness. So, if you spend your life orbiting Earth on a $150B spacecraft, you're going to take sleep seriously. NASA, responding to an epidemic of insomnia, is ready to give the International Space Station (ISS) an LED makeover.  Read More

Some of the potatoes used by Boeing to test WiFi

There doesn't seem to be anything you can’t do with potatoes. You can boil them, mash them, fry them, roast them and even make pens out of them. Boeing is taking this versatility a step further by using them to replace people. No, this isn't a strange genetic experiment. The plane maker’s engineers at the Boeing Test & Evaluation laboratories have discovered that sacks of potatoes work as a substitute for people, when testing the effect on WiFi of an airline cabin packed with passengers.  Read More

A confetti-sized artificial kidney stone, with a sub-150-micrometer hole bored into it usi...

First of all, how can non-invasive surgery even be possible? After all, even in the case of minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are still made in the skin. Nonetheless, that’s just what scientists from the University of Michigan are proposing. They believe that it could be achieved by using a beam of sound, which would be emitted through the skin to a highly-focused point within the body – and they’ve already created such a beam and used it.  Read More

Amendment II's Ballistic Backpack

In the wake of last week’s horrific shootings in Connecticut, we’re sure to be seeing a lot more products like this cropping up. Made by Salt Lake City-based body armor company Amendment II, it’s called the Ballistic Backpack, and it’s designed to protect its wearer from bullets.  Read More

Researchers have discovered a strong historical link between global temperature increases ...

It’s no secret that volcanic eruptions can cool the planet by spewing ash and droplets of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere that obscure the sun. Now researchers at Germany’s GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Harvard University have found evidence that suggest the reverse could also be true. The researchers have discovered a strong historical link between global temperature increases and increases in volcanic activity.  Read More

CalTech's new nanofocusing plasmonic waveguide

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanofocusing waveguide, a tiny passive plasmonic device which is capable of concentrating light onto a spot a few nanometers in size. In so doing, they have sidestepped the diffraction-limited nature of light, which normally prevents focusing light to a spot smaller than its own wavelength. This remarkable feat may lead to new optoelectronic applications in computing, communications, and imaging.  Read More

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