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The BioBolt (seen here on a primate skull) is a prototype implant that could be used to wi...

For a great number of people with paralyzed limbs, the reason that they can’t move the arm or leg in question is because the “move” command isn’t able to reach from their brain to the limb. This is often due to damage to the nervous system, or to the brain, although the limb itself is still perfectly functional ... so it could still move, if only there was a way of getting the signal to it. Well, one might be on its way. Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed an implant known as the BioBolt, that wirelessly transmits neural signals from the brain to a computer. In the future, that computer could hopefully then relay them onto a formerly-paralyzed limb.  Read More

By duplicating the interaction between divisions in the brain responsible for long-term me...

Using electrical probes embedded into the brains of rats, scientists have managed to replicate the brain function associated with long-term behavior and found a way to literally turn memories on and off with the flip of a switch. The scientists hope their research will eventually lead to a neural prosthesis to help people suffering Alzheimer’s disease, the effects of stroke or other brain injury to recover long-term memory capability.  Read More

The self-repairing stress sensor is able to rebuild its polymer filament using liquid resi...

While it’s always disturbing to hear about the unexpected collapse of a bridge or building, technology is being developed to lessen the chances of such incidents occurring. Increasingly, this is taking the form of sensors that are implanted within structures, that measure and transmit data on the stresses that the surrounding material is experiencing. If the mechanical strain causes one of those sensors to break, however, it won’t be much good anymore – depending on its location, it also may be impossible to replace. Fortunately, researchers at North Carolina State University have created a self-healing structural stress sensor.  Read More

Researchers involved in the PolyZion project are developing a zinc-plastic battery, that s...

While today's lithium-ion, lead acid, and nickel metal hydride batteries may offer far better performance than their predecessors, they are still not perfect - they're heavy, expensive, and have been known to short circuit and catch fire. Now, however, scientists involved in the PolyZion research project are developing zinc-plastic batteries for use in hybrid and electric vehicles. Their aim is to produce a rechargeable battery that is lighter, cheaper, safer, greener and better-performing than anything currently available.  Read More

90 years in the making - the now completed Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

If you come across a word or phrase in another language, a printed or online dictionary is usually a good place to look for help. If you're faced with a language that's long been dead, however, then you've got problems. Those studying the cuneiform texts of Mesopotamian clay tablets or stone carvings now have reason to rejoice. After nine decades, the University of Chicago's Assyrian Dictionary Project has finally been completed - opening an encyclopedic window into the day to day lives of people from one of the world's first civilizations.  Read More

The prototype 'thermally activated cooling system' combines two technologies, for harnessi...

Automobiles, appliances, power plants, factories and electrical utilities all waste one thing: heat. More specifically, they produce heat as a by-product of their normal operations, but that heat is just dispersed into the air instead of being put to use. Researchers from Oregon State University, however, have created a prototype system that harnesses waste heat to (rather ironically) cool the device that’s creating the heat in the first place. While it isn’t the first system to do so, it is claimed to be unusually efficient ... and, it can generate electricity.  Read More

Microscope image of a single-cell living laser in action - its irregular internal structur...

While laser beam-shooting plants or animals might seem like something straight out of Star Trek, two researchers from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital recently wondered whether such organisms could theoretically exist. In order to satisfy their curiosity, Dr. Malte Gather and Dr. Seok Hyun Yun successfully created a laser that uses a living cell as its light source. The device, which utilizes a protein found in jellyfish, could have applications in the fields of biomedicine and optical computing.  Read More

The Flash Bainite steel heat-treatment process

Having been around for a few centuries, steel is what is known as a “mature technology” and the basic process of heat-treating has remained largely unchanged in the modern age. So when self-taught metallurgist Gary Cola approached engineers at Ohio State University claiming to have found a way to increase the strength of steel by seven percent, they were justifiably skeptical. However, after the engineers tested steel produced using the new method, Cole’s claims were borne out and the engineers set about understanding what was happening.  Read More

Scientists have successfully obtained human breast milk from genetically altered cattle (P...

According to a recent report on Sky News, Chinese scientists have created a herd of 300 transgenic dairy cattle, all of which have been genetically modified to produce human breast milk. While the milk is still undergoing government testing, the researchers reportedly hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.  Read More

The quantum tip's ultra-cold cloud of atoms (yellow) is contained in a magnetic trap and s...

When trying to see objects that are too small for optical microscopes to image, scientists often turn to scanning probe microscopes. Instead of a lens, these instruments have a tiny suspended tip, that moves up and down as it makes contact with the object’s surface. An image, which can reveal details as small as one millionth of a millimeter, is obtained by scanning that probe back and forth across the object. Scientists from Germany’s Universitaet Tübingen have now taken scanning probe microscopy a step farther, by creating a probe made not from a solid material, but from a gas of atoms – this “quantum tip” is said to increase the resolution of images beyond what has so far been possible.  Read More

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