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Georgia Tech

— Science

Robotic arm could help reveal brain’s inner secrets

A group of researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech has built a robotic arm that can automate whole-cell patch clamping, a complicated technique that normally requires great manual dexterity and takes researchers months to master. Once streamlined, this technology will monitor and record the electrical signals generated by the neurons in a living brain, to help uncover the secret inner workings of the human mind - or at least, in the not-so-distant future, of a lab rat's. Read More

Super accurate nuclear clock proposed

The NIST-F1 atomic clock that currently serves as primary time and frequency standard for the U.S. is expected to neither gain nor lose a second in more than 100 million years. That might sound pretty accurate, but a proposed nuclear clock could make it look like a cheap digital wristwatch. It is claimed that the proposed clock would neither gain nor lose 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years. To put that in context, that’s the estimated age of the universe. Read More
— Science

New tech allows quadriplegics to discreetly control wheelchairs using their tongues

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from severe spinal cord injuries, the tongue is often the only extremity still under their control. To take advantage of this fact, engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they call the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a wireless, wearable device that allows the user to operate computers and control electric wheelchairs with movements of the tongue. The latest iteration, which resembles a sensor-studded dental retainer, is controlled by a tongue-mounted magnet and promises its users a welcome new level of autonomy with both communication and transportation. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Brailletouch app to bring eyes-free texting to iPhone and iPad

A new mobile app prototype called Brailletouch allows users to write quickly and accurately using gestures on their smartphone touchscreen - and without looking at the screen. The free and open source prototype, currently working on iPhone and iPad devices, uses the Braille writing system, and it is envisaged it may one day be used by any smartphone user with a need for eyes-free writing or texting. Read More
— Robotics

Snake’s rectilinear locomotion inspires more efficient all-terrain robot design

While you might think its lack of limbs might limit how it gets around, snakes have actually developed several different forms of locomotion. One of these is “rectilinear locomotion,” and while most snakes are capable of it, it is most commonly associated with large pythons and boas. Although it is the slowest form of snake locomotion, it is also very efficient and allows the snakes to crawl into tight spaces. It is these latter two qualities that appealed to Georgia Tech researchers when developing a new all-terrain robot called Scalybot 2. Read More
— Around The Home

Village Defense: Neighborhood Watch 2.0 - the good guys are winning

If you've ever picked up a Neighborhood Watch newsletter and been astonished by the amount of crime in your community, you might be very interested in a new social software start-up named Village Defense. The software links neighbors to form a real-time communication system - one phone call notifies all neighbors (by text or phone) when a crime or suspicious activity is in progress. In the first pilot study of the new system, the increased awareness, greater availability of witnesses and shorter response times facilitated by Village Defense saw crime rates drop 58% in the first year. Read More
— Spy Gear

Smartphone malware could identify words typed on nearby keyboards

If you're looking for a reason to buy an iPhone 3GS as opposed to an iPhone 4, besides the lower price, here's one: it's technically possible that malware on an iPhone 4 – if that phone were placed beside its user's computer keyboard – could be used to deduce what the user was typing. Once that data was stored on the phone, it could then be transmitted to another party. According to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who were able to use one of the phones for this purpose, any smartphone made within the past two years should be capable of doing so. Read More
— Science

Researchers reverse the aging process for human adult stem cells

By now, most people are probably aware of the therapeutic value of stem cells, as they can become any other type of cell in the human body. One of their main duties, in fact, is to replace those other cells as they degrade. Once people reach an advanced age, however, even the stem cells themselves start to get old and nonfunctional - when the cells that are supposed to replace the other cells can't do their job anymore, age-related tissue problems start occurring. A team of researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, however, may be on the way to solving that problem. They have succeeded in reversing the aging process in human adult stem cells. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Glove with vibrating fingertip enhances user's sense of touch

Studies have shown that with the right amount of white noise in the background, peoples’ sight, hearing, balance control and sense of touch improve. Utilizing stochastic resonance, which is the principle at work in white noise, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that the sense of touch can also be improved by applying vibrations to a person’s finger. They have been testing a glove that incorporates a prototype fingertip-buzzing device, that could ultimately lead to products worn by people with nerve damage, or whose jobs require exceptional manual dexterity. Read More
— Electronics

Scavenging ambient electromagnetic energy to power small electronic devices

As you sit there reading this story you’re surrounded by electromagnetic energy transmitted from sources such as radio and television transmitters, mobile phone networks and satellite communications systems. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a device that is able to scavenge this ambient energy so it can be used to power small electronic devices such as networks of wireless sensors, microprocessors and communications chips. Read More