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A laser/telescope system may be able to de-orbit smaller pieces of orbital debris (Image: ...

Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such as gas clouds, nets and sails for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. That's why an international group of scientists is developing a system that could shoot those bits down with a laser.  Read More

Robear is designed to safely lift patients out of bed

Japan is facing an aging population in the coming decades and that means more people requiring care, and less people to provide it. In an effort to meet the shortfall, RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko Company Limited have developed Robear, an experimental nursing care robot that combines advanced robotics and a non-threatening design.  Read More

Mouse kidneys, liver, and pancreas imaged after treatment with a variety of protocols: a s...

Japanese researchers have found a way to turn tissue transparent in mice, allowing them to see cellular networks and gain a better understanding of biological systems. Researchers say this may ultimately lead to deeper comprehension of autoimmune and psychiatric diseases given it can assist in 3D modelling of organs including the brain.  Read More

Mouse embryo generated from STAP cells (Image: Riken)

An international research effort has found that mature animal cells can be shocked into an embryonic state simply by soaking them in acid or putting them under physical stress. The fortuitous breakthrough could prove to be massive for many fields of medical research if the method can be replicated using human cells, something researchers are confident will be possible.  Read More

MIT neuroscientists identified the cells (highlighted in red) where memory traces are stor...

An ongoing collaboration between the Japanese Riken Brain Science Institute and MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has resulted in the discovery of how to plant specific false memories into the brains of mice. The breakthrough significantly extends our understanding of memory and expands the experimental reach of the new field of optogenetics.  Read More

Mouse clones from the 24th and 25th generation of serial cloning (Photo: Riken)

Using the technique that created Dolly the sheep, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, have identified a way to produce healthy mouse clones that live a normal lifespan and can be sequentially cloned indefinitely. In an experiment that started in 2005, the team led by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama has used a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SNCT) to produce 581 clones of one original "donor" mouse through 25 consecutive rounds of cloning.  Read More

The RIKEN Linear Accelerator Facility outside of Tokyo, in which element 113 has been disc...

Led by Dr. Kosuke Morita at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science, a group of scientists specializing in the superheavy elements have established the clearest evidence yet for the synthesis of the a new element with the temporary name of ununtrium (element 113). Claims of discovering a new element in the 21st century are usually the result of lengthy experiments involving new detection methods and element 113, which was first reported in 2003, has been particularly elusive.  Read More

The clear mouse embryo on the right was incubated in the Scale reagent for two weeks

Scientists are constantly looking for new and better ways of seeing through biological tissue, in order to see cells within it that have been marked with dyes, proteins or other substances. While recent research has involved using marking materials such as carbon nanotubes and firefly protein, scientists from Japan’s RIKEN Brain Science Institute have taken a different approach – they’ve developed a chemical reagent that causes the tissue surrounding the marked cells to become transparent.  Read More

Woolly mammoths in a late Pleistocene landscape in northern Spain (Image: Mauricio Anton v...

The last known mammoth lived around 4500 years ago, but if scientists in Japan are successful then we might be able to meet one soon! Research to resurrect these awesome creatures was shelved when cell nuclei taken from a sample from Siberia were found to be too badly damaged, however a scientific breakthrough in Kobe successfully cloned a mouse from 16 year old deep frozen tissue, and the research began again in earnest...  Read More

Fujitsu's new supercomputer is nicknamed the 'K', a reference to the Japanese word 'Kei,' ...

It wasn't so long ago that we reported on the Roadrunner supercomputer breaking the petaflop barrier. But this week Fujitsu announced that it will begin shipping its next-generation supercomputer which has a lofty performance goal of 10 petaflops – that's ten thousand trillion operations per second! The computer is nicknamed the 'K', a reference to the Japanese word "Kei," or 10 to the 16th power. If the K could reach this goal, it would hold the first place title – at least for a while – on top of the top 500 supercomputers list.  Read More

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