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University College London

A rat interacts with a small robot, which represents a remotely-located human

Earlier this week, we reported on the “beaming” telepresence system being developed by the EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). Once developed, the system should allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats.  Read More

The Vodafone Booster Brolly uses solar panels to power your mobile phone and an antenna to...

To really get the most out of the summer you have to head out of the city and into the country. Whether it be for a camping trip or a festival outing, the great outdoors is the best venue for sunnier days. Unfortunately rain can ruin a great day, as can a lack of mobile reception and the inability the charge your mobile phone. Vodafone thinks it has the answer to all three of these problems with the Booster Brolly, a humble umbrella turned all-in-one tool.  Read More

Scientists are a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain thanks to a new t...

"Connectomics" is an area of neuroscience that aims to map the brain's connections, known as synapses, to gain an understanding of how information flows through the circuits of the brain. With an estimated 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, each connected to thousands of other nerve cells, adding up to an estimated 150 trillion synapses, the creation of such a map is no small task – but a new technique is bringing scientists a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain.  Read More

Cella Energy CEO Stephen Voller exhibits his breakthrough technology - right shows the fue...

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.  Read More

The active electrode book - the four slots close in around the nerve roots like the pages ...

Paraplegics may soon find it easier to exercise their leg muscles through activities such as cycling and rowing thanks to a tiny microchip implanted in the spinal canal. Dubbed the Active Book because of its booklike appearance, the microchip combines electrodes and a muscle stimulator in one unit the size of a child's fingernail.  Read More

'Protocell drivers' in a flask surrounded by carbon structures, in the Hylozoic Ground ins...

Architects have been looking at ways to improve city buildings with living walls and living roofs that add some much needed greenery and help remove carbon from the atmosphere. Now researchers are looking at using a different sort of “living “ material created from protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to create a coral-like skin that could be used to clad city buildings, build carbon-negative architecture and even "grow" reefs to stabilize the city of Venice.  Read More

Alzheimer’s Disease: new research offers hope

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, the insidious fatal disease which slowly kills all your brain cells. Already the seventh leading cause of death in the US, it is soon to reach epidemic levels as the boomers becomes senior citizens. There are more than 30 million people with dementia worldwide, but by 2050, this figure will increase to over 100 million. Two sets of findings released in the last few days bring hope that the accelerating research effort will find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, or prevent it from developing. Most significantly, a simple and inexpensive eye test could aid detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage than is currently possible and a “cocktail” of commonly available supplements has shown promise in improving memory and fighting Alzheimer’s.  Read More

A new nondestructive 'sniff' test can measure the degradation of old books and documents (...

Establishing the condition of old books and precious historical documents traditionally involves removing samples of the paper from the valuable archival materials for testing in a laboratory. Naturally such destructive forms of testing are far from ideal. Now scientists have come up with a better option with the development of a nondestructive “sniff” test that can measure the degradation of old books and documents based on their smell.  Read More

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson an...

March 3, 2009 In rich societies, poorer people have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Likewise, large inequalities of income are often regarded as divisive and corrosive. Now, in a groundbreaking book, UK-based researchers go beyond either of these ideas to demonstrate that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them — the well-off as well as the poor. The authors forcefully demonstrate that nearly every modern social and environmental problem — ill-health, lack of community, life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations — is more likely to occur in a less equal society, and adversely affects all of those within it.  Read More

Evans and Bourdilon (Image credit: Royal Geographical Society)

in order to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Smiths Medical and University College London have resurrected the sidelined closed-circuit breathing system designed for a failed Everest expedition over 50 years ago. Closed-circuit devices, (also known as rebreathers), create a seal over the user’s mouth, retaining the exhaled air, scrubbing it of carbon dioxide, and allowing the user to inhale it again.  Read More

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