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By using twisted beams of light, researchers have achieved data transmission speeds of up ...

Thankfully, data transmission speeds have come a long way since the days of dial-up when users would have plenty of time to twiddle their thumbs as they waited for an image or MP3 to make its way to their hard drive. These days, broadband cable currently supports speeds of around 30 megabits per second, which is a hell of an improvement. Now researchers have outdone that by a factor of around 85,000 by using twisted beams of light to transmit data at up to 2.56 terabits per second.  Read More

Researchers have found to block pathological aggression in mice that could lead to new tre...

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” the Hulk’s alter ego Bruce Banner famously said. Now researchers have made a discovery that might one day have implications for anyone considering Bruce as a potential house guest. The researchers have identified a brain receptor that malfunctions in overly hostile mice - a receptor that also exists in humans - and found a way to shut it down, offering the potential for the development of treatments for severe aggression.  Read More

The BioTac sensor can correctly identify a randomly selected material from a a sample of 1...

We’ve seen the development of a number of technologies that could be used to provide robots with a sense of touch, such as proximity and temperature sensing hexagonal plates and artificial skin constructed from semiconductor nanowires. However, perhaps none are as impressive as a tactile sensor developed by researchers at the University of California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. The group’s BioTac sensor was built to mimic a human fingertip and can outperform humans in identifying a wide range of materials, offering potential use for the technology in robotics and prostheses.  Read More

The liquid solar cells comprising solar nanocrystal arounf four nanometers in size applied...

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed technology to cheaply produce stable liquid solar cells that can be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. The technology relies on solar nanocrystals that are around four nanometers in size - meaning you could fit more than 250 billion on the head of a pin. Their size allows them to be suspended in a liquid solution so they could be printed like a newspaper. The downside, commercialization of this technology is still years away.  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

Engineers at UC San Diego are mimicking the movement of bird wings to help improve the man...

The role of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has expanded rapidly in both military and civilian circles over the past decade and although most designs to date are miniature versions of conventional aircraft, we can expect to see much more radical examples emerge in the near future. In developing this next-generation of UAVs engineers are looking to go beyond the limitations of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft and to do it, they are turning to nature's ultimate flying machines - birds. We've already seen seen flapping-wing micro-aircraft, robotic seagulls and even a design based on a pterodactyl. Engineers at UC San Diego are furthering this approach with research into variable-wing techniques that could result in a bird-like UAV capable of spot landing.  Read More

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) software analyzes data from stereo camera vie...

We've looked at a number of efforts to extend the capabilities of the traditional white cane for the visually impaired, such as using ultrasonic echoes or lasers to give users a better lay of the land. But a group of engineering researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are looking to do away with the cane altogether and replace it with a "guide vest" that works in conjunction with a helmet-mounted camera and special software to let wearers "see" the world through tactile feedback.  Read More

A microscopic view of the carbon nanotube field-effect transistor used in the fabricated s...

It's probably still going to be a while before autonomous, self-aware androids are wandering amongst us. That scenario has come a little closer to reality, however, with researchers from the University of Southern California having created a functioning synapse circuit using carbon nanotubes. An artificial version of the connections that allow electrical impulses to pass between neurons in our brains, the circuit could someday be one component of a synthetic brain.  Read More

Evan A. Suma improved upon Google's Gmail Motion effort using his team's FAAST software

Last week, Google announced Gmail Motion, a system which promised motion control for the company's free webmail service using a computer's built-in webcam and some nifty spatial tracking technology. Using Gmail Motion users would be able to not only control Gmail actions but also compose emails using gestures that would be translated into common phrases. It was of course an April Fool's Day joke, but Evan A. Suma, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Southern California's (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies, immediately set to work in demonstrating that the technology to run such a system already exists.  Read More

A new study finds that, in 2007 humankind was able to store at least 256 exabytes of infor...

Prepare for some mind-boggling numbers. A new study has estimated how much information there is in the world in terms of how much humankind is able to store, communicate and compute. Looking at the period from 1986 to 2007, the study is the first to quantify humankind’s ability to handle information and how it has changed in the past two decades. But despite the monumental figures, the numbers still pale in comparison to the order of magnitude with which nature handles information.  Read More

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