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Gut bacteria therapeutics, Large cortical maps, Metal foam applications, Plastic proteins, Stem cell regeneration, Nanocrystal ink transistors, Elegant brain navigation, Harmonic gear improvements, Smartphone blood tests, Carbon nanotube advances.
1. Reprogrammed Gut Bacteria Therapeutics
Synologic is seeking to launch a range of living therapeutics comprising engineered gut microbes http://news.mit.edu/2016/startup-synlogic-reprogramming-gut-bacteria-living-therapeutics-0405. The bacteria are intended to correct metabolic disorders that cause major diseases by providing augmented metabolic capabilities in the gut or otherwise complement functionality that may have been lost in other organs. These are metabolic thermostats, regulating levels of ammonia or amino acids in the first examples, and seeking to treat things like inflammatory bowel disease in future, and possibly even things like lactose and gluten intolerance. Such a platform might be used not only for disease treatment but enhancement too. This is especially interesting given recent studies demonstrating gut bacteria regulating brain structure and function https://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2016/apr/05/gut-bacteria-brain-myelin and suggesting gut bacteria modification might actually impact intelligence.
2. Largest Network of Cortical Neurons Mapped
The largest network map of connections between neurons in the cortex has been published, another important milestone in the field of connectomics https://www.alleninstitute.org/what-we-do/brain-science/news-press/press-releases/research-largest-network-cortical-neurons-date-published-nature. This work is increasingly building tools to reverse engineer the brain and discover relationships between circuit wiring and neuronal and network computations, identifying modular architectures and functionally specific connectivity between neurons. This work comprised a 100 terabyte 3D data set, specifically analysing neurons in the visual cortex that responded to particular stimuli such as horizontal bars on a screen.
3. Composite Metal Foam Applications
The development of composite metal foams has developed in interesting directions, with the latest demonstration showing a 1-inch thick composite metal foam easily withstanding the impact from a high-power armour-piercing bullet, indeed the bullet turns into dust on impact - see the video https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/04/metal-foam-tough-2016/. In addition these metal foams are significantly lighter than normal metal plate, effectively shield x-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, and handle fire and heat twice as well as bulk metals.
4. Versatile Plastic Proteins
Cyanuric chloride is a molecule being used as the base for a platform materials technology able to create a huge range of synthetic plastic proteins http://www.pnnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=4266. This base molecule is used to produce a wide range of monomers with different side chains (functional groups) like amino acids, the monomers can be linked together in specific sequences as desired, and the chemistry facilitates predictable non-covalent bonds able to fold the polymer into desired shapes (like a protein). The benefits are the ability to create a much larger library of stable monomers, and potentially longer, larger polymer chains and more diverse folded shapes with novel functions - even replacing or mimicking protein drugs if needed. The benefits are these materials are much more stable, longer-lived, and resistant to protein-type degradation than normal proteins.
5. Next Generation Stem Cell Tissue Regeneration
A new stem cell technique reprograms bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) that have the ability to regenerate multiple tissue types in mice http://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/medical-scientists-develop-%E2%80%98game-changing%E2%80%99-stem-cell-repair-system. Once human iMS cells have been demonstrated as safe and effective in mice then human trials with the new cells may begin in 2017. The transformation procedure seems quite straightforward, and involves treating the cells with the compound 5-Azacytidine and platelet-derived growth factor. This looks fascinating for regenerating and repairing damaged or diseased tissues, but I wonder if it will also rejuvenate simply aged tissues? In related news the genes driving natural regeneration in animals have been mapped and counterparts have been found in humans https://today.duke.edu/2016/04/genetrees.
6. Nanocrystal Ink Transistors
Different spherical nanoparticles with the necessary electrical properties were dispersed in liquids to make inks, and a library of four of these inks can be used to lay down precise patterns to form transistors and other electrical components on flexible surfaces https://news.upenn.edu/news/penn-engineers-develop-first-transistors-made-entirely-nanocrystal-inks. This is a low-power, low-temperature fabrication technique and a good example of additive manufacturing process for creating logic gates, integrated circuits, and other electronics. It is also nicely modular as individual inks and nanocrystals can be independently developed and optimised to achieve better results. In related news precisely layered quantum dots enhance light-to-current energy conversion https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=11829.
7. Brain Location Tracking with Natural Logarithms
It has been known that brains use grid cells to keep track of their physical location, but the mechanism by which grid cells encode and decode this information has now been deciphered for the first time http://www.upenn.edu/spotlights/penn-researchers-theory-brains-location-tracking-cells-use-transcendental-number-system. Grid cells use a transcendental number system based on the mathematical constant ‘e’ with different sized grids acting as the equivalent of tens, hundreds, and thousands in a decimal number, and with different sized grids found in ratios of ‘e’. To find ‘e’ lurking in the brain’s codes like this is pretty powerful and I wonder where else in the brain it might be found; it turns out that this is the most efficient way to encode the most amount of information with the least amount of cells and so it shouldn’t be too surprising the evolution figured this out a long time ago. This system works for animals navigating a predominantly 2D environment, but for those navigating 3D you only need a slightly different factor of ‘e’ to achieve the same.
8. Improvements for Harmonic Gears
Harmonic gears have the same size, weight, and form factor regardless of gear ratio, allowing flexible design revisions and reduction ratios of 30:1 to 160:1 being common; as a bonus developments in materials technology should allow harmonic gears to maintain their exceptional torque capacity while realising a 30% reduction in weight http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/04/stronger-metals-will-make-lighter-and.html. Prime benefits and applications here appear to be in robotics and prosthetics, for which you might want this analogue self-powered smart skin http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=43084.php.
9. Portable, Personal, Smartphone, Blood Testing
Cor is launching a product to bring blood chemistry testing via spectroscopy to the home http://www.gizmag.com/cor-blood-chemistry-health-tracker/42608/. The system uses (i) single-use cartridges that have a fine needle to take surface level blood samples, (ii) a reader unit then takes the cartridge and analyses the sample via vibrational spectroscopy, (iii) data is sent to the cloud for processing, (iv) results are returned to the person via a smartphone app. The first tests will include cholesterol, glucose, fibrinogen, and triglycerides. It is great to see this space increasingly heating up and I’m sorely tempted to back Cor’s Indiegogo campaign.
10. Latest Interesting Carbon Nanotube Tech
First, wafer-scale uniformly-aligned high-density carbon nanotube films are now being produced, which can be patterned by standard photolithography methods, and which have produced transistors, LEDs, photodetectors, and polarizers http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/wafer-scale-nanotube-film-is-finally-here. Second, carbon nanotubes have been used as nanoreactors to produce long (micrometer), stable one-dimensional carbon chains known as carbyne within the nanotubes; carbyne’s mechanical properties exceed all known materials http://phys.org/news/2016-04-proof-stable-ultra-long-1d-carbon.html. Finally, carbon nanotubes have been confirmed as the fastest proton conductors ever discovered http://phys.org/news/2016-04-tiny-tubes-fast-lane.html.
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Cell programming language, Mini personal pharmacy, Hereditary epigenetics mechanism, IBMs neuromorphic computer, MEMS gravity sensor, Repurposed glucose monitors, Bacteriophages vs amyloids, Automating patch clamping, Biological nanomotor structures, Vision processing units.
1. Programming Language for Cells
A new programming language allows people to program a desired cellular function such as detecting and responding to some environmental condition, and then have the program automatically generates or compiles the DNA sequence that can be inserted into the cell to achieve that function http://news.mit.edu/2016/programming-language-living-cells-bacteria-0331. The proof of concept generated bacteria with genetic circuits able to respond to three different inputs and respond in different ways and also the largest biological circuit ever created. The design interface will be made available on the web and work will continue to enable the program to compile for species of organisms beyond simple bacteria to include gut bacteria and yeast and potentially higher organisms.
2. Mini Personal Portable Pharmacy
A compact system the size of a refrigerator can be configured to locally produce a variety of drugs on demand including Benadryl, Lidocaine, Valium, and Prozac, and is itself a evolution of an earlier system that was much larger and more complex http://news.mit.edu/2016/portable-pharmacy-on-demand-0331. See image #1 of this post. The group plan to shrink the device by another 40% (another further reduction will get it to desktop scale), and also expand the range of drugs that can be synthesised to include more complex molecules. On demand decentralised production of drugs and other chemicals (like the chemputers I’ve covered previously) is a powerful paradigm with numerous benefits that I can’t wait to see mature and roll out.
3. Mechanism for Hereditary Epigenetic Changes
A mechanism for how epigenetic changes to DNA can be passed onto subsequent generations has been elucidated that depends on small RNA molecules and newly discovered genes that work to turn epigenetic transmissions on and off https://www.aftau.org/weblog-medicine--health?=&storyid4704=2261&ncs4704=3. These mechanisms dictate what epigenetic responses will be inherited and for how long, or how many generations they will be active for. This is very interesting support for many prior studies showing that environmental stress of certain forms can influence the activity of certain genes in subsequent generations. I’m wondering what novel uses this could be used for in synthetic biology applications?
4. IBM’s Latest Neuromorphic Computer
IBM announced the development of a new Scale-up Synaptic Supercomputer based on their TrueNorth architecture to deliver 16 million neurons and 256 million synapses, all for a cool $1 million and consuming just 2.5 watts http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/03/neuromorphic-supercomputer-has-16.html and there is more news on IBM’s resistive computing technology http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/04/bms-resistive-computing-could.html. The main link to Modha’s blog has a lot more detail for those interested. In related news new low-power chips running neural networks developed by large commercial interests are aiming to bring powerful pattern recognition and deep learning applications to mobile platforms (& see #10) http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/embedded-systems/bringing-big-neural-networks-to-selfdriving-cars-smartphones-and-drones.
5. Tiny MEMS Gravity Sensor
A tiny MEMS gravity sensor has been developed that measured the Earth’s tides - the movement of the Earth’s crust due to the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun - via detecting 16nm movements of its main silicon mass http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/fossil-fuels/stampsized-gravity-meter-could-have-big-impact-on-oil-exploration. The group are working to make the device more sensitive and shrink it (and related equipment) further into something the size of a tennis ball. One might imagine higher resolution gravity maps performed by drones, as well as easier surveying of geological features and volcanoes for example.
6. Detecting Other Diseases with Glucose Monitors
Standard, cheap, portable glucose monitors are being repurposed to detect other diseases http://phys.org/news/2016-03-glucose-diseases.html. The latest approach works by using functionalised liposomes filled with enzymes that produce glucose, that are designed to burst open in the presence of a target molecule and so release the enzymes and cause an increase in glucose in the test solution. The proof of concept demonstrated accurate detection of the thrombin protein, which can indicate heart disease. Repurposing such a basic technology like a glucose monitor in this fashion makes for a pretty compelling platform.
7. Bacteriophage Proteins Treat Amyloid Diseases
The M13 bacteriophage is a type of virus that only infects bacteria and never human cells, but which turns out to have key proteins on its coat that tightly bind to and subsequently dissolve a wide range of amyloid proteins in the brain that are characteristic of a wide range of different diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and others like prion diseases http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/03/neurophage-pharma-may-be-able-to-treat.html. Simply delivering the virus nasally was enough to dissolve amyloid plaques in rodents, leading to an 80% reduction, and refining the proteins into a better drug has resulted in a candidate that should be more effective and safer in humans and should soon undergo human trials.
8. Automated Robots to Record Neuronal Activity in Brains
The technique known as neuronal patch-clamping, in which individual neurons are securely contacted in order to measure in fine detail the internal activity of an individual neuron, is known as the finest art in neuroscience. It is very labour intensive but the first automated system for whole-cell patch-clamping has now been developed, which should help to drastically speed up progress in this space http://www.nature.com/news/robots-record-brain-activity-inside-neurons-1.19675?WT.mc_id=GPL_NatureNews. Experienced humans average success rates of 20% - 60%, with the new device currently averaging 33%, but with additional developments, refinements, and improvements can be reasonably expected surpass humans at some point.
9. Biological Nano-motors and Nano-tubes
Electron cryotomography has allowed imaging at 2 - 5nm resolution to capture unprecedented structural details of bacterial flagella and pili motor cell-wall spanning protein complexes, considered to be the strongest molecular motors in existence https://www.caltech.edu/news/close-view-bacterial-motors-50189. This gives functional knowledge of how such motors apply additional torque propel the cell forward, or actively disgorge a protein rope that can motor can then haul the cell along and through viscous and dense environments; this should prove useful for efforts to build stronger and artificial versions. A new class of peptoid molecules have also been shown to reliably and robustly self assemble into long nanotubes of well defined “stepped” diameters http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/03/28/peptoid-nanotubes/.
10. Vision Processing Units for Mobile Chips
Much as a CPU can off-load heavy-duty graphical processing to an on-chip GPU to speed up the process and save power, dedicated and specialised VPUs or vision processing units are being developed and proposed to do the same thing for real-time image processing http://www.digit.in/general/the-rise-of-vpus-giving-eyes-to-machines-29561.html. See image #2 of this post. Early versions of VPUs have been used in DJI’s Phantom drones and Google’s Project Tango technology. We can expect our smartphones and other devices to make VPUs much more common in future as they help power a range of incredibly useful navigation, augmented reality, tracking, environment mapping, eye tracking, object classification, and machine learning applications, and also naturally enable performance boosts for computational photography applications. Regarding a type of computational photography, this method to convert black and white images to colour was too good not to share http://richzhang.github.io/colorization/.
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Engineered artificial ribosomes, Tantalising EmDrive, Nanomagnet Holograph displays, Hafnium oxide memristors, Rejuvenation genetherapy confirmed, Improved CRISPR, Seawater uranium extraction, Implantable ultrasound communications, Biomimicry brighter LEDs, Actin memory role.
1. Artificial Synthetic Ribosome
Ribosomes in cells take in genetic code and sequentially synthesise a complete protein from specific amino acids that correspond to that code. A new, autonomous molecular machine based DNA has been developed as an artificial synthetic ribosome able to take specific sequence instructions and make new synthetic polymer materials out of different molecules in a similar way http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2016/04/ribosome-mimic-dna-molecular-machine-polymer-production. The full paper is also worth a look http://sci-hub.io/10.1038/nchem.2495. The system relies on (i) chemistry DNA hairpin sequences attached to specific reactant molecules, and (ii) instruction DNA hairpin molecules with sequences that control the order in which the different monomer reactant molecules are assembled. Autonomous, programmable, atomically precise synthesis of large molecules. In related news another engineered ribosome functions in bacteria to create proteins with beta-amino acids that has never been achieved in live cells before http://news.yale.edu/2016/04/21/new-protein-making-factory-promises-better-medicines.
2. EmDrive and Unruh Radiation
To date six independent experiments have replicated the original EmDrive results by building their own device and measuring a thrust from a hollow cone when microwaves are bounced inside it, all without a suitable explanation for a seeming violation of conservation of momentum. A new theory of inertia suggests inertia is the pressure Unruh radiation exerts on an accelerating body, an effect predicted by General Relativity, and which also explains the acceleration discrepanies in falyby anomalies https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601299/the-curious-link-between-the-fly-by-anomaly-and-the-impossible-emdrive-thruster/. The theory suggests inertia is quantised, predicts flyby anomalies and their discrepancy, predicts the magnitude of thrusts measured in all experiments done so far, and makes two predictions yet to be tested: (i) a dielectric in the cavity will enhance thrust, and (ii) changing cavity dimensions will reverse thrust. It also assumes photons have inertial mass and the speed of light changes in the cavity. Will be interesting to see where this goes.
3. Nanomagnet Pixels for Holographic Displays
Wide-angle 3D holographic displays have been developed that are powered by nanomagnets http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/tuot-npt041916.php. The nanomagnets in these displays are referred to as magneto-optic spatial light modulators; a laser focused on the surface defines the display pixel size, pixel switching occurs in 10 nanoseconds, with pixel size and pitch in this demonstration being 1 micrometer, and enabling a 30 degree viewing angle. A nice advance in spatial light modulators towards the goal of glasses-free holographic video displays.
4. Hafnium Oxide Memristors as Synapses
New memristors made of thin-film hafnium oxide and via conventional production processes show promise as artificial synapses in brain-like chips http://phys.org/news/2016-04-physicists-electronic-synapses-neural-networks.html. Demonstrations show the memristors reproducing electrical signalling behaviour as observed in biological synapses, including spike-timing-dependent plasticity, long-term potentiation, and long-term depression. Next step will be to incorporate these hardware prototypes into larger brain-like chips.
5. Rejuvenation Gene Therapy Confirmed Against Aging
BioViva has confirmed Liz Parish’s experimental gene therapy, undertaken last year for disabling myostatin and extending teleomeres, successfully extended the telomeres of the cells that were analysed (white blood cells) from 6.71kb to 7.33kb and so effectively removing an average of 20 years worth of telomere shortening http://bioviva-science.com/2016/04/21/first-gene-therapy-successful-against-human-aging/. As always an N=1 should be taken with a grain of salt; the company has received an injection of funding and repeatability will be key in convincing skeptics of the result. The same techniques could be used to target the Per2 gene, leading to rejuvenation of the mammalian immune system and prolonged lifespans http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=163209&CultureCode=en.
6. Single DNA Base Read/Writes Via CRISPR
A newly developed version of CRISPR can be targeted to specific sites in the genome and instead of cutting the DNA, precisely change one DNA base for another in order to correct precise single-base mutations or misspellings https://www.statnews.com/2016/04/20/clever-crispr-advance-unveiled/. This again reduces the risk of off-site target effects and provides an elegant way to make edits, provided the group can further improve the tool to be capable of all 12 basepair swaps (currently does 2). A protein nanopore array has been used for real-time single-base electronic DNA sequencing http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/cuso-cet042116.php. The nanopores incorporate a DNA polymerase protein that synthesises a complementary DNA strand as the strand of interest is passed through the pore; each of the four different nucleotides added incorporates a distinct tag that facilitates clearer and more accurate electrical signals that allow the sequence to be reconstructed.
7. Improvements in Extracting Uranium from Seawater
There are lots of efforts to extract useful elements from seawater with Uranium being of particular interest given the oceans collectively hold 4 billion tons of Uranium. Significant advances are being made with seawater extraction of Uranium via novel adsorbent materials that can now achieve 5.2 grams of Uranium per kilogram of adsorbent after 49 days in seawater, and with more recent tests showing 6 grams after 56 days https://www.ornl.gov/news/advances-extracting-uranium-seawater-announced-special-issue. There would be many benefits to achieving economical Uranium (and other metals) extraction from seawater.
8. Ultrasonic Data Transmission Through Flesh
Ultrasonic signals can now be used to transmit data through meat at 30 mbps, enough for HD video http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/devices/ultrasonic-signals-transmit-data-through-meat-at-hd-video-quality. Current implanted medical devices are usually limited to much lower data rates, but having wireless data transmission via ultrasound able to deliver HD video offers a number of benefits including live-streaming video from swallowed camera-pills, easily managing large firmware updates to implanted devices, and others. Next step is animal studies and confirmation of the effect of bone structures on data rates.
9. Biomimicry for Brighter LEDs
The amount of light emitted by LEDs was boosted by 60% by carefully shaping the outer surface of the LED to mimic the structure of a firefly’s lantern http://gizmodo.com/scientists-made-leds-60-percent-brighter-by-copying-fir-1771979185. This essentially amounts to forming a nanostructured lens on top of the LED and these structures reduce the difference in refractive index between the material body and air, allowing more light to be emitted. This opens up the possibility for more power-efficient LEDs, but I’m also wondering if they can flip it and improve the efficiency of photodetectors and photovoltaics?
10. The Role of Actin in Memory
New models suggest that actin, the protein that helps to control cell shape, is responsible for the formation of long-term memories http://news.rice.edu/2016/04/18/thanks-actin-for-the-memories/. This concerns studies of the energy landscape of proteins and how actin filaments pull upon and stabilise certain proteins to form longer, more stable, and insoluble prion-like fibers. This offers another piece of evidence for the biological role of prion-like proteins, and also suggests a healthy role for some types of protein aggregates in cells, which are often considered a sign of disease and malfunction. This provides a mechanism for synaptic structures to last many years, if not decades, although the transition from short-term memory to this form of long-term memory is not yet known.
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Neocortical sequence memory, Neural bypass for movement, 3D printed ovaries, Human tissue textiles, Noisy CPUs, Smartphone satellite messaging, CRISPR edited mushrooms, Sticky wearable display, Full duplex radio, SpaceX ship landing.
1. Neocortical Sequence Memory
Numenta have presented a tantalising new theory of how networks of neurons in the neocortex learn sequences that explains (i) why neocortical neurons have thousands of synapses that are segregated onto different parts of the cell, and (ii) how neocortical column arrangement can form a powerful sequence memory http://numenta.com/press/numenta-researchers-discover-how-the-brain-learns-sequences.html. The new models are vastly different to current artificial neuron models and deep learning models, and exhibit powerful properties including high fault tolerance, continuous unsupervised learning, and the ability to learn complex sequences. Such models, if validated, will greatly accelerate the development of machine intelligence. In related news certain neural circuit mapping tools are now 20 times more powerful http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-04-brain-tool-powerful-previous-version.html.
2. Neural Bypass Links Brain to Hand
A new neural bypass system uses a brain implant to record signals from the motor cortex, then decodes and sends these to a sleeve of electrodes that stimulate the appropriate forearm muscles, and can do this with an accuracy that allows the person with spinal injury to pick up a bottle or hit the right chord on guitar hero http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/bionics/now-theres-a-way-around-paralysis-neural-bypass-links-brain-to-hand. With just 96 electrodes sampling 30,000 times per second, machine learning algorithms separate signal from noise in order to correctly encode the correct signals to be sent to the arm electrodes and muscles. With higher-density electrodes and better interfaces with distant muscle neurons we might be well on the way to providing natural, remote brain-body and brain-machine movement.
3. 3D Printed Ovaries Work in Mice
When new ovaries 3D printed with a new technique were implanted into mice they were able to successfully give birth to live healthy pups http://singularityhub.com/2016/04/10/this-3d-printed-prosthetic-ovary-restores-female-fertility-in-mice/. Comprised of a cross-linked biomaterial scaffold and seeded with ovarian follicles the implants were completely innervated by blood vessels, restored the animal’s hormone cycle, and produced eggs that could be fertilised. Human trials and therapies will commence once induced pluripotent stem cell technology can reliably produce the necessary oocytes and support cells needed to seed the scaffold.
4. Textile Techniques for Human Tissue Fabrication
Leading on from 3D printed ovaries, studies of different textile manufacturing techniques have determined which processes are ideal for engineering tissues needed for organ repair and implant http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2016/0407-methods-used-to-create-textiles-also-could-help-manufacture-human-tissues-2/. The processes tested included the standard electrospinning technique, as well as meltblowing, spunbonding, and carding, all of which exceeded the cost-performance of electrospinning. The main driver for exploring these techniques is the requirement for industrial scale up of these engineered tissues, for example the need to produce 100s of meters of tissue material with consistent and reliable properties.
5. Engineering Noisy CPUs
DARPA-funded Singular Computing is producing CPU chips that deliberately perform mathematical operations incorrectly to a small extent, outputting 2.01 when performing 1 + 1 for example https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601263/why-a-chip-thats-bad-at-math-can-help-computers-tackle-harder-problems/. This fuzzy output turns out to be an asset when processing noisy, messy data and resulting in lower-power computation while software is still able to produce a useful result. Applications include radar imaging, 3D information from stereo photos, deep learning, and others. Demonstrations of object tracking in video performed 100 times faster on these error prone chips and consumed only 2% of the power of a conventional processor.
6. Smartphone Satellite Messaging
Higher Ground has developed a smartphone case called StaPaq that communicates to the phone via bluetooth while packing a satellite communications antenna that allows basic text messaging and email via satellite from remote locations lacking standard network connectivity http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/could-satellite-messaging-startup-higher-ground-bring-down-the-911-system. There are concerns with spectrum interference and antenna power density at close range, but there is a genuine use-case and benefits for people in remote areas, and also for remote sensors and intermittent reporting monitors as part of the Internet of Things. In related news Facebook unveiled ARIES, a wireless antenna array that can deliver data communications to devices dozens of miles away http://www.wired.com/2016/04/facebooks-massive-new-antennas-can-beam-internet-miles/.
7. CRISPR Edited Mushroom Available for Sale
Mushrooms whose genomes have been edited with CRISPR can be cultivated and sold without further regulatory interference http://www.nature.com/news/gene-edited-crispr-mushroom-escapes-us-regulation-1.19754. This is the first CRISPR-edited organism to receive such a green light; the mushroom was edited to disable 6 genes and this resulted in an increased resistance to browning. The mushroom made it through regulatory oversight because the only edits involved disabled genes and didn’t include the introduction of foreign or novel genes from other organisms.
8. Wearable Display Adheres to Skin
A skin-like microns-thick organic LED display can stick comfortably to the skin and display information from similarly wearable sensors http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/this-wearable-digital-display-just-sticks-on-your-skin. With further development one might imagine higher resolution displays capable of images and more dense information such as a replacement for a smartwatch as a form of temporary stick-on tattoo, a full-body version of which would be a pretty impressive / magical sight.
9. Low Power Full Duplex Radio
Building on work and prototypes first demonstrated last year a low-power full-duplex radio chip has been demonstrated that can transmit and receive signals on the same frequency at the same time using a single antenna http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/new-full-duplex-radio-chip-transmits-and-receives-wireless-signals-at-once. The promise is that mature rollout of such a chip would double the data capacity of existing technology. This breakthrough required a novel hardware solution involving the exact arrangement of transistors on the chip as well as an echo-cancelling receiver. The current chip should work for WiFi but will need to have its power capacity boosted to facilitate longer distance mobile communications.
10. SpaceX Lands Rocket on Drone Ship
At the start of the week we got to bear witness to SpaceX achieve yet another remarkable milestone in drastically reducing the cost to reach orbit by successfully launching a Falcon 9 rocket 200km into space, deploying an inflatable habitat in space, then re-entering the atmosphere and landing on a drone ship out at sea http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/like-a-boss-falcon-soars-into-space-and-lands-in-the-ocean/. Landing out at sea is more fuel efficient. If it passes firing tests the same rocket will be relaunched by June with the company offering a 30% price saving to customers.
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Nuclear energy push made French power 12x cleaner than German renewable power push. Potent infographic of 2015 data. https://t.co/MNFjNLRU7K
Stem cell therapies capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease or ageing could be available within a few years, following landmark research.
"This technique is ground-breaking because iMS cells regenerate multiple tissue types," Associate Professor Pimanda said. "We have taken bone and fat cells, switched off their memory and converted them into stem cells so they can repair different cell types once they are put back inside the body."
"So far, we can buy cars that come equipped with autonomous braking, autonomous parking, and autonomous highway driving, but fully urban autonomy has only been demonstrated by a few, and not in a form that's ready for consumers to take advantage of. An MIT spinout called nuTonomy (which closed a $3.6M seed funding round in January) is ready to change everything by deploying a fully autonomous urban taxi service in downtown Singapore. Using your phone, you'll call a self-driving car to you, tell it your destination, and then sit back and let the car drive you there. This would be a massive advance for both autonomous cars and urban mobility, and we talked with nuTonomy co-founder and CEO Karl Iagnemma about how they're going to make it happen."http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/nutonomy-to-launch-worlds-first-fully-autonomous-taxi-service-in-singapore-this-year
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Il y a une deuxième réaction possible, mais la première est sans appel. Eh bien non, M. le président, se disait-on hier en voyant François H
Survival of the richest: How oligarchs block reform in Ukraine
The penetration of Ukrainian politics by the super-rich oligarchy still forms a major obstacle to reform
Climate Agreement Will Only Hasten Transition Beyond Oil
Nagorno-Karabakh is not the only area that bears watching on the two countries' volatile border. Read more…