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Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Smelling Cancer: Device Detects Bladder Cancer From Odor of Urine

The smell of urine is not usually associated with having life-saving properties. But a new UK device called the ‘Odoreader’ can analyze urine odors and determine if bladder cancer (BC) is present. Although this is a pilot study, it has positive implications for early BC diagnosis and improved patient survival.

Is Cisco’s Forecast of 50 Billion Internet-Connected Things by 2020 Too Conservative?

As a tech memes go, the Internet of Things is getting a bit long in tooth. The idea of internet-connected smart stuff has been heralded for years now. But where exactly are we in the quest to connect all things? Networking titan Cisco decided to put a number on it.

Lab Grown Retinal Cells Implanted Into Blind Mice – And They Work

What if we could reverse degenerative forms of blindness with but an injection of new cells? Stem cell therapies—still promising, if not particularly speedy—may someday do just that. A recent paper in the journal Nature Biotechnology documents the successful implantation of photoreceptor cells, grown from embryonic stem cells, into the retinas of night-blind mice. The cells not only took root, but they remained present six weeks after implantation and formed the necessary neural connections to communicate visual data to the brain.

Functional 3D Human Liver Buds Made From Stem Cells in Mice

Researchers led by Takanori Takebe, MD and Hideki Taniguchi, MD, of Yokohama City University in Japan recently reported the first 3D vascularized organ derived from stem cells in the journal Nature. Though it is still years away from clinical trials in humans, the approach, used to generate human liver cell buds in mice, has implications for future transplantations of liver and potentially other organs in humans.

Canvas, Camera, Brush, and Algorithms Enable Robot Artist’s Beautiful Paintings

If there were a Turing test for artificial creativity (AC)—e-David might well be on its way to passing. The robotic system, created by researchers at the University of Konstantz in Germany, employs a variety of styles to produce paintings remarkably similar to their human counterparts.

Ray Kurzweil — Fireside Chat At The 2013 Graduate Studies Program

Ray Kurzweil speaks to the GSP13 class at Singularity University on July 25,2013.

The Cost of China’s Economic Miracle: Shorter Lives, Due to Air Pollution

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the health impacts of coal pollution by taking advantage of a de facto control group created by a Chinese government policy that provided free heating coal to homes and offices in northern China but not to those in southern China. The findings were dramatic.

DARPA’s Brain-controlled Prosthetic Arm and a Bionic Hand That Can Touch

The US Department of Defense has a good reason to fund research in advanced bionic limbs—in fact, it has a couple thousand good reasons. In the last thirteen years, 2,000 men and women have lost a limb in military service. And of course, military amputees aren’t the only amputees. Far from it.

New Telescopic Contact Lens Magnifies Vision Three Times

Researchers led by Eric Tremblay from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EDFL) in Switzerland and Joseph Ford from UC San Diego have developed a new ‘Superman-style contact lens that can magnify the wearer’s vision by 2.8 times when worn with a modified pair of 3D glasses. These contacts may one day empower those suffering from macular degeneration or even augmenting the eyes of those with perfectly healthy vision.

New Techinique Makes IVF Dramatically Cheaper, More Accurate

Connor Levy is proof of concept. Barely two months old, Connor is the first child born from an embryo screened with next-generation DNA sequencing techniques to ensure that doctors provided his mother, Marybeth Scheidts, 36, with a genetically viable fertilized egg. The new process is dramatically cheaper and has initially proven at least as effective as the genetic methods fertility clinics use now.

Hype Builds Before Elon Musk’s August Alpha Plan for SF to LA Hyperloop

Elon Musk, the billionaire tech mogul behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, the entrepreneur who wants to colonize Mars with a vertically landing, reusable rocket—that guy—recently announced he’s been busy thinking about a pneumatic tube for people called the Hyperloop. In a recent post on Twitter, Musk said he’ll publish the “Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12."

Robot Fighter Jet X-47B Autonomously Lands on Aircraft Carrier

The Navy’s newest fighter is a high-tech batwing the size of an F/A 18 Super Hornet. The stealthy X-47B can carry 4,500 pounds of weapons at half mach speed, up to 40,000 feet, and over 2,400 miles. The aircraft lacks but one thing. A cockpit. The X-47B is a next-generation military drone. Unlike previous military drones, the X-47B is completely autonomous. And we’re not just talking the ability to fly simple missions from one airstrip to another. Recently, the X-47B landed on an aircraft carrier by algorithm alone. That’s something only elite fighter pilots have been able to do until now.

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