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Finger-mounted reading device for the blind

March 10, 2015 | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory have built a prototype of a finger-mounted device with a built-in camera that converts written text into audio for visually impaired users.             

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Researchers master gene editing technique in mosquito that transmits deadly diseases

March 27, 2015 11:09 am | by Zach Veilleux, Rockefeller Univ. | Comments

Traditionally, to understand how a gene functions, a scientist would breed an organism that lacks that gene, “knocking it out”, then ask how the organism has changed. Are its senses affected? Its behavior? Can it even survive? Thanks to the recent advance of gene editing technology, this gold standard genetic experiment has become much more accessible in a wide variety of organisms.

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HIV can lodge quickly in brain after infection

March 27, 2015 10:29 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | Comments

HIV can establish itself in the brain as soon as four months after initial infection: A finding that dampens hopes of an impending cure for a disease that afflicts more than 35 million people. Within two years of infection, a genetically distinct version of HIV replicates in the brains of as many as one in four patients.

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Antarctic ice shelves rapidly thinning

March 27, 2015 10:08 am | by Mario Aguilera, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the Univ. of California, San Diego, researchers has revealed that the thickness of Antarctica’s floating ice shelves has recently decreased by as much as 18% in certain areas over nearly two decades, providing new insights on how the Antarctic ice sheet is responding to climate change.

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Surface-modified nanoparticles endow coatings with combine properties

March 27, 2015 9:56 am | by Leibniz Institute for New Materials | Comments

Nanoparticles are specifically adapted to the particular application by Small Molecule Surface Modification. Thereby surfaces of work pieces or moldings are expected to exhibit several different functions at one and the same time. Fabricators and processors alike demand consistently high quality for their intermediate and final products. The properties of these goods usually also have to meet specific requirements.

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First glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state

March 27, 2015 9:49 am | by Alina Hirschmann, The Institute of Photonic Sciences | Comments

In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, the research group led by ICREA Prof. at ICFO Morgan Mitchell has detected, for the first time, entanglement among individual photon pairs in a beam of squeezed light. Quantum entanglement is always related to the microscopic world, but it also has striking macroscopic effects, such as the squeezing of light or superconductivity.

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MRI based on sugar molecule can tell cancerous from noncancerous cells

March 27, 2015 8:32 am | by Shawna Williams, Johns Hopkins Univ. | Comments

Imaging tests like mammograms or CT scans can detect tumors, but figuring out whether a growth is or isn't cancer usually requires a biopsy to study cells directly. Now results of a Johns Hopkins Univ. study suggest that MRI could one day make biopsies more effective or even replace them altogether by noninvasively detecting telltale sugar molecules shed by the outer membranes of cancerous cells.

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Big data allows computer engineers to find genetic clues in humans

March 27, 2015 8:26 am | by Washington Univ. in St. Louis | Comments

Big data: It's a term we read and hear about often, but is hard to grasp. Computer scientists at Washington Univ. in St. Louis tackled some big data about an important protein and discovered its connection in human history as well as clues about its role in complex neurological diseases.

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Physicists solve low-temperature magnetic mystery

March 27, 2015 8:19 am | by Chelsea Whyte, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

Researchers have made an experimental breakthrough in explaining a rare property of an exotic magnetic material, potentially opening a path to a host of new technologies. From information storage to magnetic refrigeration, many of tomorrow's most promising innovations rely on sophisticated magnetic materials, and this discovery opens the door to harnessing the physics that governs those materials. 

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Do government technology investments pay off?

March 27, 2015 8:08 am | by Greta Guest, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Studies confirm that IT investments in companies improve productivity and efficiency. Univ. of Michigan professor M.S. Krishnan wondered if the same was true for government. After all, IT spending could either lead to efficiency or create bureaucratic bloat.

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Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials

March 27, 2015 8:01 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Chemists from Brown Univ. have found a way to make new 2-D, graphene-like semiconducting nanomaterials using an old standby of the semiconductor world: silicon. In a paper published in Nanoletters, the researchers describe methods for making nanoribbons and nanoplates from a compound called silicon telluride. The materials are pure, p-type semiconductors that could be used in a variety of electronic and optical devices.

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Dark matter even darker than once thought

March 27, 2015 7:54 am | by Hubble Information Centre | Comments

Astronomers using observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have studied how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when the clusters collide. The results, published in Science, show that dark matter interacts with itself even less than previously thought, and narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.

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Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity

March 27, 2015 7:44 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Taking our understanding of quantum matter to new levels, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are exposing high-temperature superconductors to very high magnetic fields, changing the temperature at which the materials become perfectly conducting and revealing unique properties of these substances.

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Critters found in Antarctic ice shows how tenacious life is

March 27, 2015 2:10 am | by Luis Andres Henao And Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | Comments

Deep below the ice, far from the playful penguins and other animals that bring tourists to Antarctica, is a cold and barren world that by all indications should be completely void of life. But recently, scientists researching melting ice watched a half-foot-long (15-cm) fish swim by. Not long after that, they saw shrimp-like creatures.

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Analysis sees many promising pathways for solar photovoltaic power

March 26, 2015 12:07 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

In a broad new assessment of the status and prospects of solar photovoltaic technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say that it is “one of the few renewable, low-carbon resources with both the scalability and the technological maturity to meet ever-growing global demand for electricity.”

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FDA to scrutinize unproven alternative remedies

March 26, 2015 12:05 pm | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer, Associated Press | Comments

Federal officials plan to review the safety and evidence behind alternative remedies like Zicam and Cold-Eeze, products that are protected by federal law, but not accepted by mainstream medicine. The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it will hold a two-day meeting next month on regulations for homeopathic medicines, which have long occupied a place on the fringes of U.S. health care.

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