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Inkjet-printed liquid metal could bring wearable tech, soft robotics

April 8, 2015 7:40 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

New research shows how inkjet-printing technology can be used to mass-produce electronic circuits made of liquid-metal alloys for "soft robots" and flexible electronics. Elastic technologies could make possible a new class of pliable robots and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

Future electronics based on carbon nanotubes

April 7, 2015 11:16 am | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The exceptional properties of tiny molecular cylinders known as carbon nanotubes have tantalized researchers for years because of the possibility they could serve as a successors to silicon in laying the logic for smaller, faster and cheaper electronic devices.

Computers that mimic the function of the brain

April 7, 2015 8:16 am | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers are always searching for improved technologies, but the most efficient computer possible already exists. It can learn and adapt without needing to be programmed or updated. It has nearly limitless memory, is difficult to crash, and works at extremely fast speeds. It’s not a Mac or a PC; it’s the human brain. And scientists around the world want to mimic its abilities.

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Accelerating materials discovery with world’s largest database of elastic properties

April 7, 2015 7:53 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have published the world’s largest set of data on the complete elastic properties of inorganic compounds, increasing by an order of magnitude the number of compounds for which such data exists.

How do you feel? Video of your face may tell all

April 7, 2015 7:42 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers are developing a highly accurate, touch-free system that uses a video camera to monitor patients’ vital signs just by looking at their faces. The technique isn’t new, but engineering researchers in Rice’s Scalable Health Initiative are making it work under conditions that have so far stumped earlier systems.

Better sensors for medical imaging, contraband detection

April 7, 2015 7:33 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new, ultrasensitive magnetic-field detector that is 1,000 times more energy-efficient than its predecessors. It could lead to miniaturized, battery-powered devices for medical and materials imaging, contraband detection and even geological exploration.

Scientist seeks new insights to study lightning

April 6, 2015 11:06 am | by Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville | News | Comments

Can old data provide new insights about lightning and the physics of severe weather? A scientist at The Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) thinks it can. Supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UAH's Dr. Philip Bitzer will spend the next two years studying 17 years of data from NASA's Lightning Imaging Sensor, and breaking lightning flashes into their smallest pieces.

Cells exercise suboptimal strategy to survive

April 6, 2015 10:42 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

There are few times in life when one should aim for suboptimal performance, but new research at Rice Univ. suggests scientists who study metabolism and its role in evolution should look for signs of just that. A study published in BMC Systems Biology details a computational method called corsoFBA.

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Optics, nanotechnology combined to create low-cost sensor for gases

April 6, 2015 8:18 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Engineers have combined innovative optical technology with nanocomposite thin films to create a new type of sensor that is inexpensive, fast, highly sensitive and able to detect and analyze a wide range of gases. The technology might find applications in everything from environmental monitoring to airport security or testing blood alcohol levels.

Camera chip provides superfine 3-D resolution

April 6, 2015 8:00 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | News | Comments

Imagine you need to have an almost exact copy of an object. Now imagine that you can just pull your smartphone out of your pocket, take a snapshot with its integrated 3-D imager, send it to your 3-D printer and, within minutes, you have reproduced a replica accurate to within microns of the original object. This feat may soon be possible because of a new, tiny high-resolution 3-D imager developed at Caltech.

Ultrasonic hammer sets off tiny explosions

April 6, 2015 7:42 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Giving new meaning to the term “sonic boom,” Univ. of Illinois chemists have used sound to trigger microscopic explosions. Using an “ultrasonic hammer,” the researchers triggered tiny but intensely hot explosions in volatile materials, giving insight into how explosives work and how to control them.

Who's who in music streaming: Tidal, Spotify, Pandora & more

April 2, 2015 4:07 pm | by Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press | News | Comments

Since Apple shook up the music world with iTunes a little more than a decade ago, online music has exploded and become the central way many people enjoy and discover music. Internet services such as Pandora and Spotify have millions of users. 

Search, Social & Shopping: Pinterest Turns 5

April 2, 2015 3:38 pm | News | Comments

In its five short years of life, Pinterest has become `the' place where brides-to-be create wish boards of wedding china photos and do-it-yourself home renovators bookmark shiny turquoise tiles for bathrooms. It's where people share ideas and ingenuity and get creatively inspired. And it's fueled a new way of searching for items that's even stolen traffic from tech giant Google.

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Connecting vehicles

April 2, 2015 10:41 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Drivers trying to get to work or home in a hurry know traffic congestion wastes a lot of time, but it also wastes a lot of fuel. In 2011, congestion caused people in U.S. urban areas to travel an extra 5.5 billion hours and purchase an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel costing $121 billion. But despite the tangle of vehicles at busy intersections and interstate ramps, most of the country’s highways are open road.

Forecasting future flooding

April 1, 2015 5:03 pm | by Faith Singer-Villalobos, Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

The Pacific Northwest is dotted by small, low-lying, coastal cities where populations tend to cluster. These communities can be isolated and are susceptible to devastation from major storms that bring substantial wind, waves and storm surge. With climate change, it is anticipated that storms will only become more frequent and intense, signifying a need to understand how the areas will be affected.

Diagnosis by keyboard

April 1, 2015 2:05 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Analyzing people’s keystrokes as they type on a computer keyboard can reveal a great deal of information about the state of their motor function, according to a new study. In the study, the researchers found that their algorithm for analyzing keystrokes could distinguish between typing done in the middle of the night, when sleep deprivation impairs motor skills, and typing performed when fully rested.

Streamline Tedious Lab Chemical Management Tasks

April 1, 2015 1:56 pm | by Accelrys/Biovia/Dassault | Videos | Comments

If you’re feeling pressured to be more efficient, you’re not alone. Research labs are facing an ever-growing number of chemical safety regulations and reports. This short video shows how to ensure compliance.

Nanoscale speed bump could regulate plasmons for high-speed data flow

April 1, 2015 12:08 pm | by Mark Esser, NIST | News | Comments

The name sounds like something Marvin the Martian might have built, but the “nanomechanical plasmonic phase modulator” is not a doomsday device. Developed by a team of government and university researchers, including physicists from NIST, the innovation harnesses tiny electron waves called plasmons. It’s a step towards enabling computers to process information hundreds of times faster than today’s machines.

Quantum teleportation on a chip

April 1, 2015 11:28 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories. These results pave the way to developing ultra-high-speed quantum computers and strengthening the security of communication.

Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

April 1, 2015 8:44 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown Univ. study provides gamers with some cognitive bonus points. The study results suggest that gaming not only improves their visual skill but also may improve their learning ability for those skills.

Team discovers new liquid crystal configurations

April 1, 2015 8:08 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Oil-based liquid crystals are ubiquitous; an understanding of their properties is behind the displays in most electronics. Water-based liquid crystals are less well understood, though their biocompatibility makes them a candidate for a variety of applications. New research has advanced the field's understanding of these materials, demonstrating never-before-seen configurations by confining a water-based liquid crystal in a cylinder.

Facebook app encourages individuals to get in touch with their DNA

April 1, 2015 7:48 am | by Laurel Thomas Gnagey, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Have you ever wondered if your dad's fight with prostate cancer means you could face the same reality? Perhaps your family has several members who have struggled with obesity and you wonder if it's something you inherited or if it's caused by the environment. Maybe you have always wanted to learn where your ancestors came from beyond the basic paper trail. Good news: Researchers have an app for that.

Plants enable highly sensitive temperature sensors

March 31, 2015 12:32 pm | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Scientists from ETH Zurich have developed a thermometer that is at least 100 times more sensitive than previous temperature sensors. It consists of a bio-synthetic hybrid material of tobacco cells and nanotubes. Humans have been inspired by nature since the beginning of time. We mimic nature to develop new technologies, with examples ranging from machinery to pharmaceuticals to new materials.

A “Wikipedia” for neurons

March 31, 2015 8:43 am | by Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon Univ. | Videos | Comments

The decades worth of data that has been collected about the billions of neurons in the brain is astounding. To help scientists make sense of this “brain big data,” researchers at Carnegie Mellon Univ. have used data mining to create www.neuroelectro.org, a publicly available Website that acts like Wikipedia, indexing physiological information about neurons.

Wearable technology can help with public speaking

March 31, 2015 8:34 am | by Leonor Sierra, Univ. of Rochester | Videos | Comments

Speaking in public is the top fear for many people. Now, researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Group at the Univ. of Rochester have developed an intelligent user interface for “smart glasses” that gives real-time feedback to the speaker on volume modulation and speaking rate, while being minimally distracting.

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