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Argonne advances engine simulation

June 10, 2015 7:34 am | by Greg Cunningham, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

For engine designers in the digital age, time is money. And that time is measured in computer cycles. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory are partnering with Convergent Science Inc. to speed up a key piece of modeling and simulation software to ensure those cycles are used as effectively as possible, reducing product development time and resulting in better engines and savings for consumers.

Engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets

June 9, 2015 9:49 am | News | Comments

Computers and water typically don't mix, but in Manu Prakash's lab, the two are one and the same. Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and his students have built a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets.

Minecraft can declutter the robotic mind

June 9, 2015 9:35 am | by Brown University | News | Comments

Researchers from Brown University are developing a new algorithm to help robots better plan their actions in complex environments. It’s designed to help robots be more useful in the real world, but it’s being developed with the help of a virtual world — that of the video game Minecraft.

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Futuristic components on silicon chips

June 8, 2015 11:09 am | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A team of IBM researchers has developed a relatively simple, robust and versatile process for growing crystals made from compound semiconductor materials that will allow them be integrated onto silicon wafers. This is an important step toward making future computer chips that will allow integrated circuits to continue shrinking in size and cost even as they increase in performance.

What happened to MH370?

June 8, 2015 7:57 am | by Texas A&M Univ. | News | Comments

The plight of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370) is one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history, but an interdisciplinary research team has theorized the ill-fated plane plunged vertically into the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014. The researchers' computer simulations lead to the forensic assertion that a 90-degree nosedive explains the lack of debris or spilled oil in the water near where the plane is presumed to have crashed.

Next-gen illumination using silicon quantum dot-based white-blue LED

June 5, 2015 10:07 am | by Hiroshima Univ. | News | Comments

A Si quantum dot (QD)-based hybrid inorganic/organic light-emitting diode (LED) that exhibits white-blue electroluminescence has been fabricated by a Hiroshima Univ. team. A hybrid LED is expected to be a next-generation illumination device for producing flexible lighting and display, and this is achieved for the Si QD-based white-blue LED.

Soft robotic glove puts control in the grasp of hand-impaired patients

June 5, 2015 9:19 am | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Videos | Comments

Having achieved promising results in proof–of–concept prototyping and experimental testing, a soft robotic glove under development could someday help people suffering from loss of hand motor control to regain some of their daily independence.

Maximizing the Value of Scientific Literature

June 4, 2015 1:18 pm | by Jaqui Hodgkinson, VP Product Development, Elsevier | Articles | Comments

Reading through the more than one million articles published annually isn’t an option for life sciences researchers that want to keep on top of the constantly growing body of medical literature. That leaves two primary strategies for sifting through the burgeoning literature and extracting meaningful information: manual curation or automated curation.

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Recovering a rare metal from LCDs to avoid depleting key resource

June 4, 2015 9:00 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Life without bright screens on our smartphones and TVs is hard to imagine. But in 20 years, one of the essential components of the liquid-crystal displays, or LCDs, that make many of our gadgets possible could disappear. To address the potential shortage of this component—the element indium—scientists report a new way to recover the valuable metal so it could be recycled.

Evolving Electron Microscopes Push Even Deeper

June 3, 2015 2:58 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Electron microscopy is a multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-dimensional technique for imaging materials down to the atomic level. Developed in 1931 by German physicist Ernst Ruska and electrical engineer Max Knoll, the electron microscope (EM) has evolved from Ruska’s initial 400X capabilities to its current 10,000,000X performance.

Energy-Efficient Tunnel Ventilation

June 3, 2015 1:16 pm | by Fathi Tarada, Managing Director, Mosen Ltd., U.K. | Articles | Comments

Improving the efficiency of turbomachinery, including jet (turbine) fans used in tunnel ventilation systems, is essential in combating the volatile cost of fuel and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Energy-efficient equipment is also more attractive to worldwide transportation authorities.

Brain’s reaction to certain words could replace passwords

June 3, 2015 8:26 am | by Binghamton Univ. | News | Comments

You might not need to remember those complicated email and bank account passwords for much longer. According to a new study, the way your brain responds to certain words could be used to replace passwords. In "Brainprint," a newly published study in Neurocomputing, researchers from Binghamton Univ. observed the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD.

Helping robots handle uncertainty

June 3, 2015 7:30 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes are a way to model autonomous robots’ behavior in circumstances where neither their communication with each other nor their judgments about the outside world are perfect. The problem with Dec-POMDPs is that they’re as complicated as their name. They provide the most rigorous mathematical models of multi-agent systems under uncertainty.

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Light-powered healing of a wearable electrical conductor

June 2, 2015 12:07 pm | by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology | News | Comments

Mechanical failure along a conductive pathway can cause the unexpected shutdown of electronic devices, ultimately limiting device lifetimes. In particular, wearable electronic devices, which inevitably undergo dynamic and vigorous motions—bending, folding or twisting—are much more liable to suffer from such conductive failures compared with conventional flat electronic devices.

Tool measures the distance between phonon collisions

June 2, 2015 11:32 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Today’s computer chips pack billions of tiny transistors onto a plate of silicon within the width of a fingernail. Each transistor, just tens of nanometers wide, acts as a switch that, in concert with others, carries out a computer’s computations. As dense forests of transistors signal back and forth, they give off heat, which can fry the electronics, if a chip gets too hot.

Simulating the behavior of “active matter”

June 2, 2015 8:43 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

From flocks of starlings to schools of fish, nature is full of intricate dynamics that emerge from the collective behavior of individuals. In recent years, interest has grown in trying to capture similar dynamics to make self-assembling materials from so-called “active matter.” Brown Univ. researchers have shed new light on a particular class of active matter called active colloids.

Entangled photons unlock super-sensitive characterization of quantum tech

June 1, 2015 9:49 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

A new protocol for estimating unknown optical processes, called unitary operations, with precision enhanced by the unique properties of quantum mechanics has been demonstrated by scientists and engineers from the Univ. of Bristol and the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. The work could lead to both better sensors for medical research and new approaches to benchmark the performance of ultra-powerful quantum computers.

Small, discreet data glasses for everyday use

June 1, 2015 8:36 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Data glasses tend to be chunky, unstylish objects, so it's no wonder they haven't caught on among general consumers. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a technology that allows the "specs" to be made in small, unobtrusive designs. The new glasses also correct for farsightedness.

Insect mating behavior has lessons for drones

June 1, 2015 7:36 am | by Univ. of California, Riverside | News | Comments

Male moths locate females by navigating along the latter's pheromone (odor) plume, often flying hundreds of meters to do so. Two strategies are involved to accomplish this: males must find the outer envelope of the pheromone plume, and then head upwind. Can understanding such insect behavior be useful for robotics research?

Cheetah robot lands the running jump

May 29, 2015 10:56 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

In a leap for robot development, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs, making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously. To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance.

Researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound

May 29, 2015 7:47 am | by Jamie Abel, Ohio Supercomputer Center | News | Comments

Phonons have magnetic properties. In Nature Materials, Ohio State Univ. researchers describe how a magnetic field, roughly the size of a medical MRI, reduced the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12%. Simulations performed at the Ohio Supercomputer Center then identified the reason for it—the magnetic field induces a diamagnetic response in vibrating atoms known as phonons, which changes how they transport heat.

Donuts, math and superdense teleportation of quantum information

May 28, 2015 12:26 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Putting a hole in the center of the donut allows the deep-fried pastry to cook evenly, inside and out. As it turns out, the hole in the center of the donut also holds answers for a type of more efficient and reliable quantum information teleportation, a critical goal for quantum information science.

Breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers

May 28, 2015 8:07 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. electrical engineer Jelena Vuckovic wants to make computers faster and more efficient by reinventing how they send data back and forth between chips, where the work is done. In computers today, data is pushed through wires as a stream of electrons. That takes a lot of power, which helps explain why laptops get so warm.

New technique to understand cloud behavior

May 28, 2015 7:53 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

With two off-the-shelf digital cameras situated about 1 km apart facing Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists are collecting 3-D data on cloud behavior that have never been possible to collect before. The photos allow the team to measure how fast the clouds rise, which in turn can shed light on a wide range of areas, ranging from lightning rates to extreme precipitation to the ozone hole.

Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots

May 27, 2015 11:41 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics: intelligent handheld robots.

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