Friday, October 5, 2007

2.5 Mile Deep Hole Drilled Into San Andreas Fault

Posted by CowboyNeal on Thursday October 04, @09:43PM
from the heart-of-the-matter dept.
iandoh writes "Cool research: Geologists at Stanford University and the US Geological Survey have drilled a 2.5 mile deep borehole into the San Andreas fault. They've extracted over one ton of rock from 2 miles down, and they'll be installing sensors down the length of the borehole."

MIT conjures up algorithm for neural prosthetic device

A team of MIT researchers have crafted "a new algorithm to help create prosthetic devices that convert brain signals into action in patients who have been paralyzed or had limbs amputated." Essentially, neural prosthetic devices "represent an engineer's approach to treating paralysis and amputation," and this particular process utilizes a method called graphical models which represents the "mathematical relationship" between what a human attempts to do and the "neural manifestation" of that goal. Granted, even the gurus hard at work on this stuff admit that it's quite a ways from being pushed out to the public, but there's already plans in place to convert the algorithm into a usable device in due time.

[Via CNET, image courtesy of MIT]

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Solar Trees of Vienna: a Lovegrove, if you will

Behold the Solar Trees of Vienna, set to be unveiled in front of the MAK Museum on October 8th. It's just the latest from Ross Lovegrove who's already graced our pages with his Muon speaker and System X lighting system. Developed in coordination with Italian lighting Co. Artemide and solar cell Co. Sharp Solar, the installation could help wash away the godless hellscape of urban decay in the sweet bouquet of luminescent Lilies. Or not, depending upon its practical application. So if anyone happens to be in the area during the unveiling at 20.30 local time, by all means, send us some pictures and your thoughts -- Detroit awaits your response.

[Via Inhabitat]

Artificial corneas could save eyesight

While there's been no shortage of research surrounding the saving of one's eyesight, the EU-funded CORNEA project has now developed an artificial cornea that is showing promise in trials. Reportedly, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Regensburg have created a device that is "based on a commercially available polymer which absorbs no water and allows no cells to grow on it." Put simply, the cornea implant can "firmly connect with the natural part of the cornea, while the center remains free of cells and therefore clear." Apparently, early versions have already been successfully placed in the eyes of rabbits, and if ongoing testing goes smoothly, they'll be headed for humans as early as next year.

Adding Capsaicin Improves Anesthetic Treatment

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday October 04, @12:16AM
from the so-hot-it's-numb dept.
Biotech Science
eldavojohn writes "It's no secret what capsaicin, the fiery molecule of peppers, does to cell walls. In fact, it's now being used to open cells up to local anesthetics. Combine it with a new drug that works only from the insides of cells and you have a great system for relieving pain. From the article, 'QX-314 is known to reduce the activity of pain-sensing neurons in the nervous system and theoretically heighten pain thresholds. But there's a catch: Researchers found that "it wouldn't work from outside a nerve cell but it would work if you could get it inside," says Bruce Bean, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the new study."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Indiana Jones Gets Robbed

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday October 03, @11:14AM
from the no-time-for-love-doctor-jones dept.
HotChk101 writes
"Over 2000 production stills, plenty of sensitive paperwork including a complete production budget breakdown, possibly the script from Indiana Jones 4 and multiple computers were stolen from Steven Spielberg's Universal Studio office. The thief started contacting multiple entertainment websites including and offering the stolen goods for a sum of $2000.00."

[+] movies, belongsinamuseum, haha (tagging beta)

Microsoft Marketing to OS Pirates, Just Agree to Audits!

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday October 03, @10:34AM
from the isn't-that-wacky dept.

Stony Stevenson writes "In the latest sign that Microsoft expects to support its Windows XP operating system for the foreseeable future, the company has introduced a new licensing program designed to let users of fake or pirated copies of the business version of the OS upgrade to fully licensed copies. To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software going forward and agree to have their software infrastructure audited. Resellers who push the Get Genuine Windows Agreement to customers will get a cut of any new license fees they generate, Microsoft said."
[+] microsoft, arrrr (tagging beta)

When good toys go bad VIII: Scoble attacked by autonomous helicopter

Generally speaking, we tend to give autonomous vehicles the benefit of the doubt, but we should really come to grips with the fact that not all robotic flying machines have positive intentions. Apparently, one such ill-willed creation managed to lose control of itself and plow right into Robert Scoble's leg while he was out photowalking at Stanford University. Thankfully, no humans were maimed and the chopper did manage to recover from the crash and proceed on its normal, non-threatening flight path, but we're sure Mr. Scoble will be watching any unmanned crafts with extra caution from here on out.

US physicists build teensy 2D cloaking device

Posted Oct 3rd 2007 12:03PM by Paul Miller

Drop what you're doing, friend. Cloaking devices are real now, meaning all we need are force fields and some spandex jumpsuits and we'll be bonafide dwellers of the future. The good news comes to us from physicists at the University of Maryland, lead by Igor Smolyaninov, who successfully cloaked a 10 micron gold ring by bending two dimensions of visible light. This follows up successful research last year that had worked out an invisibility cloak in the electromagnetic spectrum, but is still a far cry from a true 3D cloaking device, since such an object would have to bend light waves both magnetically and electronically simultaneously -- this 2D model is just pushing around "surface plasmons" created out of the light waves. While the tech probably won't make the jump to 3D cloaking, it might be used in computer chips or as a replacement for fiber optics some time down the road, which we suppose is alright.

Researchers unwarping smudged fingerprints in record time

Posted Oct 3rd 2007 6:01AM by Darren Murph
Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Gurus at the University of Warwick have developed a system that "identifies partial, distorted, scratched, smudged, or otherwise warped fingerprints in just a few seconds." The process is garnering attention thanks to its ability to spit out results in the blink of an eye after it "unwarps any fingerprint that has been distorted and creates a clear, digital representation that can then be mapped onto an image space of all other prints held on a database." Reportedly, researchers have already established the Warwick Warp spinoff company to bring the technology to market, and they're looking in the commercial access control, financial transaction authorization and possibly even ID card / border control segments for opportunities.

[Via Wired]
Tags: biometric, biometrics, fingerprint, fingerprint scanner, FingerprintScanner, university, warwick

Therapists, Army using Wii to rehabilitate patients

Posted Oct 3rd 2007 5:07AM by Darren Murph
Filed under: Gaming
We've seen a variety of methods used to help stroke patients regain motion and motor functions, but we can't think of anything more exciting than playing video games as a critical part of your rehabilitation. Turns out, a number of physical therapists around the country are actually allowing patients to relearn balance and movement skills by playing the Wii, which as you know, it already quite the hit with the geriatric set. Furthermore, injured soldiers in Landstuhl, Germany are also "regaining their strength by playing virtual games on the Wii," and there's even suggestions out to conduct a research study that looks at the effectiveness of using Nintendo's latest console as a rehab tool. Hit the read link for the video report.

[Thanks, Pat D.]
Tags: army, health, nintendo, Physical therapists, PhysicalTherapists, rehab, rehabilitation, stroke, therapy, wii

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