Thursday, 10 January 2013

New Automobile Techonology & Science

    New engine sends shock waves through auto industry

  • Despite shifting into higher gear within the consumer's green conscience, hybrid vehicles are still tethered to the gas pump via a fuel-thirsty 100-year-old invention: the internal combustion engine.
  • However, researchers at Michigan State University have built a prototype gasoline engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids. Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.
  • The engine has a rotor that's equipped with wave-like channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as the rotor spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber, causing a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel to transmit energy.
  • Wave Disk Generator uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion; standard car engines use just 15 percent. As a result, the generator is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than typical combustion engines.
  • Researchers estimate the new model could shave almost 1,000 pounds off a car's weight currently taken up by conventional engine systems.
Michigan State's team of engineers hope to have a car-sized 25-kilowatt version of the prototype ready by the end of the year.

Automotive Technology

Recent Science journals in Automotive Technology are closed access, peer reviewed International journal intended to publish new ideas with state of art research outcomes in the domain of automobile technology. Recent Science Publications invites authors to submit original and unpublished work that communicates current research on automotive electronics, automotive technology, alternate fuels, energy efficient engine design and engine technology
We currently publish the following journals in automotive technology and we strongly encourage authors not to limit their articles to the following titles.
Computer scientist developing intersections of the future with fully autonomous vehicles
  • Intersections of the future will not need stop lights or stop signs, but will look like a somewhat chaotic flow of driverless, autonomous cars slipping past one another as they are managed by a virtual traffic controller, says computer scientist Peter Stone.
  • "A future where sitting in the backseat of the car reading our newspaper while it drives us effortlessly through city streets and intersections is not that far away," says Stone, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Stone's research focuses on creating artificially intelligent (AI) computing systems, and he is developing some of the systems that are needed to make autonomous driving a reality.
  • For example, Stone and his students created an autonomous car, named Marvin, in cooperation with Austin Robot Technology that competed in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge competition.
  • This week, Stone presents his research on autonomous intersection management at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • "Computers can already fly a passenger jet much like a trained human pilot, but people still face the dangerous task of driving automobiles," he says.
  • "Vehicles are being developed that will be able to handle most of the driving tasks themselves. But once autonomous vehicles become popular, we need to coordinate those vehicles on the streets."
  • To that end, Stone is developing virtual intersection systems that will make auto travel safer and faster.
  • In his newest system, AI driver agents (the autonomous vehicles) "call ahead" and reserve space and a time at an intersection. Then an arbiter agent, called an "intersection manager," approves the request, and the vehicles move through. There is little stopped traffic. (Watch a simulation video here)
  • For now, the action takes place mainly as a simulation on a computer, or with a single real car (for example, Marvin) interacting with many other simulated cars.
  • But Stone says the day is near when we'll start seeing autonomous vehicles on the streets, and the benefits of controlling the cars - and traffic - will be realized.

Driverless Cars Would Reshape Automobiles & the Transit System

  • The big opportunity of robocars isn't the cars themselves; it's how they could create a far more efficient transportation system.

When I've thought about driverless cars, which if you believe Sergey Brin, will be available within "several years," I've tended to think of them as a drop-in replacement for our current automobiles. So, you'd buy a VW Automaton and it would sit in your driveway until you wanted to go somewhere. Then, you'd hop in, say, "Take me to Lake Merritt," and then just sit back and pop in the latest Animal Collective while the computer drove.

  • But maybe that's not what would happen at all. Changes in transportation technology have tended to be accompanied by changes to transportation systems, too. Long-time technologist Brad Templeton argues that this will, in fact, be the case. And he's even got an idea of what the big shift might be. We could enter the age of the "whistlecar." If one can hire a cheap specialized 'robotaxi' (or whistlecar) on demand when one has a special automotive need," Templeton writes, "car users can elect to purchase a vehicle only for their most common needs, rather than trying to meet almost all of them -- or to not purchase at all."

  • This vision is kind of stunning: imagine the Kiva Systems logistics robots that now speed around major warehouses, but for people. Transportation-as-a-service models could really take off in a world of hyperoptimized robotaxis. Not only would the robotaxis be built differently from normal cars, but people's private vehicles (if they had one) would change as they realized how they could use the new system more effectively.

  • That is to say: right now, people buy big old SUVs and cars that drive 400 miles on a tank because they are buying for the maximum number of use cases. Really, most people drive their cars a few dozen miles at most and they do it alone. People have WAY more car than they need. So, Templeton's conceit is that if we had roaming driverless vehicles that would show up at your door when you called one, you might be inclined to buy "less car" because you'd get the rest on-demand. 

  • My own thought: perhaps when you bought a small, electric vehicle, you'd get a "service plan" that came with X number of trips in a driverless vehicle of your choosing; your bundle would be the small, energy efficient daily car and access to self-driving vans, trucks, station wagons, and sports cars.

  • Templeton's theorizing could also answer some of the critiques from transit-oriented environmentalists who see driverless cars as perpetuating the doomed auto-heavy American system. Don't think about the driverless car as a fossil-fuel powered car replacement; think of it as one mode of a radically more efficient system: what could you do now within a system that now has free-floating semi-autonomous people transporters? 

  • Let's say the tech opens up the system to change. Templeton's main argument is that the new system would bounce back on the tech. The design of cars would change because they'd have a new set of uses, possibilities, and constraints. I'll just provide the bullet list here of what might happen to cars in the auto-automobile era. You can check out his post for the details

  1. Range is much less important
  2. Battery problems are considerably reduced
  3. Refueling is not usually done while humans travel
  4. Single passenger vehicle
  5. Reverse and face to face seating
  6. Windshield requirs will be much more common
ements are different
  • Cargo space is not necessary in all vehicles
  • Acceleration is not a big requirement
  • Speed may not be that important
  • Cars may be much lighter
  • Suspensions can be super-soft
  • In time, safety concerns change considerably
  • The in-car environment changes considerably
  • Sleeper cars
  • Robo-RV
  • Parking is not a problem for the humans (or society)
  • Many car owners may rent out their cars


    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Neno teconoligy & Science


    • Nanotechnology is science and engineering at the scale of atoms and molecules. Get the basics on this amazing new technology in our beginner's guide,

    In its original sense, 'nanotechnology' refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

    • When K. Eric Drexler (right) popularized the word 'nanotechnology' in the 1980's, he was talking about building machines on the scale of molecules, a few nanometers wide—motors, robot arms, and even whole computers, far smaller than a cell.

    •  Drexler spent the next ten years describing and analyzing these incredible devices, and responding to accusations of science fiction. Meanwhile, mundane technology was developing the ability to build simple structures on a molecular scale. As nanotechnology became an accepted concept, the meaning of the word shifted to encompass the simpler kinds of nanometer-scale technology. 

    • The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative was created to fund this kind of nanotech: their definition includes anything smaller than 100 nanometers with novel properties.

    • Much of the work being done today that carries the name 'nanotechnology' is not nanotechnology in the original meaning of the word. Nanotechnology, in its traditional sense, means building things from the bottom up, with atomic precision. This theoretical capability was envisioned as early as 1959 by the renowned physicist Richard Feynman.
    I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously. . . The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big.
                                                                                           — Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner in physics

    • Based on Feynman's vision of miniature factories using nanomachines to build complex products, advanced nanotechnology (sometimes referred to as
    molecular manufacturing will make use of positionally-controlled mechanochemistry guided by molecular machine systems.

    • Shortly after this envisioned molecular machinery is created, it will result in a manufacturing revolution, probably causing severe disruption. It also has serious economic, social, environmental, and military implications.

    • Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to "nanotech") is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology works with materials, devices, and other structures with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale.

    •  With a variety of potential applications, nanotechnology is a key technology for the future and governments have invested billions of dollars in its research. Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars. The European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars.

    • Scientists currently debate the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.

    • Protein cages can be used to guide the assembly of binary nanoparticle superlattices through tunable electrostatic interactions with charged gold nanoparticles.

                                             Memristive devices

    • This Review looks at recent progress in the development and understanding of memristive devices, and examines the performance requirements for computing with such devices.


    • Scanning tunnelling microscopy and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy measurements reveal that yttria, a high-κ dielectric, can form a complete monolayer on platinum-supported graphene.

                                             Organic electronics

    • Weak van der Waals interactions control the packing of self-assembled monolayers in a molecular diode and have a remarkable effect on the device performance.

                                        Graphene heterostructures

    • A tunnelling transistor based on stacks of chemically grown graphene and other two-dimensional layers shows record performance.

                                               Molecular motors

    • A molecular motor adsorbed on a gold surface can be made to rotate in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction by selective inelastic electron tunnelling through different subunits of the motor.

    • Experiments on an YBa2Cu3O7–δ nano-island reveal fundamental information about the order parameter in this type of high-temperature superconducting material.


    • The metal detoxification pathway in the earthworm can be exploited for the synthesis of luminescent semiconductor quantum dots that could be used in live cell imaging.

            Environmental Regulator Launches New Effort to  Monitor Hormonelike Chemicals

    • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, responding to scientists' concerns, will now study whether low doses of hormonelike chemicals cause human harm.

     water bottles
    • Handling water bottles is one way people are exposed to the endocrine disruptor BPA. Image: Flickr/Klearchos Kapoutsis.

    • Spurred by mounting scientific evidence, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is initiating a new effort to examine whether low doses of hormone-mimicking chemicals are harming human health and whether chemical testing should be overhauled.

    • The EPA, responding to a report by a group of 12 scientists published in March, is collaborating with other federal agencies to assess whether the traces of chemicals found in food, cosmetics, pesticides and plastics affect human development and reproduction. As part of that review, they will evaluate whether current testing is capturing effects linked to hormone mimics, and if the agency should alter its risk assessments.

    • The federal officials will complete a “state of the science” paper by the end of 2013, which then reportedly will be reviewed by a national panel of scientists.

    • “The state of the science paper findings will provide information to help inform how the safety of chemicals [is] assessed,” according to the EPA website.

    • “While EPA is interested in all aspects of low dose extrapolation, this short term effort is designed to meet immediate science-policy needs.”

    • There is longstanding disagreement in the scientific community whether exposure to substances that mimic or block estrogen, testosterone and other hormones leads to human health impacts.

    • However, a report released in March concluded that small doses can have big effects. For three years, researchers led by Tufts University’s Laura Vandenberg examined hundreds of studies on the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and their report found that the evidence “clearly indicates that low doses cannot be ignored.”

    • The scientists in that report criticized the federal government’s decades-old strategy for testing most chemicals – exposing lab rodents to high doses then extrapolating down for real-life human exposures. They said it is inadequate to protect people and urged reforms because hormone-like chemicals can have health effects at low doses that do not occur at high doses.

    • The EPA, in its new effort, will evaluate this phenomenon, which is called "non-monotonic dose response."

    • “Current testing paradigms are missing important, sensitive endpoints” for human health, the scientists said in their report, published in the journal Endocrine Reviews. “The effects of low doses cannot be predicted by the effects observed at high doses. Thus, fundamental changes in chemical testing and safety determination are needed to protect human health.”

    • Pete Myers, founder of Environmental Health News and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, was the senior author of the report.

    • University of Missouri professor Frederick vom Saal, a co-author of the report, said it is about time the government takes low doses seriously.

    • “I’m thrilled they’re doing this and it’s desperately needed,” said vom Saal, who studies effects of low doses of bisphenol A (BPA) in rodents. “Hopefully it won’t take long and we can stop asking whether there are low-dose effects and then deal with the fact that there are.”

    • Vom Saal said the EPA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently makes “very frightening assumptions” about exposures to these chemicals, such as BPA, which is found in canned food liners, polycarbonate plastic and some paper receipts.

    • “You cannot test a hormone like you would a toxicant,” he said. “A chemical that adds or subtracts to hormones already in your body is going to have effects at low levels.”

    • Vom Saal said federal agencies have for years determined the safety of endocrine-disrupting compounds without testing them at low levels. “There are no such thing as safe levels when you’re talking endocrine disruptors,” he said.

                        Graphene Towers Promise "Flexi-Electronics"

    • 3-D graphene blocks—grown between forming ice crystals—add elasticity to the super strength and conductivity of sheets of graphene, a 2-D form of carbon first isolated less than a decade ago.

    • The graphene towers' honeycomb structure gives it super strength and resilience. Image: L. Qiu, Monash University .

    • It can support 50,000 times its own weight, springs back into shape after being compressed by up to 80% and has a density much lower than most comparable metal-based materials. A new superelastic, three-dimensional form of graphene can even conduct electricity, paving the way for flexible electronics, researchers say.

    • The team, led by Dan Li, a materials engineer at Monash University in Clayton, Australia, coaxed 1-centimeter-high graphene blocks or 'monoliths' from tiny flakes of graphene oxide, using ice crystals as templates. The work is published today in Nature Communications.

    • Li and his colleagues adapted an industrial technique called freeze casting to do just that. This involves growing layers of an oxygen-coated, soluble version of graphene called graphene oxide between forming ice crystals. On cooling the aqueous solution of graphene oxide flakes, a thin layer of the nanomaterial becomes trapped between the growing crystals, forming a continuous network that retains its structure once the ice is thawed.

    • Researchers have used this method before, but the resulting material had poor mechanical strength — a property that Li attributes to the oxygen layer that coats each flake, which weakens bonding between neighboring flakes in the network.        

    • In the latest study, researchers show that by partially stripping the oxygen coating before freeze casting, they could enhance the bonding between adjacent flakes in the network, producing much stronger materials.

    • After freeze casting, the honeycomb-like network held its shape as the ice was removed. The researchers could then chemically convert the graphene oxide into graphene, strengthening inter-sheet bonding, and so the material itself, still further.
                                              Fill the void
    Li attributes the new graphene's properties to its structure: the individual graphene sheets are neatly aligned, forming an ordered network of hexagonal pores.

    • Rodney Ruoff, a researcher in graphene assemblies at the University of Texas at Austin, says that the material “is very interesting for the extremely low density that the researchers achieve, as well as its exceptional mechanics”. He adds that the structure could be used as a scaffold for flexible battery electrodes, or form the basis of many composite materials. “It would be interesting to fill the pores with rubber materials, for example,” he says. “There is a great interest in making rubber thermally or electrically conductive without harming its elastic properties.”

    • Li says that the superelastic graphene has potential for use in biomedical applications. “Biomaterials people are very interested in this structure because the pore sizes match existing tissue scaffolds very well,” he says.
    Self-Healing, Stretchable Wires Created Using Liquid Metal

    • Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed elastic, self-healing wires in which both the liquid-metal core and the polymer sheath reconnect at the molecular level after being severed.

    "Because we're using liquid metal, these wires have excellent conductive properties," says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "And because the wires are also elastic and self-healing, they have a lot of potential for use in technologies that could be exposed to high-stress environments."

    • The researchers first created tiny tunnels, called microfluidic channels, in a commercially available self-healing polymer using solid wire. By filling those channels with a liquid-metal alloy of indium and gallium, they were able to create a liquid-metal wire in an elastic sheath. Because the wire is liquid, it can be stretched along with the polymer sheath.

    • When the wires are sliced or severed, the liquid metal oxidizes -- forming a "skin" that prevents it from leaking out of its sheath. When the severed edges of the wire are placed back together, the liquid metal reconnects and the sheath re-forms its molecular bonds.

    • "We're also excited about this work because it allows us to create more complex circuits and rewire existing circuits using nothing more than a pair of scissors by cutting and reconfiguring the wires so that they connect in different ways," Dickey says.

    • Similarly, the technique developed by Dickey's team could be used to create complex, three-dimensional structures with connecting microfluidic channels, by cutting the polymer sheath into sections and reconnecting them at different angles with the channels still in alignment.

    Update Medical Science & Techonology

    • Not only are real life versions of the Star Trek device under development, but some new medical devices are making it look a bit old fashioned. Take, for example, the ViSi Mobile vital signs monitor built by Sotera Wireless of San Diego, California. This wearable sensor pack uses Wi-Fi technology and is claimed to allow doctors using a tablet or smartphone to remotely monitor patient vital signs with the accuracy of an intensive care unit. 

    • Traditionally, in order to view tiny biological structures such as viruses, they must first be removed from their natural habitats and frozen.

    While this certainly keeps them still for the microscope, it greatly limits what we can learn about them – it’s comparable to an ichthyologist only being able to study dead fish in a lab, instead of observing live ones in the ocean.

    Now, however, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have devised a technique for observing live viruses in a liquid environment. It could have huge implications for the development of treatments for viral infections. 

    Space Display Simulates Motion Parallax For More Immersive 3D

    • A new interactive 3-D display developed by Californian startup Infinite Z can track hand and eye movements in real time to let users manipulate virtual objects in three dimensions in a highly intuitive way.

    • The zSpace display could bring a new level of realism to computer-aided design, virtual reality simulations, and even gaming. 

    New collagen scaffolding technique to benefit tissue engineering

    • Collagen is the main component of connective tissues and the most abundant protein in the human body. Biocompatible and biodegradable, it is an excellent material for making scaffolding for tissue engineering.

    • The trouble is, conventional techniques disrupt the fibrous structure of collagen and weaken the end product. Tufts University researchers are aiming to change this with a new technique for fabricating collagen structures that avoids disruption and retains collagen’s strength.  

    Microscopic Blood in Urine Unreliable Indicator of Urinary Tract Cancer

    • Microscopic amounts of blood in urine have been considered a risk factor for urinary tract malignant tumors. However, only a small proportion of patients referred for investigation are subsequently found to have cancer.

    •  A new Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published in the February Mayo Clinic Proceedings reports on the development and testing of a Hematuria Risk Index to predict cancer risk. This could potentially lead to significant reductions in the number of unnecessary evaluations.Jan. 9, 2013.

    • Microscopic amounts of blood in urine have been considered a risk factor for urinary tract malignant tumors. However, only a small proportion of patients referred for investigation are subsequently found to have cancer. A new Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published in the February Mayo Clinic Proceedings reports on the development and testing of a Hematuria Risk Index to predict cancer risk. This could potentially lead to significant reductions in the number of unnecessary evaluations.

                                                               Biomedical Engineering

    • First truly cross-disciplinary journal for the professional groups involved into health technologies.

  • Medical and scientific research professionals write articles not only for their colleagues, but directed to all other groups of readers as well, and vice versa.

  • Official Journal of the IUPSEM (International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine)

      • Health and Technology is the first truly cross-disciplinary journal on issues related to health technologies addressing all professions relating to health, care and health technology.

      • The journal constitutes an information platform connecting medical technology and informatics with the needs of care, health care professionals and patients. Thus, medical physicists and biomedical/clinical engineers are encouraged to write articles not only for their colleagues, but directed to all other groups of readers as well, and vice versa.

      By its nature, the journal presents and discusses hot subjects including but not limited to patient safety, patient empowerment, disease surveillance and management, e-health and issues concerning data security, privacy, reliability and management, data mining and knowledge exchange as well as health prevention.

      • The journal also addresses the medical, financial, social, educational and safety aspects of health technologies as well as health technology assessment and management, including issues such security, efficacy, cost in comparison to the benefit, as well as social, legal and ethical implications.
      • This journal is a communicative source for the health work force (physicians, nurses, medical physicists, clinical engineers, biomedical engineers, hospital engineers, etc.).

      • the ministries of health, hospital management, self-employed doctors, health care providers and regulatory agencies, the medical technology industry, patients' associations, universities (biomedical and clinical engineering, medical physics, medical informatics, biology, medicine and public health as well as health economics programs), research institutes and professional, scientific and technical organizations.

      • Health and Technology is jointly published by Springer and the IUPESM (International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine) in cooperation with the World Health Organization.

                                    Medical Simulation And Its Impact

      • Blood loss is one of the leading causes of death on the battlefield, but war-zone medics often find it difficult to receive the training to prevent those deaths.

      • Today they can “save” a life-sized arm developed by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training that simulates “bleeding.”

      • Researchers there have developed the arm in conjunction with the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and Chi Systems. On Tuesday, they demonstrated how it works during the nation’s largest exhibition of modeling, simulation and related technologies at Orange County Convention Center.

                              Using Spam Blockers To Target HIV, Too

      • A Microsoft researcher and his team make a surprising new assault on the AIDS epidemic
      Cut-rate painkillers! Unclaimed riches in Nigeria!! Most of us quickly identify such e-mail messages as spam. But how would you teach that skill to a machine? David Heckerman needed to know.

      • Early this decade, Heckerman was leading a spam-blocking team at Microsoft Research. To build their tool, team members meticulously mapped out thousands of signals that a message might be junk. An e-mail featuring “Viagra,” for example, was a good bet to be spam–but things got complicated in a hurry.
                                               Laser Pinters And Your Health

      Laser printer description

      • Do Laser printers cause harm to your health?
      According to the  recent study published in the online issue of American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology Journal,some of the Laser printers could release tiny particles of toner-like material into the air and could pose a long term health hazard to people when these are inhaled.

      • The report which was based on the research conducted at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane study who studied the printers used in our home and office found that some of these printers released particles from the toner-an ultra thiner powder used instead of ink.

      • This study investigated particle number and PM2.5 emissions from printers using the TSI SMPS, TSI CPC 3022, and 3025A TSI P-Trak and DustTrak.The monitoring of particle characteristics in a large open-plan office showed that particles generated by printers can significantly (p = 0.01) affect the submicrometer particle number concentration levels in the office.These released particles were comparable to emissions released from cigarette smoking.
      • This could mean that you could end up with the same lung as a passive smoker does?
                                                         "THINK ABOUT IT"

      Early-warning software could reduce false alarms of seizures

      Early-warning software could reduce false alarms of seizures

                          Microfluidic chip to quickly diagnose the flu

      Microfluidic chip to quickly diagnose the flu

      • During the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, which spread across more than 200 countries and killed more than 18,000 people, it became clear that flu diagnosis was often taking too long and resulting in frequent false negatives.
      • Today, researchers from Boston University, Harvard, and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are reporting in the journal PLoS ONE that they have built a microfluidic chip that rivals in accuracy the gold-standard diagnostic test known as RT-PCR but is faster, cheaper, and disposable.
             Pocket Brain app offers searchable 3D atlas of the brain

      Pocket Brain app offers searchable 3D atlas of the brain
      Of all the subjects best taught in 3D, anatomy has got to be up there. And when it comes to human anatomy, the brain is arguably the most complex organ, if not system, of them all.
      So it's fitting that 3-year-old medical education app publisher eMedia out of Ireland is adding the Pocket Brain app to its suite of 3D Pocket Anatomy offerings. (First came the body and the heart.) .

      New medical technology improves image quality and reduces radiation

      • Particle physicists have developed a new medical technology that combines PET and MRI in one. Benefit: Improved image quality and less radiation.

      • Current cancer examinations involve high levels of radiation. Based on the Big Bang research in CERN, particle physicists at University in Oslo have created a brand new technology that combines the PET and MR medical imaging technologies. This combination involves much less radiation than current technology.

      • PET is an abbreviation of Positron emission tomography and it provides a spatial image of where the cancer cells are located in the body. PET scans are harder to interpret if medical staff cannot situate the location of cancer cells in relation to the skeleton and soft tissue. This can be done by comparing PET images with an anatomical picture such as CT (computerised tomography) or MR (magnetic resonance) scans.

      • CT scans provide a three-dimensional x-ray image of the body. MR scans photograph the body using radio waves and a powerful magnetic field. MR provides far better images of soft tissue than CT does. The drawback of MR scans is that the examination is more expensive and takes much longer. The advantage is that MR does not emit ionising radiation.

      • Currently, most hospitals combine PET and CT, but this combination has a significant weakness.

      • 'The radiation from such an examination is ten times higher than the average background radiation over the course of a year. Many cancer patients must be examined multiple times to test whether the treatment is working. The total radiation during treatment can therefore be very high', says Erlend Bolle, a researcher in particle physics in the Department of Physics at University of Oslo (UiO), Norway.

                               Animal scanner for research

      • Today, there are two types of PET technologies, each adapted to a particular use: One is adapted for clinical examinations of patients. The other technology is optimised to let researchers find new and better cancer treatments by testing new medicines on animals. Siemens and Philips have recently launched a new PET/MR combination for patients. Particle physicists at UiO are the first in the world to develop a specially adapted PET/MR solution for scans of animals.

      • 'The high resolution in our PET scanner provides better images, and the high sensitivity makes it possible to use only half as much radioactivity in the examinations without it affecting the image quality. This opens new possibilities in research, and may also contribute to reducing radiation in clinical scanners, especially within mammography and brain scans. We therefore hope that Philips and Siemens find our technology interesting', says Bolle to the reserach magazine Apollon.

      • Together with his three colleagues, he has constructed a PET machine that is so small that it can be placed inside an MR machine. Both images can therefore be taken at the same time, and medical personnel do not have to correct the errors that occur when two images are combined after they have been taken.
                                     Eats up all the photons

      • In a standard PET examination, radioactive isotopes are attached to sugar molecules and injected into the body. The PET image is taken one hour later, when the sugar has been distributed to the entire body. Cancer cells burn sugar quicker than healthy cells. Radioactive gamma particles therefore accumulate in cancer cells. The gamma particles send out two sets of photons in opposite directions. This is called parallel photons.

      • In order to trace the radioactive source, the PET scanner must find which parallel photons are linked. This is one of the great challenges for current PET scanners.

      • As long as the photons hit the detectors at a right angle, all is well. When they are captured, it is possible to calculate which two photons are linked. The problem arises when the photons hit the detector at an angle. This leads to a great risk of imprecise measurements of the collision points. This diminishes the image quality.

      • Only half of the photons deposit all their energy on first impact. On subsequent impacts, only some of the energy is deposited before the photons change direction and deposit the rest of the energy elsewhere. Current detectors have no depth information and therefore cannot reconstruct the positions of these photons.

      • 'In order to capture all the photons, we measure the position in three dimensions in a five-layer detector', Bolle says.

      Emerging Technologies Science

                                                        Emerging Technologies Science                
      •                  In the history of technology, emerging technologies are contemporary advances and innovation in various fields of technology. Various converging technologies have emerged in the technological convergence of different systems evolving towards similar goals. Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video that now share resources and interact with each other, creating new efficiencies.
      Emerging technologies are those technical innovations which represent progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage;converging technologies represent previously distinct fields which are in some way moving towards stronger inter-connection and similar goals. However, the opinion on the degree of impact, status and economic viability of several emerging and converging technologies vary.
                                      Emerging Technologies Science History

      • Over centuries, innovative methods and new technologies are developed and opened up. Some of these technologies are due to theoretical research, others commercial research and development.

      •  By contrast, disruptive technologies are those where a new method replaces the previous technology and make it redundant, for example the replacement of horse drawn carriages by automobiles.

      • Technological growth includes incremental developments and disruptive technologies. An example of the former was the gradual roll-out of DVD as a development intended to follow on from the previous optical technology Compact Disc.
                                                  Debate Over Emerging Technologies

      Many writers, including computer scientist Bill Joy, have identified clusters of technologies that they consider critical to humanity's future. Joy warns that the technology could be used by elites for good or evil. They could use it as "good shepherds" for the rest of humanity, or decide everyone else is superfluous and push for mass extinction of those made unnecessary by technology.

      Advocates of the benefits of technological change typically see emerging and converging technologies as offering hope for the betterment of the human condition.

      Much ethical debate centers on issues of distributive justice in allocating access to beneficial forms of technology. Some thinkers, such as environmental ethicist Bill McKibben, oppose the continuing development of advanced technology partly out of fear that its benefits will be distributed unequally in ways that could worsen the plight of the poor.

      • Some analysts such as Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, argue that as information technology advances, robots and other forms of automation will ultimately result in significant unemployment as machines and software begin to match and exceed the capability of workers to perform most routine jobs.

      As robotics and artificial intelligence develop further, even many skilled jobs may be threatened. Technologies such as machine learning  may ultimately allow computers to do many knowledge-based jobs that require significant education.

      This may result in substantial unemployment at all skill levels, stagnant or falling wages for most workers, and increased concentration of income and wealth as the owners of capital capture an ever larger fraction of the economy.

      •  This in turn could lead to depressed consumer spending and economic growth as the bulk of the population lacks sufficient discretionary income to purchase the products and services produced by the economy.

                                     Emerging Technologies Science Acronyms

                                                  Emerging Technologies Science Further Reading

      • Giersch, H. (1982). Emerging technologies: Consequences for economic growth, structural change, and employment : symposium 1981. Tübingen: Mohr.

      • Jones-Garmil, K. (1997). The wired museum: Emerging technology and changing paradigms. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums.

      Law and Policy
      • Branscomb, L. M. (1993). Empowering technology: Implementing a U.S. strategy. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

      • Raysman, R., & Raysman, R. (2002). Emerging technologies and the law: Forms and analysis. Commercial law intellectual property series. New York, N.Y.: Law Journal Press.

      Information & Learning
      • Hung, D., & Khine, M. S. (2006). Engaged learning with emerging technologies. Dordrecht: Springer.

      • Kendall, K. E. (1999). Emerging information technologies: Improving decisions, cooperation, and infrastructure. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
      • Cavin, R. K., & Liu, W. (1996). Emerging technologies: Designing low power digital systems. [New York]: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

      NEST – New and Emerging Science and Technology – NEWS
      EU at the top in research

      • Two EU-grantees, Prof. K. Novoselov and Prof. A. Geim, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 for their groundbreaking research in two-dimensional graphene. Both professors are member of the University of Manchester (UK).
      • Graphene is a super thin (just one atom thick) wafer of carbon atoms that is set to revolutionise electronics and photonics, such as computers, sensors and solar cells. Graphene is unique in that it is extremely rigid with fascinating mechanical and electronic properties. 

      • The team of Prof. Novoselov (on the right in the picture; click on the image for a high-resolution version - 5 MB) and Prof. Geim competed successfully for grants from the EU Framework Programmes, including funding from the FP6 NEST scheme ('New and Emerging Science and Technology'). With this NEST grant (more than EUR 1.5 million), they were able to advance their work as partners in the SIBMAR NEST project, coordinated by the University of Zürich.

      • The project was bolstered by the participation of both professors, whose know-how and innovative insight into graphene was an essential element in the success of the SIBMAR NEST project.
      • Bringing together researchers from the Czech Republic, Switzerland and the UK, the SIBMAR project developed a technique, ready for commercial spin-off, for three-dimensional (3D) holographic imaging of biomolecules with atomic-level resolution using low-energy electrons. To be continued!

                          NASA sends Mona Lisa to the moon with lasers

      NASA sends Mona Lisa to the moon with lasers

      • NASA scientists, having apparently nothing better to do, have shot an image of the Mona Lisa to the moon by piggybacking it on laser pulses. Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece was successfully received by an instrument aboard the agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) some 240,000 miles away.

      • "This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," MIT's David Smith, head of the spacecraft's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), said in a release.
      "In the near future, this type of simple laser communication might serve as a backup for the radio

      • Communication that satellites use. In the more distant future, it may allow communication at higher data rates than present radio links can provide."

            Europe's Space Agency Kicks Off Asteroid Collision Mission

      • Doomsday isn't far from many people's imaginations, whether it's the end of the Mayan calendar, the rapture, or a massive asteroid smashing into the Earth. Now, one of these far-flung scenarios may become even less likely.

      • The European Space Agency announced this week that it's in the beginning phases of an "Asteroid Impact and Deflection Mission" with its U.S. partner Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The eventual goal of the mission is to verify whether scientists can collide with an asteroid that's hurtling through space -- so as to avoid any possible