This week: A beautiful image of a triple crescent moon, building a better battery, a computer chip modeled on the human brain, mind controlled telepresence robots aid the disabled, and a tiny chip sized stand in for the human body.
Cassini Photographs Triple Crescent Moon Over Saturn
A single crescent moon is a familiar sight in Earth’s sky, but with Saturn’s many moons, you can see three or even more.
The three moons shown here — Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across), Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across), and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) — show marked contrasts. Titan, the largest moon in this image, appears fuzzy because we only see its cloud layers. And because Titan’s atmosphere refracts light around the moon, its crescent “wraps” just a little further around the moon than it would on an airless body. Rhea (upper left) appears rough because its icy surface is heavily cratered. And a close inspection of Mimas (center bottom), though difficult to see at this scale, shows surface irregularities due to its own violent history.
Improving the Cost and Power of Lithium-Ion Batteries
An advanced manufacturing approach for lithium-ion batteries, developed by researchers at MIT and at a spinoff company called 24M, promises to significantly slash the cost of the most widely used type of rechargeable batteries while also improving their performance and making them easier to recycle.
A Computer Chip Made To Process Like A Brain
A company that started in Perth several years ago is poised to revolutionize the world-wide computer industry with a computer chip that aims to mimic the operations of the human brain.
BrainChip was invented and developed over several years by Peter van der Made while based at the Innovation Centre of WA (ICWA), the start-up incubator in Technology Park, Bentley.
He says BrainChip has the ability to learn autonomously, evolve and associate information and respond to stimuli like a brain.
A Visit With A Mind Controlled Robot
For someone suffering from paralysis or limited mobility, visiting with other people is extremely difficult. A team of researchers at the Defitech Foundation Chair in Brain-Machine Interface (CNBI), headed by José del R. Millán, has however been working on a revolutionary brain-machine approach in order to restore a sense of independence to the disabled. The idea is to remotely control a robot from home with one’s thoughts. The research, involving numerous subjects located in different countries, produced excellent results in both human and technical terms. The conclusions are discussed in the June special edition of Proceedings of the IEEE, dedicated to brain-machine interfaces.
Full-Blown Body on a Chip
Scientists have long experimented with organs-on-chips: tiny representations of human organs, such as lungs, hearts and intestines, made from cells embedded on plastic about the size of a computer memory stick. Channels lined by living vascular cells then mimic the body’s circulatory system. But our bodies are complex systems of organs, so testing drugs on individual miniature organs only goes so far. Researchers now are aiming for something more: full-blown human bodies-on-chips.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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