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Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

Simple Circuit Could Double Cell Phone Data Speeds

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 00:00

A circuit that lets a radio send and receive data simultaneously over the same frequency could supercharge wireless data transfer.

A relatively simple circuit invented by researchers at the University of Texas could let smartphones and other wireless devices send and receive data twice as fast as they do now.

Are Telepathy Experiments Stunts, or Science?

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 00:00

Scientists have established direct communication between two human brains, but is it more than a stunt?

Two scientific teams this year patched together some well-known technologies to directly exchange information between human brains.

Solar Panels That Configure Themselves

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:41

A new solar power system is easy to add to a roof, and performs its own safety checks.

Ordinarily, installing and connecting a new array of rooftop solar panels takes days, weeks, or even months because the hardware is complex and various permits are needed. Yesterday, on a frigid day in Charlestown, Massachusetts, researchers completed the process in about an hour.

Solar-Power System Is Easy to Install, and Therefore Much Cheaper

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:41

A new solar power system is easy to add to a roof, and performs its own safety checks.

Ordinarily, installing and connecting a new array of rooftop solar panels takes days, weeks, or even months because the hardware is complex and various permits are needed. Yesterday, on a frigid day in Charlestown, Massachusetts, researchers completed the process in about an hour.

The Search for Exceptional Genomes

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 00:00

They walk among us. Natural experiments, living ordinary lives, unaware that their genes may hold the clue to the next superdrug.

Ten years ago, scientists discovered that some people are naturally missing working copies of a gene known as PCSK9. The consequences of the mutation were extraordinary. These people, including a Texas fitness instructor, a woman from Zimbabwe, and a 49-year-old Frenchman, had almost no bad cholesterol in their blood. Otherwise, they were perfectly normal.

China’s Future City

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 00:00

China has put political muscle and technology into Tianjin Eco-City.

Strolling along sidewalks shaded by plane trees, one might take Tianjin Eco-City for just another of the many residential areas sprouting up all over China. But on closer inspection, this place is different. The roadside trash cans are covered with solar photovoltaic panels so they can light up at night; free electric buses connect different districts; the drainage wells for storm water are all embedded in the curbs.

Cities Find Rewards in Cheap Technologies

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 00:00

Mobile apps, sensors, and other technologies help cities handle growing challenges.

Cities around the globe, whether rich or poor, are in the midst of a technology experiment. Urban planners are pulling data from inexpensive sensors mounted on traffic lights and park benches, and from mobile apps on citizens’ smartphones, to analyze how their cities really operate. They hope the data will reveal how to run their cities better and improve urban life. City leaders and technology experts say that managing the growing challenges of cities well and affordably will be close to impossible without smart technology.
Fifty-four percent of humanity lives in urban centers, and almost all of the world’s projected population growth over the next three decades will take place in cities, including many very poor cities. Because of their density and often strained infrastructure, cities have an outsize impact on the environment, consuming two-thirds of the globe’s energy and contributing 70 percent of its greenhouse-gas emissions. Urban water systems are leaky. Pollution levels are often extreme.

Nanoparticle Detects the Deadliest Cancer Cells in Blood

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:15

A novel kind of nanoparticle could lead to more effective cancer treatments.

Patients and doctors often don’t know if surgery to remove cancerous tissue was successful until scans are performed months later. A new kind of nanoparticle could show patients if they’re in the clear much earlier.

Laser-Radio Links Upgrade the Internet

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 00:00

Wireless links formed partly by lasers may offer a faster, cheaper way to improve mobile Internet.

The rise of Wi-Fi and cellular data services made Internet access more convenient and ubiquitous. Now some of the high-speed backhaul data that powers Internet services looks set to go wireless, too.

Rise of the Robot Security Guards

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 00:00

Startup Knightscope is preparing to roll out human-size robot patrols.

As the sun set on a warm November afternoon, a quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.

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