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27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012

27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012
We may never have our flying cars, but the future is here. From creating fully functioning artificial leaves to hacking the human brain, science made a lot of breakthroughs this year. 1. Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm At the University of Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of Scheuermann’s mind. The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. 2. Once the robot figures out how to do that without all the wires, humanity is doomed. 3. Photo Courtesy of Indigo Moon Yarns. At the University of Wyoming, scientists modified a group of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight, stronger than steel. 4. Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio and his team at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa snapped the first photos of the famous double helix.Source: newscientist.com / via: davi296 5. 6. 7. 8. 10.

http://myscienceacademy.org/2013/01/03/27-science-fictions-that-became-science-facts-in-2012/

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How 3D printing is changing health and medicine In this extract from Print Shift, our one-off publication about 3D printing, editor Claire Barrett reports on the growing number of medical applications for the emerging technology and asks how soon we can expect 3D-printed organ transplants. Imagine printing a human liver. Or a kidney. One day this will be possible, and with a desperate global shortage of organs for transplant, the medical industry is pouring resources into developing technologies that will make this a reality. "Eighteen people die every day in the US waiting for a transplant," says Michael Renard, executive vice president for commercial operations at San Diego-based Organovo, one of the companies that is leading the way in tissue engineering. There is a huge amount of excitement around the potential for printing human tissue.

Improved ion engines will open up the outer Solar System The phrase "engage the ion drive" still has the ring of a line from Star Wars, but these engines have been used in space missions for more than four decades and remain the subject of ongoing research. Ion engines have incredible fuel efficiency, but their low thrust requires very long operating times ... and therein lies the rub. To date, erosion within such an engine seriously limits its operational lifetime. Now a group of researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a new design that largely eliminates this erosion, opening the gates for higher thrust and more efficient drives for manned and unmanned missions to the reaches of the Solar System. Ion engines of various types have been used on space missions since at least 1964, when NASA flew the suborbital Space Electric Rocket Test I mission. Many classes of space missions can benefit through using fuel efficient ion engines during some phase of their mission.

The Turing Test First published Wed Apr 9, 2003; substantive revision Wed Jan 26, 2011 The phrase “The Turing Test” is most properly used to refer to a proposal made by Turing (1950) as a way of dealing with the question whether machines can think. According to Turing, the question whether machines can think is itself “too meaningless” to deserve discussion (442). However, if we consider the more precise—and somehow related—question whether a digital computer can do well in a certain kind of game that Turing describes (“The Imitation Game”), then—at least in Turing's eyes—we do have a question that admits of precise discussion. Moreover, as we shall see, Turing himself thought that it would not be too long before we did have digital computers that could “do well” in the Imitation Game. The phrase “The Turing Test” is sometimes used more generally to refer to some kinds of behavioural tests for the presence of mind, or thought, or intelligence in putatively minded entities.

The Neiling II House About 30 miles outside of Berlin, Germany the landscape gets a tad rural and monotonous. However, the rugged wilderness setting in this part of the country gave architect Peter Grundmann the chance to create a forest-dwelling that was both minimal in style but contemporary in form; suited to blend in with the landscape, not detract from its surroundings. Dubbed the House Neiling II, it’s comprised totally from glass and wood, including a beautiful glass facade, a handful of homemade furniture and a custom bathroom and kitchen thanks to Grundmann’s collaboration with Thomas Pohl.

Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus Digital classroom tools like computers, tablets and smartphones offer exciting opportunities to deepen learning through creativity, collaboration and connection, but those very devices can also be distracting to students. Similarly, parents complain that when students are required to complete homework assignments online, it’s a challenge for students to remain on task. The ubiquity of digital technology in all realms of life isn’t going away, but if students don’t learn how to concentrate and shut out distractions, research shows they’ll have a much harder time succeeding in almost every area.

Late nights 'sap children's brain power' 8 July 2013Last updated at 19:45 ET By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online Late nights may have knock-on effects Late nights and lax bedtime routines can blunt young children's minds, research suggests. The findings on sleep patterns and brain power come from a UK study of more than 11,000 seven-year-olds.

E in STEM gets its moment From left, engineers Thomas Haug, Yoshihisa Okumura, Joel Engel, Martin Cooper and Richard Frenkiel sit at the National Academy of Sciences historic building in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2013. The five are recipients of the Charles Stark Draper Prize worth $500,000 awarded by the National Academy of Engineering. (Emi Kolawole) MIT Creates New Energy Source This is some pretty exciting news. It seems that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most prestigious science and engineering schools in the United States, has created a new energy source -- and it's clean and renewable. The odd thing is that the only way you can see this energy source is with a very powerful microscope, because it is created by using nanotechnology. For a few years now, we have been hearing about the possibilities offered by the new field of nanotechnology. Now it looks like the first usable breakthrough has been accomplished.

Deus Ex Machina Ago TT Any fan of motorcycle culture has heard of the Tourist Trophy racing days of the 1960’s and ‘70s. And we’ll bet those same individuals remember the name of Giacomo Agostini, winner of 13 Grand Prix championships and 10 Isle of Man TT’s during that time frame. Now, in conjunction with MV Agusta, Deus Ex Machina introduces The Ago TT, a tribute to commemorate such a golden era of motorcycle racing, and the riders who competed with style. At first glance, you’ll notice this bike was built specifically for the track. 6 Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day Ever feel like you’re just not getting enough done? Know how many days per week you’re actually productive? About 3: People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive (U.S.: 45 hours a week; 16 hours are considered unproductive).

'Virtual Lolita' aims to trap chatroom paedophiles 11 July 2013Last updated at 10:03 ET The Negobot strikes up conversations to catch paedophiles in online chatrooms Spanish researchers have created a robot posing as a 14-year-old girl to spot paedophiles in online chatrooms. Negobot uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to chat realistically and mimic the language used by teenagers. The "virtual Lolita" starts off neutral but will adopt any of seven personalities according to the intensity of interactions.

Physicists draw up plans for real 'cloaking device' - tech - 25 May 2006 Physicists have drawn up blueprints for a cloaking device that could, in theory, render objects invisible. Light normally bounces off an object's surface making it visible to the human eye. But John Pendry and colleagues at Imperial College London, UK, have calculated that materials engineered to have abnormal optical properties, known as metamaterials, could make light pass around an object as so it appears as if it were not there at all. Metamaterials are exotic composites made of electronic components such as wires and inductors that can be engineered to precisely control the way light travels through them.

19-Year-Old Student Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From the World's Oceans 19-year-old Boyan Slat has unveiled plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel.

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