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Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is a method of producing renewable energy from two streams of a different salinity. Courtesy of Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

Renewable Energy: The Power of Salt

August 26, 2014 4:27 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers at MIT. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis, in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane.

Simulation Software Drastically Increases Speed of 3-D Engineering Simulations

August 25, 2014 12:40 pm | by Rob Matheson, MIT | News | Comments

MIT spinout Akselos has developed novel software, based on years of research at the Institute,...

Wireless Sensors and Flying Robots Monitor Deteriorating Bridges

August 22, 2014 12:45 pm | by Tufts School of Engineering | News | Comments

As a report from the Obama administration warns that one in four bridges in the United States...

Visual Control of Big Data: Recomputing Visualizations without Aberrant Results

August 20, 2014 10:44 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

In the age of big data, visualization tools are vital. With a single glance at a graphic display...

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Testing Electric Propulsion -- Courtesy of NASA Langley/David C. Bowman

Greased Lightning Tests Electric Propulsion

August 20, 2014 9:35 am | by NASA | News | Comments

On August 19, 2014, National Aviation Day, a lot of people reflected on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future — a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane, and that could revolutionize air travel?

The Kilobots, a swarm of one thousand simple but collaborative robots. Courtesy of Mike Rubenstein and Science/AAAS

AI: Self-organizing Thousand-robot Swarm Forms Vast, Complex Shapes

August 18, 2014 12:03 pm | by Caroline Perry, Harvard SEAS | News | Comments

The first thousand-robot flash mob has assembled at Harvard University. Instead of one highly-complex robot, a “kilo” of robots collaborate, providing a simple platform for the enactment of complex behaviors. Called Kilobots, these extremely simple robots are each just a few centimeters across and stand on three pin-like legs.

A picokeystone extracted from an aerogel tile from the Stardust interstellar dust collector. Scientists said seven microscopic particles collected by NASA's comet-chasing spacecraft, Stardust, appear to have originated outside our solar system. The dust c

Specks Returned from Space may be Alien Visitors

August 15, 2014 2:28 pm | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

There may be itsy-bitsy aliens among us. Scientists say seven microscopic particles collected by NASA's comet-chasing spacecraft, Stardust, appear to have originated outside our solar system. If confirmed, this would be the world's first sampling of contemporary interstellar dust.

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Users can use the tool to focus on images in which President Obama appears over Stephen Colbert’s shoulder, and then observe Colbert’s typical body posture among those results. Courtesy of Jun-Yan Zhu, Yong Jae Lee and Alexei Efros, UC Berkeley

Single Picture worth 1000 — and More — Images

August 15, 2014 12:38 pm | by Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

A photo is worth a thousand words, but what if the image could also represent thousands of other images? New software seeks to tame the vast amount of visual data in the world by generating a single photo that can represent massive clusters of images. This tool can give users the photographic gist of a kid on Santa’s lap or housecats. It works by generating an image that literally averages the key features of the other photos.

Advanced techniques such as "structured placement," shown here and developed by Markov's group, are currently being used to wring out optimizations in chip layout. Different circuit modules on an integrated circuit are shown in different colors. Algorithm

Reviewing Frontier Technologies to Determine Fundamental Limits of Computer Scaling

August 15, 2014 12:31 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

Igor Markov reviews limiting factors in the development of computing systems to help determine what is achievable, identifying loose limits and viable opportunities for advancements through the use of emerging technologies. He summarizes and examines limitations in the areas of manufacturing and engineering, design and validation, power and heat, time and space, as well as information and computational complexity.​

With an emphasis on HPC applications in science, engineering and large-scale data analytics; the Gordon Bell Prize tracks the overall progress in parallel computing.

Finalists Compete for Coveted ACM Gordon Bell Prize in High Performance Computing

August 13, 2014 12:01 pm | by SC14 | News | Comments

With five technical papers contending for one of the highest honored awards in high performance computing (HPC), the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) awards committee has four months left to choose a winner for the prestigious 2014 Gordon Bell Prize. The winner of this prize will have demonstrated an outstanding achievement in HPC that helps solve critical science and engineering problems.

SOLIDWORKS Education Edition 2014-2015

SOLIDWORKS Education Edition 2014-2015

August 12, 2014 3:51 pm | Dassault Systems | Product Releases | Comments

SOLIDWORKS Education Edition 2014-2015 is an integrated applications portfolio that includes tools and enhancements designed to improve teacher efficiency, shorten student design processes, increase team collaboration and enable educational productivity across numerous areas.

An After Dark project robot in front of Jacob Epstein's The Visitation (1926) inside Tate Britain in London. The London art museum says that for five nights people from around the world can get an after-hours tour online thanks to four roaming robots fitt

Robots Guide "After Dark" Nights at Tate Britain

August 12, 2014 12:21 pm | by AP | News | Comments

Tate Britain is inviting art fans to a night at the museum — though robots, not T. rexes, will be roaming this time. The London art museum says, for five nights beginning August 12, 2014, people from around the world can get an after-hours tour online thanks to four roaming robots fitted with lights, cameras and sensors designed to let them move around the rooms in the dark.

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LabVIEW 2014 software adds new capabilities to acquire, analyze and visualize data from anywhere, at any time.

LabVIEW 2014 System Design Software

August 12, 2014 11:06 am | National Instruments | Product Releases | Comments

LabVIEW 2014 system design software standardizes the way users interact with hardware through reuse of the same code and engineering processes across systems, which scales applications for the future. This saves time and money as technology advances, requirements evolve and time-to-market pressure increases.

Quantum dots make greens and reds pop on screens (left) compared with other types of displays (right).

The Grass Really Is Greener on Computer Screens, Thanks to Quantum Dots

August 11, 2014 1:06 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

High-tech specks called quantum dots could bring brighter, more vibrant color to mass market TVs, tablets, phones and other displays. A scientist has described a new technology, called 3M quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF), that efficiently makes liquid crystal display (LCD) screens more richly colored. His talk was given at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Dr. Horst Punzmann (left) and Professor Michael Shats test their wave-generated tractor beam. Courtesy of Stuart Hay

Physicists Create Water Tractor Beam

August 11, 2014 12:57 pm | by Australian National University | News | Comments

Physicists have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach. The group discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will. The new technique gives scientists a way of controlling things adrift on water in a way that resembles sci-fi tractor beams.

Seamlessly marrying electronics and brain signaling could transform how we treat some of the most puzzling and devastating diseases. Courtesy of Janulla

On the Frontiers of Cyborg Science: Seamless Marriage between Electronics and Brain Signaling

August 11, 2014 12:22 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

No longer just fantastical fodder for sci-fi buffs, cyborg technology is bringing us tangible progress toward real-life electronic skin, prosthetics and ultraflexible circuits. Taking this human-machine concept to an unprecedented level, pioneering scientists are working on the seamless marriage between electronics and brain signaling, with the potential to transform our understanding of how to treat the brain's most devastating diseases.

Next-Generation Microshutter Array Technology -- Courtesy of NASA/Bill Hrybyk

Next-Generation Microshutter Array Technology

August 8, 2014 11:56 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA technologists have hurdled a number of significant challenges in their quest to improve a revolutionary observing technology originally created for the James Webb Space Telescope. This image shows a close-up view of the next-generation microshutter arrays — designed to accommodate the needs of future observatories — during the fabrication process.

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A team from Harvard's Wyss Institute, Harvard's SEAS, and MIT built an autonomous robot that starts out as a single composite sheet programmed to fold itself into a complex shape and crawl away without any human intervention. Courtesy of Harvard's Wyss In

Robot Folds Itself Up and Walks Away

August 7, 2014 6:36 pm | by Harvard Wyss Institute | News | Comments

A team of engineers used little more than paper and Shrinky dinks — the classic children's toy that shrinks when heated — to build a robot that assembles itself into a complex shape in four minutes flat, and crawls away without any human intervention. The advancedemonstrates the potential to quickly and cheaply build sophisticated machines that interact with the environment.

Close-up detail of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded Wednesday, August 6, 2014. The image shows the comet’s ‘head’ at the left of the frame, which is casting shadow onto the ‘neck’

Comet Joined by Space Probe after 10-Year Pursuit

August 6, 2014 4:34 pm | by Frank Jordans, Associated Press | News | Comments

Turning what seemed like a science fiction tale into reality, an unmanned probe swung alongside a comet on august 6, 2014, after a 4-billion mile (6.4-billion kilometer) chase through outer space over the course of a decade. Europe's Rosetta probe will orbit and study the giant ball of dust and ice as it hurtles toward the sun and, if all goes according to plan, drop a lander onto the comet in the coming months.

NSF's Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program will support more than 225 new projects in 39 states in 2014. The awards enable research from the theoretical to the experimental, and aim to minimize the misuses of cyber technology, bolster educatio

Frontier-scale Projects Expand Breadth and Impact of Cybersecurity, Privacy Research

August 6, 2014 3:35 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

As our lives and businesses become ever more intertwined with the Internet and networked technologies, it is crucial to continue to develop and improve cybersecurity measures to keep our data, devices and critical systems safe, secure, private and accessible. The NSF's Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program has announced two new center-scale "Frontier" awards to support projects that address grand challenges in cybersecurity science

FLOW-3D 11

FLOW-3D 11 Multi-physics Computational Fluid Dynamics Software

August 6, 2014 3:19 pm | Flow Science, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

FLOW-3D 11 features FlowSight, an advanced visualization tool based on the EnSight post-processor, which offers powerful ways to analyze, visualize and communicate simulation data. Its capabilities include the ability to analyze and compare multiple simulation results simultaneously, volume rendering and a CFD calculator, as well as flipbooks.

MIT researchers extracted audio from the vibrations of a plant, potato-chip bag and other objects. Courtesy of Christine Daniloff/MIT

Like James Bond, Algorithm Recovers Speech through Soundproof Glass

August 5, 2014 12:35 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

Simulink Real-Time

July 30, 2014 10:30 am | The Mathworks, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

Simulink Real-Time enables engineers to build, test, and run real-time applications from Simulink models on dedicated target computer hardware connected to their physical systems, providing a complete end-to-end real-time simulation and testing solution.

At the Smart America Expo, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access might be out. Courtesy of NSF

Drones for Disaster Relief: Providing Wireless Communications to Storm-Ravaged Areas

July 30, 2014 9:40 am | by Aaron Dubrow, NSF | News | Comments

At the Smart America Expo in June 2014, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access is out.

The hydroelectric plants in the Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest generate 22,000 MW in output. In the photo: a dam wall in the many-branched dam system. Courtesy of Fraunhofer IOSB

Simulation Models Optimize Water Power from Extensive Dam System

July 30, 2014 5:39 am | by Fraunhofer | News | Comments

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation of the extensive dam system.

In addition to the magnetic moments, magnons also conduct heat; from their equations, the MIT researchers found that when exposed to a magnetic field gradient, magnons may be driven to move from one end of a magnet to another, carrying heat with them and

New Theory Predicts Magnets may Act as Wireless Cooling Agents

July 29, 2014 12:42 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

The magnets cluttering the face of your refrigerator may one day be used as cooling agents, according to a new theory. The theory describes the motion of magnons — quasi-particles in magnets that are collective rotations of magnetic moments, or “spins.” In addition to the magnetic moments, magnons also conduct heat; researchers found that when exposed to a magnetic field gradient, magnons may be driven to move from one end of a magnet to...

An artist's concept portrays a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars. NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers — Spirit and its twin Opportunity — were designed to study the history of climate and water at sites on Mars where conditions may once have b

NASA Long-lived Mars Opportunity Rover Sets Off-world Driving Record

July 29, 2014 12:37 pm | by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | News | Comments

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover. If the rover can continue to operate the distance of a marathon — 26.2 miles — it will approach the next major investigation site mission scientists have dubbed "Marathon Valley."

An efficient route to manufacturing nanomaterials with light through plasmon-induced laser-threading of gold nanoparticle strings. Courtesy of Ventsislav Valev

Building Invisible Materials with Light

July 28, 2014 10:36 am | by University of Cambridge | News | Comments

A new method of building materials using light could one day enable technologies that are often considered the realm of science fiction, such as invisibility cloaks and cloaking devices. Although cloaked starships won't be a reality for quite some time, the technique researchers have developed for constructing materials with building blocks a few billionths of a meter across can be used to control the way light flies through them.

To celebrate Chandra's 15th anniversary, four new images of supernova remnants – the Crab Nebula, Tycho, G292.0+1.8, and 3C58 – are being released. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra

NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates 15th Anniversary

July 25, 2014 3:05 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

Fifteen years ago, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Since its deployment, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision. Chandra, one of NASA's current "Great Observatories," along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions.

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