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New App Could Improve Earthquake Warning Using GPS

New App Could Improve Earthquake Warning Using GPS

A new Android app uses smartphone GPS sensors to detect earthquakes and estimate their locations and magnitudes in real time. The technology could lead to a dense global seismic network that can warn people who are a few kilometers away from a quake’s epicenter, giving them a few seconds to find a safe spot before the […]

How LIGO Found a Gravitational Wave in a Haystack

How LIGO Found a Gravitational Wave in a Haystack

Image: Henze/NASA 3D visualization of gravitational waves produced by 2 orbiting black holes. Washington, D.C.—The wait is over. After months of rumors, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) today announced the first direct detection of a gravitational wave. The announcement was simple but dramatic. “Ladies and gentlemen we have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” LIGO executive director David Reitze said […]

Stent Electrode Reads Brain Signals From Inside a Vein

Stent Electrode Reads Brain Signals From Inside a Vein

Illustration: University of Melbourne Brain-machine interfaces have in recent years allowed paralyzed patients to control robotic arms, computer cursors, and exoskeletons simply by thinking about it. These interfaces require electrodes that are surgically implanted into or on top of the brain to read electrical signals from firing neurons. But a novel stent-like electrode can record […]

Injectable Radios to Broadcast From Inside the Body

Injectable Radios to Broadcast From Inside the Body

Photo: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Implantable medical devices usually have to trade smarts for size. Pacemakers and other active devices with processors on board are typically about a cubic centimeter in size, and must be implanted surgically. Smaller implantable electronics tend to be passive, lacking computing smarts and the ability to actively broadcast signals, […]

20,000 Leagues Under the Cloud

20,000 Leagues Under the Cloud

Photo: Microsoft Microsoft workers deploy the test capsule for underwater data centers at the start of the trial. In the 2015 film “Creed,” aged boxing legend Rocky Balboa stares up at the sky in confusion after his young protege tells him a smartphone picture has been saved in the cloud. Rocky might feel even more befuddled if he heard about […]

What’s Behind North Korea’s Space Launch? A View From the Inside

What’s Behind North Korea’s Space Launch? A View From the Inside

Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo A TV program about North Korea’s upcoming rocket launch plays at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea North Korea has told the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization that it plans to launch a new space rocket this month, its first in more than three years. The stated aim of the […]

A Deep Learning AI Chip for Your Phone

A Deep Learning AI Chip for Your Phone

Illustration: iStockphoto Neural networks learn to recognize objects in images and perform other artificial intelligence tasks with a very low error rate. (Just last week, a neural network built by Google’s Deep Mind lab in London beat a master of the complex Go game—one of the grand challenges of AI.) But they’re typically too complex […]

Fastest Light Pulses Show Electrons Are Sluggish

Fastest Light Pulses Show Electrons Are Sluggish

Photo: Nature Electrons move fast, especially within an atom. But they have their limits, and those limits might put a top speed on future optoelectronic circuits. In this week’s issue of Nature  a team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and the […]

To Respond to a Disease Outbreak, Bring in the Portable Genome Sequencers

To Respond to a Disease Outbreak, Bring in the Portable Genome Sequencers

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/European Mobile Laboratories Using a genome sequencer smaller than a stapler, geneticists have demonstrated the role they can play in combating outbreaks of infectious disease. An eight-month experiment in Guinea during the tail end of the Ebola outbreak, described today in a the journal Nature , showed the potential of a genome sequencing technology […]

MIT Team Tops Hyperloop Competition

MIT Team Tops Hyperloop Competition

Photo: Nargis Sakhibova A student team from MIT won first prize last weekend for the best design for the Hyperloop, a subsonic train meant to hurtle between cities in an evacuated pipe. The 27 students, hailing from a dozen countries, beat out more than 100 other teams. The Hyperloop was proposed in 2013 by Elon Musk, famous for his role in building Tesla Motors and […]

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