Bienvenidos a Ciencia en Canoa, una iniciativa creada por
Vanessa Restrepo Schild.

martes, 15 de abril de 2014

Google’s Microcamera Contact Lens Is Coming to an Eyeball Near You



Forget those glasses. The tech giant has filed a patent application for a lens with a built-in micro-camera which could be controlled by blinking and would process data to help blind people "see" and link to smartphones

After Google Glass, the next “moon shot” Google product might very well be a contact lens with a built-in micro-camera.

The tech giant has filed a patent application on a smart lens with sensors that could detect light, pattern of colors, objects and faces.

Those wearing the contacts would command the device through a sophisticated system of unique blinking patterns, as explained by the blog Patent Bold.

Google’s latest breakthrough could help blind people see certain moving objects around them, according to Patent Bolt.

For example, a blind person wearing Google’s contact lens with a built-in camera may be walking on a sidewalk and approaching an intersection. The analysis component of the contact lens can process the raw image data of the camera to determine … that there is a car approaching the intersection.”

The lens would also have wireless capabilities to be hooked up to smartphones.

In January, Google revealed a prototypes of contact lenses that will make it easier for diabetes patients to monitor their blood sugar levels and stay healthy.

ORIGINAL: Time
April 15, 2014

Where Will a Biology PhD Take You?

Based primarily on the 2012 NIH Workforce report this infographic represents current workforce sizes and annual fluxes before and after a PhD in the biomedical sciences in the US. The picture is not as dire as that painted for the UK by this 2010 Royal Society report, but many of these figures are based on estimates and self-reporting. We'll have to wait for the NAS Postdoc Report for better data.

In the meantime, that report's chair, Greg Petsko, has divulged some interesting tidbits in his iBiology talk: the data on postdocs are so poor, many institutions can't estimate the number of postdocs they have within an order of magnitude. Hopefully, clear data on these job markets will empower trainees to make better-informed career decisions.

Sources:
3 - Sauermann & Roach 2012 PLOS ONE; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036307
Unless otherwise noted, NIH Biomedical Workforce Working Group (2012)


(click into iamge expand it)
Jessica Polka is interested in the spatial organization of the bacterial cell. Having studied a plasmid-segregating actin homolog during her PhD with Dyche Mullins at UCSF, she is currently a working on a natural and engineered bacterial compartments during a postdoc in Pam Silver's lab at the Harvard Medical School.

ORIGINAL: ASCB Post
11 April 2014 00:00

lunes, 14 de abril de 2014

La receta de Estonia para convertirse en una potencia tecnológica


La programación se enseñará desde la edad de siete años en Estonia.
En algunos países, la programación informática es vista como el reino de los nerds o fanáticos de la computación. Pero en Estonia se ve con ojos muy distintos.

En este pequeño territorio, parte de lo que fuera una vez la Unión Soviética, programar es algo divertido, algo de moda, una asignatura que se enseña a los niños desde la infancia.

A los siete años las escuelas de Estonia ya enseñan a sus alumnos a programar computadoras y el país es considerado uno de los países más dependientes de internet en el mundo.
Una revolución digital
La i-revolución de Estonia empezó en los años 90, no mucho después de la independencia del país. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, entonces el embajador del país en Estados Unidos y hoy presidente de Estonia, se adjudica parte del mérito.

Hay una historia que Hendrik no se cansa de repetir sobre su estadía en Estados Unidos. Cuenta que leyó un libro en el que se hablaba de cómo el auge de las computadoras supondría la muerte del trabajo.

El libro hablaba de una planta de producción de acero en Kentucky donde miles de trabajadores fueron despedidos debido a la automatización. Los nuevos dueños podían producir la misma cantidad de acero con sólo 100 empleados.

"Esto puede que sea malo si eres estadounidense", dice Ilves, "pero desde el punto de vista de un estonio, donde existe una angustia existencial por el pequeño tamaño del país (sólo teníamos entonces 1,4 millones de habitantes), me dije que era exactamente lo que necesitábamos".

"Necesitamos informatizar, de todos los modos posibles, para incrementar nuestro tamaño funcional".


Colegios en línea
 

El presidente Toomas Hendrik Ilves es un promotor de la revolución tecnológica en Estonia.

Así fue como Estonia pasó a convertirse en I-Estonia, bromea Ilves. Y con la ayuda de las inversiones del gobierno para respaldar la tecnología, canalizada a través de la Tiger Leap Foundation, todas las escuelas estonias tenían presencia en internet a finales de los 90.

A través de esta fundación se enseña programación a los alumnos de secundaria, pero los últimos proyectos introducen esta materia a niños de más temprana edad; a la edad de siete. Hasta el momento, ya se ha entrenado a 60 profesores para enseñar durante los próximos cuatro años.

"En septiembre, cuando empiece el nuevo año escolar, espero que cada escuela crea importante integrar la programación en sus clases", afirma Ave Lauringson, de Tiger Leap, quien está a cargo del proyecto.

En un nuevo edificio pintado en amarillo en la localidad de Lagedi, fuera de la capital de Estonia, Tallínn, ya se puede ver cómo esto va tomando forma.

Una clase de niños de diez años diseñan sus propios juegos de computadora bajo la supervisión del profesor de tecnologías de la información y comunicación Hannes Raimets, un callado joven de 24 años.

"Creo que enseñarles a programar conlleva un montón de beneficios. Les ayuda a desarrollar su creatividad y pensamiento lógico", asegura, "también es divertido construir tu propio programa. Creo que es su asignatura favorita en la escuela", asegura.

Lo que es evidente también es que la programación informática, al menos a un nivel básico, no es tan difícil.

Programar, como aprender idiomas




Estonia lleva varios años promoviendo la enseñanza de programación en las escuelas.

Ilves señala lo mismo. Hijo de estonios nacido en Estocolmo, estudió en una escuela estadounidense. Aprendió programación a los 13 años, como parte de una clase experimental de matemáticas y dice que esto le ayudó a financiar su entrada a la universidad.

"No creo que programar computadoras sea un secreto tan profundo y oscuro. Creo que es estrictamente lógica", afirma.

"Aquí en Estonia, empezamos la enseñanza de idiomas extranjeros en Grado Uno o Grado Dos. Si estás aprendiendo las reglas de la gramática a los siete u ocho ¿Cómo difiere de las reglas de la programación? De hecho, programar es mucho más lógico que aprender cualquier idioma".

El presidente argumenta que las reformas educativas tardan entre 15 y 25 años en tener efecto. La prueba, dice, es la cantidad de empresas de tecnología estonias que están atrayendo la atención de los inversores.

Una de ellas es Frostnova, cuyo jefe ejecutivo, Mikk Melder, de 25 años, ha diseñado un videojuego para niños de primaria llamado Ennemuistne, centrado en el folklore y los mitos locales.

La herencia de Skype

Aunque de los inventos tecnológicos estonios, el más popular mundialmente es el servicio de telefonía a través de internet Skype.

Microsoft compró Skype en 2011 por US$8.500 millones, pero todavía emplea a 450 trabadores en su sede local, a las afueras de Tallinn.

Tiit Paananen de Skype, dice que son unos apasionados de la educación y que la empresa trabaja de cerca con las universidades estonias y las escuelas de secundaria.

"Tu capacidad no sólo para usar, sino para crear componentes tecnológicos, te dará competitividad", afirma Paananen, que dice estar feliz de que se empiece a enseñar programación a edades más tempranas.

"Skype ha generado una oleada de innovaciones tecnológicas en Estonia, y estos puestos especializados y bien pagados, necesitarán a estos brillantes cerebros en un futuro".

Siga la sección de tecnología de BBC Mundo a través clic @un_mundo_feliz

ORIGINAL: BBC Mundo
Tim Mansel BBC, Estonia
15 de mayo de 2013

The Global Search for Education: Education and Jobs


"The Future of Employment study makes clear that what matters most today is what you can do with what you know, rather than how much you know."
- Dr. Tony Wagner

What does today's technology mean for tomorrow's jobs and how can we better structure our education system to ensure that the future working population can prosper in the labor market?
A large range of 20th century jobs are endangered by the machine age. A recent Oxford Martin School study by Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey (Oxford Martin School) and Dr. Michael A. Osborne (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford) found that 47% of current US jobs are at risk of automation within the next twenty years. Further, despite recent job growth in the service industry sector, occupations within this industry are highly susceptible. Frey and Osborne assessed the degree to which 702 specific jobs are vulnerable to computerization, distinguishing these occupations into categories of high, medium and low risk.
Job Automation May Threaten Half of U.S. Workforce (Bloomberg)
Mobile robots and ‘smart’ computers — that learn on the job — make it likely that occupations employing about half of today's U.S. workers could be possible to automate in the next decade or two, according to an Oxford University study that estimated the probability of computerization of more than 700 occupations. Published March 12, 2014




Sources: University of Oxford, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne
GRAPHIC: AKI ITO / BLOOMBERG NEWS & DAVE MERRILL / BLOOMBERG VISUAL DATA

One of the main ways governments have helped people during previous waves of technological progress is through education system reform. What should government be doing now to make the changes that are necessary?

To discuss these issues further, I am joined today in The Global Search for Education by Dr. Carl Frey and Dr. Michael Osborne, authors of The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization, and Dr. Tony Wagner, Expert in Residence at Harvard University's Innovation Lab. Tony will be leading a presentation on Education for Innovation at last week's OPPI Festival in Helsinki, Finland.


"I can only recommend that young people continue to gain the kind of cognitive and creative skills that give them a competitive edge over machines." Dr. Michael A. Osborne

Gentlemen, could you please summarize what you believe were your most important findings in your study?

Michael: We found that a substantial fraction (47%) of current US employment is at risk of automation within the next twenty years. While some of these occupations are in categories previously thought unthreatened by automation, such as logistics and services, we expect automation to continue to predominately threaten low-skilled workers. In fact, we found a strong negative relationship between the average degree of education within an occupation and its susceptibility to computerization. In a similar way, this was true for the average wage: the better-paid jobs, featuring largely better-educated workers, are unlikely to be automated in the near future. Quantitatively, we found that if only a quarter of people within an occupation have a bachelor's degree or better, the occupation would likely have a fifty-fifty chance of being automatable within the foreseeable future. If half of workers within an occupation have at least a bachelor's degree, its probability of automation is close to zero. It seems clear that education is a crucial issue in considering future jobs.

Can you speak a little about the range of 20th century jobs that are endangered by the machine age?  

Michael: We firstly expect that existing trends of automation in production will continue: robots, with ever improving sensors and manipulators, will continue to replace factory workers. We further predict that  
many sales jobs are vulnerable: online shopping and self-checkouts will only continue to become more popular at the expense of human salespeople and cashiers. In fact,  
telemarketers were rated as one of the most computerizable occupations; to the dismay, no doubt, of anyone who is sick of speaking to robots on the phone. Perhaps more surprisingly,
we expect transportation and clerical jobs to be at risk from new technologies. Autonomous vehicles threaten many logistics occupations, such as drivers of forklifts or mine vehicles, while
big data analytics place occupations reliant on storing or accessing information at risk, such as tax preparers.
As evidence for the latter: we're already seeing paralegal jobs replaced by algorithms, so this is not an unreasonable prediction.
We finally suspect that many jobs in the service sector will be increasingly at risk, with the growth of service robotics and sophisticated algorithms.
As examples, court reporters may have their jobs threatened by transcription software, and
electronics repair jobs are already being affected by the declining costs of increasingly complex electronic items. This is particularly alarming given the recently high fraction of workers undertaking service work.
Nonetheless, many other service sector jobs are likely to remain unautomatable; as an example, human housekeepers are still much better at their jobs than robots.

Carl: To expand a bit on that, what we are saying is that service occupations that do not require much creative and social intelligence are likely to be automated. Some personal service jobs, however, do require especially some social intelligence. These, we think, will not be automated.


"In the short run, the government could support employment by stimulating the demand for personal services. In the long run, I do not believe there is much of a substitute for training workers to work with computers." - Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey

Please discuss some of the characteristics of occupations not at risk of computerization. 

Michael: These jobs involve tasks at which machines are relatively poor: tasks involving creativity or social intelligence. As examples, I think
  • recreational therapists, 
  • mental health counselors and 
  • primary school teachers are relatively safe for the foreseeable future. 
  • Many people may also be surprised to learn that occupations requiring work in very cluttered environments are also relatively safe. For example, the perceptual capacity of a human housekeeper, able to distinguish unwanted dirt from a pot plant, is unlikely to be matched by a robot cleaner for many decades.
Tony, why does this evolutionary phase require more revolutionary changes in education versus the gradual changes we have seen in previous generations?

The Future of Employment study makes clear that what matters most today is what you can do with what you know, rather than how much you know. Many recent college graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed because they lack the skills needed in an increasingly innovation-driven economy. With academic content knowledge having become a commodity that's available on every internet-connected device, the ability to 
  • initiate, 
  • discern, 
  • persevere, 
  • collaborate, and 
  • to solve problems creatively 
are the qualities most in demand today and will be increasingly important in the future. The problem is that our education system was designed, primarily, to teach the three R's and to transmit content knowledge. We need to create schools that coach students for skill and will, in addition to teaching content. If we don't make this transition quickly, a growing number of our youth will be unemployable at the same time that employers complain that they cannot find new hires that have the skills they need.

"We need to create schools that coach students for skill and will, in addition to teaching content. If we don't make this transition quickly, a growing number of our youth will be unemployable at the same time that employers complain that they cannot find new hires who have the skills they need." - Dr. Tony Wagner

What recommendations would you make to governments about retraining workers who are now or will be unemployed as a result of this evolution? 

Tony: I wish I had an intelligent answer to this important question, but I'm a "recovering" high school English teacher, not an economist. My hunch is that it will take a generation to better prepare young people for the new economy. Meanwhile, perhaps we'll need to put people to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure, helping out in preschools and assisted living homes, and so on. There is a lot to be done to make our country a better and more humane place to live. The question is: are we willing to pay people to do this work?

Carl: In the short run, the government could support employment by stimulating the demand for personal services. In the long run, I do not believe there is much of a substitute for training workers to work with computers.

If you were speaking to a group of high school students today, what fields and disciplines would you encourage them to explore to ensure success in the job market?

 Tony: First, I would encourage them to pursue their real interests. Curiosity and intrinsic interest trump mere academic achievement today. Secondly, I'd suggest they consider designing an interdisciplinary major in college around a problem of interest to them. Innovation increasingly happens at the intersections of academic disciplines, not within them.

Michael: One thing that came out very clearly from our analysis was the continuing importance of education. In particular, we found a strong negative trend between an occupation's average level of education and its probability of computerization. As such, I can only recommend that young people continue to gain the kind of cognitive and creative skills that give them a competitive edge over machines. In particular, and I may be biased, but occupations revolving around creative uses of data are likely to be resistant to automation for some time. Further, people skills: the ability to negotiate, or persuade, are likely to become increasingly important for human work, due to their resistance to automation. Finally, manual work in unstructured environments is probably a fairly safe bet: gardeners are unlikely to have to worry about their jobs for a good long while.


C. M. Rubin, Dr. Tony Wagner, Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey, Dr. Michael A. Osborne
Photos are courtesy of the Oxford Martin School and Tony Wagner.

For more information on the Oxford Martin School Study:
http://www.futuretech.ox.ac.uk/sites/futuretech.ox.ac.uk/files/The_Future_of_Employment_OMS_Working_Paper_1.pdf

For more information on Education for Innovation at the OPPI Festival: http://oppifestival.com/

In The Global Search for Education, join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. Madhav Chavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. Eija Kauppinen (Finland), State Secretary Tapio Kosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Professor Ben Levin (Canada), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (Lycee Francais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.

The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, and is the publisher of CMRubinWorld.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

TAGS: Education Technology Future of Employment Carl Benedikt Frey Michael A. Osborne Automation of Production Tony Wagner The Global Search for Education Computerizable Occupations Job Automation Oxford Martin School 20th Century Job Market C. M. Rubin Education for Innovation OPPI Festival Education Reform Occupation Computerization

domingo, 13 de abril de 2014

The Moral: Aesop Knew Something About Crows

ScienceTake: Those Clever Crows

Scientists are trying to understand the limits to the well-established intelligence of crows.

Crows and their relatives, like jays and rooks, are definitely in the gifted class when it comes to the kinds of cognitive puzzles that scientists cook up.

They recognize human faces. They make tools to suit a given problem.

Sometimes they seem, as humans like to say, almost human. But the last common ancestor of humans and crows lived perhaps 300 million years ago, and was almost certainly no intellectual giant.

So the higher levels of crow and primate intelligence evolved on separate tracks, but somehow reached some of the same destinations. And scientists are now asking what crows can’t do, as one way to understand how they learn and how their intelligence works.

One very useful tool for this research comes from an ancient Greek (or perhaps Ethiopian), the fabulist known as Aesop. One of his stories is about a thirsty crow that drops pebbles into a pitcher to raise the level of water high enough that it can get a drink.

Researchers have modified this task by adding a floating morsel of food to a tube with water and seeing which creatures solve the problem of using stones to raise the water enough to get the food. It can be used for a variety of species because it’s new to all of them. “No animal has a natural predisposition to drop stones to change water levels,” said Sarah Jelbert, a Ph.D. student at Auckland University in New Zealand, who works with crows.Photo
New Caledonian crows can use tools to solve problems, such as getting at hard to reach food.CreditMick Sibley

New Caledonian crows, rooks, Eurasian jays, and humans (past age 5) can do it, said Ms. Jelbert, who noted that great apes can do a slightly different version.

But in the latest experiment to test the crows, Ms. Jelbert, working with Alex Taylor and Russell Gray of Auckland and Lucy Cheke and Nicola Clayton of the University of Cambridge in England, found some clear limitations to what the crows can learn. And those limitations provide some hints to how they think.

The birds, Ms. Jelbert and her colleagues reported in PLOS One last month, were wild New Caledonian crows trapped for the experiment and then released.

The crows were first trained to pick up stones. This is not something they do in the wild. They then dropped the stones into a dry tube to gain a reward. Then they took the Aesop’s test, in several different situations.

The birds learned not to drop the stones in a tube of sand with a treat. And they correctly chose sinking objects rather than floating ones, and solid rather than hollow objects to drop in the water.

But if part of the tube apparatus was hidden, the birds could not learn. They also didn’t seem to be able to learn that the water would rise more quickly with fewer stones in a narrow tube.

This suggests two things, said Ms. Jelbert. They weren’t just learning abstract rules, because otherwise they would have been able to learn where to drop the stones to make the water rise even if they couldn’t see what was going on.

And second, the need to see the results of the behavior suggested they did seem to have “a level of causal understanding.” These are just hints, though, in terms of understanding how crows learn and think, said Ms. Jelbert, “we’re still very much at the beginning.”

ORIGINAL: NYTimes
April 10, 2014

Scientists Discover Evidence of a New Type of Matter: the Tetraquark

In this Sept. 10, 2008 file photo, European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation in CERN's control room, near Geneva, Switzerland.

The recent identification of a long-theorized particle provides strong evidence of a new form of matter.

Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle collider in the world, verified the existence of a particle called Z(4430) last week, according to New Scientist. Previously, physicists had reasoned that the particle could exist but had yet to observe it.


Discovery of any new particle is an important step for scientists, but Z(4430) is viewed with particular importance — it is evidence of a new type of matter called a tetraquark.

Quarks are among the most basic building blocks of matter. Combinations of different types of quarks produce protons and neutrons. Although quarks typically bind together in groups of two or three, scientists had theorized that four quarks could be combined to form a different type of matter: the tetraquark.

The discovery has particular importance for our understanding of neutron stars, according to space-news site Universe Today, which wrote:

"With the existence of tetraquarks, it is possible for neutrons within the core to interact strongly enough to create tetraquarks. This could even lead to the production of pentaquarks and hexaquarks, or even that quarks could interact individually without being bound into color neutral particles. This would produce a hypothetical object known as a quark star."

ORIGINAL: Mashable
April 14th, 2014

Ingeniero de petróleos explica sequía en Casanare


El profesor de hidrocarburos de la Universidad Industrial de Santander mostró con videos la responsabilidad de las empresas petroleras en la tragedia ecológica del norte de Casanare.

El ingeniero de petróleos con máster en hidrocarburos, Óscar Vanegas aseguro que la mortandad de más de 20 mil chigüiros y otras especies por la sequía en Paz de Ariporo, Casanare, no es un problema solo del cambio climático o del a siembra de la palma.

Según él, la responsabilidad la tienen las petroleras cuando sacan el crudo del suelo. Vanegas, asegura que en la sísmica la forma para detectar petróleo, se utilizan hasta 10 kilos de explosivos SISMIGEL, que al explotar dentro del a tierra, su onda dice donde hay crudo.

Explicó el profesor de la Universidad Industrial de Santander –UIS- que cuando se saca el petróleo, de paso se está extrayendo miles de litros agua que están por debajo de la tierra, provocando daños colaterales.

Vanegas, dijo que en el 2012, campesinos y ambientalistas registraron como era como era Paz de Ariporo antes de la extracción de crudo.

El profesor aseguró que muchas veces los operarios de las petroleras no tapan donde se produjo la explosión, creando una tierra movediza, convirtiéndose en trampa para los animales.

Óscar Venegas, dijo que es urgente una legislación sobre la política de petróleos o en 50 años no solamente Paz de Ariporo será un desierto.

ORIGINAL: Noticias UNO
Marzo 30, 2014

viernes, 11 de abril de 2014

Juicy ‘bio-organic nanotech’ can turbo-charge smartphone batteries in 60 seconds or less

Most smartphone’s batteries don’t even make it through a single day, especially if the person using the phone is frequently sending emails, posting on social media, listening to music, watching videos, and calling and texting, among other things. We consider ourselves lucky if it lasts after lunchtime.

But the biggest problem isn’t so much the battery dying, but charging the bloody things – with most devices it takes a good couple of hours at least to fully charge it. This depends on whether you’re still using your device while it juices up, and if you’re using an original charging cable. It takes longer when you use fake ones, and you’re putting your device and yourself at risk.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with a way to rapid-charge our mobile phones in say, a matter of minutes – or even seconds?
Say ‘hi’ to bio-organic nanotech, your new best friend

It sure would, and so it’s good to know that Israeli startup StoreDot is working on a new type of battery for mobile devices that it claims can be fully charged in less than a minute.

Watch this video to see what it’s capable of:


If true that’s pretty damn impressive company, but how on earth can it do it that? Well, it’s pretty complicated, but the company, which launched in 2011, specializes in developing ‘peptide-based quantum dots’ that were originally discovered during Alzheimer’s research at Tel Aviv University.

Quantum dots, for all you non-nerdy types, are nanocrystals of semiconductor material where the physical dimensions allow quantum mechanics to effect electronic properties. Still with us?

Previously, quantum dots were made from toxic materials such as arsenic or heavy metals such as cadmium, meaning they were unsuitable for commercial use. Now though, StoreDot has found a way to use bio-organic materials, making the technology safer.

We were able to take the same peptides that participate in biological processes in our body and to create nano-crystals — these are stable, robust spheres,” explained Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO and Founder or StoreDot, in an interview with TechCrunch.

The Nanodots are chemically synthesized organic peptide molecules that measure about 2nm in diameter. These are easily synthesized and show diverse electrochemical properties including red, green and blue luminescence. StoreDot’s previous focus was on creating faster memory chips, before it expanded to image sensors, and finally, better mobile batteries that charge faster.

StoreDot is showing off the fast-charging tech at the Think Next symposium in Tel Aviv. Though this is something consumers would obviously love to see on the next iPhone or Galaxy device, StoreDot says that the technology is still several years from mass production and market availability. The prototype is currently way too bulky, and according to Myersdorf, it will take one year for the company to replicate the technology at a smaller scale, and after that it’s still got to build a battery that actually fits inside one of today’s typical slim and sexy smartphones. And even after this, Myersdorf says we can expect to wait another two years to reach the required energy density so that our super-fast charging batteries can last for the entire day.

All of this means that we probably won’t see these fast-charging batteries in devices until at least 2016 at the earliest, and even then that’ll only be the case if OEMs are open to using this kind of technology.

The only disadvantage is that the industry is not ready for it. The ecosystem is not ready,” Myersdorf says.

This is a new type of material, with new physics, new chemistry, that is actually coming from nature… Everything we do we try to imitate and to follow and to let nature take its course. To create these nano-crystals we don’t need a huge fabrication facility. We mix some basic elements — like hydrogen, nitrogen, helium.”

StoreDot received $6.25 million in venture funding last year, and it’s hoping to make another $20 million in order for them to push forward with its bio-organic components. Samsung is said to be one of its early investors, which may mean its Galaxy devices will be among the first to utilize StoreDot’s technologies.

Myersdorf also pointed out that his vision for the company is for the industry as a whole to accept Nanodots as a “legitimate, viable, stable, cost-effective material” for use in semi-conductors, energy, storage, and displays, as it delivers advantages for both manufacturers and end-users.

ORIGINAL: Silicon Angle
April 8TH

Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug

Photo
THE CROWDED CELL A jumble of proteins inside the cell, visualized in a scientific animation.Credit Harvard University, XVIVO Scientific Animation

If you could shrink down to the size of a molecule and fly into a cell, what would you see?

In 2006, a team of scientists and illustrators offered a gorgeous answer in the form of a three-minute video called “The Inner Life of the Cell.” Nothing quite like it had ever been made before, and it proved to be a huge hit, broadcast by museums, universities and television programs around the world.

The video was a collaboration between BioVisions, a scientific visualization program at Harvard’s department of molecular and cellular biology, and Xvivo, a scientific animation company in Connecticut.

Delving into the scientific literature, the scientists and animators created a video about an immune cell. The cell rolls along the interior wall of a blood vessel until it detects signs of inflammation from a nearby infection

The Inner Life of the Cell Video by XVIVO Scientific Animation

We dive into the cell to see what happens next. Molecules swim through the cell like dolphins, relaying the signal from the outside. Certain genes switch on, and the cell makes new proteins that are put into a blob called a vesicle. An oxlike protein called kinesin hauls the vesicle across the cell, walking along a molecular cable.

Once the vesicle reaches its destination, it releases its cargo. The new proteins cause the immune cell to stop rolling, and it flattens out and slips between the cells that make up the blood vessel wall so that it can seek out the infection.

The Inner Life of the Cell” was made possible by advances on many scientific fronts.

In recent years, scientists have learned a great deal about the shapes of biological molecules, for example. They can use powerful computers to visualize the molecules in action.

GOING SMALL A dense tangle of neurons, or nerve cells.CreditHarvard University, XVIVO Scientific Animation

The video was so entrancing that it was easy to forget that it was not raw footage captured by some microscopic GoPro camera. It was a piece of art. The scientists and animators made choices about what to show, and how to show it.

For one thing, they left out just about all the proteins, giving the cell the look of a nearly empty ocean. “The interior of a cell is incredibly crowded,” said Michael Astrachan, the president and creative director of Xvivo.

Alain Viel, the director of undergraduate research at Harvard and a member of the BioVisions team, likened the inside of a cell to a rush-hour subway platform. “If there’s a big crowd in front of you, there’s a good chance you might not even see the train, he said.

Dr. Viel and his colleagues also chose to show the proteins moving with a stately grace. Real proteins, by contrast, are perpetually quivering. They pick up bits of energy from water molecules that bump into them, and they crash into other proteins and bounce off cell membranes.

AND EVEN SMALLERA synaptic vesicle, a kind of small molecular pouch that transports neurotransmitters inside a neuron.CreditHarvard University, XVIVO Scientific Animation

Two years ago, BioVisions and Xvivo set out to upgrade their animations by capturing some of that messy complexity. They wanted to cram a virtual cell with proteins at a more realistic density, and then have them jitter and collide.

It turned out to be an enormous amount of work. The motion and appearance of each molecule had to be individually calculated, leading to a vast amount of data that put a strain on Xvivo’s computers.

Along with the scientific effort, the new video required aesthetic work. To allow viewers to distinguish among many kinds of molecules, the Xvivo animators had to search for the right scheme of colors and shadings.

Rec”:Continue reading the main story Inner Life of a Cell | Protein Packing Video by  Scientific Animationently they unveiled the result of their efforts in a video called “Protein PackingXVIVO


In this movie, we enter a neuron by diving through a channel on its surface. Once inside, we’re instantly surrounded by a swarm of molecules. We push through the crowd until we reach a proteasome, a barrel-shaped molecule that shreds damaged proteins so their components can be used to make new proteins.

Once more we see a vesicle being hauled by kinesin. But in this version, the kinesin doesn’t look like a molecule out for a stroll. Its movements are barely constrained randomness.

Every now and then, a tiny molecule loaded with fuel binds to one of the kinesin “feet.” It delivers a jolt of energy, causing that foot to leap off the molecular cable and flail wildly, pulling hard on the foot that’s still anchored. Eventually, the gyrating foot stumbles into contact again with the cable, locking on once more — and advancing the vesicle a tiny step forward.

This updated movie offers a better way to picture our most intricate inner workings. For one thing, it helps us to understand why we become sick. A number of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, are caused when defective proteins clamp onto other proteins, creating toxic clumps.

In the 2006 version of the animation, it’s hard to imagine how two proteins in such a careful dance would bump into each other. In the new version, where proteins jostle past one another like commuters in a busy train station, it’s common sense.

The new movie helps us understand biology at a deeper level, too. In the 2006 version, we can’t help seeing intention in the smooth movements of the molecules; it’s as if they’re trying to get from one place to another. In reality, however, the parts of our cells don’t operate with the precise movements of the springs and gears of a clock. They flail blindly in the crowd. Our cells work almost in spite of themselves.

I want people to say, ‘I can’t believe this is happening at all,'” said Mr. Astrachan.

ORIGINAL: NYTimes
Carl Zimmer
April 10, 2014

jueves, 10 de abril de 2014

Greg Asner: Ecology from the air


What are our forests really made of? From the air, ecologist Greg Asner uses a spectrometer and high-powered lasers to map nature in meticulous kaleidoscopic 3D detail -- what he calls "a very high-tech accounting system" of carbon. In this fascinating talk, Asner gives a clear message: To save our ecosystems, we need more data, gathered in new ways.

CAO Systems

AToMS
Carnegie's newest operational platform called AToMS (Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System) launched on June 2, 2011. AToMS integrates the world's first Very High Fidelity Visible-Shortwave Infrared (VSWIR) Imaging Spectrometer measuring the 380-2510 nm wavelength range at 5 nm spectral resolution with a dual-laser, waveform Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system, and high-resolution Visible-to-Near Infrared (VNIR) imaging spectrometer.

AToMS provides the world's most advanced measurements of ecosystem chemistry, structure, biomass, and biodiversity, with applications ranging from climate change mitigation to sustainable forest management and habitat conservation. The scientific foundation for biodiversity applications of AToMS in tropical forests can be found atCarnegie Spectranomics.

ORIGINAL: TED