Tech

EUGENE, Ore. - April 18, 2019 - University of Oregon neuroscientists report that two areas of the mouse brain combine representations of what is heard and anticipated, guiding behavior that leads mice to the best reward.

Researchers have known that signals go from the ears to the brain stem, the thalamus and auditory cortex and then onward. What was not known is how these signals about sounds are used by other brain areas to make decisions and drive behavior.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Antimicrobial paints offer the promise of extra protection against bacteria. But Northwestern University researchers caution that these paints might be doing more harm than good.

In a new study, the researchers tested bacteria commonly found inside homes on samples of drywall coated with antimicrobial, synthetic latex paints. Within 24 hours, all bacteria died except for Bacillus timonensis, a spore-forming bacterium. Most bacilli are commonly inhabit soil, but many are found in indoor environments.

New York, NY--April 17, 2019--Engineering bacteria to intelligently sense and respond to disease states, from infections to cancer, has become a promising focus of synthetic biology. Rapid advances in genetic engineering tools have enabled researchers to "program" cells to perform various sophisticated tasks. For example, a network of genes can be wired together to form a genetic circuit in which cells can be engineered to sense the environment and modulate their behavior or produce molecules in response.

A new learning system developed by MIT researchers improves robots' abilities to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a learning-based particle simulator, could give industrial robots a more refined touch -- and it may have fun applications in personal robotics, such as modelling clay shapes or rolling sticky rice for sushi.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have improved their recycling process that regenerates degraded cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries. The new process is safer and uses less energy than their previous method in restoring cathodes to their original capacity and cycle performance.

Zheng Chen, a professor of nanoengineering who is affiliated with the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at UC San Diego, led the project. The work was published in Advanced Energy Materials.

The optical laser has grown to a $10 billion global technology market since it was invented in 1960, and has led to Nobel prizes for Art Ashkin for developing optical tweezing and Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland for work with pulsed lasers. Now a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher has teamed up with experts at the University of Rochester to create a different kind of laser - a laser for sound, using the optical tweezer technique invented by Ashkin.

The narratives we tell about the past often feature a cast of familiar main characters: kings and rulers, warriors and diplomats -- men who made laws and fought wars, who held power over others in their own lands and beyond. When women enter our stories, we rarely afford them much agency. But across the globe in a variety of societies, royal women found ways to advance the issues they cared about and advocate for the people important to them.

A novel technique developed by MIT researchers rethinks hardware data compression to free up more memory used by computers and mobile devices, allowing them to run faster and perform more tasks simultaneously.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Oxidants found within living organisms are byproducts of metabolism and are essential to wound-healing and immunity. However, when their concentrations become too high, inflammation and tissue damage can occur. University of Illinois engineers have developed and tested a new drug-delivery system that senses high oxidant levels and responds by administering just the right amount of antioxidant to restore this delicate balance.

The findings are published in the journal Small.

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists has issued a series of findings and recommendations on the safety of using dispersal agents in oil spill clean-up efforts in a report published this month by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.