Ed-Tech and Research Economics


A recent post on MindShift addressing the current state of educational technologies addressed the growing use of the freemium model within the sector. While many ed-tech applications are in theory “free”, the organizations behind them consider the data that users produce to be more valuable than traditional revenue streams. Users also open up countless connections and these connections are far more valuable than a few cents made downloading a piece of software. Read More →

Intro to External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)

Future Engine

External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)  is something that’s been discussed for some time. In fact, it was originally proposed by Stanislaw Ulam way back in 1947. Unfortunately the public perception of atomic technology as well as pieces of otherwise well meaning legislation have called into question the feasibility of spacecraft that operate using this advanced principle. Read More →

Exploring the Future of Wind Power in the U.S.

Image Credit: GE Energy

Image Credit: GE Energy

Wind power is currently the fastest growing source of energy worldwide. In the United States, the industry expanded by as much as 50% a year between 2000 and 2010, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). During that decade, federal tax breaks and state initiatives facilitated the construction of hundreds of turbine farms around the country. Several regions of the United States in particular have aggressively developed wind harvesting industries. Rockport, Missouri, for example, was the first American community to receive the majority of its energy from wind in 2008. Several other states currently lead the implementation of wind harvesting – California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Texas, however, leads all of the states in wind power initiatives, generating one-fourth of the nation’s wind energy with 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity.  Read More →

Brain Model Pins Down Motor Decisions

Image Credit: University of Nottingham

Image Credit: University of Nottingham

Talking or reading. Texting a message or listening. The dilemma of choosing between various tasks is not an invention of the modern information age. Humans and all vertebrates have to prioritize their actions. But to understand the neurobiology of how these decisions are made is a challenging scientific problem. Now, the EU-funded projectSelect-and-Act, completed in 2012, has provided further insight into the problem. Read More →

Good vibrations: Using light-heated water to deliver drugs

Schematic representation of NIR-induced release mechanism: (A) Absorption spectrum of water in the NIR region; (B) Formation of isolated nano-domains of water in the polymeric structure; (C) Release of encapsulated molecules following photothermal heating of water droplets inside the polymer particles.

Schematic representation of NIR-induced release mechanism: (A) Absorption spectrum of water in the NIR region; (B) Formation of isolated nano-domains of water in the polymeric structure; (C) Release of encapsulated molecules following photothermal heating of water droplets inside the polymer particles.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in collaboration with materials scientists, engineers and neurobiologists, have discovered a new mechanism for using light to activate drug-delivering nanoparticles and other targeted therapeutic substances inside the body. Read More →

Advances in ‘Channeled Power’ are Accelerating

Image Source: WiTricity

Image Source: WiTricity

Something nearly every sci-fi series has in common: no wires or electrical outlets, and nobody seems to have any problem keeping a charge on their gadgets. While we’ve created better and better wireless technology here in the real world, we still can’t use it to power an entire house—let alone all of those starships we don’t have—and we still can’t charge our devices without being tethered to some kind of wire or dock. Read More →

Computing with Slime


A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors (citation below). Read More →

The Future of Computers and Artificial Intelligence


In the last 50 years, the advent of computer has radically changed our daily routines and habits. From huge, roomy, terribly expensive and rather useless machines, computers have managed to become quite the opposite of all the above, seeing an exponential growth in the number of units sold and, stunningly, usability as well.

If all of this happened in the first 50 years of computing history, what will happen in the next 50? Read More →

Robots in the Workplace


Small, mobile robots will learn to take over the tasks in the automotive industry that have not yet been possible to automate. This challenge is part of a 47 million kroner EU funded research project aimed at making robots available to small and medium-sized companies without the need of robotics expertise.

The project entitled STAMINA is headed by Volker Krüger, Associate Professor at Aalborg University’s Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. Partnering with researchers from Bonn, Freiburg, Edinburgh and Porto, as well as the businesses PSA Peugeot Citroen and BA Systèmes, he aims to overcome the current limitations of industrial robots: Read More →

The Value of Sidekicks

Credit: New Line Cinema

Credit: New Line Cinema

Everybody loves Batman, but you’ll have to look far and wide to find a hardcore Robin fan. It’s understandable. Batman is dark and brooding, swooping in from the darkness on wings black as night to mete out vigilante justice with his fists. Robin, on the other hand, is teenager wearing red and green spandex with a black pair of briefs. Batman’s the triple bacon cheeseburger we paid for. Robin’s the garden salad that came with it. And yet, can we really subtract Robin from the mythos? As much as we love Batman the lone wolf vigilante, a man in a rubber bat suit becomes silly very fast when we don’t have other characters around to assure the audience he’s serious business. Read More →