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Some 300 exabytes (3 × 1020 bytes) of information were stored in electronic media -- magnetic disks and tapes or optical disks -- throughout the world by 2007. Yet, the demand for electronic storage grows daily, driving an ever-increasing need to pack data into smaller volumes in quicker time. By studying how laser pulses alter the atomic structure of data-storage materials, a research team in Japan has uncovered a fundamental mechanism that could aid in the design of even faster information storage in the future1. The finding was published by Masaki Takata from the RIKEN SPring-8 Center, Harima, Shinji Kohara from the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute/SPring-8, Noboru Yamada from Panasonic Corporation and a team of scientists from Japan, Germany and Finland.

Atomic-level crystal gazing

Pulses of light alter the atomic bonds (red) in the material AIST, enabling quick storage and deletion of data. Credit: 2011 Masaki Takata

Rewritable memory, such as the random-access memory found in computers or on DVDs, is based on a phase change in specific types of materials in which the atoms change from one stable arrangement to another. Pulses of laser light can induce a phase change, a process known as ‘writing,’ and the material’s phase can be identified by ‘reading’ its signature optical properties.

To provide the first full understanding of the atomic structure of one such phase-change material, AgInSbTe (AIST)—often used in rewritable DVDs—Takata and his colleagues combined state-of-the-art materials-analysis techniques and theoretical modeling. A pulse of light can change AIST from an amorphous state, in which the atoms are disordered, into a crystalline phase in which the atoms are form an ordered-lattice structure. This process of crystallization happens in just a few tens of nanoseconds: the faster the crystallization, the faster data can be written and erased. No-one understood, however, why phase changes in AIST were so fast.

The teams’ analyses and modeling showed that AIST crystallizes in a different way to other commercially available phase-change materials. They found that crystallization of AIST is a simple process: the laser light excites the bonding electrons and causes them to move. A central atom of antimony (Sb) switches between one long (amorphous) and one short (crystalline) bond without any bond breaking (Fig. 1). “We hope to verify this bond-interchange model in the near future,” says Takata. “Crystallization is the storage-rate-limiting process in all phase-change materials, and an atomistic understanding of it is essential.”

The researchers also discovered that the absence of cavities within the crystal structure contributes to the faster writing speeds on AIST. This contrasts starkly with the alternative material germanium antimony telluride in which 10% of lattice sites in are empty.

Source: PhysOrg

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As many students of history are familiar, Galileo Galilei, famed mathematician & astronomer, known today by many as the “father of modern science”, was forced by the Catholic Church under threat of torture to recant his “heretical” view that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa in the 17th century. This scientifically valid idea voided long held religious dogma and hence challenged the Church's integrity itself.

In a letter from 1634, René Descartes, one of the world's most noted thinkers and philosophers, stated: “Doubtless you know that Galileo was recently censored by the Inquisitors of the Faith, and that his views about the movement of the earth were condemned as heretical. I must tell you that all the things I explained in my treatise, which included the doctrine of the movement of the earth, were so interdependent that it is enough to discover that one of them is false to know that all the arguments I was using are unsound.  Though I thought they were based on very certain and evident proofs, I would not wish, for anything in the world, to maintain them against the authority of the church.... I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto to 'live well you must live unseen'.”

If we step back and think about the challenges that faced this small progressive and scientific community during 17th Century Europe and compare the fear and patterns of suppression coming from the established orthodoxy of that time to that of the modern-day, we find only mere variation. Descartes' revelation and retreat from exposure, as expressed by the motto: 'to live well you must live unseen' is a disheartening disposition that speaks volumes and sadly carries on to this day across the world. The use of fear, intimidation and other time tested variations of oppression continue to persist as the dominant institutions of our society work to protect it's established orders regardless of social validity. Even more, the overall cultural itself, which invariably tends to support the accepted beliefs put forward by those that define “power” of a period, also tends to condemn those who choose to pose a challenge as it becomes a threat to the mass accepted identity itself.

The result is that many simply are not willing to risk their lives, occupations and reputations to challenge the orthodoxy of the time.

In late May 2011 news reports were generated that detailed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States was actively targeting “Political Activists” under the pretense of “Terrorism”.

Just as people like John Lennon and Martin Luther King Jr. were watched and harassed by the FBI for their activism decades ago, it appears modern, so-called “Anti-Terrorism” resources are  being used to target environmentalists, peace, animal and political activists.

Just like the accusations of “Communism” against people like MLK Jr. in the mid 20th century, this newer, more generalized device called “Terrorism” of the 21st century is no less an “heretical”, accusatory tool than what was employed by the Inquisition century's ago to maintain the politico-religious social system.

So, we can sympathize with Descartes' notion, as to move against the Zeitgeist is to position yourself against the odds, regardless of how empirical, necessary or obvious the truth you wish to convey and act upon is.

Unfortunately, Descartes' position is unacceptable in the modern world. The risks that now exist within our current order are beginning to far outweigh the temporal personal risks generated by the act of activist objection itself.

It is no longer issues of accurate data, “rights” and “freedoms”. Today our very stability as a civilization is now in question and, if left unhindered, it threatens us all, regardless of one's position in the modern feudal hierarchy.

So, we can sit in confusion and watch as global unemployment rises due to technological unemployment and the resulting regional instability that is sure to grow. We can stare blankly at the systematic debt collapse of the world economy, country by country, like dominos, as self-appointed global banking institutions that derive money out of nothing impose austerity measures against the poor and middle class of each country to help support the wealthy, furthering the income divide.

We can twiddle our thumbs as what we have called “democracy” turns inexplicably into global plutocracy and the world economy becomes measured by how much money the rich move around amongst themselves. We can distract ourselves with our little gadgets as the rain-forests – considered by many to be the “lungs” of this planet – are destroyed at faster and faster rates, reducing our ability to absorb the growing CO2 in the atmosphere. We can keep the TV on as the clean water and food shortages that currently affect over 1 billion people continue to grow to 2 billion... 3 billion. We can scan the tabloids at the grocery store news stands as the very basis of industrial civilization, the Hydrocarbon Economy, inches towards crisis scarcity with virtually no active initiative taken to change course.

We can continue to pretend that our “leaders” are anything but “mis-leaders”, set in motion by monetary commercial interests that follow the rules of the free-market with all legislation and offices going to the highest bidder, one way or another... and we can stand amused as a new global arms race gains speed as each country comes to terms with the very real reality that wars for resources are upon us in a way unlike any period in history.

This is what separates our world from the one Descartes hid from.

The fact is, the fear tactics of the Orthodoxy - in this context the FBI or any such “Intelligence Agency” - are no longer worthy of viable concern or even acknowledgment. At no time in history has any true social change come in a manner that was not opposed with hostility by the dominant orders of the time. If you choose fear, then fear exists and those little lists/tactics held by the Intelligence/Police Agencies have merit. If you choose choose love, pride and self-respect then no accusations, lists, or threats can ever stop you. The trick now is in numbers and if we can gain critical mass and override the “divide and conquer” techniques used to keep the orthodoxy in place, the game is over.

The Zeitgeist Movement is a global sustainability activist group working to bring the world together for the common goal of species sustainability before it is too late. It is a social movement, not a political one, with over 1100 chapters across nearly all countries. Divisionary notions such as nations, governments, races, political parties, religions, creeds or class are non-operational distinctions in the view of The Movement. Rather, we recognize the world as one system and the human species as a singular unit, sharing a common habitat. Our overarching intent could be summarized as “the application of the scientific method for social concern.”

To learn more about our work, please visit

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By Admin (from 06/06/2011 @ 14:00:36, in ro - Observator Global, read 1553 times)

 Nevoile de apa ale omenirii sunt uriase. In unele tari ale lumii, in special din zonele desertice, apa e un lux. Undeva, in departare (sau in apropiere) se profileaza intinderile „nesfarsite” ale apelor marilor din care s-ar putea alimenta chiar si... martienii! Dar, ca o ironie a soartei, aceste ape sunt sarate.

Si, paradoxal, in acest secol al supertehnologiilor, stiinta e departe de a face minuni in problema, aparent banala, a desalinizarii. Metodele actuale folosite pentru tratarea apei presupun investitii mari in infrastructuri si un consum ridicat de energie. Pe de alta parte, recurg la agenti chimici, unii dintre acestia toxici...

Cel mai mare rezervor de apa pentru omenire il reprezinta apa marilor si oceanelor (97% din resursele acvatice, inclusiv calotele glaciare). Necesarul de apa potabila si pentru irigatii la nivelul global ar putea fi asigurat daca ar exista o tehnologie de desalinizare cu un consum rezonabil de energie. Din pacate, pana acum procedeele folosite s-au dovedit a fi extrem de costisitoare din punct de vedere energetic. E vorba in special de distilare, prin care se obtine apa dulce in urma procesului de evaporare-condensare. Specialistii americani sunt preocupati de o noua metoda, asa-zisa „osmoza inversa”, ce consta in separarea sarii de apa cu ajutorul unei membrane semi-permeabile, apa fiind presata asupra acesteia.

Membranele, din ce in ce mai ieftine, castiga in eficacitate permitand, asadar, filtrarea de mari cantitati de apa intr-un timp tot mai scurt. Lucrurile nu se opresc insa aici. Apa filtrata este supusa apoi unor procese de decontaminare, intrucat contine numerosi compusi toxici, in cantitati foarte mici. Tratamentele chimice sunt insa foarte costisitoare. O problema in plus. Solutia ar putea veni din partea unor materii nanostructurate (particule cu o marime de cateva milionimi de milimetru) sau din partea radiatiilor ultraviolete care au capacitatea de a transforma si de a lega substantele toxice.

„In termeni energetici, mentioneaza Mark Shannon, directorul Centrului de materiale avansate pentru purificarea apei de la Universitatea din Illinois (SUA) se poate spune ca transportul apei la mari distante presupune cheltuieli mai mari decat in cazul productiei de apa dulce prin filtrare. Sa nu uitam faptul ca 5% pana la 15% din electricitatea produsa in vestul SUA este folosita in transportul apei”. Specialistii insista, pe de alta parte, asupra colectarii apei de ploaie, fie pentru utilizare directa, fie pentru umplerea panzelor freatice, acestea beneficiind si de aportul apelor reziduale, o practica intalnita mai ales in Europa.


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Scoprire che la Terra è sull’orlo di una nuova estinzione di massa non è probabilmente il modo migliore per iniziare la giornata. Eppure diversi scienziati sono convinti che il crescente numero di specie in pericolo, dai più piccoli microrganismi ai grandi mammiferi, sia un chiaro indicatore dell’avvicinarsi di questo evento. Negli ultimi 540 milioni di anni il nostro pianeta ha già affrontato cinque di questi momenti, assistendo ogni volta alla completa scomparsa di almeno il 75% delle specie animali viventi.

tigre bianca

L'inizio della fine

In un articolo pubblicato su Nature, un gruppo di paleobiologi dell’Università di Berkley fa il punto della situazione, e confronta la situazione attuale con quella di 540 milioni di anni fa.
"Se consideriamo solo i mammiferi più a rischio, quelli che hanno almeno il 50% di probabilità di estinguersi nelle prossime 3 generazioni, e ipotizziamo che entro i prossimi 1000 anni saranno definitivamente scomparsi, siamo certi di essere prossimi a una nuova estinzione di massa" afferma Anthony D. Barnosky, docente di biologia e principale autore della ricerca. Ma c’è di più: "Se tutte le specie oggi classificate come fortemente minacciate o vulnerabili scomparissero e il ritmo di estinzione non accennasse a diminuire, l’estinzione di massa potrebbe manifestarsi in un periodo compreso tra i prossimi 300 e 2200 anni".
C’è però anche qualche buona notizia. Secondo Barnosky non è troppo tardi per tentare di salvare le specie a rischio, ma per farlo occorre combattere contro surriscaldamento globale, distruzione degli habitat,  deforestazione, epidemie.

Ecco il colpevole

Lo scienziato fa notare che fino ad oggi si è comunque estinto solo l’1-2% delle specie sotto osservazione: è un segnale positivo ma che non deve comunque indurre ad abbassare la guardia, anche perché, secondo i ricercatori di Berkley l’attuale tasso di estinzione delle specie è più alto rispetto al passato.
I ricercatori hanno calcolato che negli ultimi 500 anni sono si sono estinte 80 specie di mammiferi su 5570, mentre la media negli ultimi 500 milioni di anni è stata di gran lunga più bassa: appena due estinzioni ogni milione di anni.
"La moderna estinzione di massa è guidata da una pericolosa miscela di cambiamenti climatici e attività umane: le conseguenze di questo fenomeno potrebbero essere imprevedibili, molto serie e, soprattutto, irreversibili" dichiara H. Richard Lane, direttore della National Science Foundation's Division of Earth Sciences che ha finanziato lo studio.

Lo studio

Gli scienziati hanno calcolato i tassi di estinzione nelle diverse ere basandosi sulle evidenze fossili e, per le epoche più recenti, sulle cronache scientifiche. Lo stesso Barnosky ammette che il metodo non è esente da errori: la datazione dei fossili non è mai precisa e non si può essere certi di aver conteggiato ogni specie che sia mai esistita. La scelta di limitare lo studio ai mammiferi è stata dettata da motivi pratici: seguirne la storia fossile è più semplice rispetto ad altre classi di animali. Per confermare i risultati dello studio occorrerà comunque allargare lo spettro della ricerca a pesci, uccelli e invertebrati.
"Il nostro lavoto sottolinea la necessità di intervenire per tutelare le specie a rischio: solo così sarà possible preservare la biodiversità nel lungo periodo. Se invece la maggior parte di loro morirà, entro i prossimi 1000 anni il mondo si troverà a dover affrontare la sesta estizione di massa".


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By Admin (from 06/06/2011 @ 08:00:58, in en - Science and Society, read 1800 times)

Time to retire the old soldering iron? In the "atomtronic" circuits pictured on the right, it is atoms, not electrons, that flow. Such circuits could form the basis for ultra-sensitive gyroscopes.

Previously, atoms have been made to flow from one point to another. To get them to flow round and round in a circuit, Kevin Wright and colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, chilled 100,000 sodium atoms until they became a Bose-Einstein condensate – a blob of floating atoms that behaves as a single, coherent quantum object.

The researchers used a complex array of lasers to trap and shape the blob into a torus. A further pair of lasers, one in a rotating configuration, gave the atoms just enough energy to circulate in unison around the ring, but not so much energy that the condensate decohered.

This "current" of atoms flowed for 40 seconds, four times longer than atoms in previous experiments.

Superfluid gyroscope

Flowing atoms act like frictionless "superfluids"", which are highly sensitive to rotation, so such atomtronic circuits might be used to build ultra-sensitive gyroscopes, says Wright.

His team also pinched off part of the torus with another laser, restricting the flow of atoms, but not stopping them entirely. In electrical circuits, the closest analogy to this is a Josephson junction, a gap over which current flows between two superconductors. These form the basis of superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDS), which are used to measure magnetic fields with high sensitivity.

Matthew Davis, a physicist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, calls the new work "impressive" and agrees that it could eventually lead to "practical devices that are extremely sensitive for the detection of rotational or gravitational forces".

Source: NewScientist

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Telematics, a mash-up of telecommunications and informatics, is the science of scanning the world with wireless devices to extract data, sending this data to a computer network, and using the information to do anything from tracking packages to monitoring the highway speed of grocery trucks. UPS relies heavily on telematics, as does GM with its OnStar navigation system. The federal government could do a better job of capitalizing on the science, according to Michael J. Ravnitzky. So he started thinking about one of the largest mobile networks on Earth: the post office.

Ravnitzky is a chief counsel at the Postal Regulatory Commission, the government agency that oversees the U.S. Postal Service. The post office is in bad shape. From 2006 to 2009, mail volume dropped by 17 percent and officials have threatened to cut Saturday service. But where others see an inefficient and increasingly outdated system, Ravnitzky sees opportunity.

With its 218,684 vehicles stopping at more than 150 million delivery points along some 232,000 routes every day, the postal-delivery fleet could be reconceived as a vast data-gathering network. “If you were designing a data collection system from scratch, it would look a lot like the postal service,” Ravnitzky says. As he reasoned in a New York Times op-ed last December, the postal network could be used to measure air pollution and ozone levels while aiding Homeland Security operations by scanning for biological or chemical agents. Or it might detect and report WiFi and cellular dead zones. Using telematics, the postal service could evolve into an entirely new kind of public utility. It could also provide a new source of revenue. Private companies or other government agencies could buy space for their sensors on mail trucks.

Although Ravnitzky’s idea is just that—an idea—there’s precedent: Two years ago, 32 Greyhound buses rigged with sensors set off across the country to gather atmospheric and environmental data for the National Weather Service; 2,000 more such buses will roll out soon.

There’s already real interest in Ravnitzky’s plan. Marc Chapman, a compliance director for Atmos Energy, the largest natural-gas distributor in the country, says he is looking into whether sensors could be attached to postal-service trucks to detect gas leaks. Telematics might just save Saturday delivery.

Source: PopSci

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Una perdita di acqua radioattiva sarebbe avvenuta nelle ultime ore (notizia Adnkronos 04 giugno, ore 14:56) nella piccola centrale nucleare di Anshas, in Egitto, dopo l'esplosione di una pompa del reattore.

Anshas is a city East of Cairo located in the Sharkiya Governorate in the Nile Delta of Egypt.
It holds the first nuclear reactor to be operated in Egypt.  The City also holds the First Arab League Summit in 1949, which declared the creation of the League.

Lo rivela una fonte dell'Autorita' egiziana per l'energia atomica, coperta da anonimato, al giornale locale Rose el Youssef, che titola 'L'Egitto si salva da un disastro nucleare'.

La fonte ricorda che il primo reattore di ricerca di Anshas e' stato rimesso in funzione di recente senza l'autorizzazione del Centro per la sicurezza nucleare e senza rispettare le norme di sicurezza dei reattori.

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By Admin (from 05/06/2011 @ 11:00:30, in ro - Observator Global, read 1646 times)

 „Orasul minune”, „Orasul de aur”, „Orasul celor 100 de turnuri”, „Parisul Estului” sunt numai cateva din calificativele pe care turistii de pretutindeni le-au folosit vorbind despre orasul de pe malul Valtavei. Capitala a Republicii Cehe si cel mai important centru cultural al Boemiei, Praga inalta spre soare multime de turnuri de castele si catedrale, statui si arbori batrani din splendidele gradini. Unul dintre palatele vestite este Troia, numit astfel dupa statuile de la intrare, statui care reprezinta scene din Razboiul Troian.

Splendida constructie baroc se numara printre cele mai frumoase resedinte de vara. Situat in cartierul caruia i-a dat numele din nordul orasului, oglindindu-si gradinile in apele Valtavei, palatul a fost construit de arhitectul G.B. Mathey din insarcinarea contelui Sternberg, unul dintre cei mai cunoscuti membri ai aristocratiei. Cladirea a fost ridicata intre 1679-1685, cu un exterior amintind o vila clasica italiana. Scara impunatoare care coboara spre gradini a fost adaugata intre 1685-1703.

Este o scara dubla, decorata cu statui realizate de Johann Georg, Paul Hermann si fratii Brokof. Cele mai fumoase dintre acestea reprezinta „Fiii Pamantului Mama” si „Lupta dintre zeii greci si titani”. In interior trebuie remarcat Holul Imperial, decorat cu fresce de A. Godin, infatisand alegoric „Gloria Habsburgilor”. Artistul german a pictat aici, de asemenea, o personificare a Justitiei. Asa-numita „Camera-chinezeasca” are peretii decorati cu scene inspirate de traditiile chinezesti, lucrare realizata in secolul al XIX-lea, si expune o valoroasa colectie ceramica.

Gradinile palatului au fost desenate tot de arhitectul Mathey, care a conceput, de altfel, intregul ansamblu. Create in stil baroc frantuzesc timpuriu, au in capat o orangerie de unde se poate contempla mai bine palatul, bijuterie de arhitectura, supranumita „Versailles-ul Boemian”. Palatul si gradinile au fost atent restaurate, in interior fiind expusa o minunata colectie de arta din secolul al XIX-lea. Nu departe de palat, pe acelasi mal al Valtavei, se afla Muzeul Orasului Praga o cladire in stil – neo-renascentist, gazduind colectiile respective de la sfarsitul secolului al XIX-lea. Fatada este decorata cu statui ale diferitilor artisti ai vremii, iar deasupra intrarii se afla un ceas astronomic celebru, creatie a lui J. Manes care a desenat si semnele zodiacului.

Muzeul contine exponate evocand aspecte ale orasului privit din punct de vedere istoric, arheologic si cultural. Pe langa tablouri si litografii sunt expuse bogate colectii de costume, bijuterii, sculpturi, mobile ca si anumite detalii de case. In aceeasi zona a fost construit intre 1920-1930 Monumentul National al lui Zizka, completat in 1948. In varful constructiei se inalta statuia faimosului general husit si sub betonul cenusiu sunt ingropati o serie de luptatori din Primul si al Doilea Razboi Mondial, tot aici aflandu-se si Mormantul Eroului Necunoscut. Chiar daca turnul noii televiziuni, inalt de 216 metri, nu se incadreaza perfect in zona, multi urca in varful lui pentru a putea contempla de acolo minunatiile din jur.


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Che memoria hanno gli animali? Che cosa sono in grado di ricordare? C'è una relazione tra dimensioni corporee, e quindi del cervello, e facoltà mnemoniche? Etologi, ricercatori e addestratori, anche se per motivi diversi, se lo domandano da sempre.


Un recente studio condotto da Marusha Dekleva dell'Università di Utrecht ha recentemente dimostrato che gli scimpanzè sono in grado di ricordare "il chi", "il cosa" e "il dove", ma hanno qualche problema con "il quando".

Teste dure

La ricercatrice ha mostrato a nove scimmie quattro barattoli diversi per forma e colore: uno conteneva yogurt e succo di mele, di cui gli animali sono golosi, uno del pepe rosso, mentre gli altri due erano vuoti. Ha esposto i primati ai contenitori a intervalli di tempo sempre più lunghi: 15 minuti, un'ora e poi quattro ore, cambiandone di volta in volta la posizione e il contentuto.
Gli scienziati si aspettavano che gli scimpanzè, solitamente molto veloci nell'apprendere, modificassero il loro comportamento in funzione dell'evolversi della situazione, ma così non è stato. Gli animali ricordavano molto bene la disposizione e il contenuto dei barattoli come era stato presentato loro all'inizio del test e hanno continuato a tentare di servirsi da quelli che, qualche ora prima, contenevano il loro cibo preferito. Non sono stati quindi in grado di seguire l'evoluzione temporale degli avvenimenti.
Secondo la Dekleva agli scimpanzè manca la memoria episodica, una memoria a lungo termine che permette di tenere traccia degli eventi della vita. «La memoria episodica è collegata alla capacità di pinificare il futuro ed è probablimente uno degli elementi che ha dato all'uomo il suo vantaggio evolutivo» spiega la scienziata.

Memoria... da ghiandaia

Ma la capacità di collocare nel tempo un ricordo non è esclusivamente umana: ce l'hanno anche alcuni uccelli.
Lo ha scoperto Nicola Clayton, un ricercatore di Cambridge, in alcuni test sulle ghiandaie di macchia. I volatili hanno dimostrato di saper stimare il trascorrere del tempo in relazione allo stato di conservazione del loro cibo preferito.

Alcuni ricercatori contestano però la validità di questi test: gli scimpanzè, a differenza delle ghiandaie, non sono soliti fare scorte di cibo e non hanno quindi interesse a tener traccia del passare delle ore in funzione dell'alimentazione. Sarebbe stato molto più interessante insegnare loro su quali piante trovare la frutta in diversi momenti della giornata.


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By Admin (from 04/06/2011 @ 14:00:56, in en - Global Observatory, read 2533 times)

Boris Babenko believes there are huge opportunities for integrating computer science, and in particular computer vision, into health care and medical research, making life easier for researchers, physicians and ultimately patients.

Babenko’s strong conviction is leading to the development of powerful tools to aid in bioengineering research. In particular, Babenko, a UC San Diego computer science grad student, is working with a team of researchers to develop technology that will automate the arduous process of analyzing the vast amount of data necessary for tissue engineering. In their research, Babenko and his partner, bioengineering grad student Jessica DeQuach, seek to automate blood vessel counting in images, and to make the distinction between data collection and analysis more clear. They will present their work April 14, 2011 during Research Expo, whose theme is “Innovation for Life."

Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field that offers the promise of improving, repairing and/or replacing damaged tissue in the human body. Research in this area involves the development of various biomaterials and processes that facilitate the fabrication of such tissue. In their project, the engineering students are focusing on quantifying arteriole formation. An arteriole is one of the small terminal branches of an artery, especially one that connects with a capillary.

“Arteriole formation is critically important for biomaterial remodeling to help bring blood flow to the damaged area, which is why it is an analysis tool often using in tissue engineering,” DeQuach said.

Collecting this vast amount of data is currently done manually and requires an intensive amount of time and meticulous effort.

“In this project we aim to ease the burden of doing such analysis via modern computer vision techniques,” Babenko said. “While the state of the art in computer vision still requires expert oversight, the long-term goal of our work is to automate this process as much as possible.”

The students are working under computer science professor Serge Belongie and bioengineering professor Karen Christman. Their poster, titled “Towards automated quantification of arteriole formation via computer vision,” will be one of 250 research posters that engineering graduate students will present at Research Expo.

Babenko explained that analyzing images is a central issue in biology – either to study things that are too small for the naked eye, or to study something from the inside in a non-invasive

manner. With current imaging and computer technologies researchers can gather huge amounts of data. Much of this analysis, however, is still done manually.

“I think that computer vision technology could make a big impact in this area by offering powerful tools to aid in bioengineering research,” Babenko said. “Counting blood vessels is a perfect example of the tedious task bioengineers have to perform. For example, in Prof. Christman’s lab a typical experiment requires a scientist to spend up to 80 hours to annotate images, and yet we believe it is within the reach of current computer vision technology.

“The short term goal is to significantly reduce the amount of time this analysis takes, while the long term goal is to open up new possibilities for experiments that simply could not have been done due to this annotation bottleneck,” he added. “Computer vision is a fast growing field, and this progress is ready to be applied in the real world.”

Source: PhysOrg

Provided by Jacobs School of Engineering for

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