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Picosecond X-ray Crystallography of a Protein

July 18, 2003

Picosecond x-ray crystallography of a protein has been demonstrated for the first time, making possible picosecond-scale movies, such as one showing a mutant myoglobin molecule getting rid of a toxic carbon monoxide (CO) molecule.

The system uses 150-ps x-ray pulses from the European Synchrotron and Radiation Facility synchrotron.

Electronic Paper

July 18, 2003

Some nanotechnologists say that soon everyone could be reading off electronic paper.

CMU team to develop a software ‘secretary’

July 18, 2003

Researchers are developing “personalized cognitive assistant” software with $7 million DARPA funding.

Users will be able to establish a degree of trust with this software, just as they do with human assistants or secretaries. It will have to learn enough of the nuances of human interaction that it will know, for instance, when the user can be interrupted.

Nano-tool breakthrough enables ‘world’s smallest robots’

July 17, 2003
Controlled by a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or laser, multiple "micro-robots" can "walk" or grip and manipulate nanoscale objects as small as 100 nanometers. The SEM can also monitor their actions.

A new patented electron-beam “micro-robot” technology was announced today by Technology Innovations and Innovation On Demand, which have been issued U.S. Patent No. 6,588,208, “Wireless Technique for Microactivation.”

The breakthrough idea was to use focused beams of electron-beam or laser energy to wirelessly heat shape memory alloy (SMA) material. This bends when heated, causing movement. By eliminating bulky batteries and wires, microactuators can now be… read more

A Quantum Leap in Cryptography

July 17, 2003

BBN network engineer Chip Elliott is building what he hopes will be an unbreakable encryption machine, designed to harness subatomic particles to create a hacker-proof way to communicate over fiber-optic networks.

AIBO robots able to send images to cell phones

July 17, 2003

A system enabling Sony Corp’s AIBO robot pets to transmit images to mobile phones is being demonstrated at “Wireless Japan 2003.” It could be used for security purposes, enabling users to operate “house-sitting” AIBO robots from outside.

Breathing New Life Into Medicine

July 17, 2003

Scientists are developing ways to rapidly deliver medicine such as liquid insulin via the lungs.

World’s poor to get own search engine

July 17, 2003

MIT researchers are developing a search engine designed for people with a slow net connection.

The user would e-mail a query to a central server in Boston. The program would search the net, choose the most suitable webpages, compress them and e-mail the results a day later.

Bionic Eyes Benefit the Blind

July 17, 2003

Several types of “bionic eyes” are beginning to restore sight to the blind:

  • Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California researchers have developed spectacles with miniature video cameras that transmit signals to a 4-mm-by-5-mm retinal implant with 16 electrodes that stimulate remaining healthy retinal cells.
  • University of New South Wales researchers are developing an implant with 100 electrodes to give patients the ability
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    The Robot Won’t Bite You, Dear

    July 16, 2003

    Fear of robots and other supposedly sentient technology is what motivated organizers to host ArtBots, held in New York City this past weekend. Exhibits included:

  • BabyBott looked like a giant baby bottle and cooed when it was cuddled. Its talent: making people take care of it.
  • Tribblation, a sort of whiskered soccer ball ‘bot, was particularly popular with younger ArtBots attendees. Trib has hundreds of pressure,
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    Why A.I. Is Brain-Dead

    July 16, 2003

    “There is no computer that has common sense,” says Marvin Minsky. “We’re only getting the kinds of things that are capable of making an airline reservation. No computer can look around a room and tell you about it.”

    AI’s biggest deficiency right now: “The lack of people with an interest in commonsense reasoning for computers…it’s hard to get 10 capable people.”

    Asked to “Pick one: Bill Joy or… read more

    Machine vs. Man: Checkmate

    July 16, 2003

    “There’s a scary lesson in these contests between the grandmaster and his soulless opponents. We are sharing our world with another species, one that gets smarter and more independent every year. Though some people scoff at the idea that machines could become autonomous, remember it wasn’t long ago that almost no one thought a computer would ever beat a human chess champion. Could we ever face anything akin to the… read more

    Fat Pipe Dream

    July 16, 2003

    A new gigabit Ethernet network provides Internet access to Japanese homes at 12 megabits per second — eight times faster than what Americans are used to — for about $21 a month.

    The “Yahoo! BB” brand service includes voice-over-IP (less than 3 cents a minute for a call from Tokyo to New York), which could eventually put Japan’s NTT telephone company out of business.

    A video-on-demand service that… read more

    Telomere shortening may be early marker of cancer activity

    July 16, 2003

    Telomere shortening may be one of the earliest and most prevalent changes on a cell’s path to cancer, according to two studies presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

    As cells divide and age, telomere DNA is lost and telomeres get shorter and shorter. The new study suggests that telomere dysfunction from the shortening may play a causal role in human intraepithelial… read more

    UCLA Physicists Create Single Molecule Nanoscale Sensor

    July 15, 2003

    Physicists have created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor, using a single molecule more than 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair to recognize the presence of a specific short sequence in a mixture of DNA or RNA molecules that could help with early diagnosis of genetic diseases, and have numerous other applications for medicine, biotechnology and other fields.

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