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Detecting Brain Chemicals

September 30, 2008

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic and other institutions have developed a new device that can detect neurotransmitters quickly and locally in the brain, which they hope will help make deep brain stimulation (DBS) more effective and shed light on how it works.

The device consists of a sensor electrode that can be implanted along with the DBS electrode and detects the concentration of neurotransmitters released from neurons. The sensor… read more

Digital Imaging, Reimagined

March 15, 2007

Rice University engineers have developed a camera that uses a single image sensor to collect just enough information to let a novel algorithm reconstruct a high-resolution image.

Future applications include MRI systems that capture images up to 10 times as quickly as today’s scanners and tiny mobile-phone cameras that produce high-quality, poster-size images.

Nano Weapons Join the Fight Against Cancer

May 10, 2004

Researchers plan to use “nanoshells” to diagnose and treat cancer.

Nanoshells are microscopic concentric spheres with silica cores and gold shells. In the lab, nanoshells are injected into an animal’s bloodstream, where “targeting” agents applied to them seek out and attach to the surface receptors of cancerous cells.

In one method, illumination with infrared light raises the cells’ temperature to 55 degrees Celsius and burns away the tumor.… read more

Computers Make Strides in Recognizing Speech

June 25, 2010

A host of companies — AT&T, Microsoft, Google and startups — are investing in services that hint at the concept of machines that can act on spoken commands. They go well beyond voice-enabled Internet search.

Later this summer, a new model of the Ford Edge will recognize complete addresses, including city and state spoken in a single phrase, and respond by offering turn-by-turn directions.

Certain emotions are now… read more

‘Intelligent’ computers put to the test

October 7, 2008

Six computer programs — Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal — will take part in a Turing test at the University of Reading October 12.

Their designers will be competing for an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000 offered by the Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence.

Robots with rhythm could rock your world

March 23, 2007

A robot blob that dances “soulfully” to different tunes could pave the way for machines that interact more naturally with human beings.

It pick out the beat in a piece of music and move along in time. It can also track the rhythmic motion of a person or another object and move in time to that.

Psychologists have shown that people are more engaging when they synchronise their… read more

‘Digital People’: The Humanoid Condition

May 19, 2004

“Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids” is a comprehensive yet compact survey of robotics and bionics.

Author Sidney Perkowitz, a physicist at Emory University, cites heart pacemakers, cochlear implants and insulin pumps as proof that there are cyborgs among us, and describes “animal cyborg” builders.

Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens

July 2, 2010

A prototype quantum lasing device (Raffaella Signorini, Padova University)

Liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print devices have been developed by Jacek Jasieniak and his colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua.

Quantum dots are made of semiconductor material grown as nanometer-sized crystals. The laser color they produce can be selectively tuned by varying their size. To build a laser using quantum dots, they are placed… read more

IBM builds online version of China’s famed Forbidden City

October 13, 2008

IBM on Friday opened online doors to an interactive, animated replica of the 178-acre (720,000 square-meter) walled fortress of the famed Forbidden City in China, which served for centuries as an exclusive realm for the nation’s emperors.

Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time” is billed as a first-of-a-kind, fully immersive, three-dimensional virtual recreation of “this Chinese cultural treasure.”

Visitors to the virtual Forbidden City can explore… read more

IBM Technology Helps Disabled Surf the Web

April 2, 2007

IBM this week demonstrated more than 20 new technologies, including several that make the Internet and offline applications more accessible to the disabled.

A technology called Easy Web Browsing helps the elderly, people with limited vision and the color-blind by reading text out loud and allowing users to customize the size and color of Web content.

Invisible Accessibility, which is in development, creates a delay in activating a… read more

Risk of radioactive “dirty bomb” growing

June 3, 2004

The risk of somebody somewhere triggering a radioactive “dirty bomb” is growing, evidence gathered by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency suggests.

The IAEA’s records show a dramatic rise in the level of smuggling of radiological materials..

A Robot Network Seeks to Enlist Your Computer

October 21, 2008

Automated botnets control millions of PCs, infecting them in about five minutes and using them to spread infections and snoop on financial information, according to Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team, a group of about 20 researchers and investigators.

Thin Carbon Is In: Graphene Steals Nanotubes’ Allure

April 10, 2007

The latest craze in materials science is graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon that looks like molecular chicken wire and is the thinnest of all possible materials in the universe.

Graphene can be made from graphite flakes using ordinary Skotch tape. Physicists have made transistors out of graphene and used it to explore odd quantum phenomena at room temperatures.

Computing needs a Grand Challenge

June 15, 2004

Sir Tony Hoare, British computing pioneer and senior scientist at Microsoft Research, believes the computer industry needs a “grand challenge” to inspire it.

By 2020, Hoare predicts, the world will contain 100 times as many computers as it does now, each with 100 times as much power and memory, all interconnected. And to best understand this world, he says, we should not think of it as containing many discrete… read more

Nanopillars that Trap More Light

July 16, 2010

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A material with a novel nanostructure developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley could lead to lower-cost solar cells and light detectors. It absorbs light just as well as commercial thin-film solar cells but uses much less semiconductor material.

The new material consists of an array of nanopillars that are narrow at the top and thicker at the bottom. The narrow tops allow light to penetrate… read more

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