science + technology news

Sandia Labs technology used in Fukushima cleanup

May 29, 2012


A Sandia National Laboratories technology has been used to remove radioactive material from more than 43 million gallons of contaminated wastewater at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Sandia researchers worked around the clock following the March 2011 disaster to show the technology worked in seawater, which was pumped in to cool the plant’s towers.

Sandia scientists previously found that a certain class… read more

Injectable chip destroys cancer cells

October 22, 2004

Singaporean doctors have used an injectable radioactive “BrachySil” chip to destroy malignant cells and prolong the lives of inoperable liver cancer patients.

Bilingual, Bicultural ‘Roboceptionist’

October 19, 2010

The roboceptionist Hala exhibits facial gestures, and the monitor turns side-to-side like a head. Hala also is provided with a back story, a history and a personality to encourage people to converse with her. (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)

Researchers at the University of Arizona and Carnegie Mellon University are working to create a robot receptionist. What makes the effort novel is that the “roboceptionist” is a bilingual and bicultural computer with a face and a natural language interface.

A three-year, $1 million grant from the Qatar National Research Foundation is funding basic advances in human-computer interaction. Majd Sakr, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, is… read more

Artificial molecule evolves in the lab

January 9, 2009

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have designed an RNA molecule that emulates two of the essential features of life: it self-replicates and evolves by natural selection.

Filtering light based on direction

Potential uses include solar photovoltaics, telescopes, microscopes, and privacy filters for display screens
March 31, 2014


MIT researchers have developed a system that allows light of any color to pass through only if it is coming from one specific angle; the technique reflects all light coming from other directions.

This new approach could ultimately lead to advances in solar photovoltaics, detectors for telescopes and microscopes, and privacy filters for display screens.

The work is described in a paper appearing in the journal… read more

Graphene Nanoelectronics

July 24, 2007

Rensselaer physicists have showed that the length of graphene may be used to manipulate and tune the material’s energy gap (which determine if a material is metallic or semiconducting).

The research could lead to a way to mass produce metallic graphene, which could could one day replace copper as the primary interconnect material on computer chips, overcoming copper’s resistance and heat limitations as interconnects get smaller.

Nanotechnology Poised to Revolutionize Tech, Manufacturing Markets

November 1, 2004

Sales of products incorporating nanotechnology will total $2.6 trillion in 10 years, approximately one-sixth of the current Gross Domestic Product, greatly exceeding previous estimates, according to a new report released by Lux Research Inc.

The report predicts improvements across a wide range of industry categories including healthcare, water purification, materials, and information technology.

Of Nanotubes and Buckyballs: Atomic-Scale Building Blocks

March 27, 2001

An IBM scientist described a method of shaping nanotubes to form semiconductors at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society in Seattle. The discovery could lead to computer miniaturization breakthroughs.

NEC scientists also described research in creating “nanohorns,” using carbon molecules shaped like megaphones. These could be used for storage of hydrogen fuel and light emitters for flat panel displays.

Nanoplumbing: More than just a pipe dream

January 19, 2009

By controlling ion flow, nanotubes can desalinate water, clean the air, increase fuel cell efficiency, and for other uses, several groups of scientists are finding.

How the brain extracts meaning

August 2, 2007

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked subjects to listen to symphonies to probe one of the central abilities of the brain — segmenting the continual stream of sensory information into perceptual chunks to extract meaning.

Their study revealed new details about how the brain circuitry that is key to such “event segmentation” functions.

In the experiments, the subjects listened to symphonies of the English… read more

Wireless to Drive Internet Growth, Tech Leaders Say

November 16, 2004

Wireless services will lead the next growth phase of the Internet, industry leaders said, with investors now ready to spend again.

“I think the Internet’s largest opportunities are in bringing new services, ones that we barely imagine, to billions of people around the world, wirelessly,” said venture capitalist John Doerr.

Bill Joy, former chief scientist and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, said he envisioned many kinds of Webs,… read more

Scientists make human blood from human skin

November 8, 2010


In a major breakthrough, scientists at McMaster University in Canada have discovered how to make human blood from adult human skin.

The discovery, published Sunday in Nature, could mean that in the foreseeable future, people needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment or treatment of other blood conditions like anemia will be able to have blood directly created from a patch of their own skin to provide… read more

Rand report examines technology trends

April 19, 2001

A Rand Corporation “foresight” report on “The Global Technology Revolution: Bio/Nano/Materials Trends and Their Synergies with Information Technology by 2015″ examines the potential effects of several technological trends over the next 15 years, influenced by advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology, and information technology.

The full report is available online.

Ten sci-fi devices that could soon be in your hands

January 26, 2009

New Scientist has assessed the prospects of 10 of the coolest gadgets that in 30 years’ time may change our lives.

Making Deaf Ears Hear with Light

August 10, 2007

A laser-based approach could make cochlear implants, which currently use electrical signals, more effective.

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