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Slaves to Our Machines

September 23, 2002

Instead of machines augmenting human ability, humans are increasingly being called on to augment machine abilities.

Online e-expo features more than 100 university robotics labs

April 8, 2010

EXPO21XX has created an online exhibition to showcase projects underway in more than 100 university robotics labs from around the world.

Studying the brain’s chemistry, neuron by neuron

September 1, 2005

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed tools for studying the chemistry of the brain, neuron by neuron. The analytical techniques can probe the spatial and temporal distribution of biologically important molecules, such as vitamin E, and explore the chemical messengers behind thought, memory and emotion.

By dismantling a slice of brain tissue into millions of single cell-size pieces, each of which can be interrogated by mass spectrometric… read more

Fingerprint Test Tells What a Person Has Touched

August 8, 2008

In technology right out of the movie Gattaca, Purdue University scientists have developed a method that can identify what a person has been touching: drugs, explosives or poisons, for example.

Desorption electrospray ionization, or Desi, involves spaying a liquid that has been electrically charged on a tiny bit of a fingerprint, such as one on a keyboard, and analysis of the material by mass spectrometry.

If… read more

Tiny optical disc could store five movies

October 18, 2002

Philips has been secretly developing the world’s smallest optical disc, which will record, play back and erase data using the same precision blue lasers that are being developed for the next generation of high-definition video recorders.

The first versions of the three-centimeter disc (with the same thickness as a DVD) will store one gigabyte on each side, but the dual-layer coating already used for DVDs will double the capacity… read more

Projected MultiTouch Screen

April 20, 2010

(Light Blue Optics)

Light Blue Optics’ interactive projector transforms any flat surface into a multitouch screen, due out from partners to the market in late 2010.

The evolution of robot soccer

February 13, 2012

robocup2011

“By mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, complying with the official rule[s] of the FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association], against the winner of the most recent World Cup.”

This is the official goal of the RoboCup soccer competition, IEEE Spectrum Automaton reports.

The new version of Honda’s ASIMO kicks a soccer ball in… read more

RNA nanoparticles target cancer cells

September 14, 2005

Purdue University scientists have constructed hybrid nanoparticles assembled from RNA that can deliver anticancer therapeutic agents directly to infected cells.

The triangular structures are between 25 and 40 nanometers wide and able to pass through cell membranes into the cell’s interior.

They were able to interrupt the growth of human breast cancer cells and leukemia model lymphocytes in laboratory experiments.

Source: Purdue University news release

Cooking and Cognition: How Humans Got So Smart

August 14, 2008

A spurt in human intelligence about 150,000 years ago was caused by eating (mostly) cooked meals, which would have lessened the energy needs of our digestion systems, thereby freeing up calories for our brains, says researcher Philipp Khaitovich of the Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai.

But some of our most common mental health problems, ranging from depression and bipolar disorder to autism and schizophrenia, may be by-products… read more

An Electronic Cop That Plays Hunches

November 4, 2002

CopLink, a new AI-based investigative tool, is being used to help trace the Washington-area sniper suspects’ movements across the country. It was designed by Hsinchun Chen, director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

Coplink allows police departments to establish links quickly among their own files and to those of other departments. It works by linking and comparing data from new and existing files and also… read more

Gene silencing prevents its first human disease

April 27, 2010

For the first time, RNA interference (RNAi) has been proven effective against a human disease — a common respiratory virus, University of Tennessee Health Science Center researchers have found.

NSA granted Net location-tracking patent

September 26, 2005

The National Security Agency has obtained a patent on a method of figuring out an Internet user’s geographic location.

Patent 6,947,978 describes a way to discover someone’s physical location by comparing it to a “map” of Internet addresses with known locations.

The NSA’s patent relies on measuring the latency, meaning the time lag between computers exchanging data, of “numerous” locations on the Internet and building a “network latency… read more

Algae: Biofuel of the future?

August 19, 2008

University of Virginia researchers have a plan to greatly increase algae oil yields by feeding the algae extra carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas) and organic material like sewage, meaning the algae could simultaneously produce biofuel and clean up environmental problems.

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die

November 18, 2002

Ray Kurzweil has a personal plan for eternal life: don’t die (counting on a low-carb diet, supplements and accelerating medical advances).

“If you combine the knowledge today with the observation that we’re actually on the knee of the curve in terms of acceleration of knowledge and these technologies, and that the full blossoming of the biotech revolution will be here within a couple decades, we can remain healthy through… read more

Digital information will grow to 1.2 zettabytes this year: IDC study

May 5, 2010

Last year, the Digital Universe (the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world) grew by 62% to nearly 800,000 petabytes (a petabyte is a million gigabytes, or a quintillion bytes), and this year, the Digital Universe will grow almost as fast to 1.2 million petabytes, or 1.2 zettabytes, according to IDC’s annual report, “The Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?” May 2010, which monitors… read more

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