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2010 review: The year in health and medicine

December 31, 2010

Communicating with people who seem to be in a vegetative state, optogenetics, and an electronic implant for the blind are among the key biomedical technologies introduced in 2010.

Amazing 18-Foot Wide Super-HD Multi-User Multitouch Display

September 14, 2009

Obscura Digital’s newest, longest multitouch wall has launched at the Hard Rock in Vegas, using three projectors to handle 100 hi-res images and videos simultaneously in real time.

Yale scientists decipher ‘wiring pattern’ of cell signaling networks

December 2, 2005

A team of scientists at Yale University has completed the first comprehensive map of the proteins and kinase signaling network that controls how cells of higher organisms operate, according to a report this week in the journal Nature.

Protein kinases act as regulator switches and modify their target proteins by adding a phosphate group to them. This process, called “phosphorylation,” results in altered activity of the phosphorylated protein. It… read more

‘Diet’ foods may not fool the brain

March 27, 2008

Duke University researchers have found that mice can detect a food’s caloric content–they prefer sugary foods even when they can’t taste sweetness.

When the sweet-oblivious mice drank sugar water, their brains produced dopamine. Calorie free–but still sweet-tasting–water sparked little dopamine production in the rodents’ brains, suggesting an innate attraction to sweet foods.

Robotic Assistants Could Have Helped Columbia

February 10, 2003

If Columbia’s tiles or wing section were damaged on liftoff, that fear could have been allayed by in-flight robotic inspection.

The AERCam-SPRINT (Autonomous Extra-vehicular Robotic Camera) flew on STS-87 in 1997. It is a small, hand-deployed and captured remote controled inspection tool that carries its own avionics and nitrogen-gas propulsion. Feasibility studies have been done by NASA to fly AERCam underneath the vehicle to image tiles.

In the… read more

CES cool gadgets roundup

January 10, 2011

Motorola Zoom

Genetic seamstress uses molecular fingers to tweak DNA

September 21, 2009

Scripps Research Institute scientists have attached site-specific viral enzymes called recombinases to zinc fingers (ZFRs, proteins that bind to DNA) to accurately locate, snip, and repair DNA strands.

The new technique could lead to safer gene therapies and more effective genetic engineering.

Amazon to Sell Build-Your-Own Search Engine

December 14, 2005

For a fee of as little as $1 a day, Amazon will provide access to an index of 5 billion Web pages plus the Internet-based tools to create new twists to mine the information warehouse and present findings to an audience.

Dreaming of a 3-D Web

April 1, 2008

Vivaty wants to offer 3-D chat rooms and social environments on any blog, Web site or social networking page.

These will be integrated into the Web–smaller but easier to access versions of massively multiplayer platforms like Second Life.

2012 Gen9 G-Prize announced

WANTED: Innovators and disruptors interested in transforming an industry using synthesized DNA constructs
July 24, 2012


Gen9, Inc. has announced that it has underwritten the first annual G-Prize to celebrate and support innovation in synthetic biology.

The prize is intended to foster creative and innovative approaches for using synthetic DNA constructs (gene fragments) to advance industries including chemical and enzyme production, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even data storage.

“Synthetic biology represents perhaps the greatest opportunity to modernize industry at ‘Moore’s law’ scale since… read more

Promise of intelligent networks

February 25, 2003

Intel researchers are working on ways to make wireless networks organize themselves and manage data traffic levels without any human intervention.

They are working with mesh network systems that can determine the best way to link all the devices they are in contact with, and find the ideal route for the data the devices are swapping.

“There are going to be tens of millions of computers out there… read more

Using living cells to create ‘biotic’ video games

January 17, 2011

A biotic video game (Lab on a Chip)

Stanford University researcher Ingmar Riedel-Kruse and his lab group have developed the first video games in which a player’s actions influence the behavior of living microorganisms in real time — while the game is being played.

These “biotic games” involve a variety of basic biological processes and some simple single-celled organisms (such as paramecia) in combination with biotechnology.

The goal is for players to have fun interacting with… read more

Time Lens Speeds Optical Data

September 28, 2009

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a simple device that could be used to move vast quantities of data at fast speeds over the Internet or on optical chips inside computers, using a silicon chip called a “time lens,” lengths of optical fiber, and a laser.

It splits up a data stream encoded at 10 gigabits per second, puts it back together, and outputs the same data at 270… read more

2005: The year in biology and medicine

December 26, 2005

Major breakthroughs in 2005 included the publishing of several complete genomes, including a dog called Tasha, the chimpanzee, three human parasites, ancient cave bears, as well as a map of genetic variations called SNPs in the human genome.

The year also saw the world’s first human face transplant by French surgeons, a growing fear of bird flu, fabricated claims of cloned human stem cells, and a robot to carry… read more

Sweat ducts may act as giveaway ‘antennae’

April 4, 2008

Our skin contains millions of microscopic helical sweat ducts that may act as antennas that reveal a person’s physical and emotional state from a distance, Hebrew University researches have discovered.

Treating the skin as an array of helical antennas could open up a new method of measuring physiological changes. The researchers beamed microwave signals to test subjects and measured the reflected signals. They found a strong correlation between subjects’… read more

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