science + technology news

Brain blanket boosts mind control

February 18, 2008

Researchers at Albany Medical College, Washington University, the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin have developed a more effective brain-control interface device, using a sheet of closely spaced electrodes placed over the brain.

In recent experiments, five patients learned to control a computer cursor in two dimensions on a computer screen using their brain signals in less than 30 minutes, a performance similar to those achieved using electrodes… read more

The latest nanotech device: Venetian blinds

October 28, 2005

A molecule, polyguanidine, that flips its arms like the slats on a Venetian blind might in future find uses in computer displays, computer memory, or even windows that become tinted at the flick of a switch.

Amazon.com now selling more Kindle books than print books

May 22, 2011

Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle e-books than print books, the company has announced.

Amazon began selling hardcover and paperback books in July 1995. Twelve years later in November 2007, Amazon introduced the revolutionary Kindle and began selling Kindle books.

The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 950,000 books, including New Releases and 109 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 790,000 of these… read more

Butterflies point to micro machines

December 26, 2002

Micro air vehicles that mimick insects will soon be a reality, thanks to aerodynamics research using high-speed cameras in a wind tunnel to analyze how the animals moved through the air.

‘Doctor’ particle decides when to release drug payload

July 29, 2009

UCLA researcher Jeffrey Zink has developed a nanoparticle-based AND computer logic gate using silica nanoparticles covered with 2-nm pores.

A combination of blue light and a change in pH level causes the particles to release their payload, such as an anti-cancer drug.

Blood test could reveal bipolar disorder

February 26, 2008

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have shown that a blood test might help diagnose and assess the severity of certain mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder.

The study identified genes or other biomarkers that could be used to track the severity of symptoms in people already diagnosed with bipolar disorder: these same genes could be used to make an initial diagnosis.

Currently there are no biomarker tests… read more

‘Gravity tractor’ to deflect Earth-bound asteroids

November 10, 2005

NASA scientists have come up with a surprisingly simple yet effective way to deflect an Earth-bound asteroid: park a large spacecraft close by and let gravity do the work, creating an invisible towline to tug the rock off its deadly course.

The strategy crucially relies on our ability to detect an asteroid threat about 20 years in advance. For larger asteroids this is realistic. But Erik Asphaug, a planetary… read more

Kurzweil awarded ‘Best Individual Presentation’ by Conferenza

January 13, 2003

Conferenza gave Ray Kurzweil its “Best Individual Presentation” award for his Pop!Tech presentation in Conferenza’s Best and Worst Conference Awards for 2002.

Kurzweil “argued persuasively at Pop!Tech that if you live to the year 2010, biology and technology innovations could carry you on until 2810,” according to a Conferenza announcement today.

Pop!Tech tied for Best Conference with IDG’s DemoMobile. The Best Host award went… read more

Scientists Use Curvy DNA to Build Molecular Parts

August 7, 2009

A programmable technique for twisting and curving DNA into shapes, using strands of DNA that self-assemble into rigid bundles, has been developed by researchers at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University.

The researchers built several structures, including a 12-toothed gear and a wire-frame ball. The goal is to eventually build a machine that could, say, deliver a tiny amount of a drug to a precise spot in the… read more

The Digital Utility

March 3, 2008

In a new book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, Nicholas Carr argues that we’re moving from the era of the personal computer to an age of utility computing–by which he means the expansion of grid computing, the distribution of computing and storage over the Internet, until it accounts for the bulk of what the human race does digitally.

Computer R&D rocks on

November 22, 2005

Experts see important computer breakthroughs and whole new fields of investigation just opening up. Advances will come in natural-language searches, machine learning, computer vision and speech-to-text, as well as new computing architectures to handle those hefty tasks.

Beyond the decade mark, Edward D. Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, expects computers based on quantum physics.

Batteries that can multitask

June 6, 2011

Researchers at Imperial College London, the Swedish Institute of Composites, and Volvo are looking to build auto bodies with carbon composites that can serve as capacitors (devices that hold an electrical charge)  that could store more electrical energy than batteries. The dual-function materials could also make E.V.’s and hybrid vehicles lighter.

To enable the composite materials to store electricity, the resin that binds the… read more

Random chat solves distributed problem

January 31, 2003

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have developed a scheme to solve a fundamental difficulty with distributed grid computing: coordinating the efforts of all computers.

The simple solution avoids the need to have a global supervisor, which would introduce scaling problems. Each individual computer makes occasional checks with randomly-chosen others, to ensure it is properly synchronized. The result is a self-stabilising effect on the system as a whole; processors that are… read more

Scientists Control Living Cells With Light; Advances Could Enhance Stem Cells’ Power

August 14, 2009

Light energy can gently guide and change the orientation of living cells within lab cultures — possibly a major step in harnessing the healing power of stem cells and guiding them to areas of the body that need help — University of Central Florida researchers have shown.

Adaptable Polymer Inspired by Sea Cucumbers

March 7, 2008

Case Western University used a nanocomposite material inspired by sea cucumbers to make a biopolymer that switches rapidly between rigid and flexible states.

The new material could be used to design implantable electrodes that don’t cause the scarring that stiff and brittle metal electrodes cause, decreasing the electrode’s recording ability.

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