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Mouse cell transplants for Huntington’s patients

February 12, 2002

Transplants of mouse stem cells into the brains of patients with Huntington’s Chorea could help slow the associated dementia and loss of coordination, says UK company ReNeuron.
Huntington’s is caused by an inherited genetic mutation, which leads to a destruction of cells in a part of the brain called the striatum. ReNeuron has transplanted cells from its mouse neural stem cell line into monkeys designed to act as models of… read more

Cyborg surgeon: new surgical tool enables superhuman precision

September 28, 2012


By harnessing a specialized optical fiber sensor, a new “smart” surgical tool can compensate for a surgeon’s imperceptible hand tremor by making hundreds of precise position corrections each second — fast enough to keep the surgeon’s hand on target.

Even the most skilled and steady surgeons experience minute, almost imperceptible hand tremors when performing delicate tasks. Normally, these tiny motions are inconsequential, but for doctors specializing in fine-scale… read more

Possible site of free will found in brain

May 8, 2009

Free will resides in a place toward the back of the brain called the parietal cortex, new research at the CNRS Cognitive Neuroscience Center in Bron, France suggests.

Dialing the phone with your mind

April 13, 2011

Researchers at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a brain-control interface that lets users make calls by thinking of the phone number.

The system relies on electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes on the scalp to analyze electrical activity in the brain. An EEG headband is connected to a Bluetooth module that wirelessly sends the signals to a Nokia N73 cell phone, which… read more

The Infinite Library

April 21, 2005

Google is converting the full text of millions of library books into searchable Web pages. How will libraries function in 2020 or 2050, once Google or its successors have finished digitizing the world’s printed knowledge?

New Gene Prediction Method Capitalizes On Multiple Genomes

December 21, 2007

Stanford University researchers have developed a new approach to computationally predicting the locations and structures of protein-coding genes in a genome.

The new technique, known as CONTRAST (CONditionally TRAined Search for Transcripts), works by comparing a genome of interest to the genomes of several related species.

Picture This: Image-based rendering creates photorealistic 3-D models from plain old pictures

March 6, 2002

Image-based rendering is being used in movies and sporting events for creating photorealistic 3-D computer images and animations from photographs.
Current research aims at combining image-based rendering with traditional geometric modeling to create models called “imposters” that combine the advantages of geometric models with the photorealistic detail of image-based rendering.

The best-known example of image-based rendering was in last year’s Super Bowl, where a network of cameras filmed players… read more

Chernobyl fallout could drive evolution of ‘space plants’

May 18, 2009

Soya plants grown near Chernobyl produced proteins involved in defending cells from heavy metal and radiation damage, Slovak Academy of Sciences researchers have found.

The research could help scientists engineer radiation-resistant plants, useful to future interplanetary travellers, who may need to grow crops to withstand space radiation.

Plasmonic resonances in quantum dots allow for smaller, faster chips

April 19, 2011

Quantum Dots

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have shown that plasmonic properties can be achieved in the semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots.

To date, plasmonic properties have been limited to nanostructures that feature interfaces between noble metals and dielectrics. The new research extends the range of candidate materials for plasmonics to include semiconductors.

The researchers made quantum dots from the semiconductor copper sulfide. Directing an electromagnetic… read more

Modified mice enjoy one-fifth more life

May 6, 2005

A mouse with the ability to mop up free radicals at the cellular level – and live longer as a result – has been created by scientists at the University of Washington.

The research is a boost for the free radical theory of ageing.

The transgenic mice created produce higher-than-normal levels of the antioxidant enzyme catalase. Cells use catalase to convert damaging hydrogen peroxide to harmless water and… read more

Storage Projects Rise in Importance

January 2, 2008

Private-sector archive capacity will hit 27,000 petabytes (27 billion gigabytes) by 2010, according to a study by Enterprise Strategy Group Inc.

Skyrocketing rates of e-mail growth account for much of this figure.

The ‘New Economy’ re-examined

April 8, 2002

The Internet revolution of the 1990s –and resulting worker productivity increases — created fundamental changes that are at least partly responsible for why the recent downturn was so mild, some economists believe.

Harnessing science to create the ultimate warrior

May 21, 2009

Super-soldiers could be selected for specific duties on the basis of their genetic makeup and then constantly monitored for signs of weakness, says a report by the US National Academies of Science.

If a soldier is struggling, a digital “buddy” might step in and warn them about nearby threats, or advise comrades to zap them with an electromagnet to increase their alertness. If the whole unit is falling apart,… read more

Digital Immortality — Download the Mind by 2050

May 23, 2005

The wealthy will be able to download their consciousness into computers by 2050 – the not so well off by “2075 or 2080,” claims futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson, head of the Futurology unit at BT.

“The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain,” he said. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the… read more

Microsoft patents frustration-detecting help system

January 7, 2008

A new Microsoft patent describes a system that monitors certain behaviors tied to frustration (such as elevated heart rate or taking an abnormally long time to complete a task), then triggers a routine that asks other users for help.

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