science + technology news

Lensless X-ray holography achieves ten times better resolution

February 18, 2005

Researchers have developed a “lensless X-ray holography” technique to take X-ray images with 10 times better spatial resolution than can be achieved with current X-ray lenses and at ultra-fast speeds.

The technique works by shining a coherent beam of X-ray light through two adjacent holes: one containing the sample to be studied, the other a tiny “reference” hole. The scattered light from both holes overlays to form a single,… read more

World’s Fastest Oscillating Nanomachine Holds Promise For Telecommunications, Quantum Computing

February 18, 2005

Boston University physicists have developed a nanomechanical oscillator that oscillates at 1.49 gigahertz, making it the fastest moving nanostructure yet created.

The technology could help further miniaturize wireless communication devices. It is also the largest structure (10.7 microns long and 400 nm wide) to monitor quantum mechanical movements.

Boston University news release

Using nano-materials for drug discovery

February 17, 2005

Purdue University researchers have demonstrated a prototype for a new class of miniature devices to study synthetic cell membranes in an effort to speed the discovery of new drugs for a variety of diseases.

The researchers created a chip about one centimeter square that holds thousands of tiny vessels sitting on top of a material that contains numerous pores. This “nanoporous” material makes it possible to carry out reactions… read more

Immortality Through Google

February 17, 2005

Digital artist David Sullivan’s Ego Machine uses Google to project Sullivan’s soul into the future.

His remains will be integrated into a computer processor. A virtual agent running on the computer that contains his ashes will scour the web for mentions of his name. As the mentions increase, an on-screen image of Sullivan will morph into an image of his younger self. But if the mentions decline, Sullivan’s image… read more

Rambling robots show human efficiency

February 17, 2005

The three mechanical bipeds androids that amble along with exceptional power efficiency and “instinctive” co-ordination were unveiled for the first time on Thursday.

Two of the three robots, those developed at Cornell and Delft, are relatively simple, yet exhibit remarkable power efficiency. Whereas Asimo consumes about 10 times as much power as a walking human, these robots use about the same amount of energy as the average person.

Invention Mania: Body Scans, 3D Modeling

February 17, 2005

Detailed holographic images of human bodies, three-dimensional models from digital photos taken by a handheld stereo camera, and a new kind of joystick that provides tactile feedback from 3D computer imaging software are among the innovations at the DEMO technology conference.

A New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle

February 17, 2005

Robot soldiers will think, see and react increasingly like humans. In the beginning, they will be remote-controlled, looking and acting like lethal toy trucks. As the technology develops, they may take many shapes. And as their intelligence grows, so will their autonomy.

Robots in battle, as envisioned by their builders, may look and move like humans or hummingbirds, tractors or tanks, cockroaches or crickets. With the development of nanotechnology,… read more

Pig Stem Cells to Be Used to Grow Human Organs?

February 17, 2005

It might be possible to transplant embryonic stem cells from pigs into humans to grow new organs, a new study shows, if stem cells come from specific stages of an embryo’s development.

Math skills evolved independent of language

February 16, 2005

A study of people with language difficulties suggests that mathematical skill evolved independently of language.

Researchers studied three people with extensive damage to the brain’s left hemisphere, including language areas. All were competent calculators, though, able to solve simple subtraction, division and multiplication problems

Intel unveils silicon laser

February 16, 2005

Intel has created a chip containing eight continuous Raman lasers using fairly standard silicon processes rather than the somewhat expensive materials and processes required for making lasers today.

They could lead to faster computers and less expensive and more accurate medical equipment.

Augmented Reality: Another (Virtual) Brick in the Wall

February 16, 2005

Augmented Reality (AR) — a broad class of user interface techniques intended to enhance a person’s perception of the world around them with computer generated information — aims to enhance the analog world.

Users, via wearable display screens, see the non-virtual world around them with digital information superimposed into their surroundings.

Programs are also being developed that can make smart assumptions about what users want to do next.… read more

Inside the future

February 15, 2005

“In 15 years time you could design a bacterium with the DNA in it to assemble circuits within its own cell,” says British Telecom futurist-in-residence Ian Pearson.

“Because it’s part of its DNA, it will be able to reproduce. So as long as you provide it with a food supply, this bacterium will become a quite large computer over a period of time. It will just breed….”

“We’re… read more

Robot wars

February 15, 2005

At the 24th Army Science Conference, held in Orlando, Florida last December, Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote address entitled “Warfighting in the 21st Century.” News@nature quizzed this renowned commentator on robotics about his views on future warfare.

Inventor sets his sights on immortality

February 14, 2005

Ray Kurzweil doesn’t tailgate. A man who plans to live forever doesn’t take chances with his health on the highway, or anywhere else.

As part of his daily routine, Kurzweil ingests 250 supplements, eight to 10 glasses of alkaline water and 10 cups of green tea. He also periodically tracks 40 to 50 fitness indicators, down to his “tactile sensitivity.” Adjustments are made as needed.

“I do actually… read more

Genetic engineering for better suburbia

February 14, 2005

Maybe genetic engineers haven’t awakened to the full economic potential of their vocations. The real money is in solving the problems of homeowners.

Genetic engineers could take the genetic coding in certain bright flowers or tropical fish and implant them in our drab aspens, poplars and elms.

Or create grass that would grow to a certain, uniform height, then stop. Or introduce the genetic code for the mass… read more

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