science + technology news

Tiny Is Beautiful: Translating ‘Nano’ Into Practical

February 22, 2005

Nanoparticles of various sorts are already found in products like sunscreen, paint and inkjet paper. More exotic varieties offer promise in medicine for sensitive diagnostic tests and novel treatments: the detection of Alzheimer’s disease by finding a protein in spinal fluid, for instance, or nanoparticles that heat up and kill cancer cells.

Single-molecule switch opens the door to biomolecular electronics

February 22, 2005

Scientists from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have created the first reproducible single molecule negative differential resistor and in the process have developed a groundbreaking experimental technique that provides a “roadmap” for designing single-molecule devices based on biochemistry.

Arizona State University news release

Brain study points to ‘sixth sense’

February 22, 2005

Following the Asian tsunami, scientists struggled to explain reports that primitive aboriginal tribesmen had somehow sensed the impending danger in time to join wild animals in a life-saving flight to higher ground.

A new theory suggests that the anterior cingulate cortex, described by some scientists as part of the brain’s “oops” center, may actually function as an early warning system — one that works at a subconscious level to… read more

A genius explains

February 22, 2005

Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds.

He can also describe how he does it. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism.

Holograms Poised to Reveal Bio Data

February 22, 2005

The next generation of biosensors may use low-cost, more-sensitive holograms instead of chips.

NTT RedTacton Human Area Network

February 21, 2005

NTT’s “RedTacton” Human Area Networking technology Research Project safely turns the surface of the human body into a data transmission path at speeds up to 10 Mbps.

It uses weak electric fields on the surface of the body as a transmission medium.

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

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