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Arabic In, English Out

March 24, 2003

A new device being tested at the Office of Naval Research promises simultaneous machine translation and interpretation, using a blend of voice recognition, speech synthesis and translation technologies.

Surveillance Nation

March 24, 2003

Webcams, tracking devices, and interlinked databases are leading to the elimination of unmonitored public space. Are we prepared for the consequences of the intelligence- gathering network we’re unintentionally building?

I, Clone

March 24, 2003

The irrational fears people express today about cloning parallel those surrounding robotics half a century ago. The “The Three Laws of Cloning” will protect clones and advance science.

Real World Robots

March 24, 2003

The Age of Robots might finally have arrived. Robots are doing real jobs alongside humans — in homes, hospitals and on the battlefield

Spider silk delivers finest optical fibers

March 24, 2003

Delicate threads of spider’s silk are about to solve a major problem in photonics: how to make hollow optical fibres narrow enough — just two nanometers wide — to carry light beams around the fastest nanoscale optical circuits.

They will also make for a new breed of sensors that can detect single molecules of a particular chemical.

Undercover genes slip into the brain

March 24, 2003

A molecular Trojan horse that can slip past the brain’s defences has proved to be very effective at delivering genes, drugs and other compounds to the brains of primates. It could be used to treat a host of brain disorders, from Parkinson’s to epilepsy.

Recent advances in computer vision

March 24, 2003

Human eye movements to scroll a computer screen up and down, a camera that periodically scans a scene in front of you and turns images into sounds, automatic media interpretation to assist users in searching for specific scenes and shots, and a system that can detect suspicious pedestrian behavior in parking lots are examples of new computer-vision systems.

‘Darwin’s Blind Spot’: Biotech Merger

March 24, 2003

Symbiosis has played an important role in the evolution of complex life-forms than natural selection, argues Frank Ryan in a controversial book, Darwin’s Blind Spot: Evolution Beyond Natural Selection.

Know Your Transhumanists

March 19, 2003

WIRED magazine portrays “two major types of transumanists: “The Extropian” and “The Singularitarian” (“Favorite Tattoo: ‘Everybody Loves Raymond (Kurzweil).’” Kurzweil’s next book, “The Singularity is Near,” is also mentioned.

Real World Robots

March 18, 2003

Robots have arrived. They are doing real jobs alongside humans — in homes, hospitals and on the battlefield.

Techno sniffer dog debuts at Heathrow

March 18, 2003

London’s Heathrow airport has unveiled a new electronic “sniffer dog.” The Sentinel II analyzes air that is blown across passengers’ bodies for particles of explosives or other banned substances.

Ink Changes Color at Flick of a Switch

March 17, 2003

“A new ink changes colour at the flick of a switch. It could give rise to newspapers that show shifting images, or chemical sensors that display different hues depending on what substance they detect.”

Alternate Reality Games Grab Mindshare

March 17, 2003

ARGs or Alternate Reality Games are immersive experiences that mix real world clues, phone calls, voicemail, email chatterbots, real people playing roles in real life and bogus and legit websites. The objective: a fully rounded gaming experience that bleeds over into everyday life. They could also have real-world applications like group dynamics and problem solving.

Future Fetish

March 17, 2003

Wired has published a wish list of cool gadgets for 2013, including a combination PDA, wireless Internet, a mini iPod, and phoneu and roll-up television screen made of light-emitting-polymer.

Bone marrow cells can become heart cells

March 14, 2003

Researchers have detected the first evidence that cells originating in the bone marrow can form new heart tissue in human adults and this suggests the technique could prove useful for mending and regenerating damaged heart tissue.

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