science + technology news

Search Looks at the Big Picture

January 7, 2005

A group of European researchers is developing technology that could vastly improve image searching by identifying the components of an image.

The image-processing software looks for “key patches” in an image to determine the relative positions of different shapes to categorize the image’s contents.

IBM’s Pervasive Media Management group is also developing visualization software that can identify objects contained within one of the web’s fastest-growing content categories –… read more

Toyota to employ robots

January 7, 2005

Toyota Motor will introduce robots that can work as well or better than humans at all 12 of its factories in Japan to cut costs and deal with a labor shortage.

The robots would be able to carry out multiple tasks simultaneously with their two arms, achieving efficiency unseen in human workers and matching the cheap wages of Chinese laborers, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun report said.

Toyota plans… read more

Smart bombs to blast tumors

January 6, 2005

Exploding capsules could one day be used to deliver cancer drugs with pinpoint accuracy, New Scientist reports in its January 8 issue.

The capsules, being developed by University of Melbourne researchers, would rupture when heated by a low-energy laser pulse. Anti-cancer drugs would be more effective, and the side effects less severe, if they could home in on a tumor and be delivered in a single burst. This would… read more

God (or Not), Physics and, of Course, Love: Scientists Take a Leap

January 6, 2005

“What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?”

This was the question posed to scientists, futurists and other creative thinkers by John Brockman, a literary agent and publisher of Edge.

Magnetic resonance imaging deconstructs brain’s complex network

January 5, 2005

A team headed by scientists at Northwestern University, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), has shown how to visualize the human brain as a massive, interacting, complex network governed by a few underlying dynamic principles.

The research opens fascinating possibilities for future basic and applied studies to investigate the dynamics of brain states, particularly in cases of dysfunction — such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain — without… read more

The BlackBerry Brain Trust

January 5, 2005

The futuristic new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is a think tank where some of the smartest people in the world are contemplating the foundations of quantum physics.

Participants include Lee Smolin, who propounds a “fecund universe” theory holding that every black hole leads to another universe; Raymond Laflamme, the information theorist who changed Stephen Hawking’s mind on the direction of time in a contracting universe; and Fotini Markopoulou… read more

Tech Gadget Show Features Hottest Products

January 5, 2005

The year’s hottest consumer electronics products and technologies premiering at CES include TiVoToGo, a new service feature that lets users transfer their recorded television shows onto laptops; a new streaming service that lets subscribers remotely access their digital media files from their home PCs — and even watch live television — on gadgets with Internet connections; and Wi-Fi access via cell phones.

Building a Smarter Search Engine

January 4, 2005

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed Clusty, a search engine using AI to search the Web and cluster results by topic.

Clusty searches the results of other search engines and indexes, applies AI to pick out the major themes found within the results for each search, and organizes them into folders.

January 4, 2005

Responses by readers to a request for New Year’s wishes ranged from futuristic visions such as photosynthesis in humans and nanocameras that fit inside cells, to serious themes including recognition for scientists in developing countries and freedom from reliance on oil.

2004: The year in biology and medicine

January 3, 2005

Fears of a global flu pandemic, the inexorable spread of AIDS and the pervasiveness of tuberculosis were some of the threats which marked out 2004. But the year saw landmark advances too, with the cloning of the first human embryos, the birth of the first totally fatherless mammal and other significant steps forward in stem cell technology.

Life interrupted

January 3, 2005

Some scientists are concerned that the need for speed is shrinking our attention spans, prompting our search for superficial answers and settling us into a rhythm of constant interruption in which deadlines are relentless and tasks are never quite finished.

Scientists call this phenomenon “cognitive overload,” and say it encompasses the modern-day angst of stress, multitasking, distraction and data flurries.

According to David Meyer, a Michigan psychologist and… read more

Technology Research Advances of 2004

January 3, 2005

The profusion of technology research in 2004 includes a nanowire-based biochip developed by Harvard University researchers that detects single viruses, fault-tolerant chip design for nanowire logic circuits, a software program for designing computer chips made from DNA-assembled carbon nanotubes, and a scheme for storing light pulses using a photonic crystal that could make possible blazingly fast all-optical computer chips, quantum computers and quantum communications systems.

Ambulances May Get Virtual Doctors

January 3, 2005

Researchers are developing technology for ambulances to place virtual doctors inside ambulances.

The Navy’s First Responder Emergency Communications-Mobile uses an international maritime satellite and varying frequencies to bridge communication gaps. It has multiple cameras inside and outside a standard ambulance.

A patient’s vital signs and other data are beamed in real time to the closest trauma center, where doctors can instruct paramedics in the field and prep a… read more

2004: The year in technology

January 3, 2005

Computer worm wars, “phishing” emails intended to trick recipients into revealing personal or financial information, powerful new supercomputers, and running robots were among the top tech stories of 2004.

Engineered enhancers closer than you think

January 3, 2005

In the next few decades, futurists say, athletes and soldiers will call on artificial muscles to lift heavier loads and run faster. Bionic eyes will let them see distant targets, while nanobots enhance their cognitive abilities and genetic-engineering techniques boost their performance under pressure.

Many of those enhancement techniques, some based in electronics, are already in the works, such as artificial muscles made from electroactive polymers and researchers placing… read more

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