science + technology news

Early embryos fuel hopes for shortcut to stem-cell creation

November 3, 2004

In an advance that could boost the production of stem cells for medical research, fertility researchers have grown human embryonic stem cells from an embryo that was younger (four days) than any used before.

First insects are cloned

November 2, 2004

Scientists have succeeded in cloning flies. The research may help to fine-tune the cloning process in other animals and even in humans, for therapeutic stem cells.

Mice Brains Can Fix Themselves

November 2, 2004

Harvard scientists have manipulated stem cells already present in the brains of mice to induce the birth of new neurons, an advance once considered impossible by most scientists.

They induced the birth of new cells by killing nearby neurons in mice, which set off a cascade of events that led to stem cells, producing new neurons in the cerebral cortex. If scientists can turn this into a therapy for… read more

The Futurist

November 1, 2004

Taking proper care of the body today, Ray Kurzweil believes, is a necessary step on the path to immortality for himself and his fellow baby boomers.

In 20 years, he predicts, biotechnology will be able to block the circuits that cause disease and will radically slow aging.

After that, what he calls the “full blossoming of nanotechnology” will allow us to replace the fragile and disease-prone cells we… read more

Nanotechnology Poised to Revolutionize Tech, Manufacturing Markets

November 1, 2004

Sales of products incorporating nanotechnology will total $2.6 trillion in 10 years, approximately one-sixth of the current Gross Domestic Product, greatly exceeding previous estimates, according to a new report released by Lux Research Inc.

The report predicts improvements across a wide range of industry categories including healthcare, water purification, materials, and information technology.

Nano Self-Assembly: An NSTI Executive Briefing

November 1, 2004

Another maturing vein of nano-science, “nano-structured fluids,” is capturing the imagination of some of the nation’s top nano researchers.

The Nano Science and Technology Institute (NSTI) will for the first time, provide an international briefing on why “nano-structured fluids” research is poised to dramatically change the direction of traditional nano-materials work, in a variety of unexpected ways.

Doctors Use Nanotechnology to Improve Health Care

November 1, 2004

Evidence is accumulating that nanotechnology may enable better early warning systems for cancer and heart disease, cures for progressive diseases like cystic fibrosis, techniques for making implants like artificial hips more successful, and even artificial kidneys.

Now, for example, device makers not only shape the surfaces of their products, but they may also add specialty coatings like those from Biophan Technologies. Biophan’s coatings, made up of magnetic particles 20… read more

Organised chaos gets robots going

November 1, 2004

A control system based on chaos has made a simulated, multi-legged robot walk successfully.

In chaotic systems, small effects are amplified so rapidly that the systems’ behavior becomes impossible to predict more than a short time ahead.

The robot was able to learn to walk and negotiate obstacles without any conventional programming. And its behavior emerged far more quickly than it would if it had used genetic algorithms.… read more

Natalie Jeremijenko: The WorldChanging Interview

November 1, 2004

From releasing packs of Feral Robot Dogs that sniff out chemical contamination, to teaching Yale engineering students socially responsible design, from creating pollution-detecting Clear Skies Masks for bicycle riders, to co-authoring Biotech Hobbyist Magazine, Natalie Jeremijenko’s work merges engineering, biology and art to explore socio-political hot spots along the fault line where design meets information meets society.

Pompeii gets digital make-over

November 1, 2004

The Lifeplus project will provide tourists with computer-augmented versions of archaeological attractions.

Visitor will wear a head-mounted display with a miniature camera and a backpack computer. The camera captures the view and feeds it to software on the computer, where the visitor’s viewpoint is combined with animated virtual elements.

At Pompeii for example, the visitor would not just see the frescos, taverns and villas that have been excavated,… read more

Research to explore gene sequencing

October 29, 2004

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $550,000 three-year grant to Stuart Lindsay of Arizona State University to further develop a nanotechnology project for rapid genetic profiling.

The new sequencing technology involves using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in combination with naturally occurring ring-shaped sugar molecules called cyclodextrins. Lindsay believes that the ring molecules, when paired with the AFM probe tip,… read more

New cause of mental decline in old age found

October 29, 2004

University of Edinburgh researchers have found new evidence to explain why mental function becomes less efficient with aging: worse mental function is linked with abnormally enlarged channels around blood vessels in the brain.

University of Edinburgh news release

CBEN launches partnership for sustainable nanotechnology

October 29, 2004

Rice University’s Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) today announced the formation of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON), a collaboration among academic, industry, regulatory and non-governmental interest groups that will work to assess, communicate, and reduce potential environmental and health risks associated with nanotechnology.

CBEN news release

Adroit Droids

October 29, 2004

Advances in sensors, software, and computer architecture are beginning to give robots a sense of their “bodies” and of what sorts of actions are safe and useful in their environments.

One of the world’s most advanced robots passed an important test at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston: it learned to use tools to tighten bolts on a wheel. Rather than having to be separately programmed for each of… read more

Nanotechnology: Hell or Heaven?

October 29, 2004

Presentations at the The Foresight Institute’s First Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology, held last week near Washington, D.C., covered near-term technologies and longer-term implications of nanotechology developments.

Many presentations focused on the improvements nanotechnology could bring to both developed and developing nations. Other presentations covered potential dangers of nanotechnology such as economic disruptions or concerns in the area of civil liberties and human rights.

Chris Phoenix, director of research… read more

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