science + technology news

Smart Fabrics Make for Enhanced Living

October 26, 2004

Imagine a handbag that warns you if you are about to forget your umbrella or wallet, and which you can later turn into a scarf that displays today’s pollution levels.

A variety of information-providing or environment-sensing objects like these could be possible using a system of computerized fabric patches developed by MIT engineers.

Each patch contains a functional unit of the system — a microprocessor and memory plus… read more

Tiny Ideas Coming of Age

October 25, 2004

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced a new registration category just for nanotechnology inventions.

The patent office’s definition requires that a least one dimension of an invention be less than 100 nanometers and the nanoscale element of the product or process must be essential to whatever properties make it novel.

The patent office began training its examiners in nanotechnology concepts and terminology in November, and has… read more

Brain-in-a-dish flies simulated plane

October 25, 2004

A University of Florida scientist has grown a living “brain” that can fly a simulated plane, giving scientists a novel way to observe how brain cells function as a network.

The “brain” — a collection of 25,000 living neurons taken from a rat’s brain and cultured inside a glass dish — gives scientists a unique real-time window into the brain at the cellular level.

By watching the brain… read more

Big success for single embryos in IVF

October 25, 2004

Doctors should slash the health risks for mothers and children associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) by transferring only one embryo into the uterus after treatment, thereby cutting the rate of multiple births, researchers urged.

Chips Coming to a Brain Near You

October 25, 2004

Professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, is creating a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus. It could replace its biological counterpart, enabling people who suffer from memory disorders to regain the ability to store new memories.

The chip simulates the processing of biological neurons in the slice of rat hippocampus: accepting electrical impulses, processing them using mathematical… read more

New display ‘as clear as a glossy magazine’

October 25, 2004

Hewlett-Packard has developed revolutionary LCD technology that will lead to ultra-high-resolution (7000 by 5000 pixels) flat screens ranging in size from a magazine page to an advertising billboard within five years.

TI announces plans for cell phone TVs

October 25, 2004

Texas Instruments plans to develop the industry’s first cell phone capable of receiving HDTV broadcast signals by 2007.

Plague carriers: Most users unaware of PC infections

October 25, 2004

A study of home PCs found that about 80 percent had been infected with spyware.

America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance found home users mostly unprotected from online threats and largely ignorant to the dangers.

Injectable chip destroys cancer cells

October 22, 2004

Singaporean doctors have used an injectable radioactive “BrachySil” chip to destroy malignant cells and prolong the lives of inoperable liver cancer patients.

NASA researchers investigate way-out ideas

October 22, 2004

Research fellows at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) are developing “crazy ideas” for the future, such as skin-tight spray-on spacesuits for a trip to Mars … static-electricity fields that would protect future lunar bases from space radiation … even a lunar lab that could develop microbes for terraforming Mars.

Rising interest in the space elevator concept is one of NIAC’s success stories.

TI Puts Digital TV on Cell Phones

October 22, 2004

Texas Instruments Inc. today announced development of the wireless industry’s first digital TV on a single chip for cell phones.

The chip will receive live digital TV broadcasts at 24 to 30 frames per second. Manufacturers are expected to launch products in conjunction with a new mobile digital TV infrastructure, with mass deployments in 2007.

All Bio Systems Are Go

October 22, 2004

Systems biologists are pushing the envelope of preventive medicine through research centered on the interactions of the thousands of pieces of DNA, RNA and proteins that network together in each cell of our body.

According to its proponents, systems biology will revolutionize medicine, transforming it from something that is mainly reactive into something that is predictive and will eventually prevent diseases getting hold in the first place.

The… read more

Biologists come close to cloning primates

October 22, 2004

US biologists have created cloned monkey embryos, and successfully transferred them into monkey mothers. Although none of the resulting pregnancies lasted more than a month, this is by far the closest scientists have come to cloning a primate.

If researchers are able to repeat this process in monkeys, it might help them to refine the tricky technique without experimenting on human eggs and embryos, which are very difficult to… read more

Experts fear escape of 1918 flu from lab

October 22, 2004

The 1918 flu virus spread across the world in three months and killed at least 40 million people. If it escaped from a lab today, the death toll could be far higher because people born after 1918 have little or no immunity.

Yet despite the danger, researchers in the US are working with reconstructed versions of the virus at less than the maximum level of containment.

Swiss team grow synthetic bone replacement

October 21, 2004

Swiss medical researchers say they have achieved encouraging results with a pioneering polymer-ceramic material that could replace missing or damaged bones and allow the original bone tissue to grow back in its place.

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