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The Virtual Stomach

November 1, 2002

Penn State researchers have devised a virtual stomach, a computer simulation of the gastric motions, stresses and particle breakdown as the belly contracts, based on fluid mechanics.

The simulation may one day help researchers improve the composition of tablets that break down slowly over many hours before proceeding to the small intestine, where drugs are taken up. It may also help understand why nutrients are sometimes released too rapidly… read more

DNA as Destiny

October 31, 2002

DNA is not only the book of life; it’s also the book of death. In the future we may be able to read it cover to cover. Here’s a first-hand account of what it’s like to take the world’s first top-to-bottom gene scan. “Everyone has errors in his or her DNA, glitches that may trigger a heart spasm or cause a brain tumor. I’m here to learn mine.” It may… read more

Dust-sized sensors could monitor weather

October 31, 2002

A network of microscopic sensors, each acting as its own antenna and power source, could float through storms and generate detailed, real-time atmospheric data essential for weather forecasting, researchers suggest.

A New View of Our Universe: Only One of Many

October 29, 2002

Some cosmologists imagine universes sprouting from one another in an endless geometric progression. Others imagine island universes floating and even colliding in a fifth dimension.

Some cosmologists say the observable universe could be only a small patch in a much vaster ensemble bred endlessly in a chain of big bangs.

Researcher says 3-D SoC could restore Japan’s luster

October 29, 2002

Japanese researcher Tadahiro Ohmi is developing three-dimensional systems-on-chip VLSI chips he claims have ten times better performance than today’s chips and squeeze design and production time to 1/40, clean room space to 1/5 and production cost to 1/10 of what’s now required.

“As one of the target systems-on-chip, Ohmi described a 3-D SoC that integrates everything but the kitchen sink: all of the silicon processors, silicon memories, polysilicon functional… read more

Nano Biomaterials

October 29, 2002

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is using nanotechnology to design a self-cleaning plastic in which the enzyme molecules are an integral part of the material. When the plastic comes into contact with bacteria or other pathogens, the enzymes attack the microbes and destroy their ability to bind to its surface.

Sim App: Get Ready for Biowarfare

October 29, 2002

Sandia National Laboratories has developed a computer simulation to prep public health and safety officials to respond quickly and effectively to a biochemical attack. The decision-analysis system synthesizes and displays incoming crisis data from hospitals, private physicians, law-enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical supply depots, the weather service and various other agencies.

Scientists to speak to public at Stanford’s ‘Wonderfest’

October 29, 2002

“Are There Natural Limits on the Power of Computers?” will be discussed by John McCarthy, Stanford pioneer in artificial intelligence, and Kenneth Taylor, Stanford philosopher on Nov. 3 at “Wonderfest,” a two-day series of dialogues for the public at Stanford University.

Light-Emitting Silicon Shines Much Brighter in New Invention

October 28, 2002

STMicroelectronics researchers have succeeded in increasing the efficiency of light-emitting silicon 100-fold, allowing for timing circuits to be built into silicon chips to reduce delays.

Sensors Gone Wild

October 27, 2002

The real goal of a $40 million experiment is to explore the uses of intelligent sensors, a technology whose promise suddenly seems huge. The applications for this “embedded intelligence” are vast and profound. Eventually large swaths of the earth will communicate with the digital realm using millions of miniature sensors. Sensors will be placed in bridges to detect and warn of structural weakness and in water reservoirs to spot hazardous… read more

Tech helps blind ‘see’ computer images

October 25, 2002

A simple touch display for the visually impaired soon could provide access to computer-generated images.

The prototype tactile display is a set of 3,600 small pins, about 10 per inch, which “prints” an image by using an extendable pointer to raise selected pins into a line drawing of the image.

The device is being developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The tactile display also would… read more

Similar patterns in genes, brains, feeding

October 25, 2002

Scientists have used a mathematical algorithm to detect recurring patterns in the networks making up everything from food webs to the Internet to gene regulation in cells.

By uncovering these crucial building blocks of networks, researchers have taken an important step toward unraveling the bewildering complexity of these systems, which they term “motifs.”

Molecules power nanoscale computers

October 25, 2002

IBM Almaden Research Center researchers have developed a new kind of computing process that relies on the motion of molecules rather than the flow of electrons. The logic gates use cascades of carbon monoxide molecules to transfer data.

Devices made in this way have dimensions on the scale of nanometers, several orders of magnitude smaller than existing silicon-based components.

The researchers demonstrated a three-input sorter that uses several… read more

‘Talking books’ get digital upgrade

October 24, 2002

A talking book for the blind with no moving parts has been designed. It will read a volume digitally from a card smaller than a credit card and looks and feels like a book.

Buttons along the edges will enable the blind reader to turn pages forward and backward, skip quickly, insert bookmarks, and search for a remembered passage. The Library of Congress will convert about 30,000 titles, mostly… read more

‘Doorways’ discovered in living brain cells

October 24, 2002

Brain cell membranes contain fixed “doorways” that control the entry of molecules into the cell, new research at Duke University shows.

Understanding this process, and how to control it, could one day lead to an entirely new class of treatments for depression, epilepsy, addiction and other neurological disorders; and preventing pathogens, such as viruses, from entering brain cells.

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