science + technology news

Raver Wearable Displays

July 9, 2004

France Telecom has done some fun R&D to display pixelated images from your cellphone on your shirt or sleeve.

These raver garments can even be used as a standalone device that can animate based on sounds and gestures. The technology uses a flexible circuit board with LEDs and other electronic bits like sensors layered in a fabric layered sandwich.

Controllable nano-diode created

July 9, 2004

A more efficient nano-diode (linking together two carbon nanotubes) has been created by GE, marking another step towards practical atomic electronics.

The new process uses electric fields rather than doping to modify the diode properties. This allows for more adaptable types of nano-circuitry, since the electric fields can be varied to alter the properties of the diode, while doping is a fixed process.

Numerous obstacles must still be… read more

Brain implants ‘read’ monkey minds

July 9, 2004

Brain implants have been used to “read the minds” of monkeys to predict what they are about to do and even how enthusiastic they are about doing it, California Institute of Technology researchers have found.

By decoding the signals from 96 electrodes in a region of the brain just above the ear, called the parietal cortex, the researchers were able to predict 67 per cent of the time where… read more

Digital Image Sensor

July 8, 2004

In North America, digital cameras may nearly replace film cameras by 2008, according to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. The trend is being fueled partly by improvements in the digital sensors that capture images in lieu of film.

The latest: the X3 from Santa Clara, CA-based Foveon. It has three layers of silicon, as opposed to one in conventional sensors, which produce sharper, truer-colored photos.

Foveon partnered with Polaroid and this… read more

Meet the Eye Cam

July 7, 2004
This corneal reflection shows that the person is facing two people but only looking at the one on the right

Columbia University researchers have devised a “corneal imaging system” that captures and analyzes images reflected from the cornea of the eye.

It uses a high-resolution digital camera to photograph the eye and software to calculate the viewer’s “gaze direction” to identify what they are actually looking at in a scene.

Possible uses include security, studies of human reactions, responsive computer interfaces (eye gaze replacing the mouse),… read more

‘Magic ink’ that makes metal grow

July 7, 2004

An eco-friendly way of “growing” metal for circuitry or antennas has been developed by UK firm QinetiQ.

The metal printing technique replaces conventional copper etching by using a special ink that attracts metals.

It means antennas for tiny mobiles or RFID tags could be made cheaply, quickly, and environmentally friendly, unlike traditional acid etching procedures.

The metal printing technique could also be used to help miniaturize devices.… read more

Brain Cells: Alzheimer’s Clues

July 7, 2004

The genetic mutations that lie behind most cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be found in mitochondrial DNA.

Several mutations have been linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s, but it has been difficult to pin down a cause of the most common form, known as late-onset, sporadic Alzheimer’s.

The mutations are associated with reductions in the total amount of mitochondrial DNA. It could be that they impair energy production in the… read more

Wikipedia Hits 300,000 Articles

July 7, 2004

Wikipedia reached the 300,000 article mark today. The project goal is to create a “complete and accurate free content encyclopedia.”

The English Wikipedia has 90.1 million words across 300,000 articles, compared to Britannica’s 55 million words across 85,000 articles. All the languages combined together reach 790,000 articles.

Embryonic stem cells ‘should be dead’

July 7, 2004

Tests of embryonic stem cells for the presence of enzymes called caspases (which normally indicate programmed suicide, or apoptosis) showed that few of the cells were actually dying, despite high levels of caspases.

The researcher, Thomas Zwaka of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in Madison, speculates that the process of self-renewal may have evolved alongside cell death, and some of the processes may be the same.

Elderly crucial to evolutionary success of humans

July 7, 2004

Senior citizens played an important role in the dramatic spread of human civilisation some 30,000 years ago, a study of the human fossil record has shown.

It found a five-fold increase the number of individuals surviving into old age in the Early Upper Palaeolithic period — around 30,000 years ago. This coincides with an explosive population growth of modern humans and the spread of archaeological artefacts that suggest the… read more

Carbon nanotubes rewrite memory rulebook

July 6, 2004

Carbon nanotube memory could be a panacea to all existing memory issues, start-up Nantero said, because it was cheap and did not lose its contents if turned off.

It’s faster than SRAM, it should be cheap and it doesn’t lose its contents when switched off. It should have an almost unlimited life, it should eventually be denser than DRAM, needs less power than DRAM and is resistant to radiation.… read more

Nanotechnology-based applications are accelerating the development of nanomedicine

July 6, 2004

With the potential for targeted therapy, and therefore reduced side effects, nanomedicine holds the promise of significantly improving quality of life parameters.

Key to nanomedicine’s rapid evolution has been the embrace of nanotechnology-based applications by pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and drug delivery companies. Prominent instances include the use of Elan Corporation’s NanoCrystal technology by Wyeth and Merck and the deployment of Quantum Dot Corporation’s Qdot(r) particles by Pfizer, GSK, Astra Zeneca… read more

Let software catch the game for you

July 6, 2004

Software that can identify the significant events in live TV sports broadcasts will soon be able to compile programs of highlights without any help from people.

The technology will save broadcasters millions in editing costs and should eventually lead to new generations of video recorders that will let people customize their own sports highlights packages.

Robotic wheels that just keep rolling

July 6, 2004

Robots made from elastic polymer and shape memory alloys propel themselves along by continuously altering their shape.

The researchers’ main aim was to show that you do not need rigid bodied crawler robots or wheeled vehicles to move over rough ground.

Evolution could speed net downloads

July 6, 2004

Internet download speeds could be improved dramatically by mimicking Darwin’s evolution to “breed” the best networking strategies, say computer scientists.

They used “genetic algorithms,” which mimic Darwinian evolution, to develop strategies for Internet servers to use when caching data.

The algorithms take known variables, such as the number of times a piece of data is requested, the number of points it has to pass through and its overall… read more

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