science + technology news

Lithography makes a connection for nanowire devices

June 10, 2004

Harvard University researchers have used a photolithography technique to set up interconnects to nanowire devices. The method uses a statistical approach to ensure that a high proportion of the nanowires connects to the electrodes — there is no need to link the two components individually.

“We believe this is the first reported bottom-up assembly and device integration approach that is fully scalable in terms of device density and area… read more

Embryos Yield New Stem Cell Lines

June 10, 2004

Scientists at a Chicago fertility clinic isolate 12 new lines from genetically flawed human embryos. The research could lead to increased understanding of genetic diseases.

The embryos had gene mutations for two forms of muscular dystrophy, certain blood diseases and a cause of mental retardation — seven diseases in all.

Brain learns like a robot

June 10, 2004

Our brains are following the laws of artificial intelligence, researchers have found.

Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientists plotted brain activity on a graph to give a mathematical description of processes that underlie the formation of value judgements. The patterns they saw resembled those made by robots as they learn from experience.

Genetic fingerprints will help extend life

June 9, 2004

A drop of blood from a thumbprick will be enough to test 10,000 elements of our health a decade or two from now, says a leading scientist.

Dr Leroy Hood told the Bio 2004 conference in San Francisco yesterday that scientists would soon be able to spot the genetic fingerprints of most ailments by running that drop of blood through a computer.

“My prediction is that, if this… read more

Nanotechnology pioneer slays ‘grey goo’ myths

June 9, 2004

Eric Drexler, known as the father of nanotechnology, today publishes a paper that admits that self-replicating machines are not vital for large-scale molecular manufacture, and that nanotechnology-based fabrication can be thoroughly non-biological and inherently safe.

“Runaway replicators, while theoretically possible according to the laws of physics, cannot be built with today’s nanotechnology toolset,” says Dr. Drexler, writing in the Institute of Physics journal Nanotechnology. “Self-replicating machines aren’t necessary for… read more

New Service by TiVo Will Build Bridges From Internet to the TV

June 9, 2004

New TiVo technology will allow users to download movies and music from the Internet to the hard drive on their video recorder, bypassing traditional cable, satellite and broadcast television services.

Cell Repair Nanorobot Design And Simulation

June 8, 2004

A new Russian study by Svidinenko Yuri simulates cell-repair nanorobots. Yuri has generated several models based on the book Nanomedicine by Robert A. Freitas Jr.

Brain-mimicking circuits to run navy robot

June 8, 2004

Researchers are building electronic circuits that mimic the brain, producing an agile controller that can maneuver robot vehicles with speed and precision.

The new technology imitates the olivocerebellar circuit, which controls balance and limb movement.

Rise of the Machines

June 8, 2004

Visionaries are making robots that can perform music, rescue disaster victims and even explore other planets on their own.

Nanotech Memory Chips Might Soon Be a Reality

June 8, 2004

Nantero plans to create NRAM, a high-density nonvolatile random access memory chip using nanotubes, on a standard semiconductor production line.

Like today’s flash and SRAM memories, carbon nanotube designs can maintain data when power is turned off; but they can also operate faster and on less power than flash memory, and are much cheaper and more compact than SRAM.

Proceed With Caution

June 7, 2004

Bill Joy says he thinks the probability of a “civilization-changing event” is most likely in the double digits, perhaps as high as 50 percent.

He doesn’t merely ascribe these odds to terrorism; he suggests a pandemic disease might arise from a sudden accident or as a consequence of cutting-edge research. For disquieting evidence, he points out that a couple of years ago scientists assembled polio in a lab.… read more

Dancing lasers levitate carbon nanotubes

June 7, 2004

Carbon nanotubes have been picked up and moved with a laser beam for the first time. The trick may make it easier to build nanotube-based microchips.

The “optical trapping” technique exploits the ability of a laser beam to trap small particles: when the beam moves, the particles move with it.

Drugs May Turn Cancer Into Manageable Disease

June 7, 2004

A new generation of “targeted” therapies are transforming cancer treatment by attacking the underlying molecular mechanisms of the disease — a harbinger of a future in which cancer, while not cured, will be held in check for years by drugs tolerable enough to take on a continuing basis.

“Medicinal” GM Crops Produced

June 4, 2004

Scientists have genetically engineered plants to produce omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, usually found in fish and known to have significant health benefits. Genes for the fatty acids were inserted into a Arabidopsis plant, but could be added to many different plants. British researchers say this could lead to a new generation of food crops able to reduce the risk of heart disease and other medical conditions.

Robots and the Rest of Us

June 4, 2004

Experts recently met to discuss how robots are challenging humankind on four frontiers: war, brain augmentation, physical augmentation, and social implications. The question: what kind of ethics, if any, applies to machines? “Robot ethicists” find that a kind of moral ethics for robots needs to be considered as they become increasingly part of our daily lives.

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