science + technology news

Probe to detect cancer in intestines

May 5, 2004

A UC Irvine research team has received a $2.9 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop a microscopic probe for detecting and treating pre-cancerous and malignant tumors in humans.

The probe would guided through the esophagus, stomach and colon to determine if tumors are growing on the wall of the intestine. It would be remotely controlled by a surgeon operating an endoscope. The probe uses optical coherence tomography… read more

New Gas Plasma Antenna Technology Could Help Wi-Fi Security

May 5, 2004

Markland Technologies, Inc. has announced that its gas plasma technology can be used to create secure WiFi data transmission capability for business and military applications.

Gas plasma antenna technology would allow for highly directive and electronically steerable digital data transmission using low cost solid-state semiconductor-based plasma generators.

Because the gas plasma can be rapidly enabled and disabled in less then 1 microsecond, it can be repositioned to point… read more

Sasser computer worm wriggles worldwide

May 5, 2004

More than a million computers around the world have been infected by the “Sasser” computer worm or one of its variants.

Sasser does not rely on email to spread and requires no action by users to infect a machine. Each variant of the worm infects computers across a network by exploiting a bug in a part of Microsoft’s Windows XP and Windows 2000 operating systems called the Local Security… read more

Could vitamins raise levels of bad cholesterol?

May 4, 2004

A new study suggests that antioxidant vitamins, such as E, C, and beta carotene, could raise the production by the liver of the so-called bad form of cholesterol, which transports cholesterol into artery walls.

The New York University School of Medicine study found that antioxidant vitamins increase the secretion of VLDL in liver cells and VLDL is converted in the bloodstream to low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad form of… read more

Brain-watching helps suppress pain

May 4, 2004

People can learn to suppress pain when they are shown the fMRI activity of a pain-control region of their brain, a new study suggests.

The technique might prove useful not only for training patients to control pain, but perhaps also for treating other illnesses where brain activity is altered, such as depression or dementia. It might even help boost normal brain function.

Facing facts in computer recognition

May 4, 2004

The elements of a face can be hard for computers — and for some people — to recognize.

Henry Schneiderman, a computer vision researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, has developed the most accurate program in existence for detecting faces in still images and video.

Schneiderman’s face detector uses low-resolution black and white images measuring 24 by 32 pixels. Part of the development process involves showing the… read more

How to build a better hand

May 4, 2004

Megan Strysio will be the first child in the world to be fitted with an entirely new prosthetic hand that responds to the low rumbling noises her arm muscles make.

A tiny computer chip embedded in the new prosthesis is trained to interpret the sounds and perform the movement Megan wants, such as opening and closing her artificial hand.

NIST System Sets Speed Record

May 4, 2004

The fastest known cryptographic system based on transmission of single photons — the “quantum key distribution” (QKD) system — has been demonstrated by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The system transmits a stream of individual photons to generate a verifiably secret key at a rate of 1 megabit/second — about 100 times faster than previously reported systems of this type.

The secret:… read more

Sea of dreams: Genetically modified microbes will lead to a revolution in industrial biotechnology

May 4, 2004

Industrial biotechnology, where cells from genetically modified organisms are used to generate industrially useful products, is a phenomenon that will shake up the chemical industry and eventually rock entire economies because biotechnological processes are cheaper than traditional chemistry, have higher yields or produce a cleaner product.

Examples of new products generated with this method include methionine, an amino-acid animal-feed supplement with a market worth $1.4 billion a year; turning… read more

Nanomedicine Vol. IIA now available free online

May 3, 2004

The second volume in the Nanomedicine book series by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility, is now available free online in its entirety.

First published in hardcover by Landes Bioscience in 2003, this comprehensive technical book describes the many possible mechanical, physiological, immunological, cytological, and biochemical responses of the human body to the in vivo introduction of medical nanodevices, especially medical nanorobots.

Such advanced… read more

Quantum dots combined with transistors

April 30, 2004

Purdue University researchers have created quantum dots in a gallium arsenide transistor. The quantum dots are puddles of about 40-60 electrons. Together the dots can form part of transistors in which the electrons’ spin, a quantum mechanical property, could be harnessed to make logic gates for next-generation computer chips.

Purdue News

UIUC Unveils the Worlds Most Advanced Building

April 30, 2004

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, one of the top Computer Science programs in the world, has just officially opened their new $80 million Siebel Center.

The department head describes the building as a single computing entity, meant to be programmed and to interact with those in the building via RFID tags in their ID cards. This is probably one of the biggest and most expensive projects in… read more

Double vision

April 30, 2004

The thriller Godsend, which opens April 30, stars Robert De Niro as a maverick doctor who offers a couple the chance to clone their recently killed eight-year-old son.

Their new child appears fine until he too reaches his eighth birthday, when terrifying differences between the two boys emerge….

Chemists develop protein-spoofing coating for nanoscale cell probes

April 29, 2004

A UCLA-led team of chemists has developed a unique new coating for nanoparticles that disguises them as proteins.

The nanoparticles (such as quantum dots, which emit specific colors of light) can function as probes that penetrate a cell and detect individual proteins inside. That allows researchers, using a fluorescence microscope and high-sensitivity imaging camera, to track a single protein tagged with a specific fluorescent quantum dot inside a living… read more

Nanotubes enable molecular assembly line

April 29, 2004
Model of a nanoscale conveyer belt<br />
(courtesy of Zettl Research Group)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have transformed carbon nanotubes into conveyor belts capable of ferrying atom-sized particles to microscopic worksites.

By applying a small electrical current to a carbon nanotube, they moved indium particles along the nanotube like auto parts on an assembly line.

The method lays the groundwork for high-throughput molecular assembly of atomic-scale optical, electronic, and mechanical devices.

The ability to shuttle a… read more

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