science + technology news

Noise boosts nanotube antennas

February 12, 2004

Researchers at the University of Southern California have shown that the right amount of noise can enable carbon nanotube transistors to detect weak electrical signals, making nanotubes useful as microscopic antennas in communications devices, including cell phones.

This is the same effect — stochastic resonance — that neurons use to communicate in biological brains.

Possible uses include secure spread-spectrum communications, processing pixel-based image data, sensing chemical and biological… read more


February 12, 2004

Scientists at Scripps research have created a single, clonable strand of DNA that folds into a highly rigid, nanoscale octahedron about 22 nanometers in diameter.

Because all twelve edges of the octahedral structures have unique sequences, they are versatile molecular building blocks that could potentially be used to self-assemble complex higher-order structures.

Possible applications include building nano-scale transistors and using these octahedra as artificial compartments into which proteins… read more

Nanobiotech Pioneers Predict Nanomedicine Impact within Five Years

February 12, 2004

Ground-breaking nanotechnology researcher Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D., and the father of nanomedicine Robert A. Freitas, Jr., JD, are among the industry heavyweights who weighed in with NanoBiotech News on the state of nanomedicine and where it’s headed.

“The evolutionary spectrum in nanomedicine will start at the sensing and diagnostics end and move into therapeutics over time,” predicts Freitas.

“The applications nearest to commercialization are probably the fullerene-related and… read more

For Those Who Can’t Wait for the Future to Arrive

February 12, 2004

A line of concept laptops to be announced at the Intel Developer Forum on Feb. 17-19 will serve as Intel’s vision of how notebook computers might evolve in the next two years.

The “Florence” systems feature Extended Mobile Access technology (E.M.A.), using a small liquid crystal display on the outside of the casing that displays e-mail messages, appointments, and by 2005, MP3 player and instant messages, without wasting a… read more

Intel Says Chip Speed Breakthrough Will Alter Cyberworld

February 12, 2004

Intel scientists say that they have made silicon chips that can switch light like electricity, blurring the line between computing and communications and presenting a vision of the digital future that will allow computers themselves to span cities or even the entire globe.

The invention demonstrates for the first time, Intel researchers said, that ultrahigh-speed fiberoptic equipment can be produced at personal computer industry prices, allowing for machines that… read more

Scientists Claim Cloning Success

February 12, 2004

South Korea scientists report that they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells.

The development is what patients with diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes had been waiting for, the start of so-called therapeutic cloning. The idea is to clone a patients cells to make embryonic stem cells that are an exact genetic match of the patient. Then those cells, patients hope, could be turned into… read more

Talking to bacteria

February 12, 2004

Scientists have genetically engineered bacteria to “talk” to each other in a new language, bringing us one step closer to turning cells into tiny robots that we can control by flooding them with chemicals.

Bacteria already communicate with each other by sending out chemical signals, in response to stress, for example, causing them to switch on genes in neighboring cells that change their behavior.

“You could use this… read more

Benign Viruses Shine on the Silicon Assembly Line

February 12, 2004

MIT professor Angela M. Belcher has altered the DNA in a virus to generate a variety of self-assembling, regular nanowires made of magnetic and semiconducting materials that may one day be part of the extremely small circuitry in the next generation of ever-shrinking high-speed electronic components.

Dr. Belcher has jointly founded a company, Semzyme, with Evelyn L. Hu, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California at… read more

PC drives will reach 600GB by 2007, industry says

February 11, 2004

The standard desktop PC of 2007 will have a hard disk drive with capacity between 500GB and 600GB, according to research company TrendFocus Inc.

The most immediate advance in storage technology is the move to perpendicular storage of data on hard disks, which will begin to appear later this year. It can provide storage capacities of up to 1 terabits per square inch.

Superconductors, Quantum Mechanics and Nanotech to the Rescue

February 11, 2004

A trio of high technologies — superconductors, quantum mechanics and nanotech — may allow cancer specialists to spot tumors so small they elude today’s best imaging methods.

A “Superconducting QUantum Interference Device,” or SQUID, lets oncologists and surgeons locate previously injected tumor-specific nanoparticles that act like submicroscopic cancer-detection beacons.

Tiny scales weigh virus

February 11, 2004

Purdue University scientists have developed a scale that can weigh a 10 femtograms virus.

It uses a laser beam to measure the variation of wobble of a 30 nanometer-thick silicom springboard from the virus. Coating the springboard with antibodies will allow onlyone particular type of virus to stick to the scales. Such detectors could one day be used to monitor air purity in hospital or to assist in security… read more

IBM Supercomputer to Forecast Global Warming

February 11, 2004

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine will use an 528 gigaflops (peak) IBM supercomputer to predict the impact of global warming on the Earth up to 300 years into the future.

The Earth System Modeling Facility will enable researchers to simulate how pressures on the planet’s climate — from pollutants and chemicals to the melting of the polar ice and global warming — will affect future changes.

The Virus Underground

February 11, 2004

Given the pace of virus development, we are probably going to see even nastier criminal attacks in the future.

Some academics have predicted the rise of “cryptoviruses” — malware that invades your computer and encrypts all your files, making them unreadable. “The only way to get the data back will be to pay a ransom,” says Stuart Schechter, a doctoral candidate in computer security at Harvard.

Antivirus companies… read more

Making of mouse marks move toward ‘mitochondrial medicine’

February 10, 2004

Scientists have created a new kind of mouse by replacing the genetic material in the mitochondria of one species with that from another in a gene-swapping exercise necessary if doctors are to understand several currently untreatable human diseases.

Mitochondrial medicine — how specific mitochondrial mutations and deficiencies lead to disease — deals with trouble with the cell’s powerhouse, the mitochondrion, which affects many diseases that become more common as… read more

Researchers pinpoint brain areas that process reality, illusion

February 10, 2004

Researchers have identified areas of the brain where what we’re actually doing (reality) and what we think we’re doing (illusion, or perception) are processed.

They created a virtual reality video game to trick monkeys into thinking that they were tracing ellipses with their hands, though they actually were moving their hands in a circle.

The research shows how the mind creates its sense of order in the world… read more

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