science + technology news

Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security

January 21, 2004

A lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to questions in real time.

The technology, developed by Nemesysco for military, insurance claim and law enforcement use, is being repackaged and retargeted for personal and corporate applications by V Entertainment.

A signal-processing engine, said to use more than 8,000 algorithms each… read more

Do plants act like computers?

January 21, 2004

Plants appear to “think”: green plants may regulate their uptake and loss of gases by distributed computation.

By studying the distributions of these patches of open and closed stomata in leaves of the cocklebur plant, Utah State University researchers found specific patterns reminiscent of distributed computing. Patches of open or closed stomata sometimes move around a leaf at constant speed, for example.

The statistics of the size of… read more

For a bigger brain, juggle

January 21, 2004

Juggling and probably other visual skills that take time to master increase the size of your brain, say researchers, challenging the traditionally held view that the anatomical structure of the normal adult human brain does not alter.

MRI scans found that learning to juggle increased by about three per cent the volume of grey matter in the mid-temporal area and left posterior intra-parietal sulcus, which process data from visual… read more

‘Exponential’ Thinking for the Future

January 21, 2004

Change happens and, due to exponential advances that nanotechnology is enabling, change is only going to occur at an ever faster rate. The best way for each industry to begin preparing for this new reality is to understand the field of nanotechnology.

Overcoming limits to chip miniaturization

January 20, 2004

Researchers have identified a new origin of the “size effect” (materials lose their useful properties when their dimensions fall below a certain limit), at least for ferroelectric oxides: tiny linear crystal-lattice defects less than about a tenth of nanometer that can deform a tube of material.

RAM memory could be significantly improved if it were possible to construct non-volatile memory cells with a storage density of several billion bits… read more

Brave New Babies

January 20, 2004

Parents now have the power to choose the sex of their children. But as technology answers prayers, it also raises some troubling questions.

An Ultrasound That Navigates Every Nook and Cranny

January 20, 2004

A highly miniaturized silicon-based ultrasound device is being developed that could be placed inside the body to gather images of artery-harming plaque from inside the arteries themselves.

The “capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers” might one day appear in other medical applications, from portable prenatal screeners to hand-held scanners used on battlefields to check the injured for internal bleeding.

Designer gene therapy may target specific body area

January 20, 2004

Doctors may soon be able to inject genetically engineered “designer” gene therapy intravenously that travels to a specific part of the body, according to Dr. Andrew H. Baker, molecular medicine researcher at the University of Glasgow,

Gene therapy involves inserting the treatment genes into a virus that is either harmless to humans or has had its disease-causing component removed. The virus is then injected or inserted into the body… read more

The End Game

January 19, 2004

The Army’s Massive Multiplayer Environment will move simulation training into a wider domain of realism and soldier participation.

The Lab Animal

January 19, 2004

Elite athletes always have and always will pursue every competitive advantage — health and the law be damned. Is genetic manipulation next?

Why life as a cyborg is better

January 19, 2004

Steve Mann, an engineering professor at the University of Toronto, spends hours every day viewing the world through a little monitor in front of his eye connected to a wearable computer and wirelessly to the Internet.

Mann manipulates the computer through a handheld device he invented and he has experimented with putting electrodes on his skin and trying to control the cursor with brain waves. He records video with… read more

Lab Starts Next Generation Supercomputers

January 19, 2004

DARPA wants to develop a one-petaflop supercomputer by 2008, awarding a three-year, $4.2 million grant to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Next Big Thing For Wireless

January 18, 2004

WiMax is seven times faster than Wi-Fi and has a range up to as 30 miles vs. about 100 feet, so it could be used as an alternative to copper wire and coaxial cable for connecting homes and businesses to the Internet. Intel also plans to embed it in a chip so it can be built directly into PCs and laptops.

Ultimate virtual grand piano developed

January 16, 2004

The quest to produce the ultimate realistic virtual grand piano took a big leap today with “Ivory,” announced by Synthogy and distributor ILIO at Winter NAMM 2004 in Anaheim.

The secret: Synthogy’s proprietary 32-bit sample-playback and digital signal processing (DSP) engine, which was specifically built from the ground up to bring out the resonance, response and character of three of the world’s finest concert grands:… read more

Chemists build curved structures with nanoscale building blocks

January 16, 2004

Northwestern University chemists report they have discovered ways to construct nanoscale building blocks that assemble into flat or curved structures with a high level of predictability.

Using hybrid nanorods consisting of segments of gold and conducting polymers as their building blocks, the researchers created a number of unusual structures, including bundles, sheets and tubes of varying diameters. The extraordinary control that they were able to demonstrate over the process… read more

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