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Neural Prosthetics and Direct Neural Control

November 28, 2001

Stanford engineer discovers neural cells that “plan” movement of body parts.Reaching out to touch a dot on a computer screen may seem simple, but it requires a complex chain of signals that link together the eye, brain and arm. Damage to any part of that chain, such as a spinal injury, stroke or neurodegenerative disease, can make even the simplest tasks impossible.

Stanford engineer Krishna Shenoy and a group… read more

Boneless, brainy, and ancient

November 28, 2001

The Octupus arm could very well be the basis of next-generation robotic arms for undersea, space, as well as terrestrial applications.
Each arm appears to contain an independent peripheral nervous system and neural circuitry, which carries out the order independent of any further involvement on the part of the brain itself.

“How the octopus controls each arm so that tasks can be performed without chaos, and without the need… read more

New gene therapy uses body’s own cells for delivery

November 28, 2001
Normal lung cells (rat)

A radically new type of gene therapy for correcting genetic defects and treating pulmonary hypertension has been developed, based on research supported by United Therapeutics and Northern Therapeutics.
Announced at the recent American Heart Association conference, the new process would use a sample of the patient’s own skin cells, which are transfected (combined) with a corrective gene (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) and then injected back into the patient’s bloodstream.… read more

‘Mesh radio’ can deliver super-fast Internet for all

November 27, 2001

A new type of high-capacity wireless network will deliver 4 megabits/sec to homes, starting with a trial in early 2002 in Wales.
Unlike conventional wireless data systems, mesh radio avoids signal dropout by using small, low-power antennas on the roof of every customer to form the network.

’2001: HAL’s Legacy’ to air on PBS Nov. 27 (reminder)

November 27, 2001

Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Kurzweil, and other leading scholars in artificial intelligence and computer science will be featured in the forthcoming television documentary “2001: HAL’s Legacy,” to air nationwide on PBS stations starting Tuesday, November 27, according to Dr. David G. Stork, creator of the documentary.

The experts reflect upon the state of the art, how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go… read more

3D Technology: Ready for the PC?

November 27, 2001

Technology advances such as accelerated graphics cards and graphics ports have driven PC hardware capabilities up and prices down, making 3D more accessible to consumers and furthering research on methods and algorithms.

Another key trends is overcoming network-bandwidth limitations by sending compressed content instead of full-resolution geometry.

3D graphics can be used to visualize objects and products prior to construction, model weather systems for meteorologists, study medical anomalies… read more

Scientists Design Molecules That Mimic Nanostructure of Bone

November 26, 2001

Self-assembling molecules developed by scientists at Northwestern University mimic key features of bone at the nanoscale level.Scientists at Northwestern University have become the first to design molecules that could lead to a breakthrough in bone repair. The designer molecules hold promise for the development of a bonelike material to be used for bone fractures or in the treatment of bone cancer patients and have implications for the regeneration of other… read more

Intel’s unveils world’s smallest transistor with 15-nm device

November 20, 2001

Intel has developed a 15-nanometer device that will be used to make microprocessors and other chips by the end of this decade. The new technology is said to handle switching speeds of 0.38 picoseconds, or or 2.63 trillion switches per second.

Kurzweil proposes national defense program for genetic, nanotechnology and robotics technologies

November 19, 2001
Judy Woodruff interviews Ray Kurzweil at Washington National Cathedral

Washington, D.C. , Nov. 19 — Inventor-author Ray Kurzweil has proposed a major new national program to develop defensive strategies, technologies, and ethical standards to address the dangers of emerging genetic, nanotechnology and robotics technologies.

“The program would be administered by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health,” said Kurzweil. “It would have a budget equaling the current budget for NSF and NIH.”

Kurzweil made… read more

Promise of touch technologies

November 16, 2001

The surgery of the future could be done using intelligent scalpels that allow surgeons to feel their way through an operation using haptics or touch technologies.Scientists in Japan have developed a system that allows people to feel the resistance between two surfaces whose boundaries are normally impossible to sense, such as the boundary between oil and water.

Haptics, from the Greek verb meaning “to touch,” is the science of… read more

Computer DJ uses biofeedback to pick tracks

November 16, 2001

A computerised DJ that uses feedback from the dancers to generate new music
has been developed by artificial intelligence experts at Hewlett-Packard.Each clubber has a device like a wristwatch that monitors their location,
heart and perspiration rate, and movement and feeds info back to the “HPDJ”
via a wireless link.

To create a song, the HPDJ chooses tracks from a large library and then modifies and overlays them, based… read more

Semiconductors get on our nerves

November 14, 2001

Scientists at the University of Texas are using a sliver of protein to connect neurons and tiny crystals of semiconductors called quantum dots.
This cross between biology and electronics could have useful applications, including the manufacture of prosthetics operated directly by a user’s nerve impulses and sensors that detect tiny quantities of neurotoxins. It could also help to study how real brains work.

Drug-discovery microchips

November 13, 2001

The microfluidic chip is designed to mix millions of potential drugs with thousands of newly discovered genes, in the hopes of finding a reaction that might lead to a cure.
These chips are made of different materials such as glass, quartz, plastic or silicone. The interiors of the chips are crisscrossed with a network of canals and tunnels thinner than human hairs.

Robotic devices deposit infinitesimal drops of experimental… read more

Robots: It’s an Art Thing

November 13, 2001

Thanks to genetics, the Internet and art, the line between robots and humans continues to shrink. Ken Goldberg, an associate professor of robotics at the University of California at Berkeley, is currently working on the Tele-Actor, a human being wired with Webcams and connected to the Internet so that other people can control where the actor moves.

Fermi’s Paradox II: What’s Blocking Galactic Civilization?

November 13, 2001

There has been plenty of time for aliens keen on colonizing the Milky Way to pull it off, but we see no signs of galactic federation. SETI astronomer Seth Shostak offers some explanations, including cost of interstellar travel and required stamina for long trips.

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