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The Programmable Pill

April 18, 2001

“Smart” methods of delivering drugs to the body—-based on micro- and nanotechnology—-could reduce side effects, make better use of existing drugs and open the door to entire classes of new treatments.

For example, Tejal Desai, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago and iMedd of Ohio are building 150-microns-wide silicon particles. On one side, up to 20 drug-containing reservoirs are etched, each sealed with a… read more

DNA is model for self-assembling nanostructures

April 18, 2001

Purdue University researchers are using the same principle that makes DNA strands link together to create tiny structures that may someday be used to develop nanostructures with specific dimensions and chemical properties.

“We have perfect control over every part of the system,” says Hicham Fenniri, an assistant professor of chemistry who directed the effort. “We not only dictate how the molecule behaves, but we also can control… read more

Could tutoring a computer be the way to develop machines that talk back?

April 18, 2001

HAL, a software program designed by Dutch-based firm Artificial Intelligence to learn language, currently passes for a 18 month old child and has a 50 or 60 word vocabulary.

By the end of 2003, AI expects to have a version of HAL capable of talking like a three-year-old and by 2005 hopes it will have the conversational skills of an adult.

HAL uses simple learning algorithms based on… read more

Law Professor Sees Hazard in Personalized News

April 13, 2001

With the rise of personalized Internet news, the democratizing effects of streets and general interest publications are at risk of being overwhelmed by passive consumers who live in Internet-filtered information cocoons, says Cass R. Sunstein, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School in Republic.com, a new book.

The Promise of Plastic Transistors

April 13, 2001

Integrated circuits made from polymers could usher in a whole new era in computing.

The idea: plastic circuits could be manufactured simply by spraying them out of ink-jet printers, ushering in an era of lightweight, ultracheap, and flexible computer displays and electronics. “Imagine a large sheet of plastic that could download your favorite newspapers and that you could roll up underneath your arm.”

Nano Gets Boost from Bush

April 13, 2001

President Bush has requested $485 million for nanotechnology research in fiscal year 2002. If approved by Congress, it will fund research in areas from pollution control to biotechnology to space travel.

This month, the National Science Foundation will publish a 400-page report predicting that in ten to fifteen years, the entire semiconductor industry, as well as half the pharmaceutical industry, will rely on nanotechnology.

Laying Down the Law: Q&A with Gordon Moore

April 12, 2001

Intel cofounder Gordon Moore, who coined Moore’s Law (the number of transistors that can be packed into an integrated circuit will double every year), believes this doubling will slow down sometime between 2010 and 2020. He doesn’t see a solution in the works.

In the meantime, what should we do with this increased power? “The one capability that to me will make a qualitative difference in how we do… read more

5 Patents to Watch

April 12, 2001

Growing human organs to ease the deadly shortages facing patients desperate for transplants. Deploying organic molecules to store a million times more data than silicon can. Harnessing the unused processing power on your desktop to attack gigantic computational problems, from genetic analysis to spotting hidden customer trends. Massively expanding the data capacity of optical networks to turbocharge the information superhighway. Modifying plants to grow cheap, lifesaving vaccines.

The editors… read more

America’s next ethical war

April 12, 2001

Politicians and regulators in America are floundering as they try to understand the immense implications of genetic science.

The first human clone could mark a turning-point in humanity’s story, joining genetically modified plants, gene patents, in-vitro fertilization, stem-cell research, and eugenics in prompting a whole series of perplexing ethical questions that will affect politics everywhere.

Robotic insect takes to the air

April 12, 2001

Engineers at Monrovia, California-based AeroVironment have test-flown a prototype of the world’s first robotic insect.

The eight-inches-long “Microbat” is an ornithopter (flaps its wings like a bat). Its ultra-light wings are built out of a thin polythene film and carbon-fibre skeleton.

The design objective: a craft that can fly slowly, change direction with ease and hover in the corner of a room.

Moore’s Law to continue through this decade

April 11, 2001

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Industry and government officials today announced completion of the first full-scale prototype machine for making computer chips using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, a breakthrough that will lead to microprocessors that are tens of times faster than today’s most powerful chips and create memory chips with similar increases in storage capacity.

Lithography technology should allow for circuits as small as 0.03 microns, extending the current pace of… read more

UFO cult endorses brain transplants

April 10, 2001

RAEL, founder of Clonaid, the first human cloning company, and self-described “Messenger of Infinity” and “brother of Jesus,” announced today he has given his support to Professor Robert White of Cleveland, Ohio, who hopes to perform brain and human head transplants.

White recently announced he has transplanted a whole monkey’s head onto another monkey’s body. The animal survived for some time after the operation.

Clonaid is owned by… read more

How XML works on KurzweilAI.net

April 9, 2001

On Tuesday, KurzweilAI.net senior researcher Lucas Hendrich will explain at a Boston seminar how XML technologies are used for “innovative presentation of content and a streamlined publishing process.”

XML is used on KurzweilAI.net to generate a knowledge base of “thoughts” (people, places and things), which are highlighted in content and displayed in TheBrain knowledge visualization tool and by the Ramona conversational avatar.

The XML Tools session will be… read more

Joy still urges relinquishment of risky tech development

April 9, 2001

PALO ALTO — In a reprise of his controversial Wired article last April, “Why the future doesn’t need us,” Sun Microsystems chief scientist Bill Joy spoke at a Wired-sponsored event at Stanford University last Thursday.

Joy said the article got little response from the high-tech world. “It came out at the peak of dot.com IPOs,” he said, “when they were more concerned with launching dogfood.com.”… read more

Aging and the Insulin Pathway

April 8, 2001

New studies show that the insulin-signaling pathway that regulates aging in roundworms serves the same function in fruit flies and yeast.

By manipulating genes relating to insulin-like hormones, scientists were able to extend the lifespan of fruit flies by 85 percent and of yeast by three times.

“If we just could tap into the mammalian version of that system, it might be possible to retard or even reverse… read more

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