science + technology news

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack

September 29, 2003

Tags equipped with microchips and tiny antennas should make it cheaper and more efficient to track goods but they raise privacy issues.

Call to Artists: LIFE 6.0 International Competition

September 26, 2003

The Telefonica Foundation in Madrid has announced the fifth competition on “art and artificial life.”

They are looking for outstanding electronic art projects employing techniques such as digital genetics, autonomous robotics, recursive chaotic algorithms, knowbots, computer viruses, embodied artificial intelligence, avatars, evolving behaviours and virtual ecosystems.

DNA molecules programmed to self-assemble into patterned nanostructures

September 26, 2003

Duke University researchers have used self-assembling DNA molecules as molecular building blocks called “tiles” that could lead to programmable construction of nanoscale protein-bearing scaffolds and metallized wires for nanoelectronics devices.

Because DNA strands naturally but selectively stick together, the Duke team reported that they could make the strands arrange themselves into cross shaped “tiles” capable of forming molecular bonds on all four ends of the cross arms. As a… read more

Camera specs take candid snaps

September 25, 2003

A prototype pair of sunglasses with a camera built in to them has been created by Hewlett Packard researchers.

It allows for an unnoticeable wearable camera that can take pictures while being involved in events.

E-paper may offer video images

September 25, 2003

Philips Research scientists have developed a way to display high-definition moving pictures on flexible electronic paper.

The “electrowetting” process allows pixels to switch states in around 10 milliseconds — fast enough to generate 100 new images a second. And the high reflectivity and contrast of the wetting displays make them four times as bright as LCDs.

Detecting Chemical Threats With Microsensor Arrays

September 24, 2003

Prototype microsensor arrays connected to artificial neural networks can reliably identify trace amounts of toxic gas, such as mustard gas and nerve agents (Tabun and Sarin) at levels below one part per million. They will make a significant difference in military strategy as they increase in reliability.

The Genetically Modified Bomb

September 24, 2003

Anybody who’s part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future from “genetic bombs,” a virus or bacteria designed to kill people who fit a certain genotype for purposes of mass genocide or social control.

Digital Dealmakers Meet in the Middle

September 24, 2003

Software companies are developing programs to conduct negotiations, relying on algorithms to gauge what might constitute acceptable offers in the growing field of electronic mediation.

The Underground Internet

September 24, 2003

“Darknets,” private Internet communities using encrypted communication, are popping up for trading pirated music and movies as well as secure corporate communications.

Can chromosomes be the elixir of youth?

September 24, 2003

“Telomere engineering” offers a way to produce tissues and cells to treat age-related conditions.

Other techniques include dietary supplements such as acetyl-L-carnitine and an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid; and natural tissue regeneration, which might be promoted with drugs or genes.

Is life the key to new tech?

September 24, 2003

Biologically-inspired computing could soon form the basis of new devices with the potential to perform trillions of calculations at once.

“The ultimate application would be a ‘doctor in a cell,’ where a bio-molecular computer operates in the body,” Udi Shapiro of the Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science told CNN.

Applied Nanotech To Demonstrate Nanotube TV

September 24, 2003

Applied Nanotech Inc. will unveil a 14-inch black-and-white television based on nanotubes in December at a conference in Japan.

Putting Your Calls Into Context

September 24, 2003

Researchers are marrying the modest cell phone with accelerometers, skin sensors, GPS and a calendar to create a system that always knows where you are and what you are doing, thereby eliminating phone tag.

Chatbot bids to fool humans

September 23, 2003

Jabberwacky, a chatbot that will be entered in the coming Loebner Prize competition (to find the computer program with the most convincing conversational skills), has no fixed rules, unlike other chatbots. It learns from thousands of online conversations with humans.

“Nothing is hard-coded, nothing is fixed, and it changes slightly, on its own, every day,” according to its creator, Rollo Carpenter.

Not Science Fiction: An Elevator to Space

September 23, 2003

Advances in nanotubes and ultrastrong fibers put an elevator to space within reach.

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