science + technology news

Researchers create ‘expanded DNA’ molecule

November 3, 2003

Scientists at Stanford University have created an “expanded DNA” (xDNA) artificial form of the DNA molecule with a double helix 20 percent wider than any found in nature.

It is more heat resistant than natural DNA and is fluorescent, which could prove useful in detecting genetic defects in humans by observing fluorescence in a base pair for a complementary strand of natural DNA or RNA in human tissue. A… read more

Nanomotors realise visionary’s dream

October 31, 2003

Researchers at Berkeley at the University of California have created the world’s smallest electrical device: a motor using a multiwall nanotube as axel and bearing.

Hybrid tunnel diodes could leapfrog Moore’s Law

October 31, 2003

Researchers say a new CMOS-compatible tunnel diode process could extend the lifetime of existing silicon fabs by leapfrogging the next node in the semiconductor road map.

A SRAM circuit using tunnel diodes could reduce the chip component real estate required so as to achieve four times the density of a conventional SRAM memory cell. A process is in place to begin building such devices on standard CMOS fab lines.… read more

Gene-Expression Atlas Will Provide New Direction for Brain and Spinal-Cord Studies

October 31, 2003

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have created a new atlas that would enable scientists to determine when and where specific genes are switched on in the central nervous system (CNS).

Researchers can use such clues to explore the molecular machinery that coordinates neural development and chart the functional circuitry of the brain and spinal cord. All data from the Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas (GENSAT) BAC Transgenic Project will… read more

Japan team reports quantum computing breakthrough

October 31, 2003

A research team in Japan says it has successfully demonstrated for the first time in the world in a solid-state device one of the two basic building blocks that will be needed to construct a viable quantum computer.

The team has built a controlled NOT (CNOT) gate, a fundamental building block for quantum computing. The CNOT gate is one of two gates used with quantum bits (qubits). The other,… read more

Nine eyes help robots to navigate

October 31, 2003

Researchers at the University of Maryland say a robot’s navigation skills could be vastly improved by giving it omnidirectional vision, using cameras in the back of their heads as well the front.

They have developd software that processes images from a set of cameras arranged on the surface of a sphere to give such omnidirectional vision.

Big Bang sounded like a deep hum

October 31, 2003

The Big Bang sounded more like a deep hum than a bang, according to an analysis of the radiation left over from the cataclysm.

Giant sound waves propagated through the blazing hot matter that filled the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. These squeezed and stretched matter.

Even though the Universe has been expanding and cooling ever since, the sound waves have left their imprint as temperature variations… read more

Processing at the Speed of Light

October 30, 2003

Lenslet, an Israeli startup, has developed a processor that uses optics instead of silicon.

It performs 8 trillion operations per second, equivalent to a supercomputer and 1,000 times faster than standard processors, with 256 lasers performing computations at light speed.

Target applications include high-resolution radar, electronic warfare, luggage screening at airports, video compression, weather forecasting and cellular base stations.

US develops lethal new viruses

October 30, 2003

A scientist funded by the US government has deliberately created an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering.

The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs as well as vaccinated. The research brings closer the prospect of pox viruses that cause only mild infections in humans being turned into diseases lethal even to people who have… read more

Print yourself a roll of semiconductors?

October 29, 2003

Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center has developed a way to use inkjet printing techniques to create cheap, flexible sheets of transistors–a process that could radically change the way flat-panel screens are created.

The problem with abundance

October 28, 2003

What do traffic jams, obesity and spam have in common?

They are all problems caused by abundance in a world more attuned to scarcity. By achieving the goal of abundance, technology renders the natural checks and balances of scarcity obsolete.

Stem cells grown into tissues

October 28, 2003

MIT scientists today reported the first known success in using human embryonic stem cells to grow primitive versions of human organs and tissues. They say this represents a promising step toward the development of lab-engineered tissues that could one day eliminate some organ shortages.

The researchers, led by Robert Langer, created structures resembling young cartilage, liver, and neural tissues by growing cells on biodegradable polymer scaffolds — spongelike structures… read more

Will medical nanorobots be biocompatible?

October 28, 2003

The second volume in the Nanomedicine book series by Robert A. Freitas Jr. , Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility, has been published by Landes Bioscience.

This comprehensive technical book is timely, given the growing concerns in the environmental community about the biocompatibility of nanotechnology.

It describes the many possible responses of the human body to the in vivo introduction of future medical nanorobots. Such advanced… read more

‘Perfect solar storm’ sends massive eruption Earth’s way

October 28, 2003

The third most powerful solar flare ever recorded erupted from the Sun earlier today, and scientists say Earth could feel the effects with communications disruptions and loss of power.

A major geomagnetic storm is expected to happen when it reaches us on October 29th or 30th.

“It was slightly more powerful that the famous March 6, 1989 flare which was related to the disruption of the power grids… read more

Man who lost bionic arm waits to be rebuilt

October 28, 2003

Advances in technology are making the fiction of the Bionic Man a reality.

One prototype developed by Edinburgh-based Touch EMAS is able to sense electrical currents from a person’s shoulder muscles. Microchips can then translate them into specific movements of its joints.

Scientists at Duke University said this month that brain implants allowing severely disabled people to control prosthetic limbs with their minds could be ready for use… read more

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