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The Nanotube Computer

February 14, 2002

The nano future is emerging through the haze of hype: the road to terabit memory and cheap flat-screen displays will be paved with carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are, in theory at least, the ideal material for building tomorrow’s nanoelectronics. And now, a little more than 10 years after their discovery, nanotubes seem ready to make the transition from exotic laboratory wonders to materials useful in actual technologies. Prototypes of… read more

Wearable Internet appliance

February 14, 2002

Hitachi has produced a Wearable Internet Appliance for business use that enables users to surf the Internet through a wireless LAN. It includes a head mount display and pointing device.

Implants for vision

February 14, 2002

Scientists have demonstrated that they can stimulate the visual cortex in the brain while bypassing the retina itself.
Several teams of scientists are trying to develop a device that would electrically stimulate the visual system in seeing-impaired individuals. Although serious problems must be overcome before a useful device is developed, a review in Science concludes that “a number of international groups are tackling the remaining problems associated with epiretinal and… read more

Developing New Operating Systems

February 13, 2002

Ongoing research and development in operating systems is extending the ability for individuals and groups to use worldwide computing resources.

  • The Legion Project: Researchers at the University of Virginia are developing Legion, a highly flexible, wide-area operating system designed to build a virtual computer from millions of distributed hosts and trillions of objects while presenting to the user the image of a single computer.
  • The Globus Project: This
  • read more

    Artificial Intelligence Early Warning System Installed at the Olympics For Bioterrorism Surveillance

    February 13, 2002

    An artificial intelligence computer system that analyzes state-wide patient data from emergency rooms and instant care facilities has been installed in most of the state of Utah for the Olympics. If it detects a significant pattern suggesting an outbreak, it pages the on-call state public health physician.
    The Realtime Outbreak and Disease Surveillance (RODS), developed by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, is a protoype… read more

    Internet mosaic continues to grow

    February 12, 2002

    The internet is continuing to boom, despite the current global recession, according to research from analyst firm IDC.Despite doom mongers predicting the death of the net in the light of recession and slowdown in the tech industry, by the end of this year 600 million people will be online, says the report.

    However the idea that the global village created by the internet will be homogenous is mistaken, says… read more

    Saving Skin

    February 12, 2002

    Bioengineered skin — grown in the lab using small samples of human cells — offers an alternative to animal testing.
    Proponents argue that tissue models provide both ethical and scientific advantages. Scientists don’t have to extrapolate human responses from animal-derived data and test results are easier to reproduce from lab to lab.

    While limited, bio-engineered models are finding a niche as tools to screen out drugs likely to fail… read more

    Games to take on a life of their own

    February 12, 2002

    Video games of the future could have characters with almost human intelligence, capable of understanding and acting on your commands.
    Scientists from King’s College in London have created a technology called the Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which emulates the functions of the brain’s frontal lobes, where humans process language and emotion.

    At the moment, the LAD prototype has the learning ability of an 18-month old child. Professor John Taylor… read more

    Men redundant? Now we don’t need women either

    February 12, 2002

    Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside a woman’s body. The work has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the childless. The research is headed by Dr. Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University’s Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. Liu’s work involves removing cells from the endometrium, the lining of the womb.

    After this Liu and her colleagues grew layers of these cells on scaffolds… read more

    Mouse cell transplants for Huntington’s patients

    February 12, 2002

    Transplants of mouse stem cells into the brains of patients with Huntington’s Chorea could help slow the associated dementia and loss of coordination, says UK company ReNeuron.
    Huntington’s is caused by an inherited genetic mutation, which leads to a destruction of cells in a part of the brain called the striatum. ReNeuron has transplanted cells from its mouse neural stem cell line into monkeys designed to act as models of… read more

    Cloned Mice Die Young, Japanese Team Finds

    February 11, 2002

    Japanese researchers who cloned a dozen mice reported on Sunday that virtually all of the animals died early, a report that casts more doubts on the safety of cloning.
    The mice had abnormal livers, lungs and perhaps some immune system anomalies, the team reported.

    They also noted that clones may be born
    “old.” Some clones have shortened telomeres, which are a kind of cap on the chromosome, the structures… read more

    Biotech firms target artificial blood

    February 11, 2002

    Scientists may be close to an elusive goal of creating artificial blood, a breakthrough that could ease shortages and save countless lives.

    Biopure Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., has produced artificial hemoglobin from the red blood cells of cows. It has been cleared for use in the Republic of South Africa and is awaiting Food and Drug Administration review of its phase III clinical trials in the United States. U.S.… read more

    Imaging and astronomy share new wave

    February 11, 2002

    The next big wave in imaging technology is terahertz radiation, now probing everything from cells to stars. Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule scientists have used terahertz radiation to spot particular sequences of DNA in a sample. This technique is quicker and more accurate than current fluorescent-labelling methods.

    To detect changes in the tiny amounts of material that are typically involved in gene-chip analysis, the researchers built guide channels, just a few… read more

    Computerized moths diversify to survive

    February 11, 2002

    Real birds pecking virtual moths have shown how camouflage probably evolves. The computerized prey adapted to blend into their background, and developed a wide range of different markings.
    University of Nebraska biologists made virtual moths. A set of computer instructions representing an electronic genome determined their wing patterns. The researchers trained captive blue jays to hunt the moths. Pecking at an on-screen moth earned a jay a food pellet. After… read more

    Scientists develop protein nanoarrays for biological detection

    February 11, 2002

    Scientists at Northwestern University have developed a new detection technology on the nanometer scale that could lead to the next generation of proteomic arrays and new methods for diagnosing infectious diseases and biological weapons.
    The researchers utilize a process invented at Northwestern’s Institute for Nanotechnology called Dip-Pen Nanolithography to make arrays of proteins with features more than 1,000 times smaller than those used in conventional arrays. This leads to nanoarrays… read more

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