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Researchers close to delivering molecular circuits

February 20, 2002

Molecular electronics researchers are converging on viable circuit-fabrication methods. A Hewlett-Packard and UCLA team are tackling one universal problem with molecular circuits: the inherent defects created by any chemical reaction. They’re designing a molecular equivalent of an FPGA (floating point gate array) that can be used to implement a redundant wiring scheme in which defective cells are simply switched out of the network.

The team is also working on… read more

Hijacking the Brain Circuits With a Nickel Slot Machine

February 20, 2002

Neuroscientists have uncovered a common thread between Compulsive gambling, attendance at sporting events, vulnerability to telephone scams and exuberant investing in the stock market based on rewards. And they found that the brain systems that detect and evaluate such rewards generally operate outside of conscious awareness. In navigating the world and deciding what is rewarding, humans are closer to zombies than sentient beings much of the time.

Dr. Jonathan… read more

GM bacteria may banish tooth decay

February 20, 2002

A mouthful of genetically modified bacteria could keep tooth decay away for life, by replacing your mouth’s natural cavity-causing bacteria with GM bacteria specially designed to prevent tooth decay.
BCS3-L1 can be brushed or squirted onto the teeth in a formulation its creator says tastes like chicken soup. It dramatically reduced cavities in rats but OraGen, Inc., has not yet received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to… read more

Collision Course: Beating Moore’s Law by 2006 will take teamwork

February 15, 2002

CERN’s Large Hadron Supercollider will begin generating more than 10 million gigabytes of data each year when it becomes operational in 2006 — beyond the capabilities of any computer CERN scientists had at their disposal, or any supercomputer that could be built. The solution: the European DataGrid.The European DataGrid is an ambitious project based on an emerging distributed-processing technology known as grid computing. Instead of relying on mainframe makers like… read more

New world of nanoelectronics may arrive in the near future, AAAS speakers say

February 15, 2002

A future filled with tiny, molecule-sized computers–fast and powerful enough to do things like translate conversations on the fly or calculate complex climate models–may be closer than people think, top nanotechnology researchers said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston today.
“We may be five to six years ahead of schedule in nanoelectronics, and some of today’s research is nearing the stage where… read more

Inventor of artificial hand sees ‘bionic’ replacement parts becoming more human

February 14, 2002

Bionic limb replacements that look and work exactly like the real thing could be realized within a decade, thanks to fast advances in human-to-machine communication and miniaturization.

Writing in Science, Feb. 8, Rutgers biomedical engineer and inventor William Craelius, whose Dextra artificial hand is the first to let a person use existing nerve pathways to control individual computer-driven mechanical fingers, says “bionic technologies can be adapted for restoring some… read more

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

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