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Visionaries see flexible computers using less power

July 11, 2003

Computers will be more flexible, intelligent and require less power by the end of the decade, according to engineering groups meeting in Munich.

Machines that Reproduce May be Reality

July 11, 2003

Researchers have created a primordial soup that works like a digital DNA factory, where T-shaped “codons” swim in a computer-generated virtual liquid forming single, double, and even triple strands.

Like DNA, these digital particles “can be assembled into patterns that encode” information, claims robotics scientist Peter Turney. Given sufficient time, a soup of separated individual particles will “spontaneously form self-replicating patterns.”

A Garden of Robotic Delights

July 11, 2003

“The flowers in Cynthia Breazeal’s garden are like no blossoms you’ve ever seen. Fashioned of metal and silicon and embedded with electronic sensors, they are actually robots that react to light and body heat by bobbing, swaying, spinning and changing color….”

The Cyberflora Installation is now showing at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, through January 2004.

Miniature biolab embedded on silicon chip

July 10, 2003

Researchers from Cornell University have developed a miniaturized DNA-based biological testing system that fits on a silicon chip and can be customized to detect a wide variety of microorganisms.

The 2 cm x 4 cm chip captures the DNA from the sample and purifies it. A reaction chamber performs a polymerase chain reaction to rapidly replicate the selected segment of DNA, which can then be tested.

Cady and… read more

Talking computers nearing reality

July 10, 2003

The technical kinks, high costs and application misfires that have held back the acceptance of speech recognition and activation are being ironed out.

New Memory That Doesn’t Forget

July 9, 2003

With both Motorola and IBM firmly lined up behind a single contender, the five-year search for a “universal RAM” technology offering a combination of non-volatility and high-speed random access appears to be all but over.

MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) uses magnetism instead of electrical charges to store data, unlike conventional high-speed memory devices. Benefits could include reduced data loss, shorter waits for data to load, increased… read more

Researchers envision intelligent implants

July 9, 2003

An interdisciplinary group of scientists envision an intelligent implant covered in microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMs)-based biosensors that could detect debilitating infections early and identify the bacteria responsible.

The implant would then provide therapy by dispensing the appropriate antibacterial compound from an internal reservoir and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. In addition, the implant would be able to communicate what it had done back to a physician using wireless… read more

Rat brain cells control remote robot artist

July 9, 2003

U.S. and Australian researchers have created what they call a new class of creative beings, “the semi-living artist” — a picture-drawing robot in Perth, Australia whose movements are controlled by the brain signals of cultured rat cells in Atlanta.

The team hopes to bridge the gap between biological and artificial systems to produce a machine capable of matching the intelligence of the simplest organism.

Gripping three colored markers… read more

Nanotechnology may create new organs

July 9, 2003

Scientists have built a minute, functioning vascular system — the branching network of blood vessels which supply nutrients and oxygen to tissues — in a significant step towards building whole organs.

Using living vessels as a guide to model factors such as the angle and size ratio between branching vessels, the networks were etched on to 15 centimetre-wide silicon wafers and the paths were then used as a mould… read more

Being Invisible

July 9, 2003

Next-gen optical camouflage is busting out of defense labs and into the street.

US Defense Department press releases citing “adaptive,” “advanced,” and “active” camouflage suggest that the government is working on devices like this.

But to achieve true invisibility, optical camouflage must capture the background from all angles and display it from all perspectives simultaneously. This requires a minimum of six stereoscopic camera pairs, allowing the computer to… read more

Light pipes track motion

July 8, 2003

Researchers at Duke University have devised a simple tracking method that promises to dramatically reduce the computing resources needed for computer vision systems that allow computers and robots to sense their surroundings.

The researchers’ method dispenses with the complicated software and lenses and instead maps the angles of light radiating from a source by channeling the light through set of pipes onto a set of light detectors. As an… read more

DNA makes nano barcode

July 8, 2003

Duke University researchers have programmed strands of synthetic DNA to self-assemble into a bar-code-like structure. The process could eventually be used to make templates that will enable molecule-by-molecule construction of electronic circuits.

The method coaxes columns of looped and non-looped strands of DNA to stack into a pattern that is readable by microscope. The researchers programmed the process to produce two different barcodes — 01101 and 10010. The prototype… read more

Nanotechnology Group to Address Safety Concerns

July 7, 2003

The NanoBusiness Alliance plans to announce a new task force today to address health and environmental concerns about the health impact of inhaling or ingesting nanoscale particles.

Microbe fuel cell packs more power

July 7, 2003

German researchers have created a prototype microbial fuel cell that generates ten times more energy from bacteria. It works by capturing energy produced by Escherichia coli as it feeds on sugar.

Brain rewiring during learning boosted by drug

July 7, 2003

The the sense of touch can be significantly enhanced by cortical remapping using stimulant drugs, researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany have found.

The findings could help to restore touch sensation in the elderly or injured and lead to treatments for some forms of chronic pain associated with distortions of the brain’s body map.

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