science + technology news

$500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize awarded to futurist who makes a career of helping others

May 25, 2001

On April 24, 2001, Raymond Kurzweil was awarded the prestigious Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest single award for invention and innovation.… read more

Nanotubes Fall into Line

May 25, 2001

Nanocrystal arrays of perfectly aligned nanotubes have been produced by a team from the University of Cambridge.

The team created pillars by depositing alternating layers of buckyballs and a nickel catalyst onto a substrate, patterning them with a ceramic mask attached to an atomic force microscope. The researchers then heated the pillars to 900 °C in the presence of a magnetic field. The result was a pattern… read more

DNA photodetectors

May 25, 2001

The DNA nucleoside deoxyguanosine (DG) is being used as an alternative to conventional semiconductor material in experimental photodetectors.

Ross Rinaldi and coworkers at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory of the Instituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia in Italy placed DG nucleosides dissolved in chloroform at the juncture of two electrodes. The DG molecules self-assembled into an array of ribbon-like structures between the electrodes.

The DG-based photodetectors are… read more

Dinosaur Robots For Sale

May 24, 2001
Troody, a robot<br />
dinosaur built at MIT

Robot dinosaurs — two-legged robots that can walk in a lifelike way — are being developed for sale to museums and possibly consumers.

Developed at MIT’s Leg Lab, the robots have springy joints, which makes their movements like those of living animals, plus skin, scales, feathers and lifelike, expressive eyes. Currently pidgeon-sized, bigger dinos are on the drawing board.

Biotech’s Bright Hopes

May 23, 2001

About 350 drugs are in late-stage clinical trials, but there are expensive hurdles to federal approval.

Cures for pulmonary hypertension, diabetic neuropathy, and some forms of cancer are among the possibilities.

Virtual products in TV shows

May 23, 2001

Digital technology may be used for the first time to place “virtual” products and other advertising images regularly in scenes of a syndicated television series to be watched by American audiences.

Computer Creativity

May 23, 2001

Computers as poets, painters, and storytellers.

‘Silent’ DNA Speaks Up

May 22, 2001

Biologists have broken through what was considered an impermeable barrier that kept half the genes in some cells “silent.” By moderately raising the temperature of cells, heated genes reached 500 times their normal rate of expression, which could lead to better understanding of cellular processes involved in aging, fever and toxicity.

Mimicking Nature

May 22, 2001

A computer program that mimics the barn owl’s sonic processing in locating prey has been developed by John Harris, a University of Florida engineering professor. Uses include tracking of speaker location for videoconferencing.

Sounds Of The Universe

May 22, 2001

Extraterrestrial acoustics and a “smart violin” attempt to clone the Stradivarius will be among the topics presented at the annual Acoustical Society of America conference, June 4-8, Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago, Illinois.

Nanotech Looms Large for Meds

May 22, 2001

Nanotech-based cancer therapy, bioweapons countermeasures, and bactericides were among the developments presented at yesterday’s International Biotech and Infotech Summit in San Francisco.

Cheese beats crackers

May 22, 2001

A benevolent “cheese worm” is currently circulating the Net, fixing computers running Linux that have been attacked earlier by another worm (self-propagating virus).

The Lion worm has been infecting Linux servers, installing backdoors and stealing passwords.

Little Big Screen

May 21, 2001

Coming PDA user-interface enhancements include pocket-sized foldable screens, fabric keyboards, retinal displays, and voice recognition/navigation.

See also: A Chip Fights Blindness

Link Between Human Genes and Bacteria Is Hotly Debated

May 21, 2001

Celera Genenomics is challenging the Consortium’s Feb. report that 223 of the 30,000 human genes appear to have been acquired directly from bacteria instead of inheritance.

Building Chips, One Molecule at a Time

May 21, 2001

Hewlett-Packard is researching molecular computers, using rotaxanes.

UCLA professor James Heath and his team have succeeded in attaching their minuscule switches to tiny wires and have developed a redundant wiring technique that routes signals around imperfect molecular switches.

Heath thinks he might be able to build a rudimentary computer within a couple of years.

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