science + technology news

Sensitive robots taught to gauge human emotion

January 8, 2003

Robotics designers are working with psychologists at Vanderbilt University to improve human-machine interfaces by teaching robots to sense human emotions.

The researchers measured electrocardiogram profiles for specific mental states and performed preliminary analysis of the profiles using signal-processing algorithms and experimental methods like fuzzy logic and wavelet analysis. They have found two EKG frequency bands vary predictably with changes in stress. They are now looking at skin conductance and… read more

Patients Find ‘Gut-Cam’ Technology Easy to Swallow

January 3, 2003

The M2A disposable diagnostic capsule, also called the “gut cam,” is the first of its kind: a self-contained, miniature, disposable color video system designed to travel painlessly through the digestive system, continuously capturing images along the way to spot tumors, internal bleeding and lesions.

Uzbek inventor creates eyesight substitute

December 27, 2002

A video signal received from an electronic eye and converted to sound and mechanical oscillations can be used as an eyesight substitute for the blind.

The device uses an electronic light sensor and emits sounds and vibrations according to the composition of the object. For example, the pitch of the sound becomes higher if the object is light in color and lower if the object is dark. Users can… read more

Laser leads nerve growth

December 26, 2002

A laser beam can guide nerve cells to grow in a particular direction, researchers have shown. The technique might help damaged nerves to regrow or could connect them to electronic implants, such as artificial retinas and prosthetic limbs.

Lasers reveal rewiring of the living brain

December 19, 2002

A new technique for imaging the brains of living animals known as “two photon microscopy” represents a breakthrough in understanding rewiring of the brain that will have far-reaching implications for neurobiology, researchers say. It involves shining laser light into the brains of living animals and picking up the “returning light” produced by neurons engineered to express fluorescent proteins.

Infant rat heads grafted onto adults’ thighs

December 4, 2002

Infant rats are being decapitated and their heads grafted onto the thighs of adult rats by researchers in Japan. The purpose is to investigate how the transplanted brain can develop and maintain function after prolonged total brain ischemia (no blood flow). The controversial research may have value in studies of brain injury in newborn babies.

MRI Safe Shielding Technology Developed

November 22, 2002

Biophan Technologies has successfully tested a method for shielding implanted and inter-operative medical devices against interference from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The RF energy from an MRI is known to be the cause of dangerously high tissue heating and other performance problems in electronic medical devices used in the body, such as implantable pacemakers, cardioverter-defibrillators, and neurostimulators, and interventional devices such as guidewires and catheters.

Biophan’s… read more

A Few Ways to Win Mortality War

November 21, 2002

Wired reports on Alcor’s Extreme Life Extension Conference.

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die

November 18, 2002

Ray Kurzweil has a personal plan for eternal life: don’t die (counting on a low-carb diet, supplements and accelerating medical advances).

“If you combine the knowledge today with the observation that we’re actually on the knee of the curve in terms of acceleration of knowledge and these technologies, and that the full blossoming of the biotech revolution will be here within a couple decades, we can remain healthy through… read more

Fuel Cell Powered by Human Bodily Fluids

November 13, 2002

University of Texas, Austin scientists have developed a new fuel cell that generates electricity from the glucose-oxygen reaction that occurs in human blood. Purpose: powering medical sensors and animal tracking devices.

The Virtual Stomach

November 1, 2002

Penn State researchers have devised a virtual stomach, a computer simulation of the gastric motions, stresses and particle breakdown as the belly contracts, based on fluid mechanics.

The simulation may one day help researchers improve the composition of tablets that break down slowly over many hours before proceeding to the small intestine, where drugs are taken up. It may also help understand why nutrients are sometimes released too rapidly… read more

DNA as Destiny

October 31, 2002

DNA is not only the book of life; it’s also the book of death. In the future we may be able to read it cover to cover. Here’s a first-hand account of what it’s like to take the world’s first top-to-bottom gene scan. “Everyone has errors in his or her DNA, glitches that may trigger a heart spasm or cause a brain tumor. I’m here to learn mine.” It may… read more

Nano Biomaterials

October 29, 2002

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is using nanotechnology to design a self-cleaning plastic in which the enzyme molecules are an integral part of the material. When the plastic comes into contact with bacteria or other pathogens, the enzymes attack the microbes and destroy their ability to bind to its surface.

‘Doorways’ discovered in living brain cells

October 24, 2002

Brain cell membranes contain fixed “doorways” that control the entry of molecules into the cell, new research at Duke University shows.

Understanding this process, and how to control it, could one day lead to an entirely new class of treatments for depression, epilepsy, addiction and other neurological disorders; and preventing pathogens, such as viruses, from entering brain cells.

How High Tech Is Operating on Medicine

October 14, 2002

Doctors and machines that move as one, pacemakers that collect and transmit data, seamless treatment-support systems…

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