science + technology news

Optical trap provides new insights into motor molecules

February 27, 2003

The remarkably fuel-efficient motor of the protein kinesin serves as the ideal model for a variety of futuristic nanotechnologies — from nanofactories that would fit inside a computer chip to nanoimplants that could be placed under the skin and deliver minute doses of medication to targeted cells.

News tip: Walter Purvis

Anti-aging drugs may change society

February 27, 2003

Aging experts cautioned that if scientists succeed in developing therapies to extend human lifespan by decades the event could have profound implications for society.

Ethical issues would arise if anti-aging interventions were not universally available and there could be problems of overpopulation.

University Of Michigan Launches Ambitious Exploration Of Inner Space

February 26, 2003

University of Michigan researchers will attempt to capture never-before-seen views of the chemical activity inside living cells in real time and 3-D.

The team will be using synthetic nanoprobes small enough to fit inside a cell without interrupting its normal functions to measure the activity of crucial metal ions like zinc and copper as the cell works. Sophisticated statistical modeling programs will be used to interpret the data.… read more

Discovering a Secret of Long Life

February 13, 2003

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have discoverd a common mitochrondrial DNA genetic mutation in people who live longer than 100 years. The finding could help advance ways to counteract the ravages of aging.

Finding Life Away From Earth Will be Tough Task

February 9, 2003

Using basic techniques to search for the simplest evidence of ancient life on Earth is the best approach to finding evidence of life elsewhere, according to University of Washington paleontologist Roger Buick.

Buick said fossil evidence of early life, whether from Earth or somewhere else, could be so tiny that it is at the limits of -– or beyond -– current capabilities in optic microscopic resolution. Those life forms… read more

Getting a Closer Look at the Eye

January 24, 2003

Adaptive optics, originally developed for astronomy (using mirrors to eliminate the visual distortion caused by the earth’s atmosphere), is being used by ophthalmologists to see to see individual cells in the retina.
It is being combined with optical coherence tomography, which allows doctors to capture images deep inside tissue.

When the Athlete’s Heart Falters, a Monitor Dials for Help

January 9, 2003

Manufacturers are working on wearable heart monitors linked to cellphones that can sound an alert automatically, contacting a doctor, family member or Web site when trouble beckons.

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.

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