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A Growing Intelligence Around Earth

October 26, 2006

NASA’s EO-1 is a new breed of satellite with AI programming to notice things that change (like the plume of a volcano) and take appropriate action, such as monitoring that specific location.

EO-1 can re-organize its own priorities to study volcanic eruptions, flash floods, forest fires, disintegrating sea-ice, and other unexpected events. It can also use sensors on other satellites or on the ground as a “sensorweb.”

A Ham Radio Weekend for Talking to the Moon

June 27, 2009

On Saturday, amateur radio operators will bounce signals off the moon, using parabolic antenna radio telescopes around the world.

Also see Echoes of Apollo

A ‘hands-on’ approach to computers

April 7, 2009
(Donna Coveney)

MIT Media Lab researcher Hiroshi Ishii wants people to be able to interact with their computers and other devices by moving around and by handling real physical objects: by doing what comes naturally.

A hands-on approach to Third World aid

July 14, 2008

About 60 people from 20 nations will descend on the MIT campus today to begin the International Development Design Summit, an intensive month-long process of creating technological solutions for the needs of people in the world’s developing nations.

The goal of the program is to develop simple, inexpensive devices that in some cases can be produced locally and make a real difference for people and communities.

Several of… read more

A Heart Device Is Found Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks

March 12, 2008

Computer security researchers have shown they could reprogram, shut down and deliver jolts of electricity to a combination heart defibrillator-pacemaker that would potentially be fatal.

They also showed they could glean personal patient data by eavesdropping on the device, made by Medtronic.

A Helping Hand for Surgery

August 28, 2008
(Timothy Leong/JHU)

Johns Hopkins University researchers have developed a tiny handlike gripper that can grasp tissue or cell samples and could make it easier for doctors to perform minimally invasive surgery, such as biopsies.

The device curls its “fingers” around an object when triggered chemically, and it can be moved around remotely with a magnet.

A hidden genetic code for better designer genes

How rare "words" in bacterial genes boost protein production
October 1, 2013

Codon

Scientists routinely seek to reprogram bacteria to produce proteins for drugs, biofuels and more, but they have struggled to get those bacteria to follow orders.

A hidden feature of the genetic code, it turns out, could achieve that.  The feature controls how much of the desired protein bacteria produce, a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University reported in… read more

A hierarchical approach to 3D tissue engineering with preformed blood-vessel tissue

Brings researchers closer to viable organ implants
August 27, 2013

Schematic diagram illustrating the concept of a prevascularized hydrogel.<br />
Adjacent fibres could be used to pattern other cell types around the vessels.

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have developed a simple method of organizing cells and their microenvironments in hydrogel fibers.

The method provides a template for assembling complex structures, such as liver and fat tissues, for tissue or organ replacements.

According to IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying, “Our tissue engineering approach gives researchers great control and flexibility… read more

A high-fat diet may rapidly injure brain cells that control body weight

June 9, 2011

Obesity among people who eat a high-fat diet may involve injury to neurons, researchers at the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington have shown.

The researchers studied the brains of rodents for the short-term and long-term effects of eating a high-fat diet. After giving groups of 6 to 10 rats and mice a high-fat diet for periods from one day… read more

A high-performance solar-thermoelectric generating device

May 4, 2011

Prototype of a flat-panel solar-thermoelectric generating device (credit: Melanie Gonick)

Researchers at MIT and their collaborators have developed a high-performance and possibly less expensive way to convert solar heat  into electricity, using flat-panel solar power combined with hot water systems.

Their system produces power with an efficiency roughly eight times higher than ever previously reported for a solar thermoelectric device that produces electricity from solar heat. It does so by generating and harnessing a temperature difference of… read more

A high-resolution endoscope as thin as a human hair

March 13, 2013

Kahn_spot_endoscope_stanford

Engineers at Stanford University have developed a prototype single-fiber endoscope that is as thin as a human hair, with a resolution four times better than previous devices of similar design.

The “micro-endoscope” is a significant step forward in high-resolution, minimally invasive bioimaging, with potential applications in research and clinical practice. Micro-endoscopy could enable new methods in diverse fields ranging from study of the brain to early cancer… read more

A high-resolution nanoscale window to the live biological world

December 27, 2012

vtech_nanoscale_window

Investigators at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have invented a way to directly image biological structures at nanometer-resolution in their natural habitats (a liquid environment).

The technique is a major advancement toward the ultimate goal of imaging biological processes in action at the atomic level.

The technique uses two silicon-nitride microchips with windows etched in their centers and pressing them together until only… read more

A high-stakes search continues for silicon’s successor

December 6, 2011

As we approach the limits of miniaturization of silicon semiconductors, at universities and corporate laboratories around the world, researchers are trying to develop the next generation of chip-making technologies.

Stanford University researchers are making prototypes of a new kind of molecular-scale semiconductor nanocircuit called a carbon nanotube field effect transistor (CNFET) that is far smaller and uses far less power than today’s most advanced silicon-based computer circuits. It may… read more

A Hole in the Genome

March 2, 2009

Several studies in the last year have found that missing or extra pieces of DNA in the 1q21.1 region put the bearer at risk for a surprisingly broad range of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, and mental retardation.

The discovery that one piece of DNA can lead to such diverse outcomes is opening new avenues in the study of disease.

A holographic microscope for just $250

November 6, 2012

Holographic-micrscope

You can build a holographic microscope for $250 (for parts), MIT Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

Holographic microscopes record the 3D shape of tiny objects such as cells in high resolution, unlike traditional microscopes, which have a tiny field of view and shallow depth of field.

With a holographic microscope, you make a hologram of the sample: split a laser beam in two, use one as… read more

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