science + technology news

Russian diamonds: Siberian meteorite crater said to hold trillions of carats

September 21, 2012

Artist's impression of asteroid hitting Earth (Credit: Don Davis/NASA)

Russian scientists are claiming that a gigantic deposit of industrial diamonds found in a huge Siberian meteorite crater during Soviet times could revolutionize industry, Huffington Post reports.

The Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences said that the Popigai crater in eastern Siberia contains “many trillions of carats” of “impact diamonds” — good for technological purposes, not for jewelry, and far exceeding the currently known global… read more

New imagery of NASA’s asteroid mission released

August 23, 2013

Astronaut on asteroid - featured

NASA released Thursday new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned mission to find, capture, redirect, and study a near-Earth asteroid.

The images show crew operations including the Orion spacecraft’s trip to and rendezvous with the relocated asteroid, and astronauts maneuvering through a spacewalk to collect samples from the asteroid.

NASA plans to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation, and to find potentially… read more

World’s first $1,000 genome enables ‘factory’ scale sequencing for population and disease studies

January 15, 2014

The HiSeq X™ Ten, composed of 10 HiSeq X Systems (credit: Illumina)

 

Illumina, Inc. announced Tuesday that its new HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System has broken the “sound barrier” of human genomics by enabling the $1,000 genome.

“This platform includes dramatic technology breakthroughs that enable researchers to undertake studies of unprecedented scale by providing the throughput to sequence tens of thousands of human whole genomes in a single year in a single… read more

Stanford engineers invent radical ‘high-rise’ 3D chips

December 16, 2014

A four-layer prototype high-rise chip built by Stanford engineers. The bottom and top layers are logic transistors. Sandwiched between them are two layers of memory. The vertical tubes are nanoscale electronic “elevators” that connect logic and memory, allowing them to work together efficiently. (Credit: Max Shulaker, Stanford)

Stanford engineers have build 3D “high-rise” chips that could leapfrog the performance of the single-story logic and memory chips on today’s circuit cards, which are subject to frequent traffic jams between logic and memory.

The Stanford approach would attempt to end these jams by building layers of logic atop layers of memory to create a tightly interconnected high-rise chip. Many thousands of nanoscale electronic “elevators” would move data between… read more

Researchers in China have created genetically modified human embryos

Public interest group calls for strengthening global policies against human germline modification
April 23, 2015

Human embryos are at the centre of a debate over the ethics of gene editing (credit: Dr. Yorgos Nikas/SPL)

A research team in China has created genetically modified human embryos using the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, according to a report in the online journal Protein & Cell.

The experiments were conducted by a research team led by Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Human germline modification is widely considered unethical for both safety and social reasons. Using germline modification… read more

New cancer-drug delivery system uses magnetically guided bacteria to target cancerous tumors with high precision

August 15, 2016

The legions of nanorobotic agents are actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria -- and therefore self-propelled -- and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug's injection point and the area of the body to cure. (credit: Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory)

Researchers from Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, and McGill University have designed a new cancer-drug-delivery nanotransporter system using more than 100 million flagellated, self-propelled bacteria that are capable of navigating through the bloodstream to administer a drug to tumors with precision.* The goal of the research is to avoid jeopardizing the integrity of organs and surrounding healthy tissues while reducing drug dosage.

In an experiment… read more

Are you ready for RFID chips built into your money and documents?

May 7, 2013

ndsu_smart_paper_money

North Dakota State University. researchers have developed a new way of embedding traceable chips within “smart” paper — raising the possibility of banks and governments guarding against counterfeiting and even tracking the usage of paper money, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The new method of embedding radio frequency identification chips (RFID) in paper uses a patent-pending technology called Laser Enabled Advanced Packaging (LEAP) to transfer and assemble… read more

A multifunctional nano carrier to detect, diagnose, and deliver drugs to cancer cells

October 31, 2013

uc_nano_carrier

A unique nanostructure developed by a team of international researchers* promises improved all-in-one detection, diagnoses, and drug-delivery treatment of cancer cells.

It can carry a variety of cancer-fighting materials on its double-sided (Janus) surface and within its porous interior and can:

  •  Transport cancer-specific detection nanoparticles and biomarkers to a site within the body, e.g., the breast or the prostate. This promises earlier diagnosis than is

read more

Robot ape to colonize the Moon?

July 2, 2013

iStruct_robot

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen are working on an ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator that they classify as a “Space Robot.”

Lately the mechanical monkey has been practicing how to walk and balance in the center’s mock lunar landscape, Gizmag reports.

An ape-like body has certain benefits over a wheeled robot: its four-legged stance is… read more

ProtoHouse

October 26, 2012

ProtoHouse (credit: Softkill Disign)

Softkill Design‘s ProtoHouse project investigates the architectural potential of the latest Selective laser sintering technologies, testing the boundaries of large scale 3D printing by designing with computer algorithms that micro-organize the printed material itself.

With the support of Materialise, Softkill Design produced a high-resolution prototype of a 3D printed house at 1:33 scale. The model consists of 30 detailed fibrous pieces that can be assembled into one… read more

Cyborg swarm maps unknown environments

October 17, 2013

biobots_swarm

Remember the much-debated “biobots” (remotely controlled cockroaches — see How to remotely control cockroach cyborgs and Kinect tracks bionic rescue roaches) created by researchers from North Carolina State University?

Well, here’s an update: they have now developed software that allows for mapping unknown environments — such as collapsed buildings — based on the movement of a swarm of the insect cyborgs.… read more

Automate or perish

July 9, 2012

kiva_robots

Successful businesses will be those that optimize the mix of humans, robots, and algorithms, says Christopher Steiner in Automate This, a book due out next month.

Today, automated trading bots account for nearly three-quarters of U.S. equity trading by volume. Trading houses plow millions into fiber optics and microwave dishes so their algorithms can send trades a millisecond faster than the next guys’.

This month’s Technology Review business… read more

How to get off the grid for under $10K

July 8, 2014

Beacon 10 Stirling engine (credit: Deka Research)

Inventor Dean Kamen is planning a 2.5 kW home version of his Deka Research Beacon 10 Stirling engine that could provide efficient around-the-clock power or hot water to a home or business, reports Forbes.

Kamen says the current Beacon is intended for businesses like laundries or restaurants that use a lot of hot water. “With commercialization partner NRG Energy, he’s deployed… read more

Behold the Cheetah Robot. The Singularity is nigh!

March 6, 2012

Cheetah Robot

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding Boston Dynamics’ development of a prototype robot called the Cheetah.

The cat-like bot managed to gallop 18 mph on a treadmill, setting a new land speed record for legged robots. (The previous record: 13.1 mph, set at MIT in 1989.)

The company has a prototype human-like robot in the works called the Atlasread more

The ‘chemputer’ that could print out any drug

July 26, 2012

cronin_molecules

Professor Lee Cronin has turned a 3D printer into a universal chemistry set that could make its own prescription drugs via downloadable chemistry.

Cronin is the leader of a world-class team of 45 researchers at Glasgow University, primarily making complex molecules.

The “inks” are simple reagents, from which more complex molecules are formed.

As he points out, nearly all drugs are made of carbon, hydrogen and… read more

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