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A sprinkling of nanotubes makes plants shoot up

October 5, 2009

Tomato seeds planted in growth medium that contained carbon nanotubes germinated sooner and seedlings grew faster, University of Arkansas researchers have found.

The nanotubes appear to penetrate the thick seed coat, which would allow water to enter the dry seeds more rapidly.

A Spy Machine of DARPA’s Dreams

May 21, 2003

Going beyond the controversial Total Information Awareness database project, DARPA is currently asking businesses and universities for research proposals for its LifeLog research project, intended to gather every bit of information about a person’s life and activities, index it, and make it searchable.

LifeLog would combine this information with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audio-visual sensors… read more

A Star Trek ‘tractor’ beam for microscopic objects

January 28, 2013

In the experimental system, a light beam is converted into a pulling device that gathers microscopic polystyrene spheres just like when using a chain (credit: University of St Andrews)

A miniature “tractor” beam that allows a beam of light to attract objects (as featured in Star Trek movies) has been created by researchers from the University of St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic.

This is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards a light source. It generates a special optical field… read more

A Startup That Builds Biological Parts

October 2, 2009

Ginkgo BioWorks, a new synthetic-biology startup, offers to assemble biological parts–such as strings of specific genes–for industry and academic scientists.

A state-of-the-art augmented reality helmet

August 6, 2012

Would you like fries with that? The stereo EyeTap welding helmet causes the eyes themselves, to, in effect, become both cameras and displays by providing exact point-of-eye capture for a stereo headup display in the helmet as well as for broadcasting or recording (credit: Raymond Lo, Steve Mann, Jason Huang, Valmiki Rampersad)

University of Toronto researchers (among them wearable computing pioneer Steven Mann) have developed a state-of-the-art digital camera that is able to properly adjust itself to capture an image with brights that are far too bright, and darks that are far too dark, reports Technology Review.

Mann et al. will be presenting their stereo “EyeTap welding helmet” at this year’s Siggraph conference.

The idea is to build… read more

A statistical model of the network of connections between brain regions

April 19, 2012
Brain Web

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a simple mathematical model of the brain which provides a remarkably complete statistical account of the complex web of connections between various brain regions.

The brain shares a pattern of connections that is similar to other complex networks such as social networks and the Web. However, until now, it was not known what rules were involved in the formation of the… read more

A Stem-Cell Revolution

August 27, 2008

Doug Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, says that distributing induced pluripotent stem cells to researchers around the world will advance the study of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes.

A Stem-Cell Therapy for Blindness

June 17, 2009

An experimental therapy using human embryonic stem cells to treat degenerative eye diseases has proved safe and effective in animal studies, and may begin early human trials in the next few months if approved by the FDA.

Developed by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), the treatment re-creates retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, which are often the first to die off in age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases, which in… read more

A step closer to artificial livers

Researchers identify compounds that help liver cells grow outside the body
June 4, 2013

mit_artificial_liver_cells

MIT engineer Sangeeta Bhatia and colleagues have have identified a dozen chemical compounds that can help liver cells maintain their normal function while grown in a lab dish and also multiply to produce new tissue.

Cells grown this way could help researchers develop engineered tissue to treat many of the 500 million people suffering from chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis C, according… read more

A Step Closer to Nanotube Computers

November 14, 2006

Stanford University researchers have developed a method of separating out purely semiconducting nanotubes with a consistent range of diameters stretching across the source and drain.

The method is scalable to a bulk manufacturing process.

A Step Closer to Perfect 3-D Data Storage

July 7, 2010

(ESRF)

The ultimate in holographic (three-dimensional) data storage–a chemically pure crystal composed solely of fluorescent proteins that can be read and reversibly switched between at least two different states using nothing but light from lasers–is being developed in preliminary research by an international group of scientists.

Such a crystal would represent something approaching the theoretical limit of data density in a storage medium: each bit would be represented by a single… read more

A Step Closer to Printing-Press Electronics

July 3, 2007

One goal for the future of electronics is the ability to print large, flexible circuits using machines similar to printing presses. While great strides have been made in developing bendable and lightweight organic materials to use in this type of circuitry, methods to deposit those materials over large areas have not been as successful.

Recently, scientists from the DuPont’s Material Science and Engineering division and Organic ID, a subsidiary… read more

A Step Toward a Living, Learning Memory Chip

June 8, 2007

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel have demonstrated that neurons cultured outside the brain can be imprinted with multiple rudimentary memories that persist for days without interfering with or wiping out others.

According to Eshel Ben-Jacob, previous attempts to trigger the cells to create a repeating pattern of signals sent from neuron to neuron in a population–which neuroscientists believe constitutes the formation of a memory in the context… read more

A step toward a saliva test for cancer

September 1, 2011

A new saliva test developed by researchers at National Chung Cheng University (NCCU) in Taiwan that can measure the amount of potential carcinogens stuck to a person’s DNA was reported during the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver.

“The test measures the amount of damaged DNA [DNA adducts] in a person’s body,”… read more

A step toward better brain implants using conducting polymer nanotubes

September 30, 2009

Brain implants developed at the University of Michigan are coated with nanotubes made of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), a biocompatible and electrically conductive polymer that has been shown to record neural signals better than conventional metal electrodes.

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