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A Sound Way To Turn Heat Into Electricity

June 4, 2007

University of Utah physicists have developed small devices that turn heat into sound and then into electricity. The technology holds promise for changing waste heat into electricity, harnessing solar energy and cooling computers and radars.

A space-time crystal clock that will last forever

Berkeley Lab researchers propose a way to build the first space-time crystal
September 25, 2012


Imagine a clock that will keep perfect time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe — a four-dimensional “space-time crystal” with periodic structure in time as well as space.

With such a 4D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective way to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles, the “many-body problem” of physics. A space-time crystal… read more

A Special Drug Just for You, at the End of a Long Pipeline

November 8, 2005

The age of personalized medicine is on the way. Increasingly, experts say, therapies will be tailored for patients based on their genetic makeup or other medical measurements. That will allow people to obtain drugs that would work best for them and avoid serious side effects.

A Species in a Second: Promise of DNA ‘Bar Codes’

December 14, 2004

If it works as promised, DNA bar coding will assist in the urgent task of cataloging unknown species before their ranks are decimated by extinction.

The technique depends on analyzing part of just one gene, the same gene in all cases, for every species.

If and when a DNA bar code database of all terrestrial plant and animal species is established, a field biologist could take a tiny… read more

A spinning black hole at a galaxy’s center

September 28, 2012


An international team, led by researchers at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, has for the first time measured the radius of a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy — the closest distance at which matter can approach before being irretrievably pulled into the black hole.

Black holes that can be billions of times more massive than our sun may reside at the heart of most galaxies.… read more

A Sponge’s Guide to Nano-Assembly

June 6, 2006

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers, using clues gleaned from marine sponges, have developed a method of synthesizing semiconducting materials with useful structures and novel electronic properties.

The first applications could be ways to make materials for more powerful batteries and highly efficient solar cells at a lower price.

A spray-on computer is way to do IT

August 25, 2003

Researchers at Edinburgh University are developing spray-on computers using tiny semiconductor specks the size of a grain of sand that can sense, compute and communicate wirelessly.

They plan to spray the devices on the chests of coronary patients to record a patient’s health and transmit information back to a hospital computer, eliminating the need to lug a large machine around or hospital visits.

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

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