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Fast new, one-step genetic engineering technology

May 30, 2013

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A new, streamlined approach to genetic engineering drastically reduces the time and effort needed to insert new genes into bacteria, the workhorses of biotechnology, scientists are reporting.

Published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology, the method paves the way for more rapid development of designer microbes for drug development, environmental cleanup and other activities.

Keith Shearwin and colleagues explain that placing, or integrating, a piece of the… read more

ARKYD: a space telescope for everyone

May 30, 2013

arkyd_space_telescope

Planetary Resources has launched a Kickstarter mission to fund the planned ARKYD  space telescope.

Planetary Resources is planning  a fleet of ARKYD spacecraft to identify asteroids that are ripe for further exploration.

This same capability has numerous other potential applications in education and research. The goals with this Kickstarter mission, according to Planetary Resources:

  • To give students access to space capabilities — Whether studying

read more

Smartphone technology inspires design for smart unattended ground sensor

May 30, 2013

ADAPT_DARPA

DARPA’s Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program aims to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using a manufacturing process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry.

The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process.

The unattended ground… read more

Deep underground research could solve matter-antimatter imbalance mystery

May 30, 2013

The Majorana Demonstrator is being assembled and stored 4,850 feet beneath the earth's surface in enriched copper to limit the amount of background interference from cosmic rays and radioactive isotopes.

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has begun delivery of germanium-76 detectors to an underground laboratory in South Dakota in a team research effort that might explain the puzzling imbalance between matter and antimatter generated by the Big Bang.

“It might explain why we’re here at all,” said David Radford, who oversees specific ORNL activities in the Majorana Demonstrator research effort. “It could… read more

Shape-shifting nanoparticles flip from sphere to net in response to tumor signal

May 30, 2013

Spherical nanoparticles labeled with red or green dye shift their shapes and accumulatte into netlike structures when they encounter a protease secreted by some kinds of cancerous tumors (credit:

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have designed tiny spherical particles to float easily through the bloodstream after injection, then assemble into a durable scaffold within diseased tissue.

An enzyme produced by a specific type of tumor can trigger the transformation of the spheres into netlike structures that accumulate at the site of a cancer, the team reports in the journal Advanced Materialsread more

Cook affirms Apple wearable-computing scenario

May 30, 2013

FaceTime-Anders-Kjellberg

Speaking at the D11 Conference on Tuesday night in the opening tête-à-tête, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered muted praise for Google Glass but dismissed its mainstream appeal while calling wearable computing on your wrist “interesting” and “natural,” Jason Hiner writes on ZDNet.

Cook also predicted that the next generation of wearable computing will do more than just one thing such as activity tracking.

That kind… read more

How computers can learn better

May 30, 2013

RLPy

Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have  developed a new reinforcement-learning algorithm that allows computer systems to find solutions much more efficiently than previous algorithms did and for a wide range of problems.

With a recently released programming framework, the researchers show that a new machine-learning algorithm outperforms its predecessors.… read more

Metamaterial flat lens projects 3D UV images of objects

May 29, 2013

ultraviolet (UV) metamaterial formed of alternating nanolayers of silver

Scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a new type of lens that bends and focuses ultraviolet (UV) light in such an unusual way that it can create ghostly, 3D images of objects that float in free space.

The easy-to-build lens could lead to improved photolithography, nanoscale manipulation and manufacturing, and even high-resolution three-dimensional imaging, as well as a… read more

Experts using facial recognition technology ID Boston Marathon bomber suspect in video

May 29, 2013

Automatic face recognition is technology that can quickly attach a name to a face by perusing large databases of face images and finding the closest match (credit:

In a study that evaluated some of the latest in automatic facial recognition technology, researchers at Michigan State University were able to quickly identify one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects from a law enforcement video.

The researchers tested three different facial-recognition systems in the Pattern Recognition and Image Processing laboratory.

By using the law-enforcement video from the bombing, they found that one of… read more

Stem cell injections improve spinal injuries in rats

May 29, 2013

A three-dimensional, reconstructed magnetic resonance image (upper) shows a cavity caused by a spinal injury nearly filled with grafted neural stem cells, colored green. The lower image depicts neuronal outgrowth from transplanted human neurons (green) and development of putative contacts (yellow dots) with host neurons (blue).

A single injection of human neural stem cells produced neuronal regeneration and improvement of function and mobility in rats impaired by an acute spinal cord injury (SCI), an international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports

Grafting neural stem cells derived from a human fetal spinal cord to the rats’ spinal injury site produced an array of… read more

Stroke patients show signs of recovery in stem-cell treatment trial

May 29, 2013

reNeuron

Encouraging interim data from the world’s first clinical trial examining the safety of neural stem cell treatment in ischemic stroke patients has been reported by researchers ahead of an application for Phase II trials.

Professor Keith Muir of the University of Glasgow, who is heading the trial of ReNeuron Group plc’s ReN001 stem cell therapy at the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow reported that… read more

White House announces ‘We the Geeks: Asteroids’ Google Hangout Friday

May 29, 2013

asteroid

This Friday, an asteroid nearly three kilometers wide is going to pass by the Earth-Moon system.

To mark the event, on Friday, May 31st at 2pm EDT, the White House will host the second in a series of “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangouts to talk asteroids with experts, according to a White House annoncement.

The President’s new budget calls for increased efforts by NASA to detect and… read more

Pentagon aircraft, missile defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

New revelations that China used cyberattacks to access data from nearly 40 Pentagon weapons programs and almost 30 other defense technologies have increased pressure on U.S. leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches, The Washington Post reports.

The disclosure, which was included in a Defense Science Board report released earlier this year, but is only now being discussed publicly, comes as… read more

Wanted for the Internet of Things: ant-sized computers

May 29, 2013

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A computer two millimeters square that contains almost all the components of a tiny functioning computer is the start of an effort to make chips that can put computer power just about anywhere for the vaunted “Internet of Things,” MIT Technology Review reports.

The KL02 chip, made by Freescale, is shorter on each side than most ants are long and crams in memory,… read more

How to create models of biomolecules using x-rays

Most of the two million proteins in the human body can’t be crystallized without destroying them, so they can't be visualized. That's about to change.
May 29, 2013

Fluctuation x-ray scattering is the basis of a new technique for rapidly modeling the shapes of large biological models, here demonstrated (gray envelopes) using existing diffraction data superposed on known high-resolution structures. Top left, lysine-arginine-ornithine (LAO) binding protein; top right, lysozome; bottom left, peroxiredoxin; and, bottom right, Satellite Tobacco Mosaic Virus (STMV).

Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues have created a new way to model biological molecules using x-rays.

Existing methods for solving structure largely depend on crystallized molecules, and the shapes of more than 80,000 proteins in a static state have been solved this way.

Most of the two million proteins in the human body can’t be crystallized, however, so  even their low-resolution structures are… read more

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