science + technology news

Using Humans as a Computer Model

October 16, 2001
Automated switching allowed AT&T/Bell Labs to keep up with the demand for telephones

The computer industry’s “next grand challenge” is the ever-increasing complexity of computing in the Internet era, with its global networks and proliferation of digital devices, says Paul M. Horn, a senior vice president who oversees the research labs at I.B.M., in a paper, “Autonomic computing.”

“Autonomic computing” is a biological metaphor suggesting a systemic approach to attaining a higher level of automation in computing.… read more

Using HIV to attack itself

January 21, 2013

HIV virus (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) Associate Professor David Harrich has developed a way to use HIV to beat HIV in the laboratory.

He has determined how to modify a protein in the virus, creating the the “Nullbasic” protein, which provides strong, lasting protection from infection by stopping the virus from replicating in a lab environment. Animal trials are due to start this year.

“If this… read more

Using graphene-based film for efficient cooling of electronics

Has a thermal conductivity capacity four times higher than copper, can be attached to silicon electronic components
July 13, 2015

Graphene-based film on an electronic component with high heat intensity. (credit: Johan Liu)

A method for efficiently cooling electronics using graphene-based film — with a thermal conductivity capacity four times higher than copper — has been developed by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology. The film can be attached to computer chips and other silicon-based electronic components.

Electronic systems available today accumulate a great deal of heat, mostly due to the ever-increasing demand on functionality. Getting rid of excess… read more

Using graphene to detect brain cancer cells

December 20, 2016

GBM cell on graphene ft

By interfacing brain cells with graphene, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have differentiated a single hyperactive Glioblastoma Multiforme cancerous astrocyte cell from a normal cell in the lab — pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.

In the study, reported in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the researchers looked at lab-cultured human brain astrocyte cells taken from a… read more

Using glucose meters to measure other target molecules in blood, serum, water, or food

July 25, 2011

Coupling functional DNA sensors and glucose meters for fast, easy, portable detection of drugs, toxins, disease markers, and other molecules in blood, water, or food (credit: Li Huey Tan, Yu Xiang, and Yi Lu)

Glucose meters can be used as simple, portable, inexpensive meters for a number of target molecules in blood, serum, water or food, researchers at the University of Illinois have found.

To use glucose meters to detect a target other than glucose, the researchers coupled them with a class of molecular sensors called functional DNA sensors. Functional DNA sensors use short segments of DNA that bind to specific… read more

Using fMRI and machine learning for ‘brain reading’

December 23, 2011

(Credit: iStockphoto)

In another Minority Report-like research finding, a UCLA research team has made crucial advances in “brain reading,” using fMRI and machine learning methods to predict reactions of smokers experiencing nicotine cravings.

The research, presented last week at the Neural Information Processing Systems Machine Learning and Interpretation in Neuroimaging workshop in Spain, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is interested in using… read more

Using flashes from faster-than-light spots to view objects in the universe

January 9, 2015

Hubble's variable nebula. (Credit: William Sparks (STScI), Sylvia Baggett (STScI) et al., & the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/ STScI/ NASA))

If you sweep a laser pointer across the Moon fast enough, you can create spots that actually move faster than light

At a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle Thursday Jan. 8, Robert Nemiroff, a physics professor at Michigan Technological University, reported that this theoretical curiosity may turn out to be practically useful out in the cosmos.

When a superluminal sweep occurs,… read more

Using exploding nanoparticles to insert DNA and proteins into cells

July 29, 2010

Zapped human prostate cancer cells after exposure to laser-activated carbon nanoparticles. (Prerona Chakravarty)

Chemical “nanoblasts” activated by bursts of laser light can punch tiny holes in the protective membranes of cells just long enough to admit therapeutic small molecules, proteins and DNA directly into living cells, Georgia Institute of Technology.researchers have discovered.

“One of the most significant uses for this technology could be for gene-based therapies, which offer great promise in medicine, but whose progress has been limited by the difficulty of getting… read more

Using DNA to Control Nanoparticle Assembly

August 22, 2007

Uing DNA, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory are studying how to control both the speed of nanoparticle assembly and the structure of its resulting nanoclusters.

The synthetic DNA used in the laboratory is capped onto individual gold nanoparticles and customized to recognize and bind to complementary DNA located on other particles. This process forms clusters containing multiple particles.

The research could… read more

Using ‘cooperative perception’ between intelligent vehicles to reduce risks

October 13, 2017

Networked intelligent vehicles (credit: EPFL)

Researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have combined data from two autonomous cars to create a wider field of view, extended situational awareness, and greater safety.

Autonomous vehicles get their intelligence from cameras, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, and navigation and mapping systems. But there are ways to make them even smarter. Researchers at EPFL are working to improve the reliability and fault tolerance of… read more

Using cells’ chemical signaling to control cancer or detect toxins

November 17, 2011

Cell signals

MIT researchers have found that cells’ chemical signaling mechanisms can tell whether their signals are being received, and then adjust the volume of their messages as needed.

Cells use these chemical signaling systems to control many basic functions. For example, signaling can control how genes are turned on and off in response to external or internal cues, how cells grow and organize their internal structures, and even… read more

Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins

December 11, 2007

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have developed a new way to seek out specific proteins, including dangerous proteins such as anthrax toxin, and render them harmless using nothing but light.

Ravi S. Kane, professor of chemical and biological engineering, described the research: “By attaching peptides to carbon nanotubes, we gave them the ability to selectively recognize a protein of interest — in this case anthrax toxin — from a mixture… read more

Using Carbon Nanotubes For Quantum Computing

July 16, 2004

Academics at the University of Oxford have developed a design protocol for inserting filled molecules of Buckminsterfullerene (“Buckyballs”) into carbon, and other types of nanotubes.

The Buckyballs are themselves filled with molecules that have either an electronic or structural property that can be used to represent a quantum bit (Qubit) of information and can be associated with other adjacent Qubits. The improved stability of the system now allows several… read more

Using carbon nanotubes as qubits for quantum computers

March 26, 2013


A study by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has shown how nanotubes can store information in the form of vibrations.

Using quantum mechanical phenomena, computers could be much more powerful than their classical digital predecessors.

Up to now, researchers have experimented primarily with electrically charged particles. But because nanomechanical devices are not charged, they are much less sensitive to electrical interference.… read more

Using body movements as digital-music controllers

April 10, 2014


Performers in the UBC Laptop Orchestra at the University of British Columbia use body movements to trigger programmed synthetic instruments or modify the sound of their live instruments in real time.

They strap motion sensors to their bodies and instruments, play wearable iPhone instruments, and swing Nintendo Wii or PlayStation Move controllers while Kinect video cameras track their movements.… read more

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