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Using a Robot to Teach Human Social Skills

July 10, 2007

A humanoid robot designed to teach autistic children social skills has begun testing in British schools.

Known as KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics), the $4.33 million bot smiles, simulates surprise and sadness, gesticulates and, the researchers hope, will encourage social interaction among autistic children.

Using a Poison to Turn Sunlight into Food

August 19, 2008

Red slime mat made up of an extremophile bacteria in hot springs in Mono Lake, California use arsenic rather than water to carry energy during photosynthesis, U.S. Geological Survey researchers have found.

By analyzing the genetic material of the microbe, the researchers have determined that this is a primitive process, going back at least three billion years. That could mean that arsenic-based photosynthesis predates the oxygen-producing variety that enables… read more

Using a light touch to measure protein bonds

July 1, 2008

MIT researchers have used optical tweezers (light beams) to achieve a precise measurement of the strength of bonds between two protein molecules important in cell machinery.

They focused on proteins that bind to actin filaments, an important component of the cytoskeleton that provide structural support, help the cell crawl across a surface or sustain a load (in muscle cells).

They found the force holding the proteins together is… read more

Using a CT scan and 3D printer to recreate a fossil

November 21, 2013

3d_print_of_fossil

Data from computed tomography (CT) scans can be used with 3D printers to make accurate copies of fossilized bones, according to new research published online in the journal Radiology.

Fossils are often stored in plaster casts, or jackets, to protect them from damage. Getting information about a fossil typically requires the removal of the plaster and all the sediment surrounding it, which can lead to loss of material or… read more

Using 3D printing to explain theoretical physics

December 10, 2013

3d_printed_forest_fire_model

Students may soon be able to reach out and touch some of the theoretical concepts they are taught in their physics classes thanks to a novel idea devised by a group of researchers from Imperial College London.

In new study published December 9 in the journal EPL, the researchers successfully demonstrated how complex theoretical physics can be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.… read more

Use the force, bacteria

January 7, 2007

A newly discovered bacterium that infests the mitochondria of tick ova has been named Midichloria mitochondrii, in honor of George Lucas’ invention for his Star Wars movies.

According to Lucas, the mysterious intracellular organisms apparently reside within the cells of almost all living things and communicate with the Force.

Use of Implanted Patient-Data Chips Stirs Debate on Medicine vs. Privacy

March 19, 2006

Some doctors are welcoming VeriChip technology as an exciting innovation that will speed care and prevent errors.

Emergency-room doctors could scan unconscious or incoherent patients to quickly check their blood type and find out if they are taking any medications or have allergies or other medical conditions. Nurses could identify family members and determine whether patients are organ donors or have living wills. Surgeons could scan patients on the… read more

USC’s ‘print-a-house’ construction technology

August 29, 2008

University of Southern California engineers are developing a scale-up of the rapid prototyping machines now widely used in industry to allow Caterpillar to “print out” concrete houses.

The “Contour Crafting” automated construction system may one day be able to build full-scale houses in hours.

USB 3.0 To Boost Peripherals to Multi-Gigabit Speeds

September 19, 2007

The new “SuperSpeed” USB spec will provide a 10X boost in transfer rate (from 480-Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0), while dramatically lowering power consumption, with broad deployment by 2010.

One example of their speed goals is to transfer a 27GB HD movie to a portable device in 70 seconds. The same thing would take 15 minutes or more with HighSpeed USB (2.0).

US, Russian plans for exploring Mars

November 8, 2011

Red Dragon

SpaceX says their Dragon capsule, which is set to make its first test flight to the ISS later this month, could be dispatched to Mars, drastically cutting the cost of exploration on the red planet, Nature News reports.

The company is working with researchers at NASA Ames Research Center on a proposal for a first “Red Dragon” mission.

The most challenging part of any… read more

US will no longer dominate science and research, says Penn State researcher

February 21, 2011

A shift in the global research landscape will reposition the United States as a major partner, but not the dominant leader, in science and technology research in the coming decade, according to a Penn State researcher. However, the U.S. could benefit from this research shift if it adopts a policy of knowledge sharing with the growing global community of researchers.

“What is emerging is a global science system in… read more

US warned of cloning ‘brain drain’

August 2, 2001

The American biotechnology industry is warning of an exodus of scientists because of moves to make human cloning for medical research illegal.
Creating human embryos in a cloning process to extract cells that can be turned into tissues to replace diseased parts of the body is legal in the UK, Israel, and Australia.

But the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to ban any form of human cloning… read more

US unprepared for dirty-bomb attacks

April 26, 2004

The United States is ill prepared to deal with the long term aftermath of a “dirty-bomb” terrorist attack, say analysts. They warn that existing clean-up laws and regulations covering radioactive materials were not designed with dirty bombs in mind, and give conflicting recommendations.

The researchers want new guidelines to be drafted urgently to deal specifically with the consequences of a dirty-bomb attack, so that clean-up targets can be balanced… read more

US underwrites Internet detour around censors

June 13, 2011

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

Some projects, such as the Palisades project in Afghanistan, involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a “liberation-technology” movement sweeping the… read more

US ‘unaware’ of emerging bioterror threats

February 1, 2006

The life sciences are developing so quickly that a watch list of dangerous pathogens and toxins is useless in fighting the threat of bioterrorism, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences.

Focusing on the list of about 60 “select agents,” such as the smallpox virus and botulism toxin, might simply divert resources from newer and more dangerous threats, such as RNA interference, synthetic biology or nanotechnology.… read more

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