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US to send radiation-hardened robots to Japan

April 1, 2011

iRobot 510 PackBot 510n performs dangerous missions for warfighters and first responders (credit: iRobot)

The U.S. government will ship an unspecified number of radiation-hardened robots to assist the Japanese in gaining control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants.

iRobot previously shipped four remote-controlled robots to help the Japanese military with its relief efforts. The robots are equipped with multiple cameras and can be operated from up to half a mile away.

US to outlaw corporate prejudice based on genes

May 6, 2007

Soon it will be illegal to deny US citizens jobs or insurance simply because they have an inherited illness, or a genetic predisposition to a particular disease.

On 25 April, the House of Representatives voted 420 to 3 to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The Senate is expected to endorse the act within a few weeks, which is also supported by President Bush

US to offer plethora of prize competitions to solve tough problems

December 23, 2010

The America Competes Act, renewed by Congress this week, now gives every federal department and agency the authority to conduct prize competitions.

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy blog: “Whether it’s developing new products that will be manufactured in America, or getting and using energy more sustainably, or improving health care with better therapies and better use of information technology, or providing better protection for our troops… read more

US struggles to ensure funds aid fight against bioterrorism

March 12, 2007

More than five years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government cannot show how the $5 billion given to public health departments has better prepared the country for a bioterrorism attack or flu pandemic.

US State Dept. orders removal of 3D-printed gun designs

May 10, 2013


The U.S. State Department has demanded designs by Defense Distributed for a 3D-printed gun be taken offline because publishing them online may breach arms-control regulations, Forbes reports.

The order to remove the blueprints for the plastic gun comes after they were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

However, the files were actually being served by Mega, the New Zealand-based storage service created by ex-hacker entrepreneur Kim… read more

US shells out $10M for unmanned aircraft that can perch like a bird

June 4, 2009

AeroVironment has received n additional $5.4 million from DARPA to further develop a tiny aircraft that can fly into tight spaces undetected, perch, and send live surveillance information to its handlers.

US seeks terrorists in web worlds

March 5, 2008

US intellgence agencies have begun a project to develop ways to spot terrorists who are using virtual worlds.

Codenamed Reynard, the project is “a seedling effort to study the emerging phenomenon of social (particularly terrorist) dynamics in virtual worlds and large-scale online games and their implications for the intelligence community,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

US scientist heralds ‘artificial life’ breakthrough (Update)

October 8, 2007

The Guardian reported Saturday that Craig Venter said he is set to annouunce the creation of a synthetic chromosome — the first ever artificial life form — within weeks, possibly as early as Monday.

But Venter spokeswoman Heather Kowalski declined to confirm any breakthrough: “We have not achieved what some have speculated we have in synthetic life. When we do so there will be a scientific publication and we… read more

US rolls out robotic broadband airship

April 13, 2005

US communications company Sanswire plans to deliver line-of-sight wireless broadband and mobile phone signals to an area the size of Texas from a “Stratellite.”
These geostationary, robotic airships, hovering at 65,000 feet above the Earth, will provide the low latency required for realtime birectional communications that is not available with satellites because of their distance.

US road safety agency issues policy on driverless cars

May 31, 2013


Self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at a stage that it can be authorized for use by the public for general driving, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation recommendation to state governments, PC World reports.

If a state decides to permit operation of self-driving vehicles other than for testing, at a minimum it should require that a person licensed to drive self-driving vehicles should be seated… read more

US review rekindles cold fusion debate

December 3, 2004

Claims of cold fusion are intriguing but not convincing, according to the findings an 18-member scientific panel tasked with reviewing research in the area.

The findings, released on 1 December by the US Department of Energy, rekindle a 15-year-old debate over whether nuclear fusion can occur at room temperature. The panel was “split approximately evenly” on the question of whether cold experiments were actually producing power in the form… read more

US researchers have built a proto-prototype nano assembler

April 29, 2008

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an early prototype for a nanoassembler.

The NIST system consists of four Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) devices positioned around a centrally located port on a chip into which the starting materials can be placed. Each nanomanipulator is composed of a positioning mechanism with an attached nanoprobe.

By simultaneously controlling the position of each of these nanoprobes, the… read more

US report sees perils to America’s tech future

January 9, 2012

The ability of the U.S. to compete globally is eroding, according to a federal report released Friday that described itself as a “call to arms.”

The report, which has a strong emphasis on technology, warns that “some elements of the U.S. economy are losing their competitive edge.” It points out, for instance, that the U.S. ran a trade surplus in “advanced technology products,” which includes biotechnology products,… read more

US report pins down future biosecurity

August 4, 2010

Is it possible to develop a biosecurity system capable of detecting bioweapons in the making by screening the genetic sequences routinely ordered from commercial suppliers of synthetic DNA? No, says a National Research Council (NRC) committee commissioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a report: Sequence-Based Classification of Select Agents: A Brighter Line (downloadable free).

The publication by Craig Venter and colleagues of  the manufacture… read more

US plans first face transplant

September 19, 2005

Cleveland Clinic surgeons are to interview a shortlist of patients hoping to be the first to receive a face transplant for a patient whose face is disfigured.

The procedure would involve taking skin and underlying tissues from a dead donor and placing them on the living recipient.

Computer modelling suggests the face should take on more of the characteristics of the skeleton of the recipient than the soft… read more

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