science + technology news

Nanoshell shields foreign enzymes used to starve cancer cells from immune system

July 3, 2014

The shell’s pores are too small for the enzyme to escape but big enough for diffusion of amino acids that feed cancer cells in and out of the particle. The enzymes remain trapped inside where they deplete any amino acids that enter.  (Credit: Inanc Ortac)

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a nanoshell to protect foreign enzymes used to starve cancer cells as part of chemotherapy.

Enzymes are naturally smart machines that are responsible for many complex functions and chemical reactions in biology. However, despite their huge potential, their use in medicine has been limited by the immune system, which is designed to attack foreign intruders.

For… read more

You’re far less in control of your brain than you think

When your eyes tell your hands what to think
October 1, 2012

haptic_torque_perception

You’ve probably never given much thought to the fact that picking up your cup of morning coffee presents your brain with a set of complex decisions. You need to decide how to aim your hand, grasp the handle and raise the cup to your mouth, all without spilling the contents on your lap.

A new Northwestern University study shows that, not only does your brain… read more

After 30 years, IBM says PC going way of vacuum tube and typewriter

August 11, 2011

IBM CTO Mark Dean, one of a dozen IBM engineers who designed the first PC unveiled Aug. 12, 1981, says PCs are “going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.”

Dean’s remarks continue a debate over whether we are now in a so-called “post-PC” era, in which smartphones and tablets are replacing desktops and laptops.

“PCs are being replaced at the center of… read more

Russia calls for united meteor defense

February 28, 2013

asteroid

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says the world should unite to establish a defense system against space objects that threaten Earth, under the umbrella of the United Nations, Space Daily reports.

The Russian leader said the threat from asteroids, meteorites, comets and other stray space objects should serve to “unite humanity in the face of a common enemy.”

Alexander Bagrov, a senior researcher at the Institute… read more

Machine learning rivals human skills in cancer detection

April 22, 2016

Samsung Medison RS80A ultrasound system (credit: Samsung)

Two announcements yesterday (April 21) suggest that deep learning algorithms rival human skills in detecting cancer from ultrasound images and in identifying cancer in pathology reports.

Samsung Medison, a global medical equipment company and an affiliate of Samsung Electronics, has just updated its RS80A ultrasound imaging system with a deep learning algorithm for breast-lesion analysis.

The “S-Detect for Breast” feature uses big data collected… read more

Desktop-printing electronic circuits, other nanofabricated devices

To replace multibillion-dollar centralized facilities with desktop printers for nanofabrication of electronic and biotech devices in two years
July 23, 2013

Inductors, capacitors and a SAW sensor created by actuated BPL. The scale bar is 1 mm.

A much-anticipated, low-cost, high-resolution desktop nanofabrication tool promises to revolutionize fabrication of electronic circuits and other nanofabricated devices, according to a new study by Northwestern University researchers.

“With this breakthrough, we can construct very high-quality materials and devices, such as processing semiconductors over large areas, said Chad A. Mirkin, senior author of the study and a world-renowned pioneer in the field of nanoscience.

And… read more

Nutrient mixture and varied brain activities improve memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s

A mixture of choline, uridine and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA -- precursors to the lipid molecules in brain-cell membranes -- help overcome loss of connections between brain cells, and diversifying the mental space that you explore may also decrease your risk
July 16, 2012

mit_alzheimer_synapse

UPDATE Jan. 7, 2016:

Lumosity to Pay $2 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges for Its “Brain Training” Program — U.S. Federal Trade Commission
A clinical trial of an Alzheimer’s disease treatment developed at MIT has found that the nutrient cocktail can improve memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s.

The results confirm and expand the findings of an earlierread more

Designing a new Internet with more choices

August 10, 2012

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org

A team of researchers from four U.S. universities is poised to lay out the key components for a networking architecture to serve as the backbone of a new Internet that gives users more choices about which services they use.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) asked the researchers to design a blueprint for a future version of the Internet.

Making choices

The new Internet architecture will hinge on… read more

Self/Less movie features uploading … to an existing human body

July 10, 2015

selfless ft

In Self/Less, a science-fiction thriller to be released in the U.S. today, July 10, 2015, Damian Hale, an extremely wealthy aristocrat (Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer, undergoes a $250 million radical medical procedure at a lab called Phoenix Biogenic in Manhattan to have his consciousness transferred into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds).… read more

Origin of intelligence and mental illness linked to ancient genetic accident

How humans --- and other mammals --- have evolved to have intelligence
December 4, 2012

mice, we found that humans with mutations in DLG2 made significantly more errors than healthy control subjects from the general population in tests of visual discrimination acquisition and cognitive flexibility (credit: J. Nithianantharajah et al/Nature Neuroscience)

Researchers have identified the moment in history when the genes that enabled us to think and reason evolved.

This point 500 million years ago provided our ability to learn complex skills, analyze situations and have flexibility in the way in which we think.

According to Professor Seth Grant of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, intelligence in humans developed as the result… read more

Kinect-based system dramatically cuts cost of telemedicine

February 15, 2013

Kinect Console

A Kinect game controller and Microsoft software could cut the U.S. healthcare bill by up to $30 billion by allowing physicians and other medics to interact with patients remotely, reducing the number of hospital visits and the associated risk of infection.

It could also bring medical services to underserved areas around the world.

Janet Bailey of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Bradley Jensen of… read more

Skilled work, without the worker

August 19, 2012

400px-Seagate_Wuxi_China_Factory_Tour

A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution, The New York Times reports.

Factories like a Philips Electronics factory in the Netherlands, where 128 robot arms do the same work  as hundreds of workers in  sister factory, are a striking counterpoint to those used by… read more

New Fox science fiction show Almost Human features androids

November 17, 2013

Almost human poster

Almost Human is a new Fox TV series set in 2048 when humans in the Los Angeles Police Department are paired up with lifelike androids. It features a detective with a bionic leg paired with an android capable of emotion.

The series premiered November 17, 2013 on Fox. Full episodes are also viewable here.

Executive-produced by J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Lost, and the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises),… read more

The amazing trajectories of life-bearing meteorites from Earth

April 12, 2012

Earth_ejecta

The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago (10 km in diameter, mass greater than 1 trillion tons) must have ejected billions of tons of life-bearing meteorites into space. Now Kyoto Sangyo University physicists have calculated this could have seeded life in the solar system and even as far as Gliese 581,  Technology Review Physics arXiv Blog reports.

Their results contain a number of surprises:

  • As

read more

D-Wave quantum computer solves protein folding problem

August 20, 2012

dwave_ones_in_the_lab_large

A 128-qubit D-Wave One quantum computer has solved the puzzle of how certain proteins fold, Nature News Blog reports.

The latest finding from a Harvard’s Alan Aspuru-Guzik and his colleagues shows that the D-Wave one could predict the lowest-energy configurations of a folded protein.

The model consisted of mathematical representations of amino acids in a lattice, connected by different interaction strengths. The D-wave computer… read more

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