science + technology news

Salt may affect more than blood pressure: study

April 20, 2007

Consuming less salt can not only lower blood pressure, but may reduce the risk of heart disease overall, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers reported.

They found that people with borderline-high blood pressure who reduced their sodium intake by 25 to 35 percent lowered their risk of total cardiovascular disease by 25 percent. And this lower risk lasted for 10 to 15 years.

See also… read more

Robot wars

April 19, 2007

The US Department of Defense wants to replace a third of its armed vehicles and weaponry with robots by 2015.

Recording a Cell’s Dying Gasp

April 19, 2007

Scientists in the United Kingdom have developed a way to monitor the health of individual cells by recording ion flow down to the resolution of about 10 ions.

The technique could revolutionize the way we test drugs and carry out environmental sensing.

An array of semiconductor electrodes is spaced very close together to form a cross, upon which a cell is placed. The tip of an atomic force… read more

Modified ink printer churns out electronic circuits

April 19, 2007

A standard desktop printer loaded with a silver salt solution and vitamin C has been used to produce electronic circuits, including mobile phone antennas, circuits, RFID chips and inductive coils, on a range of surfaces.

The UK researchers say their experimental device could pave the way for safer and cheaper electronics manufacturing.

MRI-enabled brain surgery robot revealed

April 19, 2007

NeuroArm, the first surgical robot to be compatible with MRI (its makers claim) will enable neurosurgeons to perform their riskiest work while patients lie within an MRI machine, giving a clear 3D picture of even the smallest nerves.

Open Medicine launches Wednesday

April 19, 2007

Open Medicine, a new open-access general medical journal published in Canada, went live online with the new publication on Wednesday.

It won’t charge subscription fees and won’t run advertisements for medical devices or drugs.

The artificial bones created from an inkjet

April 19, 2007

Scientists are creating artificial bones using a modified version of an inkjet printer.

The technology creates perfect replicas of bones that have been damaged and these can then be inserted in the body to help it to heal.

The process will revolutionize bone graft surgery, which currently relies on either bits of bone taken from other parts of the body or ceramic-like substitutes.

Subtitle-Reading Glasses Make Cinema-Going for the Hard of Hearing Less, um, Hard

April 19, 2007

Madrid’s Carlos III University has developed a gadget that projects subtitles in a movie theater.

A computer in the cinema emits the subtitles to within 50 meters; a receptor in the glasses captures the signal and projects it onto the microscreen, which fits over the right-hand lens.

Sound-system spots early Alzheimer’s in brain waves

April 18, 2007

A computer system that can rival some doctors’ ability to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s is being trialled in the US. It analyses a person’s the P300 brain waves response to a number of simple sound-based tests.

Shape-shifting ‘smart dust’ may explore alien world

April 18, 2007

Thousands of miniscule wireless sensors, or “smart dust,” could one day be used to explore other planets.

Several research groups are developing tiny smart dust devices. Each is a few cubic millimeters in volume and can perform simple sensing tasks and relay messages to other such devices over distances of less than a meter.

Together, they can be sprinkled across an area or throughout a building, and used… read more

Almost Human, and Sometimes Smarter

April 17, 2007

Chimps display a remarkable range of behavior and talent. They make and use simple tools, hunt in groups and engage in aggressive, violent acts. They are social creatures that appear to be capable of empathy, altruism, self-awareness, cooperation in problem solving and learning through example and experience. Chimps even outperform humans in some memory tasks.

Solar Cells That Work All Day

April 17, 2007

Georgia Tech Research Institute researchers have developed solar cells designed to operate at relatively high efficiencies during much of the day.

Its surface consists of hundreds of thousands of 100-micrometer-high towers that catch light at many angles.

A first application is powering spacecraft and satellites, which could benefit from solar cells that don’t require a failure-prone mechanical means of moving the orientation of the cell to keep it… read more

Extreme-living bacteria has genome sequenced

April 17, 2007

The bacterium Syntrophus aciditrophicus, one of the most extreme-survival organisms ever discovered, has had its genome sequenced.

The bacterium performs a key part of the global carbon cycle by breaking down fatty acids in organic matter – a very limited diet consumed by almost no other organisms. The genes now discovered making up its genome are providing clues as to how it survives, and might even improve the efficiency… read more

Learn Like A Human

April 16, 2007

Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) is a novel approach to building “intelligent” machines by modeling the human neocortex, selected by Numenta because it is responsible for almost all high-level thought and perception.

You don’t program an HTM as you would a computer; rather you configure it with software tools, then train it by exposing it to sensory data. HTMs thus learn in much the same way that children do.

Fun and profit with obsolete computers

April 16, 2007

Even as the power and speed of today’s computers make their forerunners look ever punier, a growing band of collectors are gathering retro computers, considering them important relics and even good investments.

In an old barn in Northern California that also houses pigs, Bruce Damer, 45, keeps a collection that includes a Cray-1 supercomputer, a Xerox Alto (an early microcomputer introduced in 1973) and early Apple prototypes.

“For… read more

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