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Light that travels… faster than light!

August 21, 2005

A team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to control the speed of light – both slowing it down and speeding it up – in an optical fiber, using off-the-shelf instrumentation in normal environmental conditions.

If Internet fiber optic signals could be controlled by light, it would be possible to route and process optical… read more

Japan project aims to create 3D TV by 2020

August 21, 2005

Japan plans to make 3D television a commercial reality by 2020 as part of a broad national project.

The “virtual reality” television would allow people to view high-definition images in 3D from any angle, in addition to being able to touch and smell the objects being projected upwards from a screen parallel to the floor.

Virtual world fits on a smartphone

August 19, 2005

It will soon be possible to inhabit a virtual world, even while out and about in the real one.

Computer game company Artificial Life has announced that it will launch a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for third generation (3G) phones before the end of 2005.

The game will let players assume a virtual persona and travel through a futuristic cityscape, the company says. They will be… read more

Startup Sees Promise in Virus

August 19, 2005

The concept of applying viruses and proteins to develop electronics is a methodology that’s gaining traction in research labs.

Nanotube sheets come of age

August 19, 2005

Large, transparent sheets of carbon nanotubes can now be produced at lightning speed. The new technique should allow the nanotubes to be used in commercial devices from heated car windows to flexible television screens.

At team led by Ray Baughman, a chemist from the University of Texas at Dallas, can churn out up to ten meters of nanoribbon every minute. This ribbon can be up to five centimeters wide… read more

A New Arms Race to Build the World’s Mightiest Computer

August 19, 2005

A global race is under way to reach the next milestone in supercomputer performance, many times the speed of today’s most powerful machines.

But the fastest American machines are used primarily for military applications at the nation’s weapons laboratories. Many scientists and technology executives in the United States are concerned about losing out in crucial markets like oil and gas exploration, automobile design and manufacturing unless they, too, have… read more

Violent or erotic images cause momentary periods of ‘emotion-induced blindness’

August 17, 2005

A new psychological study finds that when people are shown violent or erotic images they frequently fail to process what they see immediately afterwards.

An emotion-induced blindness test is available for readers to take.

British scientists create first pure brain stem cells

August 17, 2005

Scientists have made the world’s first pure batch of brain stem cells from human stem cells. The breakthrough is important in the fight against neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and could also reduce the number of animals used in medical research.

Brain stem cells have been grown before but the results have been impure.

In the longer term, the technology raises hopes of growing cells to… read more

Cord blood yields ‘ethical’ embryonic stem cells

August 17, 2005

Hopes for treating disease with stem cells from umbilical cord blood has received a major boost following the discovery of primitive cells with clinical potential matching that of far more controversial embryonic stem cells (ESCs).

The newly discovered human cells, named “cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells” or CBEs, are not quite as primitive as embryonic stem cells, which can give rise to any tissue type of the body. But they… read more

Brains, cancer and computers

August 17, 2005

AI in medicine was a key theme at Edinburgh’s recent International Joint Conference in AI.

TerminatorBot CRAWLER Gives Danger Two-Fingered Salute

August 17, 2005

The DARPA-funded TerminatorBot CRAWLER (Cylindrical Robot for Autonomous Walking and Lifting during Emergency Response) was consciously modeled on the Terminator robot in its final throes of the first movie.

In the film, the original Terminator is reduced to dragging itself forward with just two digits of its robotic hand, having been blown in half minutes earlier.

One of the key features of the robot is the usefulness of… read more

Building a Virtual Microbe, Gene by Gene by Gene

August 16, 2005

An international team of biologists is trying to reconstruct a living thing inside a computer, down to every last molecule, based on Escherichia coli.

A full-blown model of E. coli would be able to swim, eat food, fight off invading viruses, make copies of its DNA, and do many other tasks all at the same time.

Scientists could potentiallly adapt such an E. coli model to more complex… read more

Task force to Study Societal Implications of Nanotech

August 16, 2005

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) has announced the charter members of a new Task Force to develop comprehensive policy recommendations for safe and responsible use of molecular manufacturing.

“Progress toward developing the technical requirements for desktop molecular manufacturing is moving faster than it was when we founded CRN two years ago,” said Mike Treder, Executive Director of CRN.

“The recent announcement of a Technology Roadmap for Productive… read more

Thin skin will help robots ‘feel’

August 16, 2005

University of Tokyo researchers have developed a flexible artificial “skin” capable of sensing pressure and temperature that could give robots a humanlike sense of touch.

Future artificial skins could incorporate sensors also for light, humidity, strain or sound.

Y-shaped nanotubes are ready-made transistors

August 16, 2005

Y-shaped carbon nanotubes grown with iron-titanium particles are easily made and act as remarkably efficient electronic transistors that are 100 times smaller than the transistors used in today’s microprocessors.

So they could be used to create microchips several orders of magnitude more powerful than the ones used in computers today, with no increase in chip size. The Y-shaped nanotubes measure just tens of nanometers in size. Eventually, they could… read more

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