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New Power Suit Amplifies Human Strength

September 29, 2006

Engineers in Japan are perfecting a wearable power suit that amplifies human strength to help lift hospital patients or heavy objects.

Advance in dip-pen nanolithography promises miniaturized gene chips, nanoscale electronics

September 27, 2006

Northwestern University researchers have developed a 55,000-pen, two-dimensional array that allows them to simultaneously create 55,000 identical patterns drawn with tiny dots of molecular ink on substrates of gold or glass. Each structure is only a single molecule tall.

The parallel process paves the way for making DPN competitive with other optical and stamping lithographic methods used for patterning large areas on metal and semiconductor substrates, including silicon wafers.… read more

New Software Can Search Podcasts

September 27, 2006

New audio-search technologies using speech-to-text and semantic analysis generate searchable transcripts of podcasts, allowing users to jump directly to certain points in a broadcast.

What if Bionics Were Better?

September 26, 2006

A tiny population of early adopters eager to test bionics by choice rather than out of need is emerging.

Move Into Space, but Where?

September 26, 2006

Attendees of the Space 2006 conference on permanent human settlements presented arguments for locations on Mars, the moon, or habitats orbiting the Earth.

Copper Circuits Help Brain Function; Could Tweaking the Circuits Make Us Smarter?

September 26, 2006

The flow of copper in the brain has a previously unrecognized role in cell death, learning and memory, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine.

The researchers’ findings suggest that copper and its transporter, a protein called Atp7a, are vital to human thinking. They speculate that variations in the genes coding for Atp7a, as well as other proteins of copper homeostasis, could partially account for differences in… read more

Stem Cells Made From ‘Dead’ Human Embryo

September 26, 2006

Scientists say they have created a stem cell line from a human embryo that had stopped developing naturally, and so was considered dead. Using such embryos might ease ethical concerns about creating such cells, they suggested.

Atlas Squeaked: A Complete Map of the Brain of a Mouse

September 26, 2006

Scientists have gained a new window for peering into the brain: an electronic

Mixed Report on U.S. Nanotechnology Effort

September 26, 2006

The United States continues to lead the world in nanotechnology research, but the impact of the federal government’s multibillion-dollar investment in the field and shortcomings in the effort are impossible to quantify, according to a lengthy assessment for Congress of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Grow Your Own Limbs

September 26, 2006

DARPA is spending millions of dollars to help scientists learn how people might one day regenerate their own limbs.

The researchers’ first milestone is to generate a blastema — a mass of cells able to develop into various organs or body parts — in a mouse.

First zero-gravity surgery set to be performed

September 26, 2006

French doctors plan to attempt the world’s first human operation in zero-gravity on Wednesday, using a plane designed to simulate gravity-free conditions.

The operation is part of a project to develop surgical robots in space, guided via satellite by Earth-based doctors.

King of the chatbots

September 26, 2006

“George,” who recently received the Loebner prize for software capable of the most realistic human dialogues, has become an avatar, gaining a physical image, a voice, and voice- recognition software.

He speaks 40 languages and with 2000 people at the same time on the Internet on the Jabbberwacky site.

Virtual bees help robots see in 3D

September 22, 2006

Software that mimics the way honeybees work together to search for food could help robots explore and navigate.

Explorer bees report the location of a new food source by dancing. A new type of stereoscopic computer vision system takes inspiration from this trick. It uses virtual honeybees to home in on potential points of interest, which can then be rendered in 3D, based on all the simulated bees’ movements.… read more

Old beyond her years

September 22, 2006

She is the most ancient child ever discovered and was no more than three years old when she died about 3.3 million years ago.

Unearthed in Ethiopia, she belongs to the primitive human species known as Australopithecus afarensis and has been dubbed Lucy’s daughter, after the iconic fossil of an adult female from the same group discovered in 1974.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google

September 21, 2006

“We teenagers have to live in ‘controlled spaces.’ Radio-frequency ID tags, real-time locative systems, global positioning systems, smart doorways, security videocams…” says science fiction writer Bruce Sterling in this spoof on a “pervasive and ubiquitous and geolocative” future.

(Accessible without subscription until Sept. 22)

Also see Bruce Sterling’s “

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