science + technology news

Design on Diagonal Path in Pursuit of a Faster Chip

February 26, 2007

Cadence Design Systems, a maker of software tools. has made it possible to route lines diagonally for semiconductor chips, which will add to the speed, efficiency and performance of a generation of smaller chips.

Inter-planetary Internet expands to Mars and beyond

February 26, 2007

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf is overseeing efforts by NASA to build a permanent Internet link to Mars by 2008.

Xerox Inkless Printer

February 26, 2007

Xerox is developing a new printing technology which does not require ink of any kind. The new technology includes reusable paper that can be printed and erased dozens of times and has the potential to revolutionize printing.

Meetings make us dumber, study shows

February 26, 2007

People have a harder time coming up with alternative solutions to a problem when they are part of a group, new research suggests.

‘Chemical origami’ shrinks 2D discs into 3D objects

February 26, 2007

Physicists in Israel have invented a neat method of making elaborate 3D structures from flat 2D discs.

The trick is to pre-treat a gel disc half the size of a beer coaster with a monomer solution “blueprint” that selectively shrinks when heated. The technique, which cleverly demonstrates the link between 2D and 3D geometry, could be used by engineers to create self-assembling prototypes.

Rocket explosion creates dangerous space junk

February 26, 2007

A Russian rocket body exploded accidentally on Feb. 19, littering the skies with more than 1000 additional pieces of space junk.

The elliptical orbit could prolong the time the debris stays in space and the debris could cross the orbits of many existing satellites.

Robot swarms ‘evolve’ effective communication

February 26, 2007

Robots that artificially evolve ways to communicate with one another have been demonstrated by Swiss researchers.

The “genomes” of the bots that found food and avoided poison most efficiently were recombined, mimicking biological natural selection.

“We saw colonies that used their lights to signal when they found food and others that used signals to communicate they had found poison,” said biologist Laurent Keller from the University of Lausanne.

Genetic privacy protected by law

February 26, 2007

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), introduced into Congress on January 16, if passed, will become the first federal law to prevent employers from collecting genetic information on their employees.

It would also outlaw genetic discrimination, preventing insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on a person’s predisposition to disease.

Agenda Set For Upcoming Planetary Defense Conference

February 26, 2007

The second Planetary Defense Conference will bring together scientists and engineers from the international space community on March 5 – 8 in Washington DC to assess our ability to discover and track near-Earth objects and deflect an asteroid or comet that poses a threat to Earth.

Darpa Chief Speaks

February 23, 2007

“We’re on the verge of having computers with densities approaching a monkey’s brain, and it won’t be long before we’ll have a computer with … the equivalent to neurons and almost human,” says DARPA director Tony Tether.

Scientists produce neurons from human skin

February 23, 2007

Scientists from Universite Laval’s Faculty of Medicine have succeeded in producing neurons in vitro, using stem cells extracted from adult human skin.

This breakthrough could eventually lead to revolutionary advances in the treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Protein Drugs with More Power

February 22, 2007

Yale University researchers have taken a step toward controlling the structure of proteins called beta-peptides.

Eventually, these peptides could become the basis for drugs that are cheaper to manufacture than existing protein-based pharmaceuticals and last longer in the body.

The Promise of Personal Supercomputers

February 22, 2007

Intel’s “terascale” supercomputer on a chip is one of Intel’s first steps toward massively multicore (multiprocessor) technology.

The goal: test techniques that could make massively multicore technology faster, more energy efficient, and easy to program. These techniques will be “funneled into future products” that could appear within five to ten years.

Intel thinks that recognition, mining, and synthesis (RMS) applications will be key. These technologies could allow for… read more

Super Robots Gear Up for Space

February 22, 2007

Superbots — robots made up of identical modular units that plug into one another to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggle, and roll — are being developed mainly to carry out multiple complex tasks, such as assembly, inspection, maintenance, habitat construction, surface landing, and exploration in space and on planet surfaces.

Hot Advance for Thermoelectrics

February 22, 2007

By trapping organic molecules between a gold surface and the ultrafine gold tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, researchers have shown that the molecules could be used to generate electricity.

“Thermoelectric devices” based on the molecules could prove to be an important source of power.

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