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‘Bug-eyed’ lens takes a broader view

April 28, 2006

An artificial insect “eye” could give surveillance cameras, cellphone cameras, and surgical endoscopes a much wider field of vision: the ability to see almost everything around them.

The ultra-wide-angle compound lens, which is about the size of an insect’s eye, was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Micro-pump to cool future computer chips

April 27, 2006

Purdue University engineers have developed a “micro-pump” cooling device small enough to fit on a computer chip that circulates coolant through channels etched into the chip.

“Our goal is to develop advanced cooling systems that are self-contained on chips and are capable of handling the more extreme heating in future chips,” said Suresh Garimella, director of Purdue’s Cooling Technologies Research Center.

The prototype chip contains numerous water-filled micro-channels,… read more

Software lets programmers code hands-free

April 26, 2006

VoiceCode, a new speech-recognition tool, promises to let programmers write clean code without ever having to lay a finger on their keyboard.

It has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury

Japanese researcher shows robot legs that could replace wheelchairs

April 26, 2006

A Japanese researcher demonstrated in Tokyo Wednesday a pair of robotic legs that can negotiate stairs and could eventually find use as a wheelchair substitute.

Gamers may soon control action with thoughts

April 26, 2006

Two start-ups have developed technology that monitors a player’s brain waves and uses the signals to control the action in games. They hope it will enable game creators to immerse players in imaginary worlds that they can control with their thoughts instead of their hands.

Experts see computers getting bigger and smaller at the same time

April 25, 2006

Experts visiting Carnegie Mellon University last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of computing at Carnegie Mellon shared what might come out of their labs in the next five to 10 years.

Rick Rashid, head of Microsoft Research, said it’s now possible to buy a terabyte of computer memory for about $700.

Dan R. Olsen Jr., a computer science professor at Brigham Young University, said he could now… read more

Model hearing

April 25, 2006

Robots may one day be equipped with the advanced listening skills of human beings if a team of Newcastle University researchers succeeds in its attempt to develop a complex computer model of the part of the brain that processes sound.

The technology could be used to enable voice control of machines in noisy conditions, or be used at the heart of a new generation of sophisticated hearing aids that… read more

Researchers Use Tongue as Interface

April 25, 2006

Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition researchers are developing a system that will use the tongue as the interface for Navy SEAL divers, Army Rangers, and other front-line soldiers.

The “Brain Port” technology enables sonar echoes to be detected via the underused sensory organ, leaving the user’s hands and eyes free to respond to immediate dangers.

Blank Slate

April 24, 2006

What if you could pick one thing and start over from scratch? What would you change if you didn’t have to accept the status quo, if you could reinvent things without regard for cost, politics or practicality?

That’s the question Forbes posed to contributors to its Blank Slate special report.


April 24, 2006

The first life form may have been RNA. verything after that point may be up for grabs–even the structure of DNA.

Synthetic biologists have created DNA chains that function, but are made of different sugars and acids than the stuff in our cells.

It’s even possible that DNA-like molecules could work in ammonia, not water. The number of basic amino acids used to make proteins may also be… read more

NANO Design Showing Online

April 23, 2006

Transhumanist Arts and Culture Showings has introduced the “NANO” group showing, featuring eight designers: Gina Miller, Forrest Bishop, Anders Sandberg, Robert A. Freitas Jr., Eric Viktor, Philippe Van Nedervelde, Michael Gallagher, and Natasha Vita-More.

According to Vita-More, “NANO is a rare opportunity to view selected nano images by designers whose backgrounds embrace fine arts, multimedia, technology, science and engineering. Compiling the diverse milieu is brought about through… read more

Pa. Professor Develops Snake-Like Robots

April 23, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University professor Howie Choset has developed snake-like robots he hopes will eventually slither through collapsed buildings in search of trapped victims.

The machines are designed to carry cameras and electronic sensors and can be controlled with a joystick. They wriggle with the help of small electric motors, or servos.

Bio fuel cells could power portable gadgets

April 23, 2006

A hydrogen fuel cell that uses enzymes instead of expensive metal catalysts to drive chemical reactions has been developed by researchers from Oxford University.

They used two enzymes, one harvested from bacteria and the other from fungus, to catalyse the same chemical reactions.

Solar-powered implant could restore vision

April 23, 2006

A solar-powered chip that stimulates retinal cells by spraying them with neurotransmitters could restore sight to blind people.

Another fundamental constant accused of changing

April 23, 2006

Cosmologists claim to have found evidence that yet another fundamental constant of nature, called mu (The ratio of a proton’s mass to that of an electron), may have changed over the last 12 billion years.

If confirmed, the result could force some physicists to radically rethink their theories. It would also provide support for string theory, which predicts extra spatial dimensions.

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