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Model of inflatable space hotel set to launch

July 12, 2006

Genesis I, an inflatable spacecraft designed to test technology for a future space hotel is to be launched from Russia on Wednesday by Bigelow Aerospace.

Genesis I is one-third the size of a proposed space hotel that is based on an abandoned NASA concept for an inflatable space station called TransHab.

Bigelow hopes to build the 330-cubic-meter space hotel by 2012. But the lack of a low-cost vehicle… read more

Computers learn common sense

July 12, 2006

BBN Technologies has been awarded $5.5 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the first phase of “Integrated Learner,” which will learn plans or processes after being shown a single example.

The goal is to combine specialised domain knowledge with common sense knowledge to create a reasoning system that learns as well as a person and can be applied to a variety of complex… read more

‘Lab-made sperm’ fertility hope

July 12, 2006

Scientists have proved for the first time that sperm grown from embryonic stem cells can be used to produce offspring.

A Tissue Engineer Sows Cells and Grows Organs

July 11, 2006

Tissue-engineering researchers are working on tissue replacement projects for practically every body part — blood vessels and nerves, muscles, cartilage and bones, esophagus and trachea, pancreas, kidneys, liver, heart and even uterus.

A more immediate goal is to improve upon a multitude of smaller therapies: transplantable valves for ailing hearts, cell-and-gel preparations for crushed nerves, injections of skeletal muscle cells for urinary continence or new salivary gland tissue to… read more

When humans transcend biology

July 11, 2006

A debate on transhumanism has been going on for the past few years, with naysayers and doomsayers on one side, optimistic futurists on the other, and too little in between.

Engineers Make Like a Tree

July 10, 2006

Researchers are studying plant bionics, cherry-picking evolution’s best biological solutions and applying them to engineering problems.

Are you reading the news?

July 10, 2006

If you think you’re reading the news, be warned that this story — and any other on the web — will be barely read by anyone 36 hours after it was first posted. That’s the message from a team of statistical physicists who have analysed how people access information online.

Researchers at University of Notre Dame and in Hungary have calculated that the number of people who read news… read more

Google service to aid doctors, report says

July 10, 2006

Google is planning a service that will provide doctors, patients and health care providers with a way to manage medical information over the Web. Consumers will be able to log in and do things like check their medical records, add providers and pay bills.

Researchers create a broadband light amplifier on a chip

July 10, 2006

Cornell researchers have created a broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip, a major breakthrough in the quest to create photonic microchips.

The amplifier uses a phenomenon known as four-wave mixing, in which a signal to be amplified is “pumped” by another light source inside a very narrow waveguide. The waveguide is a channel only 300 x 550 nanometers (nm = a billionth of a meter, about the length… read more

How a Computer Knows What Many Managers Don’t

July 9, 2006

Many mutual funds that make their trades based on the recommendations of a proprietary computer model, known as quantitative or quant funds, have outperformed their benchmarks in the last three years.

Flat ‘ion trap’ holds quantum computing promise

July 9, 2006

Quantum computers could be more easily mass produced thanks to the development of a two-dimensional ion trap.

Ion traps work by trapping super-cooled ions in an electric field. Lasers can then be used to manipulate the ions to alter their quantum states.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new way to make ion traps that can be easily scaled… read more

Seeking answers from the cosmic consciousness

July 9, 2006

Stephen Hawking has turned to Yahoo Answers for public answers to the question: “In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?”

By afternoon July 7, nearly 17,000 Yahoo users had responded.

DVD uses bug protein to store data

July 9, 2006

DVDs coated with a layer of protein made from genetically altered microbe proteins, could allow DVDs and other external devices to store 50 terabytes of data.

High-tech prosthetics: Out on a limb

July 8, 2006

Icelandic prosthetic maker Ossur’s Rheo Knee, billed as the first knee with artificial intelligence, combines up to 15 sensors, a processor, software and a memory chip to analyze the motion of the prosthetic and learn how to move accordingly.

Bionics industry researchers estimate the next five years will bring major advances, including mind-controlled prosthetics in which sensors are attached directly to a patient’s brain. Already, companies and universities are… read more

Look into my mind

July 8, 2006

University College London researchers are using new optical tomography systems that can generate a 3-D map of individual blood vessels in the brain and tell from the color how oxygenated the blood is.

They are also safe enough to be used continuously, unlike other imaging methods.

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