science + technology news

Let Robots Sweat the Boring Stuff

February 28, 2007

In advanced nations like Japan, populations are aging and shrinking. Combine that with ultrastrict immigration control and you get a situation in which “robomediation” makes a lot of sense.

“Personally, I wouldn’t mind living in a world in which all my routine interactions were with robots, and I kept my quality time for human beings.”

Microsoft to Buy Health Information Search Engine

February 28, 2007

Microsoft is buying Medstory Inc. Its search software applies AI techniques to deliver useful medical information to consumers from medical journals, government documents and the Internet.

Star Trek-like ‘Tricorder’ becomes science fact

February 28, 2007

Purdue University researchers have developed a portable sensing system to analyze chemical components, with “numerous promising uses for detecting everything from cancer in the liver to explosives residues on luggage and biomarkers in urine that provide an early warning for diseases.”

The device miniaturizes a mass spectrometer combined with a technique called desorption electrospray ionization.

“We like to compare it to the tricorder because it is truly a… read more

Nanotechnology Seen as Answer to Counterfeiters

February 28, 2007

A government report just released argues that the only way for the U.S. government to stay ahead of counterfeiters is to use nanotechnology.

If this happens, our money will no longer be a printed piece of paper. It will become a very thin, very high-tech machine.

“Say you snap a dollar bill between your fingers and the edges become rigid,” says Alan Goldstein, a molecular engineering professor at… read more

The next generation of threats

February 27, 2007

Advances in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics threaten destruction even more horrific than that of atomic devices or climate change, say commentators, citing warnings by Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy that the government’s release of the reconstructed genome of the 1918 pandemic flu virus was “extremely foolish.”

Body shop

February 27, 2007

Bionic hands, arms, legs and feet currently under development will restore mobility and independence to people with lost limbs.

An Early Environmentalist, Embracing New ‘Heresies’

February 27, 2007

Stewart Brand has become a heretic to environmentalism, a movement he helped found, but he doesn’t plan to be isolated for long.

He expects that environmentalists will soon share his affection for nuclear power. They’ll lose their fear of population growth and start appreciating sprawling megacities. They’ll stop worrying about “frankenfoods” and embrace genetic engineering.

Carbon Nanotubes versus HIV

February 27, 2007

Researchers at Stanford University have used carbon nanotubes to transport RNA into human white blood cells, making the cells less susceptible to HIV attack.

Electrodes used to control pigeons

February 27, 2007

Scientists at the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shandong University of Science and Technology in China say they have succeeded in controlling the flight of pigeons with electrodes planted in their brains.

They can command the pigeons to fly right or left, up or down.

Iran rocket claim raises tension

February 26, 2007

Iranian media say the country has successfully launched its first rocket capable of reaching space, adding that it was a sub-orbital rocket for scientific research.

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.

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