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Use of Implanted Patient-Data Chips Stirs Debate on Medicine vs. Privacy

March 19, 2006

Some doctors are welcoming VeriChip technology as an exciting innovation that will speed care and prevent errors.

Emergency-room doctors could scan unconscious or incoherent patients to quickly check their blood type and find out if they are taking any medications or have allergies or other medical conditions. Nurses could identify family members and determine whether patients are organ donors or have living wills. Surgeons could scan patients on the… read more

Astronomers Find the Earliest Signs Yet of a Violent Baby Universe

March 17, 2006

Using data from a new map of the baby universe, astronomers said yesterday that they had seen deep into the Big Bang, and had gotten their first detailed hint of what was going on less than a trillionth of a second after time began.

The results, they said, validated a key prediction of the speculative but popular cosmic theory known as inflation about the distribution of matter and energy… read more

Methanol-powered artificial muscles start to flex

March 17, 2006

Methanol-powered artificial muscles have been created by researchers aiming to create battery-free robotic limbs and prosthetics.

The first type of muscle is made from a nickel-titanium shape-memory wire coated in a platinum catalyst. The team’s second artificial muscle is made from sheets of carbon nanotubes, coated in a catalyst.

Old Man, Look at Your Life

March 16, 2006

Modern medicine is redefining old age and may soon allow people to live regularly beyond the current upper limit of 120 years, according to scientists meeting at Oxford University for a conference on life extension and enhancement.

The Shape of Robots to Come

March 16, 2006

As robots increasingly migrate from heavy industrial tasks, like welding automobile chassis on assembly lines, to home uses as restless toys and venturesome vacuum cleaners, a fetching personality and appealing appearance become critically important.

Pentagon plans cyber-insect army

March 16, 2006

DARPA scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions.

The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later.

‘DNA origami’ creates map of the Americas

March 16, 2006

A map of the Americas measuring just a few hundred nanometres across has been created out of meticulously folded strands of DNA, using a new technique for manipulating molecules dubbed “DNA origami.”

According to the map’s creator, Paul Rothemund at Caltech in Pasadena, DNA origami could prove hugely important for building future nano-devices including molecular machines and quantum computer components. The technique exploits the fact that complementary base pairs… read more

Carbon-Based electronics manipulate electrons as waves

March 15, 2006

Using thin layers of graphite known as graphene, researchers have produced proof-of-principle transistors, loop devices and circuitry. The devices have the attractive properties of carbon nanotubes but could be produced using established microelectronics manufacturing techniques.

Ultimately, the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States, in collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, hope to use graphene layers less than 10 atoms thick as… read more

Researchers Grow Bone Cells on Carbon Nanotubes

March 15, 2006
Bone crystal growth on carbon nanotube substrate

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have shown, for the first time, that bone cells can grow and proliferate on a scaffold of carbon nanotubes.

Because carbon nanotubes are not biodegradable, they behave like an inert matrix on which cells can proliferate and deposit new living material, which becomes functional, normal bone, according to the paper. They therefore hold promise in the treatment of bone defects… read more

“Must-See Movie” Improved!!

March 15, 2006

Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts, a four-minute computer animation, goes inside a nanofactory and demonstrates key steps in a process to convert simple molecules into a billion-CPU laptop computer.

Now, that “must-see” movie, produced by engineer John Burch and nanotechnologist K. Eric Drexler, has been updated with improved visuals, mood music, and subtle sound effects.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

March 15, 2006

Atoms and electrons are bits. Atomic collisions are “ops.” Machine language is the laws of physics. The universe is a quantum computer.

So says Seth Lloyd in is new book, Programming the Universe. “The universe is a system where the very specific details and structures in it are created when quantum bits de-cohere — choose one path out of multiple possibilities — and that this process is identical to… read more

Supercomputer builds a virus

March 14, 2006

One of the world’s most powerful supercomputers has built a computer model of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus.

The researchers say the simulation is the first to capture a whole biological organism in such intricate molecular detail.

Running on a machine at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana, the program calculated how each of the million or so atoms in the virus and a surrounding drop of… read more

Bird flu could reach North America this spring

March 14, 2006

One day in the next few weeks, flocks of wild birds from Asia will wing northeast across the Bering Strait to Alaska, where they’ll join other birds heading north from their winter homes in the United States and points south.

As they embark on their annual spring migration, Asian ducks and geese may be carrying some unwelcome baggage –the highly virulent H5N1 avian-flu virus — that they could pass… read more

Dangerous Knowledge

March 14, 2006

Can dangerous knowledge — such as the publication of the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet — ever be contained? Once opened, might Pandora’s Box be shut again? Those questions lie at the heart of an ongoing debate over the necessity and application of precaution in the deployment of new technologies.

“Reversibility” is a concept that Jamais Cascio proposes as a wiser alternative to the… read more

Nanomedicine

March 14, 2006

University of Michigan physician and researcher James Baker has developed multipurpose nanoparticles precisely engineered to slip past barriers such as blood vessel walls, latch onto cancer cells, and trick the cells into engulfing them as if they were food. These Trojan particles flag the cells with a fluorescent dye and simultaneously destroy them with a drug.

The heart of Baker’s approach is a highly branched molecule called a dendrimer.… read more

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