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Making Water From Thin Air

October 10, 2006

Aqua Sciences has developed technology capable of creating water from the air nearly anywhere in the world is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.

The 20-foot machine can churn out 600 gallons of water a day without using or producing toxic materials and byproducts.

Virus boosts nanoparticle memory

October 6, 2006

A new type of digital memory device has been created by incorporating inorganic platinum nanoparticles into the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV).

The TMV is a 300 nm tube consisting of a protein capsid (outer shell) and RNA core. According to the researchers, the TMV’s thin, wire-like structure makes it suitable for attaching nanoparticles. In this case, it allowed them to add an average of sixteen positive platinum ions per… read more

AI Re-Emerging as Research in Complex Systems

October 6, 2006

The future of AI will be embodied intelligent systems, able to model and understand the environment and learn from interactions, while learning and evolving in constantly changing circumstances; and re-emergece as research in complex systems.

Single-pixel camera could simplify imaging

October 6, 2006

A single-pixel camera that captures complete images by taking many snaps with an array of micro-mirrors could consume less power and produce more compact image files than conventional imaging devices.

The camera switches each mirror randomly between one of two positions — so that they either reflect light onto the pixel or do not. The current version repeats this process about a thousand times in a second, recording the… read more

Biodefence special: Fortress America?

October 6, 2006

Project BioShield has fallen short of delivering biodefence remedies, with a limited range of pathogens that BioShield is targeting and inadequate plans for deploying the countermeasures it does have.

The authorities appear bent on building a stockpile of silver bullets against imagined enemies that may not work or may never be needed.

Making molecular machines work

October 6, 2006

Advances towards the construction of synthetic machines are described in Volume 1 No 1 of a new journal, Nature Nanotechnology.

The article documents approaches taken by several research groups to construct synthetic molecular machines and devices, such as molecular rotors, elevators, valves, transporters, muscles and other motor functions used to develop smart materials.

(Free access)

$10 Million Prize Set Up for Speedy DNA Decoding

October 5, 2006

A $10 million prize for cheap and rapid sequencing of the human genome was announced today by the X Prize Foundation.

The terms of the prize require competitors to sequence 100 human genomes of their choice within 10 days, and within six months those of a further 100 people chosen by the foundation.

The foundation plans a series of prizes to motivate inventors and entrepreneurs, with its first… read more

Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.

October 5, 2006

A consortium of major universities is developing natural language processing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas.

The researchers have complied a database of hundreds of articles that it is being used to train a computer to recognize, rank and interpret statements.

Spooky steps to a quantum network

October 5, 2006

Quantum entanglement, a strange property that links particles however far apart they are, may be used to “teleport” information.

Robot whiskers sense shapes and textures

October 5, 2006

Artificial whiskers that mimic the way rats and seals sense their prey might one day let planetary rovers or uncrewed submarines explore the shape and texture of strange objects they encounter on their travels.

New Opportunities for DNA Design

October 5, 2006

“DNA staples” can be used to build DNA-shape structures, using an atomic force micrsocope, that include other molecules for increased strength or stiffness, or useful features such as actuation.

One way to speed up the process would to use an array of “needles” made out of DNA bricks.

Teens: E-mail is for old people

October 5, 2006

Teenagers prefer instant messaging or text messaging for talking to friends and use e-mail to communicate with “old people,” according to Pew Internet & American life study.

“E-mail is so last millennium,” as USA Today puts it.

Robot cars will race in real traffic

October 4, 2006

The first 11 teams for the Urban Grand Challenge, a race in which robot cars will jostle with real ones along mocked-up city streets, have been announced.

The teams must construct autonomous vehicles to navigate an unfamiliar urban environment in the shortest time possible.

Big bang theorists scoop Nobel prize for physics

October 4, 2006

The 2006 Nobel prize for physics has been awarded to John Mather and George Smoot for their contribution to the big bang theory of the origin of the universe.

The pair were honored for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Smoot’s announcement in 1992 that his team had observed the long-sought variations in the CMB — and therefore, in the… read more

Huge ‘launch ring’ to fling satellites into orbit

October 4, 2006

An enormous ring of superconducting magnets similar to a particle accelerator could fling satellites into space at lower cost than conventional rocket launches.

It would also be ideal for delivering supplies to support human spaceflight, such as food and water, which are not sensitive to such high accelerations.

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