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Artificial memory aid mimics the brain’s audio cues

November 1, 2006

An artificial memory aid that mimics the way the human brain replays verbal information could help people with brain damage, Alzheimer’s or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The handheld device is modelled on a function of the brain known as the “phonological loop.” It has a microphone and controls for recording and playing audio.

To use it, a user presses “record” and says a phrase they want to keep… read more

The quantum world is about to get bigger

November 1, 2006

The quantum world is about to get bigger, thanks to a technique that will allow objects big enough to see with the naked eye to exist in two places at once.

The trick: eliminate thermal vibrations by bombarding a mirror of roughly 10^14 atoms with photons in a way that damps out thermal vibrations and cooling it to 135 millikelvin.

Nanotube Computing Breakthrough

November 1, 2006

A method for sorting nanotubes by electronic properties could help make widespread nanotube-based electronics a reality.

The new process separates metallic and semiconducting nanotubes. It also segregates them by diameter (another important parameter for reliable computer chips) and eliminates contaminants, such as other forms of carbon.

Buckyballs with a Surprise

November 1, 2006

Luna nanoWorks is nearing commercialization of a novel version of buckyballs that could improve magnetic resonance imaging and lead to high-efficiency solar cells.

Each buckyball is made of 80 carbon atoms with metal-nitride clusters trapped inside, creating a nanomaterial with novel electronic, optical, and magnetic properties.

A Practical Fuel-Cell Power Plant

November 1, 2006

GE’s advance allows for a solid-oxide fuel cell to use coal-based fuels at costs approaching that of conventional power plants.

The final product can be built for about $800 a kilowatt, which starts to approach the $500-to-$550-per-kilowatt cost of building a conventional gas-fired power plant.

High-Tech Military in Due Course

November 1, 2006

The kind of a war scenario seen in a science fiction film like Star Wars is likely to become a reality in about 10 years, as the government is accelerating plans to equip the South Korean military with high-tech unmanned weapons systems and versatile combat robotic systems.

By 2025, the Army plans to introduce unmanned state-of-the-art vehicles, called Experimental Autonomous Vehicles (XAV), for use in light and heavy combat… read more

One for the Ages: A Prescription That May Extend Life

October 31, 2006

In the last year, calorie-restricted diets have been shown in various animals to affect molecular pathways likely to be involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Researchers studying dietary effects on humans claim that calorie restriction may be more effective than exercise at preventing age-related diseases.

Dr. Richard A. Miller, a pathologist at the University of Michigan, estimated that a pill… read more

Computing, 2016: What Won’t Be Possible?

October 31, 2006

Computing and algorithmic processes are transforming business, the gloabl economy, culture, and even social sciences.

Future trends in computer imaging and storage will make it possible for a person, wearing a tiny digital device with a microphone and camera, to essentially record his or her life. The potential for communication, media and personal enrichment is striking.

British scientists grow human liver in a laboratory

October 31, 2006

British scientists have grown the world’s first artificial liver from stem cells in a breakthrough that will one day provide entire organs for transplant.

The liver tissue was created from stem cells found in blood from an umbilical cord minutes after birth. They were then placed in a bioreactor and various hormones and chemicals were added to coax the stem cells into turning into liver tissue.

The scientists… read more

Engineers building first space supercomputer

October 30, 2006

Engineering researchers at the University of Florida and Honeywell Aerospace are designing and building the computer projected to operate as much as 100 times faster than any computer in space today.

Expected to be launched aboard a NASA rocket on a test mission in 2009, the computer is needed to process rapidly increasing amounts of data gathered by advanced scientific satellites. It is also needed to help space probes… read more

Scientists present method for entangling macroscopic objects

October 30, 2006

Scientists have developed a theoretical model using entanglement swapping in order to entangle two micromechanical oscillators.

One potential use for entanglement swapping is in quantum repeaters for future quantum computers, which would amp up the signal over long distances to prevent it from being buried by noise and dying out.

Vision-body link tested in robot experiments

October 30, 2006

“Embodied cognition” experiments involving real and simulated robots suggest that the relationship between physical movement and sensory input could be crucial to developing more intelligent machines.

This crop revolution may succeed where GM failed

October 30, 2006

New agricultural technology called marker-assisted selection (MAS) offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding.

A growing number of scientists believe MAS will eventually replace GM food.

Rapidly accumulating information about crop genomes is allowing scientists to identify genes associated with traits such as yield, and then scan crop relatives for the presence of those genes.

Lighting up the $1 trillion power market

October 30, 2006

Silicon Valley firms are driving a sizzling $11 billion worldwide market in solar energy, part of a rapidly expanding alternative-energy economy that promises to shake up the way power is produced and consumed as profoundly as the region’s computer and Internet companies upended global communications and commerce in the late 20th century.

Fears about global warming have triggered public and political demand for renewable energy, which is expected to… read more

Are we the Mongols of the Information Age?

October 30, 2006

The future of U.S. power rests in its Industrial Age military adapting to decentralized adversaries.

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