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Cheap, Transparent, and Flexible Displays

October 24, 2006

By developing a low-cost method for making high-performance transparent transistors, researchers at Northwestern University have taken an important step toward creating sharp, bright displays that could be laminated to windshields, computer monitors, and televisions but would blend into the background when not in use.

They could also be used as transparent processors and memory, incorporated into a thin, flexible sheet, saving manufacturing costs and introducing a new form of… read more

‘Personalised’ cancer drug test

October 24, 2006

A gene test that predicts which cancer drugs will be most effective for different people is to be trialled by Duke University researchers.

The test scans thousands of genes from a patient’s tumor to produce a genomic profile of the cancer’s molecular makeup.

It could also save lives and reduce patients’ exposure to the toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs.

Silicon retina mimics biology for a clearer view

October 23, 2006

An implantable silicon chip that faithfully mimics the neural circuitry of a real retina could lead to better bionic eyes for those with vision loss and would remove the need for a camera and external computer.

The chip, created by University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University researchers, measures 3.5 x 3.3 millimeters and contains 5760 silicon phototransistors, which take the place of light-sensitive neurons in a living… read more

Rise of the machines

October 22, 2006

Hollywood is rabidly technophobic. Whether it’s robots, computers or genetically engineered beings, technology is out to get humanity.

It’s trying to enslave or kill us, or make us suffer on behalf of some corrupt corporate or government entity. Many of our favorite science-fiction films are part of a genre known as “tech noir,” stories that prophesy that the advancement of technology will have foreboding consequences for humanity.

Get Your Daily Plague Forecast

October 22, 2006

The new Healthmap website digests information from a variety of sources ranging from the World Health Organization to Google News and plots the spread of about 50 diseases on a continually updated global map, sortable by source, diseases, and country.

Headlong into the flames

October 22, 2006

James Martin’s THE MEANING OF THE 21ST CENTURY: A Vital Blueprint
for Ensuring Our Future warns about ways civilization could end and offers possible technological solutions.

Working invisibility cloak created at last

October 19, 2006

An invisibility cloak that works in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum has been unveiled by Duke University researchers.

The cloaking works by steering microwave signals around an object in a plane, making it appear invisible at a specific frequency.

Gold mine holds life untouched by the Sun

October 19, 2006

The first known organisms that live totally independently of the sun have been discovered deep in a South African gold mine, raising hopes of finding similar creatures on other planets.

Uranium and other radioactive elements in the rock emit radiation that shatters water molecules, producing high-energy hydrogen gas that is able to cleave chemical bonds.

The bacteria exploit this hydrogen gas to turn sulphate (SO4) molecules from the… read more

Shape-shifting rovers

October 18, 2006

An innovative rover robot designed to explore planets and moons is undergoing final assembly this week in a lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The robot may also be useful in hazardous environments on Earth.

The new rover changes its shape and topples along, veering a bit from side to side as it moves ahead. Depending on the terrain, its overall shape can change from tetrahedral to… read more

Piloting a wheelchair with the power of the mind

October 18, 2006

Paralyzed patients dream of the day when they can once again move their limbs.

That dream is making its way to becoming a reality, thanks to a neural implant created by John Donoghue and colleagues at Brown University and Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems.

Tamiflu could boost drug-resistant flu in wild birds

October 18, 2006

In a flu pandemic, millions of people are expected to take the antiviral drug Tamiflu, but new research shows that ultimately much of the drug will pass through the people taking it and end up in waterways. Chances are it will then linger long enough to promote Tamiflu-resistant flu viruses in wild birds.

A Virtual World but Real Money

October 18, 2006

The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers.

The Internet is the fastest-growing advertising medium, as traditional forms of marketing like television commercials and print advertising slow. For businesses, these early forays into virtual worlds could be the next frontier in the blurring of advertising and entertainment.

Value of Cholesterol Targets Is Disputed

October 18, 2006

A paper published in the Oct. 3 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine says there is not enough solid scientific evidence to support the target numbers (less than 100, less than 70 for high-risk patients) for LDL cholesterol set forth by the National Cholesterol Education Program.

On the road to intelligence

October 18, 2006

A nine-member consortium including Volvo and DaimlerChrysler has received 22.9 million euros from the European Commission to develop an “intelligent car.”

The Dynamically Self-Configuring Automotive Systems (DySCAS) project aims to design a car that can self-diagnose and ultimately self-heal its own faults, download and update its own computer devices, and interface with a drivers’ mobile phone, personal organizer and satellite navigation systems.

‘DNA computer’ is unbeatable at tic-tac-toe

October 18, 2006

A computer that uses strands of DNA to perform calculations could help researchers refine techniques for analysis of DNA samples.

MAYA-II, developed by researchers at Columbia University and the University of New Mexico, uses a DNA logic gate that consists of a strand of DNA that binds to another specific input sequence. This binding causes a region of the strand to work as an enzyme, modifying yet another short… read more

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