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‘Tower of Babel’ translator made

October 26, 2006

A new device being created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University uses electrodes attached to the neck and face to detect the movements that occur as a person silently mouths words and phrases.

Using this data, a computer can work out the sounds being formed and then build these sounds up into words. The system is then able to translate the words into another language, which is read out… read more

160-lumen white power LED lighting

October 25, 2006

New LED lamps capable of 70 lumens per watt may cut our light-based electrical bill ultimately by more than 90 percent.

And Toyota has said that replacing a car’s lights with LEDs would be equivalent to getting an extra 20 percent mileage through reducing vehicle weight.

Software generates video news bulletins

October 25, 2006

Software that automatically generates timely video news bulletins, presented by computer-animated characters, could revolutionize news broadcasting.

The system, called News at Seven, can produce reports tailored to a person’s particular interests.

Using keywords entered by the user, the program selects news site RSS feeds and specific stories to focus on. The next step is to extract further key terms from these reports and use these to search for… read more

Human v 2.0: Ray Kurzweil vs. Hugo de Garis

October 24, 2006

“Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human – a human v2.0.

“It’s predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity – we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to… read more

Chiang Mai University involved in tiny nanobot’s human voyage

October 24, 2006

A Chiang Mai University team has developed a motor that will power a microscopic robot on an expedition through human blood vessels, looking for such things as tiny tumors in internal organs.

The piezoceramic device is remote controlled by low-voltage electric current or microwaves, and is propelled by changing its size.

Moderate drinkers have reduced risk of heart attack

October 24, 2006

For men with healthy lifestyle habits, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may be associated with a lower risk of heart attack than drinking heavily or not drinking at all, according to a report in the October 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Previous studies have found that adults who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack)… read more

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

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