science + technology news

New firm aims to be a Google for photos

December 20, 2006

Polar Rose, based in Sweden, has unveiled a new image search tool that uses 3D mapping techniques to recognize facial patterns.

Surgical Robots Get a Sense of Touch

December 20, 2006

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a haptic feedback system for surgical robots, which lack subtle sensations.

Their goal is to understand the forces of the robot interacting with the patient and to use motors on the master robot–controlled by the surgeon–to create forces that are equal to those being applied to the patient.

Printing Muscle and Bone

December 19, 2006

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully directed adult stem cells from mice to develop into bone and muscle cells with the aid of a custom-designed ink-jet printer. They say it’s a first step toward better understanding tissue regeneration, which may one day lead to therapies for repairing damaged tissues, as occurs in osteoarthritis.

In Memory-Bank ‘Dialogue,’ the Brain Is Talking to Itself

December 19, 2006

New recordings of electrical activity in the brain may explain a major part of its function, including how it consolidates daily memories, why it needs to dream and how it constructs models of the world to guide behavior.

The finding by MIT researchers showed that during nondreaming sleep, the neurons of both the hippocampus and the neocortex replayed memories — in repeated simultaneous bursts of electrical activity — of… read more

Red light debut for exotic ‘metamaterial’

December 19, 2006

The race to build an exotic material with a negative refractive index for visible light has been won by a team of University of Karlsruhe researchers in Germany. The demonstration could open the door to a new generation of optical devices such as superlenses able to see details finer then the wavelength of visible light.

NASA Ames Schedules Briefing to Discuss Google Agreement

December 17, 2006

NASA Ames Research Center plans to announce a NASA/Google collaboration Monday to make NASA’s vast collection of data and imagery more easily available to the world.

Researchers Demonstrate Direct Brain Control Of Humanoid Robot

December 17, 2006

“Thought commands” generated by analysis of EEG signals can control the actions of robots, University of Washington researchers have found.

Tech lessons learned from the wisdom of crowds

December 17, 2006

Google, HP Labs, Yahoo, and Microsoft are among companies using “prediction markets” to improve forecasts.

The technique rewards employees for success in making predictions.

Computers ‘could store entire life by 2026′

December 15, 2006

A device the size of a sugar cube will be able to record and store high resolution video footage of every second of a human life within two decades, according to speakers at the Memories for Life conference at the British Library.

Also see: Memories for life: a review of the science and technology, J. R. Soc. Interface (2006) 3, 351-365

Nano-cables convert light into electricity

December 15, 2006

Nanocables that convert light into electricity could one day be used to power nanorobots, because of their similarity in size and function to the antennas used by bacteria for photosynthesis.

New surgical center is a big technological cut above the rest

December 15, 2006

The movie magic that allowed Gollum to lurch across the screen in the Lord of the Rings films or capture the great ape’s naturalistic movements in the remake of King Kong is now being used in operating room research and training in the new Maryland Simulation Training and Innovation Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

By recording how expert surgeons move during simulated surgeries, researchers hope to… read more

10 Tech Concepts You Need to Know for 2007

December 15, 2006

PRAM (Phase-Change Random Access Memory), Printed Solar Panels, Body Area Network, VoN (Video on the Net), and Data Cloud are among the technologies you’ll be talking about next year.

Researchers Find Surprise in Makeup of a Comet

December 15, 2006

Comets are not all made of interstellar dust and ice, but instead may contain material shot from the heart of the solar system during its tumultuous birth, scientists reported Thursday after examining pristine particles of a comet that were brought back by the Stardust spacecraft.

Geomagnetic storm impacts the Earth

December 15, 2006
SOHO EIT 304 Latest Image

A geomagnetic storm began on December 14, produced by a large Earth-directed coronal mass ejection on Dec. 12, according to an Official Space Weather Advisory issued Dec. 14 by the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Strong to severe geomagnetic storming is expected to last through Friday, December 15. Impacts from this event can cause problems with high frequency (shortwave) communications and satellite operations, and can induce… read more

Google searches U.S. patent database

December 15, 2006

Google’s new site, www.google.com/patents, lets anyone search for U.S. patents by keyword, patent number, inventor and filing date, and makes it easier to find relevant patents than the USPTO site.

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