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A Dose Of Genius

June 12, 2006

The use of “smart pills” that increase concentration, focus, wakefulness and short-term memory is soaring.

Trust me, I’m a robot

June 12, 2006

Roboticists are trying to find ways to prevent robots from harming people.

Regulating the behavior of robots is going to become more difficult in the future, since they will increasingly have self-learning mechanisms built into them. And there is the question of unpredictable failures.

Nano-tip could play integral part in heat-assisted data storage devices

June 12, 2006

Using a tip with a nano heat source that never touches the surface, scientists have shown how to heat a localized surface with no contact. The discovery could open the doors to heat-assisted data storage devices and nano thermometers.

Rare counting ability induced by temporarily switching off brain region

June 12, 2006

Applying transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left anterior temporal lobe allow for temporary exceptional counting and calculating abilities similar to those of autistic savants, according to Allan Snyder of Australian National University.

By temporarily inhibiting activity in the left anterior temporal cortex, the TMS allows the brain’s number estimator to act on raw sensory data, without it having already been automatically grouped together into patterns or shapes.

Teachers envisage the science textbooks of the future

June 12, 2006

Computer simulations, inquiry-based learning, programs that use Web-linked embedded illustrations, and other online techniques are replacing printed textbooks.

Congressman concerned about superintelligence becoming self-aware

June 9, 2006

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said at a House Science Committe meeting Wednesday that based on the opinions of experts, there is reason to believe that in about 25 years a supercomputer will be built that “exceeds human intelligence,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Sherman said he hopes that some of the future researchers that the bills would cultivate will be steered toward the potentially emerging field of making… read more

Touch sensor is as sensitive as your fingertip

June 8, 2006

An artificial touch sensor as sensitive as a human fingertip could one day let surgeons remotely “feel” tissue through an endoscope and help robots pour drinks without spilling a drop.

Error-check breakthrough in quantum computing

June 8, 2006

An error-checking method that could prove crucial to the development of a practical quantum computer has been developed.

Physicists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have discovered a new way to check how much the information stored inside a quantum computer has decayed. This is an impressive feat since measuring the state of a qubit normally destroys its quantum properties.

Be careful with this brave new world

June 8, 2006

Where do we draw the line between eradicating genetic disease and enhancing a child?

In his new book, After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning, Ian Wilmut considers the moral and ethical implications that the cloning of Dolly the sheep raises for mankind.

Mysterious carbon excess found in infant solar system

June 8, 2006

Astronomers detected unusually high quantities of carbon, the basis of all terrestrial life, in an infant solar system around nearby star Beta Pictoris, 63 light years away.

Arts and Crafts for the Digital Age

June 8, 2006

PicoCricket Kit is a craft kit for the digital age. It includes electronic sensors, motors, sound boxes, connecting cables and a palm-size, battery-powered, programmable computer.

Children as young as 9 can invent interactive jewelry, fanciful creatures that dance, musical sculptures and more, said Mitchel Resnick, an assistant professor of learning research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

Its central tool is PicoBlocks software, a point-and-click, drop-and-drag… read more

Translator lets computers ‘understand’ experiments

June 8, 2006

A framework for translating the write-ups of experiments into a format that can be processed by computers has been developed by academics.

The new EXPO software tool could revolutionize the way scientific papers are written and help scientists make creative leaps, researchers say.

EXPO provides a descriptive framework, or ontology, to represent different stages of an experiment and the relationships between these stages. It also includes ways to… read more

Get creative, says Kalam

June 8, 2006

Quoting Ray Kurzweil, India President A.P.J. Adbul Kalam said that it was predicted that by 2019, the computational ability of an ordinary PC would exceed the capability of human brain.

However, he said, the creativity of the human mind will always be superior to the most powerful computers in the horizon. “Creativity comes from beautiful minds,” he added.

He also proposed creation of a world knowledge platform that… read more

Defibrillation’s Alternative

June 7, 2006

Biophan Technologies has been awarded a patent for a technique that avoids the need for a powerful electrical shock by predicting the onset of ventricular fibrillation (VF) and treating it with a weak signal before it occurs.

Biophan’s algorithms are built on chaos theory, which has been used previously to highlight the early signs of VF. This earlier research suggested that by detecting changes in the nonlinear or chaotic… read more

Diamond semiconductors, semiconductor economics and the improvement logjam

June 7, 2006

Expect to see the first diamond semiconductors hit the market in 2011. They could operate at 81GHz — 8-20 times faster than semiconductors.

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