science + technology news

Virtual reality shocker

December 28, 2006

Researchers have recreated in a virtual world one of the most extreme social experiments ever performed in the real world, using the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority.

The results suggest that virtual environments could provide a way to explore human nature in ways that ethical concerns could make impossible to do for real.

The 20 Most Innovative Products of the Year

December 28, 2006

An operating system that runs entirely on the Web, the fastest desktop chip, and an e-reader are among the most innovative products of 2006.

Also listed: 5 innovations to look for in 2007.

The Year in Biotech

December 27, 2006

Brain chips, gene Chips, life-extending pills, and stem-cell cures and among the biotech developments on 2006.

The Perfect Human

December 27, 2006

Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 days. He does 200 miles just for fun. He’ll race in 120-degree heat. 12 secrets to his success.

Snake-like Robot And Steady-hand System Could Assist Surgeons

December 27, 2006
Steady-hand robot

Johns Hopkins University researchers are designing new high-tech medical tools to equip the operating room of the future.

A snakelike robot could enable surgeons, operating in the narrow throat region, to make incisions and tie sutures with greater dexterity and precision.

Another robot, the steady-hand, may curb a surgeon’s natural tremor and allow the doctor to inject drugs into tiny blood vessels in the eye, dissolving… read more

2006: The year in biology and medicine

December 27, 2006

Lab-grown bladders, face transplants, wider genetic screening of embryos, and ethical stem cells, are some of this year’s highlights.

2006: The year in tech

December 27, 2006

Gut-crawling robots as an alternative to colonoscopy, quasar encryption, a two-legged robot, and a working “invisibility cloak” are some of this year’s tech highlights.

Single Gene Could Lead to Long Life, Better Mental Function

December 27, 2006

Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered a gene that apparently protects the brain and prolongs life.

Centenarians who passed a common test of mental function were two to three times more likely to have a common variant of a particular gene, called the CETP gene, than those who did not.

Short Mental Workouts May Slow Decline of Aging Minds, Study Finds

December 26, 2006

Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body.

Older adults who did the basic exercises followed by later sessions were three times as fast as those who got… read more

An ATM for books

December 26, 2006

The Espresso, a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library, will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007.

The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers.

New Research Could Lead To ‘Invisible’ Electronics

December 25, 2006

Northwestern University researchers have produced transparent, high-performance transistors that can be assembled inexpensively on both glass and plastics.

Uses could include a car windshield that displays a map to your destination, military goggles with targets and instructions displayed right before a soldier’s eyes, or a billboard that doubles as a window.

Photons trapped by trick of the light

December 25, 2006

Optical microchips developed at IBM that can store light for short periods of time could one day be used in optical buffers in superfast optical processors with hundreds on cores on a chip.

Microbe found in California mine could be smallest life form yet

December 25, 2006

Microbes measuring about 200 nanometers wide — the size of large viruses, which scientists consider lifeless because they cannot reproduce on their own — have been found.

The discovery could prove that life in the universe is not unique to Earth, but an inherent property of matter.

Wikipedia’s Wales wants to take on Google

December 25, 2006

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will launch Wikiasari, a search engine to compete with Google, Yahoo, Ask and others early next year.

Wikiasari would apply the “wisdom of the crowd” to judging the value of a Web page.

Will robots ever become just like humans?

December 25, 2006

The development of humanoid robots today focuses on three major areas:
control of manipulators, biped locomotion, and interaction with humans.

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