science + technology news

HPNA gets speed boost to 320Mbps

November 9, 2006

The HomePNA Alliance has released a new networking standard that allows for 320Mbps transmission over twisted-pair copper wire or coaxial cable in the home.

Retinal Transplant Restores Vision in Mice

November 9, 2006

The prospect of restoring vision in people who have been blinded by disease is now on the verge of being a real possibility, thanks to the first successful transplant of light-sensitive retinal cells in mice.

The researchers harvested stem cells that were in the process of turning into light-sensitive photoreceptor cells and implanted them in the eyes of mice that had been bred to suffer from retinal… read more

Kurzweil receives IEEE award for engineering communication

November 9, 2006

Ray Kurzweil has received the IEEE Professional Communication Societies Goldsmith Award for 2006 for Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Communication.

The award honors those “broadly involved in communication as related to engineering and scientific endeavors” and was announced at the 2006 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. Ray will be speaking at the 2007 conference on October 1st, 2007 in Seattle.

New Techniques Pave Way for Carbon Nanotubes in Electronic Devices

November 8, 2006

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute reports two new techniques, each following a different approach, for placing carbon nanotube patterns on metal surfaces of just about any shape and size.

Two nerve cells in direct contact

November 7, 2006

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich (Germany) have been able to show how two nerve cells communicate with each other from different hemispheres in the visual centre. This astoundingly simple circuit diagram could at a later date provide a model for algorithms to be deployed in technical systems.

‘Nanoporous’ material gobbles up hydrogen fuel

November 7, 2006

Hydrogen-powered cars could one day store fuel safely and efficiently using polymers filed with nanoscopic holes.

Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory

November 7, 2006

Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, University of Luebeck researchers report.

They believe this is due to the pattern of the applied current mimicking that seen in naturally occurring deep sleep, where memory consolidation is thought to take place.

3D maps let travellers take virtual city tours

November 7, 2006

Microsoft’s updated Virtual Earth mapping software includes photo-realistic three-dimensional models of real buildings and other structures.

It May Come as a Shock

November 7, 2006

Two different kinds of stimulatory devices are now in large-scale clinical trials for possible use in patients with the most severe migraine cases.

The two approaches are occipital nerve stimulation, or ONS, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Experts say approaches like these represent a powerful new trend in migraine research.

Bizarre Bacterial Creations

November 7, 2006

Designs presented at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) at MIT represent some of the most complex biologically engineered machines to date–and they promise to further the field of synthetic biology.

Plan to create human-cow embryos

November 7, 2006

Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London have asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.

The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.

But critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous.

Next year’s models

November 6, 2006

A personal iPod theater, bultra-mobile Windows PC, and mobile video telephone are among the gadgets available in Tokyo and that may be available in the U.S. in the future.

Nuclear steps put region on brink of most fearful era yet

November 6, 2006

The Middle East may now be entering the most precarious era of its history, with the announcement Friday that Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and smaller states such as Tunisia and the UAE want to acquire nuclear technology.

Berners-Lee, universities launch ‘Web science’ initiative

November 6, 2006

Representatives from MIT and the University of Southampton have announced the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), a multidisciplinary project to study the social and technological implications of growing Web adoption.

Berners-Lee, who is also a senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), detailed the initiative with other organizers at MIT here on Thursday.

The universities intend to combine several disciplines, including social sciences,… read more

Researchers teach computers how to name images by ‘thinking’

November 2, 2006

Penn State researchers have “taught” computers how to interpret images using a vocabulary of up to 330 English words.

The new system, which can automatically annotate entire online collections of photographs as they are uploaded, means significant time-savings for the millions of Internet users who now manually tag or identify their images. It also facilitates retrieval of images through the use of search terms.

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