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Gene Therapy Cancers Prompt Design of Safer Virus

January 14, 2008

Researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London have developed a better virus to deliver an inserted gene for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) patients, one that is self-inactivating and less likely to turn on other genes.

Cancer has been a serious side-effect of SCID gene therapy. Since 2002, four of 10 children in one SCID trial have developed leukemia, apparently because the retrovirus used to insert a curative gene… read more

Weeding out problem stem cells for safer therapy

September 28, 2012

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (credit: UCSD)

Mayo Clinic researchers have found a way to detect and eliminate potentially troublemaking stem cells to make stem cell therapy safer.

Induced Pluripotent Stem cells, also known as iPS cells, are bioengineered from adult tissues to have properties of embryonic stem cells, which have the unlimited capacity to differentiate and grow into any desired types of cells, such as skin, brain, lung and heart cells.… read more

Yahoo passes Google in search index capacity

August 9, 2005

Yahoo says it now indexes more than 20 billion documents and images. That’s almost twice the 11.3 billion Google publicly says it currently spans.

Of the 20 billion elements in Yahoo’s database, 19 billion are documents, 1.5 billion images and more than 50 million audio and video files, the company said.

Musical approach helps programmers catch bugs

September 6, 2002

Researchers have developed a system that automatically converts computer program code written in Pascal into simple “music” to make it easier for programmers to detect bugs from sequences of notes.

Diabetes Drug Makes Vaccines Work Better

June 4, 2009

The diabetes drug metformin may make vaccines work better and could revolutionize current strategies for both therapeutic and preventive vaccines, say University of Pennsylvania researchers.

Ms. Pac-Man Plays Herself

January 21, 2008

Eotvos University (Hungary) researchers have taught AI agents to play the video game Ms. Pac-Man and sometime play it better than humans can.

The research shows that AI agents can successfully be taught how to strategize, using reinforcement learning.

Light that travels… faster than light!

August 21, 2005

A team of researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that it is possible to control the speed of light – both slowing it down and speeding it up – in an optical fiber, using off-the-shelf instrumentation in normal environmental conditions.

If Internet fiber optic signals could be controlled by light, it would be possible to route and process optical… read more

ABB’s FRIDA offers glimpse of future factory robots

April 20, 2011

(Credit: ABB)

This headless, two-armed robot may be tomorrow’s factory worker.

Its name is FRIDA (Friendly Robot for Industrial Dual-arm Assembly), and it’s a creation of ABB, the Swiss power and automation giant, which introduced it early this month at the Hannover trade show, Europe’s largest industrial fair.

Designed for assembly applications, FRIDA is capable of using its human-like arms to grasp and manipulate electronic components and other small parts.… read more

Famed Nanotech Researcher Axed

September 25, 2002

Bell Labs has fired Jan Hendrik Schon for falsifying experimental data in the areas of superconductivity, molecular electronics and molecular crystals.

The dark side of animation

June 12, 2009

Custom animation in PowerPoint lectures negatively impacts student learning, University of North Carolina researchers have found.

Animated slides meant to present information incrementally actually require greater concentration, which makes it harder to remember content as well as reducing overall exposure time to the “complete” slide, the researchers found.

MIT invents ultrasensitive magnetic-field detector

Could lead to miniaturized, hypersensitive battery-powered devices for brain-wave sensing, medical, and materials imaging, contraband detection, and geological exploration
April 7, 2015

In this image, laser light enters a synthetic diamond from a facet at its corner and bounces around inside the diamond until its energy is exhausted. This excites "nitrogen vacancies" that can be used to measure magnetic fields. (Credit: H. Clevenson/MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

MIT researchers have developed a new, ultrasensitive magnetic-field detector that is 1,000 times more energy-efficient than its predecessors. It could lead to miniaturized, battery-powered devices for medical and materials imaging, contraband detection, and even geological exploration.

Magnetic-field detectors (magnetometers) are already used for all those applications. But existing technologies have drawbacks: Some rely on gas-filled chambers; others work only in narrow frequency bands, limiting their… read more

Mobile video at Davos

January 29, 2008

One of the talking points to emerge from Davos this year is Reuters’ use of online video to report instantly on events, using mobile phones.

More interestingly, Robert Scoble, a blogger who works for Fast Company, was recording interviews on his Nokia N95 mobile phone and sometimes going live, using a software tool called Qik for streaming video.

New ‘Alien Nanofiber’ Has Potential Anti-Counterfeiting Applications

September 1, 2005

Carlos Rinaldi, assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, has created 150-nanometer fibers that can be placed inside a garment or paper document and serve as a “fingerprint” that proves the garment or document is genuine.

The fibers contain nanoparticles with an electrical, magnetic or optical signature that can prove a product genuine if scanned by a device looking for the particular signature.

British Concern to Help U.S. Track Terrorists

October 22, 2002

Autonomy information retrieval software will be used to provide an analysis system to help the United States government track suspected terrorists. The software is based on Bayesian statistical techniques, which can search for patterns of information across large masses of data.

Apple Releases Faster IPhone as Competition Escalates

June 19, 2009

Apple releases a new iPhone at 7 a.m. today with faster speed and more features, and new iPhone operating-system software this week that adds more than 100 new features and works on the 3G S and older models.

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