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Rehab’s robotic revolution

January 31, 2006

Researchers envision a day when robots will become standard equipment in rehabilitation centers, giving stroke patients — and possibly patients with spinal cord injuries — a chance to take their recovery further than previously possible.

The KineAssist, just one of a legion of smart machines poised to bring physical therapy into the high-tech age, was developed at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It is essentially a hip brace and… read more

Missing a few brain cells? Print new ones

January 31, 2006

A printer that spits out ultra-fine droplets of cells instead of ink has been used to print live brain cells without causing them any apparent harm. The technique could open up the possibility of building replacement tissue cell by cell, giving doctors complete control over the tissue they graft.

The device is a variant of a conventional ink-jet printer. Instead of forcing individual droplets of ink through a needle-shaped… read more

Prions may hold key to stem cell function

January 31, 2006

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts have found that adult stem cells in bone marrow gradually lose their ability to regenerate without their normal complement of membrane-bound prions.

Regeneration Sans Stem Cells

January 30, 2006

Scientists are developing drugs to regenerate human tissues and organs, avoiding medical problems like immune rejection.

South Pole Neutrino Detector Could Yield Evidences of String Theory

January 30, 2006

Researchers at Northeastern University and the University of California, Irvine say that scientists might soon have evidence for extra dimensions and other exotic predictions of string theory. Early results from a neutrino detector at the South Pole, called AMANDA, show that ghostlike particles from space could serve as probes to a world beyond our familiar three dimensions, the research team says.

DNA-wrapped carbon nanotubes serve as sensors in living cells

January 30, 2006

Single walled carbon nanotubes wrapped with DNA can be placed inside living cells and detect trace amounts of harmful contaminants, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Their discovery opens the door to new types of optical sensors and biomarkers that exploit the unique properties of nanoparticles in living systems.

“We found that the thermodynamics that drive the switching back and forth between these two forms… read more

Linear thinking about the future of cars

January 30, 2006

A U.K. government think tank has forecast RFID-tagged driverless cars on roads by 2056.

“Given the ability of several cars to navigate a complex route in the recent DARPA competition completely autonomously and a General Motors project to demonstrate driverless cars traveling at 60 miles per hour by 2008, the projection of RFID-controlled cars by the year 2056 is a good example of linear thinking,” says Ray… read more

Brain scans may be used as lie detectors

January 29, 2006

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was able to spot lies in at high accuracy rates in recent experiments. The method detects tiny changes in blood flow in certain areas.

Collective Intelligence 2.0

January 27, 2006

Nova Spivack has proposed a “collective self-awareness” Web service that is “like a ‘Google Zeitgeist’ on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features in it.

“The goal is to measure and visualize the state of the collective mind of humanity, and provide this back to humanity in as close to real-time as is possible, from as many data sources as we can handle.… read more

Bacteria Hunter — The Worm Medicine Nanorobotic Device

January 26, 2006

Svidinenko Yuriy has conceived a “worm nanorobotic” device that swims in the human bloodstream, removing hazardous fungi and microorganisms.

The concept is an alternative to Robert A. Freitas Jr.’s microbivore design, with simpler construction, according to Yuriy.

Robot set loose to film your insides

January 26, 2006

A robot developed by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center can move around inside the stomach or abdomen to give surgeons a new perspective on the area being operated on. It is also equipped with a retractable needle, allowing it to perform biopsies.

The remote-controlled robot is only 15 millimeters in diameter, allowing it to be inserted through the small incisions in the abdomen used for keyhole… read more

Intel shows test chips made on future processes

January 26, 2006

Intel has created test chips made on the 45-nanometer process and will likely begin shipping processors, flash, and other chips based on that process in the second half of 2007, according to Mark Bohr, director of process architecture and integration at Intel.

Although these are just test chips, the milestone is an important indication that Intel’s overall manufacturing strategy remains on track and in sync with Moore’s law. However,… read more

Imagining the Google Future

January 25, 2006

What kind of company will Google become in the coming decades? Business 2.0 asked scientists, consultants, former Google employees, and tech visionaries like Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram, resulting in four scenarios:

Google is the media (circa 2025): Google TV, Google Mobile, and the rise of e-paper create the perfect storm;

Google is the Internet (circa 2015): Free Wi-Fi, a faster version of the Web, the Gbrowser, and… read more

3D structure of HIV is ‘revealed’

January 25, 2006

The 3D structure of the HIV virus has been revealed for the first time, scientists say.

The variable size and shape of HIV has made it hard to map, the team said in the journal Structure. So the UK-German team took hundreds of images of viruses and used a computer program to combine them.

“Identifying how the virus grows will allow us to address the formation of this… read more

Nanotube transistors detect gene mutations

January 25, 2006

University of Pittsburgh and Nanomix researchers have used carbon nanotubes network field-effect transistors as biodetectors of mutations in genes causing hereditary diseases.

The method is an “important step toward low-cost, low-complexity, highly sensitive and accurate molecular diagnostics,” the authors say.

Reference: Label-free detection of DNA hybridization using carbon nanotube network field-effect transistors, PNAS, January 24, 2006, vol. 103, no. 4, 921-926 (open-access article).

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