science + technology news

Battery electrodes self-assembled by viruses

May 4, 2006

Genetically modified viruses that assemble into electrodes could one day revolutionize battery manufacturing.

The MIT team genetically modified viruses to create the electrodes. They introduced snippets of single-stranded DNA that caused the viruses to manufacture specific molecules on their outer coating that attach to cobalt ions and gold particles. This combination turns the virus into an efficient anode as they provide an ideal conduit for electrons.

Brain Power

May 3, 2006

The Classification System for Serial Criminal Patterns (CSSCP) combs through police department IT systems, searching for patterns or clusters of data elements that might tie together a string of crimes and give police the data they need to find the perpetrators, derived from analysis of the most successful detectives in Chicago.

The Times Emulates Print on the Web

May 3, 2006

Microsoft and The New York Times have unveiled software that preserves the print edition’s design online.

IBM uses atomic microscope for direct writing

May 3, 2006

IBM has unveiled a new method of direct writing (like an inkjet printer) to substrates that harnesses an atomic force microscope (AFM) to electronically control molecular-scale lithography.

For semiconductors, IBM’s new electronically controlled direct writing method uses AFM positioning accuracy to define complex patterns in a variety of materials with features down to 10 nanometers — five times smaller than today’s e-beam lithography equipment and 10 times smaller than… read more

DARPA announces Urban Challenge.

May 2, 2006

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced plans to hold its third Grand Challenge competition on November 3, 2007.

The DARPA Urban Challenge will feature autonomous ground vehicles executing simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. Safe operation in traffic is essential to U.S. military plans to use autonomous ground vehicles to conduct important missions.

Teams will compete to… read more

Shifting constant could shake laws of nature

May 2, 2006

A series of experiments suggests that over the past 12 billion years, the ratio of the mass of a proton to that of an electron may have decreased.

Various versions of string theory suggest that extra dimensions occupied by a particle might affect properties such as its mass. Subtle changes in these dimensions could make physical constants vary slightly, acccording to John Barrow, a cosmologist at the University of… read more

‘Cooking’ carbon nanotubes like spaghetti

May 1, 2006

Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a technique to force a variety of enzymes to self-assemble layer-by-layer on carbon nanotubes with the help of noodle-like polymer molecules.

In “A biosensor layered like lasagna,” the researchers say that this technique can be applied to a wide range of applications. In particular, it will be possible to build other biosensors “that react specifically with other biological chemicals,… read more

Subliminal advertising may work after all

May 1, 2006

Researchers have shown that if the conditions are right, subliminal advertising to promote a brand can be made to work.

Nanowires and water are a memorable mix

May 1, 2006

Adding water to nanowires could create computer memory devices capable of storing 10 million times more information in the same physical space as existing drives.

Researchers estimate that the wires could theoretically be used to make computer memory drives with a data density of 10,000 terabits per cubic centimeter. By contrast, current flash memory drives store about five gigabits per cubic centimeter.

Wrinkled cell nuclei may make us age

April 28, 2006

A new study shows that cells from people over the age of 80 tend to have specific problems with the nucleus. The elderly nucleus loses its pert, rounded shape and becomes warped and wrinkled.

The National Cancer Institute team suggests that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A protein, but that young cells can sense and eliminate it. Elderly cells, it seems,… read more

The Total Information Awareness Project Lives On

April 28, 2006

Technology behind the Pentagon’s controversial Total Information Awareness (TIA) data-mining project has been acquired by NSA and is probably in use.

Nanotube-enhanced Solar Energy

April 28, 2006

AMBIT Corporation plans to accelerate investment in its patented nanotube-on-silicon technology, which can boost the efficiency of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity by up to 18 percent.

The nanotubes act as antennas for the solar light and can also be used for optical detectors and nanotube memory.

Your Thoughts Are Your Password

April 28, 2006

Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, are exploring the possibility of a biometric security device that will use a person’s brain wave patterns to authenticate her or his identity.

‘Bug-eyed’ lens takes a broader view

April 28, 2006

An artificial insect “eye” could give surveillance cameras, cellphone cameras, and surgical endoscopes a much wider field of vision: the ability to see almost everything around them.

The ultra-wide-angle compound lens, which is about the size of an insect’s eye, was developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Micro-pump to cool future computer chips

April 27, 2006

Purdue University engineers have developed a “micro-pump” cooling device small enough to fit on a computer chip that circulates coolant through channels etched into the chip.

“Our goal is to develop advanced cooling systems that are self-contained on chips and are capable of handling the more extreme heating in future chips,” said Suresh Garimella, director of Purdue’s Cooling Technologies Research Center.

The prototype chip contains numerous water-filled micro-channels,… read more

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