science + technology news

Regenesis

April 24, 2006

The first life form may have been RNA. verything after that point may be up for grabs–even the structure of DNA.

Synthetic biologists have created DNA chains that function, but are made of different sugars and acids than the stuff in our cells.

It’s even possible that DNA-like molecules could work in ammonia, not water. The number of basic amino acids used to make proteins may also be… read more

NANO Design Showing Online

April 23, 2006

Transhumanist Arts and Culture Showings has introduced the “NANO” group showing, featuring eight designers: Gina Miller, Forrest Bishop, Anders Sandberg, Robert A. Freitas Jr., Eric Viktor, Philippe Van Nedervelde, Michael Gallagher, and Natasha Vita-More.

According to Vita-More, “NANO is a rare opportunity to view selected nano images by designers whose backgrounds embrace fine arts, multimedia, technology, science and engineering. Compiling the diverse milieu is brought about through… read more

Pa. Professor Develops Snake-Like Robots

April 23, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University professor Howie Choset has developed snake-like robots he hopes will eventually slither through collapsed buildings in search of trapped victims.

The machines are designed to carry cameras and electronic sensors and can be controlled with a joystick. They wriggle with the help of small electric motors, or servos.

Bio fuel cells could power portable gadgets

April 23, 2006

A hydrogen fuel cell that uses enzymes instead of expensive metal catalysts to drive chemical reactions has been developed by researchers from Oxford University.

They used two enzymes, one harvested from bacteria and the other from fungus, to catalyse the same chemical reactions.

Solar-powered implant could restore vision

April 23, 2006

A solar-powered chip that stimulates retinal cells by spraying them with neurotransmitters could restore sight to blind people.

Another fundamental constant accused of changing

April 23, 2006

Cosmologists claim to have found evidence that yet another fundamental constant of nature, called mu (The ratio of a proton’s mass to that of an electron), may have changed over the last 12 billion years.

If confirmed, the result could force some physicists to radically rethink their theories. It would also provide support for string theory, which predicts extra spatial dimensions.

Superconducting memory flip-flops in an instant

April 21, 2006

An exotic form of electronic memory made using superconductors could someday be used to make computers that work at unprecedented speeds, say researchers.

John Koza Has Built an Invention Machine

April 20, 2006

Its creations earn patents, outperform humans, and will soon fly to space.

Keeping the mind young, strong

April 20, 2006

Nintendo’s Brain Age game celebrates the work of Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima by engaging owners in a series of hands-on exercises geared to giving their gray matter a rigorous workout, including daily tests of the current age of their brains.

Code for Unbreakable Quantum Encryption

April 20, 2006

Raw code for “unbreakable” quantum encryption has been generated at record speed over optical fiber at NIST.

The work is a step toward using conventional high-speed networks such as broadband Internet and local-area networks to transmit ultra-secure video for applications such as surveillance, confidential data, and military opertions.

Paint-on laser brings optical computing closer

April 20, 2006

A laser created by simply painting a solution of crystals onto glass could be used to make super-fast computers that use light instead of electricity. The technology could also provide cheap sensors for biomedical and motoring applications.

The researchers made the laser by painting a thin tube of glass with a solution of quantum dots, which produce a laser beam when a “pump” beam of normal light is shined… read more

Watching the brain ‘switch off’ self-awareness

April 20, 2006

Researchers conducted a series of experiments using fMRI to pinpoint the brain activity associated with introspection and that linked to sensory function.

They found that the brain assumes a robotic functionality when it has to concentrate all its efforts on a difficult, timed task — only becoming “human” again when it has the luxury of time.

Wireless device to improve cancer treatment

April 19, 2006

Engineers at Purdue University are creating a wireless device the size of a rice grain that could be implanted in tumors to tell doctors the precise dose of radiation received and locate the exact position of tumors during treatment.

The device, a passive wireless transponder, has no batteries and will be activated with electrical coils placed next to the body.

Source: Purdue University news release

Cybernetics: Merging machine and man

April 19, 2006

High-tech tools, implanted or attached to the human body, are bringing biology and technology together to repair, replace and augment human ability.

Brain knitting

April 18, 2006

A scaffold of nanoscale fibers that self-assembles from small, synthetic protein-like components provides a framework for the regrowth of damaged brain tissue, allowing vision to be restored in hamsters with brain lesions, a team in the USA and China reports.

The nano-scaffold, made of short peptides, is biodegradable and non-toxic, causes no immune response, is injectable — it self-assembles when the molecules come together in a salty solution –… read more

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