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Now the bionic man is real …

April 17, 2006

The 1970s gave us the six-million-dollar man. Thirty years and quite a bit of inflation later we have the six-billion-dollar human: not a physical cyborg as such, instead an umbrella term for the latest developments in the growing field of technology for human enhancement.

The new breed of soldier: Robots with guns

April 17, 2006

Spurred by the risks from roadside bombs and terrorist ambushes, the military is aggressively seeking to replace troops with battlefield robots, including new versions armed with machine guns.

Print me a heart and a set of arteries

April 14, 2006

A new “bioprinting” technique uses droplets of “bioink” — clumps of cells a few hundred micrometers in diameter that behave just like a liquid.

This means that droplets placed next to one another will flow together and fuse, forming layers, rings or other shapes, depending on how they were deposited. To print 3D structures, the researchers alternate layers of supporting gel, dubbed “biopaper,” with the bioink droplets. To build… read more

Rice scientists attach motor to single-molecule car

April 14, 2006
Two motorized nanocars on a gold surface. The nanocar consists of a rigid chassis and four alkyne axles that spin freely and swivel independently of one another. The wheels are spherical molecules of carbon, hydrogen and boron called p-carborane.

In follow-on work to last year’s groundbreaking invention of the world’s first single-molecule car, chemists at Rice University have produced the first motorized version of their nanocar.

“We want to construct things from the bottom up, one molecule at a time, in much the same way that biological cells use enzymes to assemble proteins and other supermolecules,” said lead researcher James M. Tour, the Chao Professor of… read more

A Crystal Ball Submerged in a Test Tube

April 12, 2006

A new generation of genetic tests represents some of the first fruit of the long-anticipated genome revolution and could help pave the way to personalized medicine, in which treatments would be tailored for each therapy, potentially making them more effective and less costly.

Such tests are either now available or being developed for purposes like detecting cancer early, monitoring heart transplants and choosing which drugs might work best to… read more

Fast food awash with ‘worst’ kind of fat

April 12, 2006

French fries and chicken nuggets from two major global fast-food chains contain very high levels of artery-clogging trans fats, researchers warn.

Google Patents Voice Search

April 12, 2006

Google, Inc. on Tuesday was granted a patent for a voice interface for search engines.

The patent document suggests that Google will be leveraging its logs of stored text and audio queries to improve speech recognition and relevancy, as the company does currently with text keywords. It says, “The query logs may consist of audio data (i.e., a recorded query) and/or a textual transcription of the audio data…. The… read more

Building a hand-held lab-on-a-chip to simplify blood tests

April 12, 2006

A cell phone-sized blood-count machine requiring less blood than a mosquito bite will make blood tests easier for many patients, from neonatal units to astronauts in space.

Source: National Space Biomedical Research Institute news release

Are laser weapons ready for duty?

April 12, 2006

The next generation of weapons in the U.S. arsenal could be straight out of science fiction: laser beams and heat rays.

Looking for alien lasers, not radios

April 12, 2006

The first optical telescope dedicated to the hunt for alien signals, the Planetary Society’s Optical SETI (OSETI) telescope at Harvard’s Oak Ridge Observatory, has opened.

Once running, OSETI’s processors will carry out a trillion measurements per second, in a year-round survey of the sky. It will be able to pick out flashes of light that are only a billionth of a second long.

Microsoft creates academic search site to rival Google’s

April 12, 2006

Windows Live Academic Search, launched in beta Tuesday night, lets researchers search the contents of academic journals to find abstracts and, if they subscribe to the journals, get the documents from the publishers’ sites.

The service, which for now focuses on computer science, electrical engineering and physics, includes tools for researchers, such as the ability to quickly extract information for citations.

Drexler on Physics and Computation

April 11, 2006

Eric Drexler has written two key new papers, published in scientific journals and linked on

Productive nanosystems: the physics of molecular fabrication deals with fabrication of a wide range of structures, operating with high productivity and precise molecular control.

Toward Integrated Nanosystems: Fundamental issues in design and modeling discusses computational design, modeling, and simulation in the development of functional nanosystems.

Regrow Your Own

April 11, 2006

Genes that regulate blastemas, which could automatically regenerate a missing human limb or organ, might be goaded into action by some drug.

Seashells hold key to building a better battery

April 11, 2006

Building on studies of seashells by the seashore, MIT scientists have harnessed genetically engineered viruses to build nanoscale components that could lead to a new generation of powerful batteries that are as small as grains of rice and that spontaneously assemble themselves in laboratory dishes.

Startup called Webaroo touts ‘Web on a hard drive’

April 9, 2006

Webaroo has developed a set of proprietary search algorithms that whittle the estimated one million gigabytes on the Web down to more manageable chunks that will fit on a hard drive.

They include up to 256 megabytes for a growing menu of “Web packs” on specific topics — your favorite Web sites, city guides, news summaries, Wikipedia and the like — that make up the service’s initial offerings; and… read more

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