science + technology news

Watching Cancer Cells Die

March 3, 2006

A nano sensor, developed by scientists at the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, detects apoptosis (cell suicide).

The sensor could directly signal whether a drug is working or not by looking at individual cells. The detector uses an iron-oxide nanoparticle, which may allow for seeing the sensors inside the human body using MRI because the iron-oxide particle is a very good imaging… read more

Stealth sharks to patrol the high seas

March 2, 2006

Engineers funded by the US military have created a neural implant designed to enable a shark’s brain signals to be manipulated remotely, controlling the animal’s movements, and perhaps even decoding what it is feeling.

The Pentagon hopes to exploit sharks’ natural ability to glide quietly through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical trails. By remotely guiding the sharks’ movements, they hope to transform the animals into… read more

Nanotube networks conjured on crystals

March 2, 2006

The key to instantly assembling intricate networks of nanotubes has been discovered by scientists armed with some of the most sophisticated microscopes in the world.

The phenomenon may some day help material scientists manufacture nano-circuits that channel electrons through tiny tunnels instead of along silicon wires, which have to be etched lithographically. Such circuits would be many times smaller than today’s, allowing greater computer power to be packed into… read more

Atom Wires

March 1, 2006

Physicists have built the world’s thinnest wires, one atom wide, by evaporating a puff of gold atoms onto a silicon substrate which has first been cleared of impurities by baking it at 1200 degrees Kelvin.

The crystalline surface was cut to form staircase corrugations. Left to themselves, the atoms then self-assemble into wires (aligned along the corrugations) of up to 150 atoms each.

Transistor-Cantilever Combo Detects Biomolecules With High Sensitivity

February 28, 2006

Northwestern University reseachers coupled a microcantilever with a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor to yield a device that generates a direct electrical signal whenever the cantilever bends in response to biomolecule binding.

It is capable of detecting bending of as little as five nanometers, sufficient to reliably detect binding of DNA, antibodies, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) to the microcantilevers.

It can also be mass-produced using standard computer chip… read more

Faster Chips, Kill, Kill, Kill

February 28, 2006

PCs with 5-GHz CPUs should soon be on store shelves. We can expect transistor counts on CPUs to double from 1 billion to 2 billion in two years, and 4 billion in four years; and the amount of DRAM per chip should continue to double from a maximum of 1 Gigabit now to 4 Gigabits per chip in four years.

Entanglement heats up

February 28, 2006

“Entanglement” could occur at any temperature and not just in systems cooled to near zero according to new calculations by a team of physicists in the UK, Austria and Portugal.

They have found that the photons in ordinary laser light can be quantum mechanically entangled with the vibrations of a macroscopic mirror, no matter how hot the mirror is. The result is unexpected because hot objects are usually thought… read more

3D plasma shapes created in thin air

February 28, 2006

The night sky could soon be lit up with gigantic three-dimensional ads, thanks to a Japanese laser display that creates glowing images in thin air.

The display uses an ionization effect which occurs when a beam of laser light is focused to a point in air.

The Future of the Blog

February 27, 2006

Future blogging software will focus on more select and filtered readership, allowing people to read certain posts, and making it easier for people to incorporate more media and mobile capabilities.

Taking Spying to Higher Level, Agencies Look for More Ways to Mine Data

February 27, 2006

Intelligence agency systems are taking data mining techniques further, applying software analysis tools now routinely used by law enforcement agencies to identify criminal activities and political terrorist organizations that would otherwise be missed by human eavesdroppers.

Neurological Technology Attracts Doctors

February 27, 2006

An emerging class of implantable medical devices called neuromodulators — tiny machines that stimulate the central nervous system to treat a host of disorders — could be the next big thing for some of the market’s hottest medical technology companies.

Potential uses include treating diseases including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, erectile dysfunction, traumatic brain injuries, obesity, angina, incontinence and ringing in the ears.

Huge protein-interaction database could save lives

February 27, 2006

The Human Protein Reference Database, the first large-scale analysis of how proteins interact inside our cells, may help biologists identify novel gene mutations involved in human disease, researchers say.

Enzyme computer could live inside you

February 24, 2006

A molecular computer that uses enzymes to perform calculations has been built by researchers in Israel.

They believe enzyme-powered computers could eventually be implanted into the human body and used to, for example, tailor the release of drugs to a specific person’s metabolism.

Is our universe about to be mangled?

February 23, 2006

Our universe may one day be obliterated or assimilated by a larger universe, according to a controversial new analysis. The work suggests the parallel universes proposed by some quantum theorists may not actually be parallel but could interact — and with disastrous consequences.

Quantum Dots ‘Talk’

February 23, 2006

Ohio University scientists who hope to use quantum dots as the building blocks for the next generation of computers have found a way to make these artificial atoms communicate.

They found that when the dots were arranged at a distance from each other greater than the radius of the dots, light waves traveled between the nanocrystals coherently. In previous research, the light’s wavelength would change or become irregular during… read more

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