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MIT looks to give ‘group think’ a good name

October 11, 2006

The new MIT Center for Collective Intelligence hopes to address this central question: “How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?”

Could I Get That Song in Elvis, Please?

November 24, 2003

Vocaloid software, due out in January from Yamaha, allows users to create synthesized songs in a life-like concert-quality voice.

To create the virtual performer’s “vocal font,” technicians record a singer performing as many as 60 pages of scripted phoneme articulations along with assorted pitches and techniques like glissandos and legatos.

The software may allow for “vocal reanimation” of celebrity singers, like Elvis.

Vocaloid could be used as… read more

Implanted Sensor Could Provide Clues to Brain Chemistry

February 17, 2010

Release of dopamine (lower green and purple band) and adenosine (upper green and purple band) chemical messengers (Kendall H. Lee, MD, PhD, director of Mayo Neural Engineering Laboratories, and Kevin Bennet, Chair of Mayo Division of Engineering)

An implantable sensor designed to detect the release of dopamine and adenosine could help scientists measure the impact of deep brain stimulation and perhaps provide a way to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment for Parkinson’s and other disorders.

The device consists of a custom-designed sensor electrode that is implanted along with the stimulating electrode, a microprocessor, a Bluetooth module to send data to a computer, and a battery.

First DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts

July 3, 2008

University of Toyama researchers have built the first DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts.

The researchers used DNA synthesis equipment to assemble four artificial bases (basic building blocks of DNA) inside the framework of a DNA molecule. The unusually stable, double-stranded structures resemble natural DNA, which also has four bases.

Until now, scientists have only been able to craft DNA molecules with one or a few… read more

A Virtual World but Real Money

October 18, 2006

The Second Life online service is fast becoming a three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers.

The Internet is the fastest-growing advertising medium, as traditional forms of marketing like television commercials and print advertising slow. For businesses, these early forays into virtual worlds could be the next frontier in the blurring of advertising and entertainment.

Nanotech R&D act becomes law

December 4, 2003

President Bush signed into law the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act on Wed. Dec. 3, with a $3.7 billion appropriation.

The bill authorizes the President to create a permanent National Nanotechnology Research Program (NNPR) to replace the expiring National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The new NNRP, according to the bill, is a “coordinated inter-agency program that will support long-term nanoscale research and development leading to potential breakthroughs in… read more

U.S. Unprepared for ‘Cyber War’, Former Top Spy Official Says

February 24, 2010

The U.S. isn’t prepared for a massive attack on its computer networks by another country and would lose, former Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told a Senate panel today.

Check Yourself for Genetic Abnormalities

July 9, 2008

Wired has assembled a wiki with ways to check yourself for inherited traits associated with some sort of health condition, grouped under three options: visit a genetic counselor, scan your whole genome, and perform lab tests at home.

One for the Ages: A Prescription That May Extend Life

October 31, 2006

In the last year, calorie-restricted diets have been shown in various animals to affect molecular pathways likely to be involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Researchers studying dietary effects on humans claim that calorie restriction may be more effective than exercise at preventing age-related diseases.

Dr. Richard A. Miller, a pathologist at the University of Michigan, estimated that a pill… read more

Self-healing electronics restores broken connection in microseconds

December 21, 2011

Self-healing electronics. Microcapsules full of liquid metal sit atop a gold circuit. When the circuit is broken, the microcapsules rupture, filling in the crack and restoring the circuit (credit: Scott White)

University of Illinois engineers have developed a self-healing system that restores electrical conductivity to a cracked circuit in microseconds.

“It simplifies the system,” said chemistry professor Jeffrey Moore, a co-author of the paper. “Rather than having to build in redundancies or to build in a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed to take care of the problem itself.”

As electronic devices are evolving to perform… read more

Coral reveals ancient origins of human genes

December 16, 2003

A study of coral found that about 500 gene sequences out of 1300 had matches in gene databases.

Of these 500, 90% were present in humans, and about 10% were found in humans but not in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster or the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This finding suggests that many genes thought to be vertebrate-specific may in fact have much older origins, and have been lost during the… read more

Using own skin cells to repair hearts on horizon

March 4, 2010

A heart patient’s own skin cells soon could be used to repair damaged cardiac tissue thanks to pioneering stem cell research by University of Houston biomedical scientist Robert Schwartz.

Growing Neural Implants

July 16, 2008

University of Michigan are developing methods of preventing damage to neurons caused my implanted electrodes.

They are using an electrically conductive polymer coating that increases the surface area of the metal-biological interface, which in turn boosts performance of the electrode and lowers both electrochemical reactions and needed battery capacity.

Their ultimate goal is to get the electrodes to fully integrate with tissue by growing the coating after the… read more

New fluorescent protein from eel revolutionizes key clinical assay

Saving human lives while preserving an endangered species
June 19, 2013

Fluorescence image of a transverse section of a formalin-fixed eel (credit: RIKEN)

Unagi, the sea-going Japanese freshwater eel, harbors a fluorescent protein that could serve as the basis for a revolutionary new clinical test for bilirubin, a critical indicator of human liver function, hemolysis, and jaundice, according to researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

Best known as a culinary delicacy in Japan, the freshwater eel Unagi (Anguilla japonica) and related species have seen a worldwide decrease… read more

New Top 500 supercomputer sites list

November 14, 2006

The 28th TOP500 List of supercomputer sites for 2006 has been released.

IBM BlueGene/L system, installed at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, retains the No. 1 spot with a Linpack performance of 280.6 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second, or Tflop/s).

The new No. 2 systems is Sandia National Laboratories’ Cray Red Storm supercomputer, only the second system ever to be recorded to exceed the 100… read more

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