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The Even-More-Compact Disc

August 30, 2002

The new miniaturized DataPlay digital media offers CD performance and 500 MB storage at a tiny size but at expensive prices initially for media and players.

DataPlay discs will be available in blank, recordable form as well as prerecorded, copy-protected albums.

Pinhead-size Worms + Robot = New Antibiotics

August 20, 2009

A whole-animal, high-throughput screening test, automated by a robot, has tested the effects of 37,000 potential drugs, identifying 28 never before reported to have germ-fighting effects and replacing less-effective cultures of bacteria or cells.

The Faculty Is Remote, but Not Detached

March 10, 2008

College instructors are increasingly using online distance learning tools such as streaming video that remote students can view online, virtual worlds, and Web forums.

Nearly 3.5 million students were taking online courses in the fall of 2006, and more than two-thirds of all higher-education institutions have online offerings in some form.

Brains, cancer and computers

August 17, 2005

AI in medicine was a key theme at Edinburgh’s recent International Joint Conference in AI.

Intel unfurls experimental 3D transistors

September 20, 2002

Intel unveiled more technical details on its Tri-Gate transistor, an experimental circuit that could become a crucial element in the company’s efforts to continue to heed Moore’s Law by making smaller and faster chips.

The transistors have three gates rather than one, so they behave more like 3-D objects. Increasing the number of transistor gates increases the amount of current that can be handled and reduces leakage, boosting performance.

Fusion of Nanocircuits, Bio-membranes Creates New Hybrid Technology

August 28, 2009

(Scott Dougherty/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

A hybrid of silicon nanocircuits and lipids that mimics some of the processes that control the passage of molecules into and out of cells has been created by a team of scientists from UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC Berkeley.

The team fused proteins from bacteria called Gramicidin A and Alemethicin into the lipid bilayers. In living cells these proteins serve as channels for molecules crossing the… read more

Retina implant receives signals, energy wirelessly

March 14, 2008

Aachen University and Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits researchers have developed a retinal implant that receives optical signals and power wirelessly.

The device currently has 25 stimulating electrodes, connected to ganglion cells. A higher-resolution device is planned.

Molecular motors push liquid uphill

August 29, 2005

Droplets of liquid have been moved uphill by molecular motors designed to manipulate Brownian motion.

The “nano-shuttles” are long hydrocarbon-based molecules each with a ring of organic molecules strung, but not chemically bonded, around them. They could create a range of different types of smart surfaces, such as adhesive surfaces that can be switched on and off, or surfaces that can be switched from one color to another.

How High Tech Is Operating on Medicine

October 14, 2002

Doctors and machines that move as one, pacemakers that collect and transmit data, seamless treatment-support systems…

The Singularity and the Fixed Point

September 4, 2009

If one is trying to build an intelligent machine capable of devising more intelligent machines, a few guidelines are essential, says MIT professor Edward Boyden:

- Find a way to build in motivation, and also motivation amplification–the continued desire to build in self-sustaining motivation, as intelligence amplifies.

- Avoid paralysis of decision making from too many choices and a “societal fixed point” outcome that self-reinforces, remaining in the… read more

New graphene discovery brings practical devices closer

July 25, 2011

Graphene Electrons

Interactions between electrons significantly enhance the already high velocity of electrons in graphene, researchers at The University of Manchester have found.

They anticipate their findings will accelerate building graphene-based devices such as touchscreens, ultrafast transistors, and photodetectors.

The researchers used extremely high-quality graphene devices, prepared by suspending sheets of graphene in a vacuum. This eliminated most of the unwanted scattering mechanisms for electrons in… read more

Gene targeting raises cure hopes

March 19, 2008

US and UK researchers have developed a new technique that uses synthetic proteins to target and knock out (inactivate) individual genes quickly, simply and with a high degree of success.

The zinc-finger nucleases–synthetic versions of gene regulating transcription factors–can be used to cut into and inactivate a target gene in a very precise way, without affecting other nearby genes.

Currently, individual genes are targeted by homologous recombination, a… read more

Judge Bork’s Inkblot

September 13, 2005

Could a human-like artificial intelligence constitute a “person” for purposes of protection under the 14th Amendment, or is such protection limited, by the 14th Amendment’s language, to those who are “born or naturalized in the United States?”

Self-assembling silica microwires may herald new generation of integrated optical devices

January 24, 2013

This image shows self-assembled silica wires illuminated by HeNe (helium-neon) laser light from one end (credit: John Canning)

By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica (silicon dioxide) nanoparticles to self-assemble into highly uniform silica wires, hair-like slivers of silica.

Such silica microwires could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber.

The international team describes the research in a paper… read more

Why 6-Legged Bots Rule

November 1, 2002

UC Berkeley biologist Robert J. Full is developing a new generation of highly mobile legged robots using the self-stabilizing sprawled posture found in a cockroach.

The devices embed control algorithms in the limbs themselves, allowing for more rapid response and increased speed and stability while freeing up the central processor for higher-level operations.

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