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Molecule Walks Like a Human

September 28, 2005
A DTA molecule moves in a straight line on a flat surface, such as a copper sheet shown here, by mimicking a human walking

The “nano-walker,” a molecule that can move in a straight line on a flat surface has been designed by UC Riverside researchers, offering a new approach for storing large amounts of information on a tiny chip.

The molecule — 9,10-dithioanthracene or “DTA” — has two linkers that act as feet. Obtaining its energy from heat supplied to it, the molecule moves such that only one of the… read more

GE and EADS to print parts for airplanes

May 10, 2011

A conventional hinge for the cover of a jet engine (top) could be replaced by the more intricate one at bottom, which is just as strong but weighs half as much, using 3-D printing (credit: EADS Innovation Works)

GE is starting a new lab at its global research headquarters in Niskayuna, New York devoted to turning 3-D printing technology into a viable means of manufacturing functional parts for a range of its businesses, including health care and aerospace.

3-D printing technology has improved to the point that these printers can make intricate objects out of durable materials , including ceramics and metals such as titanium and aluminum,… read more

A Few Ways to Win Mortality War

November 21, 2002

Wired reports on Alcor’s Extreme Life Extension Conference.

Interplanetary internet gets permanent home in space

July 8, 2009

The interplanetary Internet now has its first permanent node in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

It could one day allow data to flow between Earth, spacecraft, and astronauts automatically, using delay-tolerant networking (DTN) to cope with the patchy coverage in space that arises when spacecraft pass behind planets or suffer power outages.

NASA aims to have the DTN protocol ready for use on future spacecraft by… read more

Higher-Capacity Memory

February 12, 2008

Nanochip’s forthcoming array-based memory will provide an alternative to both flash memory and hard drives. In addition to storing more data than flash, it will be cheaper and can be about as fast.

The first prototypes will store about 100 gigabytes; eventually, the devices could store terabytes’ worth of data.

The Nanochip technology stores information by applying a voltage to a thin-film material using an array of microscopic… read more

‘Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines’ Now Freely Available Online

October 11, 2005

Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, the most comprehensive review of the field, co-authored by Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle, is now freely accessible online.

Published in hardback in late 2004, the book is also available in print.

With 200+ illustrations and 3200+ literature references, KSRM describes all proposed and experimentally realized self-replicating systems that were publicly known as of… read more

A giant interneuron for ‘sparse coding’

May 16, 2011

Giant Interneuron

A single giant interneuron tracks in real time the activity of several tens of thousands of neurons in an olfactory center of a locust and feeds inhibition back to all of them to control their collective output, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt have discovered.

The researchers tested how neurons (Kenyon cells) in the insect brain’s mushroom bodies  respond with great… read more

A Few Good Toys

December 4, 2002

The Army’s goal is to come up with a uniform by 2008 with helmet that enhances hearing and protect ears from battle cacaphony and heads-up display built into the visor to display infrared images. A wheeled robot “mule” would follow a soldier around with equipment for purifying water and recharging batteries.

The Army warfighter of 2025 will have lightweight body armor made with nanomaterials to deflect a bullet with… read more

Artistic tendencies linked to ‘schizophrenia gene’

July 17, 2009

A genetic mutation linked to psychosis and schizophrenia also influences creativity, a Semmelweis University researcher has found.

He speculates that the mutation dampens a brain region that reins in mood and behavior, the prefrontal cortex. This change could unleash creative potential in some people and psychotic delusions in others.

Scientists create synthetic membranes that grow like living cells

June 23, 2015


Chemists and biologists at UC San Diego have succeeded in designing and synthesizing an artificial cell membrane capable of sustaining continual growth, just like a living cell.

Their achievement will allow scientists to more accurately replicate the behavior of living cell membranes, which until now have been modeled only by synthetic cell membranes without the ability to add new phospholipids.

“The… read more

21st Century’s Grand Engineering Challenges Unveiled

February 15, 2008

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) today announced 14 grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century that, if met, “would improve how we live by improving sustainability, health, and joy of living, and reducing vulnerability.”

A diverse committee of experts from around the world chaired by former secretary of defense William Perry (committee chair) and including genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter, Google co-founder Larry Page, and Ray… read more

The Potential of MEMS

October 25, 2005

Total sales in the MEMS (microlectromechanical systems) market will reach $5.4 billion this year and will grow to more than $7 billion in 2007.

Biggest sellers: inertial devices, micromirrors for projection devices and TVs, pressure sensors, RF applications, analytical instruments, and in biomedical monitoring devices.

Small RNAs Make Big Splash

December 19, 2002

Recent discoveries indicate that a class of RNA molecules called small RNAs operate many of the cell’s controls. They can shut down genes or alter their levels of expression.

In some species, truncated RNA molecules literally shape genomes, carving out chunks to keep and discarding others. There are even hints that certain small RNAs might help chart a cell’s destiny by directing genes to turn on or off during… read more

Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man

July 27, 2009

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload.

Scientists Measure What It Takes to Push a Single Atom

February 21, 2008

IBM scientists have measured the force needed to nudge one atom: one-130-millionth of an ounce of force pushes a cobalt atom across a smooth, flat piece of platinum, and one-1,600-millionth of an ounce of force pushes it across copper.

To measure the force, an atomic force microscope tip was attached to a small tuning fork. Changes in the frequency of the tuning fork’s vibrations as it pushed the cobalt… read more

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