science + technology news

Heart disease ‘reversed in mice’

December 3, 2008

US and German scientists have halted the advance of heart disease in mice, and even reversed some of its effects, by blocking a genetic material called microRNA, showing it can play a key role in the development of heart disease.

First one-way acoustic circulator lets you hear without being heard

May lead to advances in noise control and improved compact components for acoustic imaging and sensing
January 31, 2014

A one-way circulator for sound. The arrows represent acoustic signals flowing through the device (diameter: ~20 centimeters), which circulates sound in a nonreciprocal fashion: signals can flow from left to top, from top to right, and from right to left, but not in the opposite directions. This creates one-way communication channels for sound, allowing listeners to hear but not be heard in return. (Credit: Erik Zumalt, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin)

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever one-way circulator for sound.

The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.

“Imagine being able to listen… read more

Second Life, or Not?

June 8, 2007

An activist group is raising a ruckus about what it says may be the first effort to patent an entirely synthetic free-living organism. It says the patent application, filed by maverick genome sequencer Craig Venter’s institute on an idea that has likely not yet been achieved, would tie up new technology and could aid bioterrorists. But others say there’s nothing new or surprising about the patenting effort.

The work… read more

How to trap delicate nanoparticles with laser light

May 7, 2012


Using a refined technique for trapping and manipulating nanoparticles, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have extended the trapped particles’ useful life more than tenfold.

The new approach promises to give experimenters the trapping time they need to build nanoscale structures and may open the way to working with nanoparticles inside biological cells without damaging the cells with intense laser light.… read more

Step Toward Universal Computing

September 13, 2004

Transitive Corp. of Los Gatos, California claims to have cracked one of most elusive goals of the software industry: a near-universal emulator (called QuickTransit) that allows software developed for one platform to run on any other, with almost no performance hit.

Home’s electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data

September 16, 2010

SNUPI sensor (Gabe Cohn)

Sensors developed by researchers at the University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology use residential wiring to transmit information to and from almost anywhere in the home, allowing for wireless sensors that run for decades on a single watch battery. The technology could be used in home automation or medical monitoring.

Low-cost sensors recording a building’s temperature, humidity, light level or air quality are central to the… read more

Video: Jumping rolling robot avoids all obstacles

December 9, 2008

A new robot design from University of Bath allows it to either jump or roll over obstacles, making it useful for space exploration.


Bones could allow data swaps via handshake

June 18, 2007

Rice University researchers want to use the human skeleton to transmit commands reliably and securely to wearable gadgets and medical implants, using frequency-shift-keyed, low-power acoustic signals.

Researchers Create Nanotubes That Change Colors, Form ‘Nanocarpet’ and Kill Bacteria

September 27, 2004

University of Pittsburgh researchers have synthesized a simple molecule that produces perfectly uniform, self-assembled nanotubes which organize themselves into a “nanocarpet” of upright clusters resembling a carpet (including a self-assembled backing) and can act as a bacterial biosensor or biocide.

These nanotubes can change color in the presence of chemical agents. In tests with E. coli the nanotubes changed color when the bacteria were present. The tubes also killed… read more

How Flexible Solar Panels Could Make Solar Power Competitive

September 24, 2010

The cost of making and installing thin and flexible solar cells can be less than a dollar a watt, low enough to compete generally with fossil fuels, says Cal Tech professor Harry Atwater.

Two ways  to use high-efficiency solar cell materials in flexible cells, he suggests: deposit gallium arsenide on a rigid surface, then peel it off to make a flexible solar cell; and grow crystalline… read more

Gas memory could send spooky messages the full distance

December 17, 2008

Georgia Institute of Technology scientists have succeeded in creating quantum memories that last for 7.2 microseconds — more than two orders of magnitude longer than previously reported, and time enough to theoretically transmit quantum information over 1000 kilometers via photons.

The qubits are stored in gas atoms, encoded into a magnetic property known as “spin.”

Monitoring the Brain in 3-D

June 28, 2007

Duke University researchers have developed an ultrasound endoscope that will give surgeons a 3-D view of the brain during and after an operation.

Device Translates Spoken Japanese and English

October 8, 2004

A handheld device that enables a user to chat in another language — without having to learn any words or phrases — has been developed by NEC.

It consists of a speech recognition engine, translation software and a voice generator. Spoken English or Japanese is recognized and converted into text by the speech-recognition engine. The text is then converted from Japanese to English (or the other way) by translation… read more

Tunable, Cloaked Toxin Delivery System to Kill Tumors from Within

October 5, 2010

Rotello nanotech therapy_0

Researchers led by University of Massachusetts Amherst chemist Vincent Rotello have demonstrated that they can deliver a dormant toxin into a specific site such as a tumor for anti-cancer therapy, then chemically trigger the toxin to de-cloak and attack from within.

It holds promise as a “complex and sophisticated” synthetic, therapeutic drug delivery system for living cells.

As Rotello explains, “Supramolecular chemistry focuses on understanding what forces… read more

Genetics: Top 10 articles from 2008

December 26, 2008

The top 10 best features on genetics in New Scientist include Me and my genome, Genetically modified humans: Here and more coming soon, and MicroRNAs: The cell’s little emperors. is now making free all in-depth articles from the past 12 months.

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