science + technology news

Sensory illusions dazzle at graphics conference

August 3, 2006

Inventions on display at the SIGGRAPH 2006 computer graphics conference, which opened in Boston, on Monday,
include a toy house that appears to warp into surreal shapes, a handheld device that “pulls” a person around, and a display that generates holographic illusions using scores of hidden projectors.

Lasers operate inside single cells

October 6, 2003

With pulses of intense laser light a millionth of a billionth of a second long, US researchers are vaporizing tiny structures inside living cells without killing them. The “laser nanosurgery” technique could help probe how cells work and perform super-precise surgery.

In the future, laser scalpels could cut inside tissues without opening up the patient, says physicist Eric Mazur of Harvard University.

Chemical computer that mimics neurons to be created

January 12, 2010

A new biologically inspired “wet computer” research project uses chemical reactions to mimic neurons.

Funded by an EU emerging technologies program, it will make use of stable “cells” featuring a coating that forms spontaneously, similar to the walls of our own cells, and uses chemistry to accomplish the signal processing similar to that of our own neurons.

It is intended for uses such as controlling molecular robots, fine-grained… read more

Inflatable electric car can drive off cliffs

June 5, 2008

The company XP Vehicles plans to sell inflatable cars made with “airbags”–the same polymer materials used to cushion NASA’s rovers when they landed on Mars.

Different models of the car will be made of various polymers, carbon fiber, and other strong, ultra-light-weight materials. They claim its low weight will allow it to have a range of 300 to 2,500 miles per charge, depending on what battery technology is in… read more

‘Electron-spin’ trick boosts quantum computing

August 18, 2006

A new silicon chip capable of manipulating the spin of a single electron could ultimately allow futuristic quantum computers to be built using conventional electronic technology.

Nanotubes boost storage

October 16, 2003

Scientists have demonstrated that multiwalled carbon nanotube tips can be used to write more than 250 gigabits per square inch of data onto a polymer film.

The power efficiency of indent writing with MWCNT tips was found to be higher than that of conventional silicon tips owing to better heat transfer at the tip-polymer interface.

Lantz, M. et al. Carbon nanotube tips for thermomechanical data more

Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky.

January 18, 2010

Cognitive psychologists, neurologists and other researchers are beginning to study the impact of constant multitasking, finding that just talking on a cell phone takes its own considerable toll on cognition and awareness, known as “inattention blindness.”

One possible explanation: a cellphone conversation taxes not just auditory resources in the brain but also visual functions, prompting the listener to, for example, create visual imagery related to the conversation in a… read more

Virtual Walt Disney World Added To Google Earth

June 9, 2008

Disney and Google have announced Walt Disney World Resort in 3-D.

All four theme parks and more than 20 Disney Resort hotels of the Orlando, Fla., tourist destination have been placed on Google Earth.

Users “can zoom down Main Street, USA, fly around Cinderella Castle, explore Spaceship Earth and climb the Tree of Life,” and plan a vacation.

Preclinical Tests Show Acid-Sensitive Nanoparticles Treat Ovarian Cancers with Little Toxicity

August 30, 2006

Acid-sensitive polymer nanoparticles are effective at suppressing tumor growth when tested in an animal model of human ovarian cancer.

In addition, animals treated with this nanoparticle formulation do not appear to experience adverse side effects that often limit the ability of patients to tolerate chemotherapy.

New biosensor melds carbon nanotubes, DNA

November 16, 2011

Microbiosensors based on DNA-modified single-walled carbon nanotube decorated with platinum black nanoparticles

Purdue University scientists have developed a method for combining synthetic DNA and carbon nanotubes onto a biosensor electrode that may lead to more accurate measurements of glucose, ATP, and other compounds related to diabetes and other diseases.

Standard sensors employ metal electrodes coated with enzymes that react with compounds and produce an electrical signal that can be measured. But the inefficiency of those sensors leads… read more

Orgasmatron Puts Tech in Sex

October 27, 2003

A Texas company claims to have invented a kind of Orgasmatron for women — an electrical stimulation device that takes women to a pre-orgasmic state.

Dry printing of nanotube patterns to any surface could revolutionize microelectronics

January 25, 2010

A way to transfer patterns of strongly aligned, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) from a substrate to any other surface in minutes has been developed by Rice University researchers.

They are also investigating ways to make printed films of SWNTs all-conducting or all-semiconducting.

Combined, the techniques represent a huge step toward a wide range of practical applications that include sensors, highly efficient solar panels and electronic components.

Microchip sets low-power record with extreme sleep mode

June 16, 2008

The Phoenix Processor microchip, developed at the University of Michigan, uses 30,000 times less power in sleep mode–30 picowatts–and 10 times less in active mode than comparable chips now on the market.

It would allow for a sensing system, including the battery, to be 1,000 times smaller than the smallest known sensing system today.

A group of U-M researchers is putting the Phoenix in a biomedical sensor to… read more

A projector the size of a sugar cube

September 13, 2006

No larger than a sugar cube, a video projector developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems contains just a single mirror which can be rotated around two axes.

Promise and Peril of the 21st Century

November 4, 2003

“Future dangers from new technologies may appear alarming when considered in the context of today’s unprepared world,” says Ray Kurzweil. “The reality is that the sophistication and power of our defensive technologies and knowledge will grow along with the dangers.

“GNR [genetic engineering, nanotechnology and robotics] technologies cannot be stopped, and broad pursuit of relinquishment will only distract us from the vital task in front of us: to rapidly… read more

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