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2005: The year in technology

December 28, 2005

Many weird and wonderful new gadgets, gizmos and inventions were revealed in 2005. Autonomous cars, robotic assistants and nano-circuitry provided a bright view of the future, while cellphone viruses, virtual crime sprees and “non-lethal” crowd control weapons hinted at technological troubles ahead.

The busiest inventor of the year was almost certainly Google, which continues to grow from a search engine into a many-tentacled technological titan, with a service for… read more

New Way To Guide A Car: With Your Eyes, Not Hands

April 26, 2010

German researchers have developed a new technology, “eyeDriver,” that lets drivers steer cars going 31 mph (50 kph) using only their eyes.

SETI to target most tantalising radio transmissions

March 12, 2003

Astronomers searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence are about to zoom in on 150 of the more tantalizing radio transmissions that have reached Earth.

Researchers link cocoa flavanols to improved brain blood flow

August 19, 2008

Cocoa flavanols, the unique compounds found naturally in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, according to research by Harvard medical scientists.

Study participants who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks.

When the flow of blood to the brain slows over time, the result may be structural damage… read more

Dogs as good as screening for cancer detection

January 9, 2006

Dogs do as well as state-of-the-art screening tests at sniffing out people with lung or breast cancer. The research raises the possibility that trained dogs could detect cancers even earlier and might some day supplement or even replace mammograms and CT scans in the laboratory.

The dogs correctly detected 99% of the lung cancer samples, and made a mistake with only 1% of the healthy controls. With breast cancer,… read more

Army of smartphone chips could emulate the human brain

May 4, 2010

Steve Furber, a professor of computer engineering at the University of Manchester, is attempting to model the synaptic weights and coordinated voltage spikes of the human brain in a 1-billion-neuron silicon brain system called Spinnaker (Spiking Neural Network Architecture).

The chips, under construction in Taiwan, contain 20 ARM processor cores, each modelling 1000 neurons. With 20,000 neurons per chip, 50,000 chips will be needed to reach the target of… read more

Sony Seeks Homes for Robots

March 28, 2003

Sony’s humanoid SDR robot can entertain and converse with humans but it’s still in search of a market.

Mexicans get microchipped over kidnapping fears

August 25, 2008

Affluent Mexicans worried by soaring kidnapping rates are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them.

Police, Army Robots to Debut in 5 Years

January 18, 2006

By the 2010s, Korea expects to see robots assisting police and the military, patrolling neighborhoods and going on recon missions on the battlefield.

The outdoor security robots will be able to make their night watch rounds and even chase criminals, directed by a remote control system via an Internet connection or moving autonomously via their own artificial intelligence systems.

The government also seeks to build combat robots. They… read more

Iron Man 2′s Secret Sauce: 3-D Printing

May 12, 2010

Maybe the most cutting-edge facet of Iron Man 2′s production was the real-life fabrication of the suits: using 3-D printers, the film’s production company, Legacy Effects, was able to have artists draw an art concept, input into a CAD program, and then physically make that concept in just four hours.

Disordered networks synchronize faster than small-world networks

August 18, 2011

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany and collaborators have developed a model to test the speed of synchronization of complex networks.

The researchers tested this model using three very different oscillators acting on complex networks: the Kuramoto, Rössler, and pulse-coupled oscillators. As a result, for all tested networks, they showed that the structure of the coupling between… read more

NASA Improves Computers With Tiny Carbon Tubes On Silicon Chips

April 16, 2003
Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes about 100 nanometers in diameter. Photo credit: NASA Ames Research Center.

NASA has developed a chip manufacturing method that uses carbon nanotubes instead of copper interconnects for integrated circuits. This will allow manufacturers to add more layers of components to silicon chips to increase performance and maintain Moore’s law longer for silicon-based computer chips.

Internet Traffic Begins to Bypass the U.S.

September 1, 2008

While the United States carried 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic a decade ago, the portion has fallen to about 25 percent, Andrew M. Odlyzko, a professor at the University of Minnesota, estimates.

US ‘unaware’ of emerging bioterror threats

February 1, 2006

The life sciences are developing so quickly that a watch list of dangerous pathogens and toxins is useless in fighting the threat of bioterrorism, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences.

Focusing on the list of about 60 “select agents,” such as the smallpox virus and botulism toxin, might simply divert resources from newer and more dangerous threats, such as RNA interference, synthetic biology or nanotechnology.… read more

Khosla Company EcoMotors Snags $18M to Develop

May 19, 2010

EcoMotors is currently developing an engine prototype that could improve fossil-fuel economies by up to 60 percent (achieving 100 miles per gallon), while halving the weight and size of standard gas and diesel-powered engines.

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