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Laser applications heat up for carbon nanotubes

January 27, 2005

Carbon nanotubes may find one of its quickest applications in the next generation of standards for optical power measurements, which are essential for laser systems used in manufacturing, medicine, communications, lithography, space-based sensors and other technologies.

As described in a forthcoming paper in Applied Optics, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have made prototype pyroelectric detectors coated with carbon… read more

A Planetary System That Looks Familiar

November 8, 2007

Astronomers reported Tuesday that there were at least five planets circling a star 41 light-years from here in the constellation Cancer, known as 55 Cancri, where only four had been known before.

This makes it the most extensive planetary system yet found outside our own. It is also the one that most resembles our solar system, with a giant planet orbiting far out from the star and four smaller… read more

Just Like Ants, Computers Learn From the Bottom Up

September 10, 2001

Emergence — the phenomenon of self-organization, represented by feedback systems and intelligent software that anticipates our needs — is embodied by “bottom-up” systems that use “relatively simple components to build higher-level intelligence,” says Steven Johnson in the new book, EMERGENCE: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software.For example, city residents create distinct neighborhoods and simple pattern recognition software learns to recommend new books or music based on our… read more

Vibrating touch screen puts Braille at the fingertips

April 1, 2009

A new way of presenting Braille characters on a mobile device could lead to a Braille-ready touchscreen phone.

University of Tampere in Finland and colleagues used a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which has a piezoelectric material built into the touch screen that vibrates when an electric signal is applied to it. To generate characters, they installed software that represents a raised dot as a single pulse of intense vibration,… read more

The Doctor Will See Your Prototype Now

February 11, 2005

The Physiome Project is assembling digital models of every system and anatomical feature of the human body – from large organs to tiny cellular and molecular functions.

The ssytem would allows physicians to test various scenarios on your digital model – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy – and watch how your system reacts.

Improving Fuel Cells for Cars

November 14, 2007
High-quality, extremely thin electrolyte films for solid-oxide fuel cells (Shriram Ramanathan)

A new method for making materials just a few atoms thick could pave the way to automotive fuel cells that use readily available fuels instead of hydrogen, which is difficult to produce and store.

The synthesis method, developed by Harvard professor of materials science Shriram Ramanathan, produces high-quality solid-oxide electrolytes that are about 25 nanometers thick–about a thousandth the thickness of the electrolytes used in conventional SOFCs.… read more

Computer Robots Gather Intelligence

October 3, 2001

The U.S. military is testing software robots that can identify targets and present them to commanders much more quickly than a human could.

The software, known as the Control of Agent-Based Systems or CoABS, uses AI agents to sift through troves of images and intelligence data to find viable targets.
“It takes us too long to get the intelligence to a weapons system,” said James Hendler, the U.S. Defense… read more

Batteries grown from ‘armour-plated’ viruses

April 9, 2009

Genetically engineered viruses that assemble into electrodes have been used to make complete miniature rechargeable a full virus-based 3-volt lithium ion battery that could boost battery performance.

Reason: nanostructured materials can store and release more power than conventional materials, and do it faster.

Nanocomposite for high-capacity hydrogen storage

March 14, 2011

Nano Crystals

Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a new composite material for hydrogen storage consisting of nanoparticles of magnesium metal sprinkled through a matrix of polymethyl methacrylate, a polymer related to Plexiglas.

Compared to gasoline, hydrogen is lightweight and can provide a higher energy density. To replace gasoline as a fuel, however, hydrogen must be safely and densely stored, yet… read more

Robots That Act Like Rats

February 23, 2005

Researchers have recorded the behavior of rat pups and built rat-like robots with the same basic senses and motor skills to see how behavior can emerge from a simple set of rules.

University Of California – Davis news release

Researchers Create Robot Driven by Moth’s Brain

November 20, 2007

University of Arizona researchers have developed a robot that moves by using the brain impulses of a moth.

The robot’s motion is guided by a tiny electrode implanted in the moth’s brain, Higgins said, specifically to a single neuron that is responsible for keeping the moth’s vision steady during flight.

The neuron transmits electrical signals which are then amplified in the robot’s base and through a mathematical formula,… read more

Developing Warning System for Biological Attack Proves Difficult

October 29, 2001

Designing early warning detectors for biological attacks has proved difficult, but developments are underway.The Army’s Joint Program Office for Biological Defense is currently testing the Joint Biological Point Detection System at Dugway Proving Grounds.

The Department of Energy is trying to use off-the-shelf technology to build a system for use in civilian areas like airports, stadiums and subways and during the Winter Olympics next February. It uses air samplers… read more

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 17, 2009

Indiana University and Swansea University psychologists have developed a quantum probability model to explain paradoxical human behavior in decision-making, improving on classical probability theory and providing a promising framework for modeling human cognition.

Brain-computer interface allows paralyzed patients to play music

March 21, 2011

BMI Music

A brain-computer interface (BCI) developed by composer and computer-music specialist Eduardo Miranda of the University of Plymouth, UK, working with computer scientists at the University of Essex, allows paralyzed patients to play music just by thinking about it.

Miranda and his colleagues use electroencephalography (EEG), in which electrodes on the skull pick up faint neural signals, to enable patients to play and compose music.

Patients learn to associate… read more

Stem cell therapy safety boosted

March 10, 2005

A new way of growing human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory will reduce the risk that their use in therapy could go wrong, say scientists.

At present the cells are cultured using live animal cells, which carries the risk of contamination with viruses and other harmful agents. Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology in Boston have developed a method that replaces the use of animal cells with a sterile… read more

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