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Ultimate virtual reality will trigger five senses

March 19, 2009

Researchers from the University of York and the University of Warwick are working on plans for a device able to manipulate five of a person’s senses, to given them the sensation of being somewhere else.

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Hello, is there anybody out there?

March 19, 2004

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen announced a gift of $13.5 million to begin construction of an unprecedented new radio astronomy telescope in Northern California primarily dedicated to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The gift is in addition to his earlier donation of $11.5 million.

The Allen Telescope Array will be a state-of-the-art network of 350 small radio-frequency dishes spread across about 2.5 acres of land. It will allow… read more

Terabyte Thumb Drives Made Possible by Nanotech Memory

October 29, 2007

Arizona State University researchers have developed a low-cost, low-power computer memory–one-tenth the cost of and 1,000 times as energy-efficient as flash memory–that could put terabyte-sized thumb drives in consumers’ pockets within a few years.

The programmable metallization cell (PMC) technology uses nanowires from copper atoms the size of a virus to record binary ones and zeros.

Imaging Deception in the Brain

February 7, 2007

FMRI-based lie-detection systems seek to assess a direct measure of deceit: the level of activity in brain areas linked with lying.

Studies have shown that the brain appears more active when someone is telling a falsehood, especially the brain areas involved in resolving conflict and cognitive control. Scientists think that lying is more cognitively complex than telling the truth, and therefore it activates more of the brain.

Micromagnetic-microfluidic device could quickly pull pathogens from the bloodstream

March 26, 2009
(Johnson & Yung, CHB)

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have built a microdevice to fight sepsis (blood infection), using magnetism to remove pathogens from blood.

They mixed blood with antibody-coated magnetic beads and sent the mix through microfluidic channels. A magnet pulled 80% of the bound pathogens (for this test the fungus Candida albicans) out in a single pass.

Most current treatments for sepsis are ineffective: each year it kills… read more

Methane poses Mars life puzzle

March 29, 2004

Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere, which means it’s from either active volcanoes (none have yet been found on Mars) or present-day microbes.

New Insights Into How Natural Antioxidants Fight Fat

November 8, 2007

Scientists in Taiwan are reporting new insights into why diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of obesity. Their study focuses on healthful natural antioxidant compounds called flavonoids and phenolic acids.

RFID ‘Powder’ — World’s Smallest RFID Tag

February 15, 2007

The world’s smallest and thinnest RFID tags have been introduced by Hitachi, measuring just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters.

The new “powder type” chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number and could be worked into any product to assure theft of consumer goods would be practically impossible.

These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in… read more

Microbes turn electricity directly to methane

March 31, 2009

Methanogenic microorganisms can take electricity and directly convert carbon dioxide and water to methane, producing a portable energy source with a potentially neutral carbon footprint, according to Penn State engineers.

Eureka! Scientists map the moment

April 13, 2004

Using MRI, neuroscientists have identified the brain region involved in the “Eureka!” moment: the anterior superior temporal gyrus.

Scientists Claim to Clone Monkey Embryos

November 14, 2007

Oregon National Primate Research Center scientists say they’ve reached the long-sought goal of cloning monkey embryos and extracting stem cells from them, a potentially major step toward doing the same thing in people.

In cloning to obtain stem cells, DNA from an adult animal is inserted into an unfertilized egg. The egg is grown into an early embryo, from which stem cells are extracted. These stem cells, and the… read more

‘Chemical origami’ shrinks 2D discs into 3D objects

February 26, 2007

Physicists in Israel have invented a neat method of making elaborate 3D structures from flat 2D discs.

The trick is to pre-treat a gel disc half the size of a beer coaster with a monomer solution “blueprint” that selectively shrinks when heated. The technique, which cleverly demonstrates the link between 2D and 3D geometry, could be used by engineers to create self-assembling prototypes.

Nanoscale changes rise to macro importance in a key electronics material

April 9, 2009

A new National Institute of Standards and Technology study of silver niobate opens the door to improved electronic components for smaller, higher performance wireless devices and shows how subtle nanoscale features of a material can give rise to major changes in its physical properties.

During cooling, oxygen atoms cause the octahedral structure to rotate slightly, generating strain that partially locks the niobium atoms into off-centered positions, giving rise to… read more

Software links chatbots to OpenCyc inference engine

April 19, 2004

New software called CyN allows you to talk to the OpenCyc commonsense inference engine from AIML chatbots.

A chatbot is a program with human-like personality that allows for natural-language conversations with computers. OpenCyc is the open-source version of Cyc technology, the world’s largest and most complete general knowledge base and commonsense reasoning engine. AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) is an XML type… read more

Study: Internet could run out of capacity in two years

November 20, 2007

A flood of new video and other Web content could overwhelm the Internet by 2010 unless backbone providers invest up to US$137 billion in new capacity, more than double what service providers plan to invest, according to a study by Nemertes Research Group.

Internet users will create 161 exabytes (quintillion bytes) of new data this year, they said.

The study is the first to “apply Moore’s Law (or… read more

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