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Unifying The Animate And The Inanimate Designs Of Nature

April 29, 2009

Duke University engineer Adrian Bejan and Penn State biologist James Marden have unified the biological and geophysical principles of nature’s design through the “constructal law,” the idea that organic evolution is analogous to the way form evolves in inanimate flow systems.

They believe this is a novel concept with the potential to unite perspectives and approaches across disparate disciplines.

Researchers Channel Microcapsules Into Tumour Cells And Release Their Contents Using A Laser Impulse

August 28, 2006

Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces researchers have released active substances from a capsule in a tumor cell, using an infrared laser pulse. The laser light cracks its polymer shell by heating it up and the capsule’s contents are released.

Constructing buildings with 3D printers

April 8, 2011

Neri Oxman, an architect and a professor at MIT’s Media Lab, intends to print beams, bricks, concrete columns, and other construction materials using 3D printers to build structures layer-by-layer.

Oxman’s 3D printers change the elasticity of a polymer or the porosity of concrete as it’s printed, with print heads mounted on flexible robot arms that have greater freedom of movement than current printers.

She draws inspiration from nature to… read more

New technique could dramatically lower costs of DNA sequencing

December 13, 2007

Using computer simulations, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated a strategy for sequencing DNA by driving the molecule back and forth through a nanopore capacitor in a semiconductor chip.

Physics professor Aleksei Aksimentiev described the strategy: “Through molecular dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that back-and-forth motion of a DNA molecule in a nanopore capacitor 1 nanometer in diameter produces an electrostatic fingerprint that can be used to read… read more

Nanowires make flexible circuits

October 23, 2003

Researchers from Nanosys, Inc. have found a way to assemble large arrays of nanowires made from silicon or other semiconductors into a densely-packed thin film, then process the assembly to produce relatively efficient transistors on a variety of surfaces.

The technology may eventually enable very large flat-panel displays, tiny radio frequency identification devices, and disposable computing and storage electronics.

Storing light with sound

December 14, 2007

Duke University researchers have demonstrated a way to store the information in a beam of light by converting it into a sound signal, then reading it back out again as light.

The process could avoid the heat generated when buffering via electronic signals, which limits the top speed of fiber-optic-signals.

Silicon May Have Been The Key To Start Of Life On Earth

October 27, 2003

A scientist at the University of Sheffield has discovered that silicon may have been the key to the establishment of life on earth.

In a paper, due to be published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, Dr Wainwright outlines his team’s discovery that silicon stimulates bacterial growth when food is in short supply, even in the absence of oxygen.

The Rise of the Answerbots

May 6, 2009

IBM’s new DeepQA project, aimed at creating a program that can beat humans at the question-answering game of Jeopardy, and the European Large Knowledge Collider project could mean that these projects are on the path to creating a human-level AI.

Tracing the limits of quantum weirdness

September 13, 2006

The uncertainty principle is being harnessed to see if it is possible to identify a point at which matter begins to exhibit weird quantum behavior by detecting quantum superposition.

Low-cost motion-sensing programs

April 15, 2011

Predator Camera

Microsoft has announced Kinect support for Netflix for the Xbox 360 on April 14 along with a software development kit for do-it-yourself motion-sensing programmers — but a new open-source program called Predator promises to be cheaper.

Kinect for Netflix allows voice or gesture control of the Netflix interface to select any content, including playback, fast forward, and rewind.

Microsoft says the Kinect… read more

Researchers Train The Immune System To Deliver Virus That Destroys Cancer In Lab Models

December 19, 2007

Researchers led by Mayo Clinic have designed a technique that uses the body’s own cells and a virus to destroy cancer cells that spread from primary tumors to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system.

The technology combines infection-fighting T-cells with the vesicular stomatitis virus that targets and destroys cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The study, which has not yet been replicated in humans, is… read more

Intel Smashes Transistor Limitations

November 5, 2003

Intel is trumpeting a technology breakthrough it says will lead to billion-transistor processors by 2007.

The new technology should enable Intel to keep creating smaller, faster transistors for future chips, and keep pace with Moore’s Law well into the next decade, said Ken David, director of components research for Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group.

The development would overcome power and heat problems that would eventually limit Intel’s capability… read more

Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas

May 12, 2009
(Steven M. Johnson)

Inventor/author/cartoonist/former urban planner Steven M. Johnson’s visionary ideas include a Segway-like golf-cart-meets-treadmill contraption, dashboard toaster oven, skylight solar cooker, and pedaltrain.

PC World’s 100 Fearless Forecasts

October 2, 2006

High-def video over the Net, inexpensive 20-megapixel cameras, and 50-terabyte DVDs are among PC World’s 100 forecasts of future technology.

2007: The Year in Energy

December 27, 2007

Advanced biofuels, more-efficient vehicles, and solar power (using quantum dots and mimicking photosynthesis) top the most notable energy stories covered by Technology Review in 2007.

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