science + technology news

Smart grid will wed modern computing with nanotechnology

September 22, 2003

The smart grid of the future will require far more advanced breakthroughs such as smart power controllers and new lightweight quantum wires made of carbon nanotube fibers to revolutionize the capacity of the transmission wires, according to Nobel laureate Rick Smalley and other experts.

Smart headlight system sees through rain and snow

Dancing in the rain ...
July 10, 2012


A new “smart headlight“¬†system¬†invented by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute can improve visibility when driving at night in a rainstorm or snowstorm.

By constantly redirecting light to shine between particles of precipitation, the system prevents the distracting and sometimes dangerous glare that occurs when headlight beams are reflected by precipitation back toward the driver.

“If you’re driving in a thunderstorm,… read more

Smart implants may alleviate neurological conditions

September 14, 2009


Medtronics and Neuropace have developed neurostimulators that monitor electrical activity via electrodes implanted deep in the brain so the devices can deliver the electrical stimulation needed to suppresses seizures (as opposed to stimulation on a fixed schedule).

Human trials are years away.

Smart Insulin

October 31, 2008

SmartCells has developed an injectable drug called SmartInsulin that senses high glucose levels and automatically dispenses insulin on demand.

As glucose levels drop off, the drug stabilizes, trapping insulin until the next glucose spike. Such a drug may cut down the number of insulin injections required to once a day and reduce the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a potential hazard associated with current diabetic therapies.

Smart ‘Lego’ blocks take touch screens into 3D

October 6, 2009

“Luminos” developed by University of Potsdam researchers can be stacked to form complicated structures on top of a Microsoft Surface screen, and the computer can map the building as it grows.

Each Lumino block has a pattern on its base that identifies its 3D shape, and the Surface table can read them using its four internal cameras that peer up at the acrylic top. That means the computer can… read more

Smart ‘Lego’ conjures up virtual 3D twin

February 1, 2008

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed “Posey,” a new hands-on way of interacting with computers.

When Posey’s plastic pieces are snapped together, an exact copy of the construction appears on a computer screen. Every twist of, say, a stick figure’s arm, is mirrored in 3D modeling software.

Smart microbes: bacteria anticipate changing environments

May 12, 2008

Princeton University researchers have found that bacteria can evolve to predict upcoming events based on environmental cues.

When E. coli enters the body, it experiences warmth (in the mouth) and then low oxygen (in the gut). The researchers found that warm temperatures alone triggered the E. coli to switch to a less-efficient, low-oxygen mode. When they grew the bacteria in controlled conditions that divorced the rise in temperature from… read more

Smart mud could be the new plastic

January 21, 2010

A mixture of clay and 98 per cent water forms thin sheets of a strong hydrogel that is transparent, elastic, and self-healing, researchers at the University of Tokyo have found.

Smart nanoparticles target cancer cells

March 24, 2004

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Biologic Nanotechnology are developing “smart” drug delivery devices to knock out cancer cells with lethal doses, leaving normal cells unharmed, and even reporting back on their success.

The U-M group is using lab-made spherical nanoparticles called dendrimers as the backbones of their delivery system. These spheres have loose ends where you can attach a targeting agent that can recognize a cancer… read more

‘Smart’ nanoprobes light up disease

August 2, 2005

Rice University’s Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) researchers have developed a quantum dot that is programmed to light up only when activated by specific proteases.

Altered expression of particular proteases is a common hallmark of cancer, atherosclerosis, and many other diseases.

The probe’s design makes use of a technique called “quenching” that involves tethering a gold nanoparticle to the quantum dot to inhibit luminescence. The tether,… read more

Smart People to Blame for Central Planning

September 7, 2009

Central planning didn’t work in Russia or China — or in the 2007-2008 financial blow-up — but today, in China, the government boosts production, and in America, the central planners are trying to boost consumption, says investment author Bill Bonner.

“In short, the fixers are still fixing. And soon, the world will be in an even worse fix than it is now.”

Smart Phone Suggests Things to Do

November 13, 2007

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) researchers have developed intelligent software that turns a phone into a thoughtful personal assistant that helps people find fun things to do.

The Magitti software uses a combination of cues–including the time of day, a person’s location, their past behaviors, and even their text messages–to infer their interests. It then shows a helpful list of suggestions, including concerts, movies, bookstores, and restaurants.

Smart Phones: Intelligence Spreads

May 4, 2005

The Yankee Group estimates a global market of 49 million smart phones by yearend and 98 million in 2006 as the devices push deeper into the mainstream.

(A BusinessWeek special report.)

Smart Pill Reports Back

April 7, 2010

University of Florida researchers have developed a smart pill with a tiny antenna and microchip that could signal when it has made it into a patient’s stomach, reporting to a cell phone or computer that they patient has taken the medicine.

This is the latest of several high-tech pill-reporting efforts to improve patient adherence and provide accurate reporting.

Smart plastics change shape with light

April 15, 2005

MIT and German researchers have created the first plastics that can be deformed and temporarily fixed in a second, new shape by illumination with light having certain wavelengths.

These programmed materials will only switch back to their original shape when exposed to light of specific different wavelengths.

MIT news release

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