science + technology news

A Robot that Navigates Like a Person

June 30, 2009

European researchers have developed a robot capable of moving autonomously by algorithms designed to mimic different parts of the human visual system, with two cameras that serve as “eyes” in a movable “head.”

Scientists produce carbon nanotubes using commercially available polymeric resins

February 8, 2008

Naval Research Laboratory scientists have produced carbon nanotubes in high yields in bulk solid compositions using commercially available aromatic containing resins.

The solid-state method enables the large-scale production of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in moldable solid forms, films, and fibers using low-cost precursors and equipment and could be less expensive than conventional methods, such as chemical vapor deposition.

Google offers S.F. Wi-Fi — for free

October 2, 2005

Google Inc. has offered to blanket San Francisco with free wireless Internet access.

The proposal raises speculation that Google intends to create a free national Wi-Fi network.

Ground-effect robot could be key to future high-speed trains

May 11, 2011

Air Train

A robotic prototype of a free flying ground-effect vehicle has been developed by a Japanese research group at Tohoku University.

The ground-effect vehicle takes advantage of fast-moving air and uses stubby little wings to fly just above the ground, like a maglev train. The vehicle is controlled more like an airplane than a train; the operator has to deal with pitch, roll, and yaw as well as a throttle.… read more

Don’t Stymie Nanotech

November 22, 2002

“A new paper released by the Pacific Research Institute says that nanotechnology holds benefits for society if not blocked by misguided regulation or outright bans. Already, some prominent individuals (like Bill Joy) have questioned the rationale of continuing nanotech research – PRI’s paper explains that nanotech has more benefits than drawbacks, and that bans and heavy regulation are not in society’s best interests”

Quantum computer closer: Optical transistor made from single molecule

July 8, 2009

An optical transistor has been created from a single hydrocarbon molecule called dibenzanthanthrene by ETH Zurich researchers.

Could smart traffic lights stop motorists fuming?

February 13, 2008

Romanian and US researchers have shown that future “smart” traffic lights that wirelessly keep track of vehicles might reduce the time drivers spend waiting at intersections by more than 28% during rush hours.

Plasma pencil kills germs

October 17, 2005

Physicist Mounir Laroussi’s “plasma pencil” generates a “cold plasma,” which can be used to kill germs. In the future, it might be used to destroy tumors without damaging surrounding tissue.

When he turns the pencil on, it blows a high pitched whistle as a glowing, blue-violet beam about 2 inches long instantly appears at one end. Stick your finger in its path and you only feel a cool breeze,… read more

I.B.M. Plans a Tiny Transistor

December 9, 2002

IBM researchers have designed the world’s smallest transistor, nine nanometers in length. The development would allow for high-capacity memory and faster processors in the future.

It would also extend today’s rate of progress in scaling down chips (Moore’s law) through at least 2016.

Helping Robots Get a Grip

July 20, 2009

By linking a robotic hand’s joints (as in humans), it is possible to control a complicated robotic hand with faster, more efficient algorithms and without losing any of its functionality, Columbia University researchers have found.

Scientists Develop Tool to Probe Role of Oxidative Stress in Aging, Disease

February 18, 2008

University of Michigan researchers have a new technique to observe how oxidative stress affects proteins, allowing them to quantify the oxidation state of thousands of different proteins in a single experiment.

University of Michigan news release

Blue Gene/L tops its own supercomputer record

October 28, 2005

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM unveiled the Blue Gene/L supercomputer Thursday and announced it’s broken its own record again for the world’s fastest supercomputer.

The 65,536-processor machine can sustain 280.6 teraflops.

Mammals first evolved big brains for better sense of smell

May 20, 2011

Hadro Skull

Mammals first evolved their characteristic large brains to enable a stronger sense of smell, paleontologists from The University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio have found.

The paleontologists used CT scanners to reconstruct the brains of two of the earliest known mammal species, both from the Jurassic fossil beds of China.… read more

Laser leads nerve growth

December 26, 2002

A laser beam can guide nerve cells to grow in a particular direction, researchers have shown. The technique might help damaged nerves to regrow or could connect them to electronic implants, such as artificial retinas and prosthetic limbs.

Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth?

July 28, 2009

Ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be synthesized under the pressure-temperature conditions of the upper mantle (the layer of Earth under the crust and on top of the core) without organic matter, Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory with colleagues from Russia and Sweden have found.

(A. Kolesnikov and V. Kutcherov)

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