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Improved molecular switch could serve as sensor

December 1, 2004

Johns Hopkins University researchers have found a new way to join two unrelated proteins to create a molecular switch where which one biochemical partner controls the activity of the other.

“Last year, we reported that we’d used protein engineering techniques to make a molecular switch, putting together two proteins that normally had nothing to do with one another, but the switching properties of that version were insufficient for many… read more

Free Phone Calls With Startup’s $399 Box

September 19, 2007

A Silicon Valley startup will begin selling $399 gadgets Wednesday that consumers with broadband Internet service can use to make unlimited free domestic phone calls.

A Quicker Map for Disease

May 11, 2001

Mapping common genetic diseases may turn out to be much easier. Segments of DNA shared by people with common ancestors can be much larger than previously thought — significantly decreasing the number of starting places researchers need to map genetic disorders.

Designer Babies — Like It Or Not, Here They Come

March 2, 2009

The era of designer babies is here and there is no going back.

Case in point: the Fertility Institute will soon be able to offer couples the ability to screen their embryos for eye color, hair color, and complexion.

It also plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries.

Neurobiologists distinguish in unprecedented detail the patterns of brain activity

December 13, 2004

Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have demonstrated that they could distinguish in unprecedented detail the patterns of brain activity — including fleeting changes in communication among brain structures — in awake animals, as they fall sleep and as they transition among different sleep stages.

They believe that their new analytical technique will enable unprecedented insights into function of both the healthy brain and those afflicted with neurological disease.… read more

Storing Solar Power Efficiently

September 27, 2007

Thermal-power plants could solve some of the problems with solar power outages by turning sunlight into steam and storing heat for cloudy days.

Tiny ‘big bang’ performs quantum computations

May 29, 2001

A fractal interference pattern emerging from quantum waves (a “tiny big bang”) can perform useful calculations, says University of Arkansas physics professor William Harter, who predicted bucky balls in 1986.

“If you pump the electron, say by hitting it with a laser, you can force it to simultaneously occupy more and more of these ascending energy states,” says Harter. If all the stored energy is released in a “pop,”… read more

The first virtual reality technology to let you see, hear, smell, taste and touch

March 5, 2009
Concept design of a mobile Virtual Cocoon

U.K. scientists are creating the “Virtual Cocoon,” a new “Real Virtuality” (all senses stimulated to create a fully immersive perceptual experience) device that can stimulate all five senses much more realistically than any other current or prospective device.

Mobile-phone radiation damages lab DNA

December 23, 2004

Radiation from cellular phones harms the DNA in human cells, according to an extensive, pan-European laboratory study.

The researchers found that levels of radiation equivalent to those from a phone prompted breaks in individual strands of DNA in a variety of human cells. These types of damage have been linked with cancer. The level of injury increased with the intensity of radiation and the length of exposure.

The… read more

US scientist heralds ‘artificial life’ breakthrough (Update)

October 8, 2007

The Guardian reported Saturday that Craig Venter said he is set to annouunce the creation of a synthetic chromosome — the first ever artificial life form — within weeks, possibly as early as Monday.

But Venter spokeswoman Heather Kowalski declined to confirm any breakthrough: “We have not achieved what some have speculated we have in synthetic life. When we do so there will be a scientific publication and we… read more

NASA JPL webcast timed for A.I. movie release

June 22, 2001

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists will discuss AI research in a live webcast on June 29 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

The webcast will focus on rover autonomy, machines with human vision capability, and AI software.

NASA scientists envision a future colony of robots exploring a planet’s surface. A whole fleet of ground rovers, aerovers with flying ability and burrowing, worm-like probes may make up a… read more

Tissues that Build Themselves

March 12, 2009

Cells coated with sticky bits of DNA can self-assemble into functional three-dimensional microstructures.

This bottom-up approach to tissue engineering, developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, provides a new solution to one of field’s biggest problems: the creation of multicellular tissues with defined structures.

Magnetic resonance imaging deconstructs brain’s complex network

January 5, 2005

A team headed by scientists at Northwestern University, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), has shown how to visualize the human brain as a massive, interacting, complex network governed by a few underlying dynamic principles.

The research opens fascinating possibilities for future basic and applied studies to investigate the dynamics of brain states, particularly in cases of dysfunction — such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain — without… read more

Google Says Its Health Platform Is Due In Early 2008

October 18, 2007

Google plans to bring its immense data storage and organization capacities to the field of medical care and patient records, incorporating personal medical records, health care-related search features, diet and exercise regimens, a localized “find a doctor” application, and other elements.

Clever Wiring Harnesses Tiny Switches

July 17, 2001

Hewlett-Packard researchers are starting to tackle how to wire the tiny molecular switches together into useful devices.

Two years ago, scientists at Hewlett-Packard and U.C.L.A. announced that they had created a custom-designed, carbon-based molecule called rotaxane that could act as a switch. A ring-shape structure slides up or down along the rest of the molecule, changing its electrical resistance. The switch mechanism consisted of rotaxane molecules between two crossed… read more

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