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‘Smart’ spacecraft makes its own decisions

July 7, 2006

AI will increasingly give spacecraft the ability to think for themselves.

The AI group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote the software that manages the schedule of Earth Observing-1, a satellite that looks for natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, wildfires and floods. It reprograms itself to image these targets and provide rapid response imagery of breaking science events.

Similar programming can be used for future planetary missions, perhaps… read more

Army Center to Study New Uses of Biotechnology

August 27, 2003

The United States Army is establishing the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at three universities to apply biology to the development of sensors, computers and materials, under a $50 million initial grant.

Such technology might include better materials for uniforms or armor, faster and lighter computers and batteries and more elaborate sensors.

It might be possible to make even smaller and speedier chips by building structures molecule by molecule… read more

Working as a Team, Bacteria Spin Gears

December 23, 2009

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern and Princeton have shown that the collective swimming behavior of bacteria can be harnessed for work, a step toward the development of hybrid biological and micromechanical machines.

Sleep-deprived brains alternate between normal activity and ‘power failure’

May 21, 2008

Researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore and colleagues have found that sleep-deprived individuals experience periods of near-normal brain function interspersed with periods of slow response and severe drops in visual processing and attention.

They used fMRI to measure blood flow in participants who’d been kept awake all night or allowed to sleep (participants were tested in both states). During imaging, they did a task requiring visual attention.

When… read more

Sharply tuned nanostrings work at room temperature

July 14, 2006

Using a fast, low-cost fabrication technique that allows inexpensive testing of a wide variety of materials, Cornell researchers have come up with nanoscale resonators — tiny vibrating strings — with the highest quality factor so far obtainable at room temperature for devices so small.

The work is another step toward “laboratory on a chip” applications in which vibrating strings can be used to detect and identify biological molecules. The… read more

No Joy for Sun Microsystems

September 10, 2003

Sun Microsystems said Tuesday that Bill Joy, its chief scientist and a software pioneer who became an outspoken critic of an over-automated society, is leaving the embattled computer maker he helped found.

A ‘fountain of youth’ for stem cells?

December 29, 2009

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and MIT are exploring ways to successfully keep stem cells “forever young” during implantation by slowing their growth, differentiation and proliferation.

Samsung unveils ‘world’s smallest’ 256GB SSD drive

May 27, 2008

Samsung Electronics has unveiled a 256GB SSD solid state drive that is less than 10mm thick and 2.4 times faster than traditional hard drives.

Solid state drives provide longer battery life, faster boot times, and reduced weight, allowing notebook makers to slim down their laptops. And the lack of moving parts makes SSDs more rugged.

Surfing the Web with nothing but brainwaves

July 27, 2006

“Network-enabled telepathy” — instant thought transfer between brains via tiny computers in headbands and networks — is one extension of current research in neurodevices, says Stu Wolf, a top scientist at DARPA.

Detecting Chemical Threats With Microsensor Arrays

September 24, 2003

Prototype microsensor arrays connected to artificial neural networks can reliably identify trace amounts of toxic gas, such as mustard gas and nerve agents (Tabun and Sarin) at levels below one part per million. They will make a significant difference in military strategy as they increase in reliability.

‘Ferropaper’ is new technology for small motors, robots

January 6, 2010

Purdue researchers have created a magnetic “ferropaper” that might be used to make low-cost micromotors for surgical instruments, tiny tweezers to study cells and miniature speakers.

The material is made by impregnating ordinary paper with a mixture of mineral oil and magnetic nanoparticles of iron oxide. The nanoparticle-laden paper can then be moved using a magnetic field.

Molecular ‘robots’ explore cellular landscapes

June 2, 2008

Molecular sensors have been developed by Queen’s University (Belfast) chemists to map the chemical environments (hydrogen ion concentration and charge polarity) of living cells and encode the measurements into light signals.

Gartner Names Hot Technologies With Greatest Potential Impact

August 10, 2006

Researcher Gartner Inc. has identified the technologies it believes will have the greatest impact on businesses over the next 10 years, naming such hot areas as social-network analysis, location-aware applications and event-driven architectures, semantic markup languages, and collective intelligence (developing intellectual content through individuals working together with no centralized authority).

Who’s Afraid of Nanotechnology

October 8, 2003

The ability to construct molecule-size objects holds both promise and peril. Some nanotech scientists and business people fear a backlash such as the one that has stalled acceptance of genetically modified foods.

Weird Object Zooming by Earth Wednesday is Likely an Asteroid

January 13, 2010

An 11-meters-wide space rock will make its closest approach at 7:45 a.m. EST (1245 GMT) Wednesday when it comes within 80,000 miles (130,000 km) of our planet.

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