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Solar cell speeds hydrogen production

February 19, 2008

Pennsylvania State University researchers built a solar cell that mimics photosynthesis to make hydrogen directly from water.

The device works much like a Gratzel solar cell, using sunlight to knock electrons off dye molecules, but instead of creating a current, the electrons are shuttled from the dye into a catalyst to split water molecules. The device splits water a thousand times faster than in other dye-based cells.

The… read more

‘Dark’ Spins in Diamond Could Lead to Room-Temperature Quantum Computing

November 1, 2005

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have potentially opened up a new avenue toward room-temperature solid-state quantum information processing.

They discovered previously invisible “dark” (not visually detectable) spins from nitrogen defects in the diamond crystal.

“We have found a channel for moving information between single electron spins at room temperature,” said Awschalom, David Awschalom, a professor of physics. This is an initial step towards spin-based information processing.

The… read more

Aurasma app is augmented reality, augmented

May 23, 2011

Aurasma VR

Aurasmsa, a new augmented reality app by Autonomy that works with smart phones and tablets, will be available on the Apple App store next week, with a version for TV stations arriving in a month.

For a fee, media companies can use Aurasma to relate printed matter (for example, street posters, newspapers, and magazines) to compelling video and online content.

For the rest of us,… read more

Sick? DNA Scanner Tells What Ails

December 27, 2002

A prototype diagnostic tool under development by two London companies offers rapid genetic analysis of infectious diseases, delivering results in a half hour rather than the usual two weeks with DNA labs.

The box takes a DNA sample directly from saliva. DNA is extracted from the sample and then multiplied in a miniature polymerase chain reaction, which clones DNA strands rapidly. Once enough DNA is present, it can be… read more

Nanodiamonds Serve as Transport Mechanism for Therapeutic Insulin

July 31, 2009

Northwestern University scientists are experimenting with using nanodiamonds to transport and selectively deliver insulin molecules to wounds (insulin can help wounds heal faster), triggered by alkaline pH levels in wounds.

Seeds of Future Agriculture Enter Doomsday Deep Freeze

February 27, 2008

The first batch of 100 million of the most important agricultural seeds were placed into the “doomsday repository” Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

The vault is a backup of last resort, stocked with copies of different crops from national seed storage facilities. In cold isolation the seeds can keep for hundreds and thousands of years–sorghum alone can last for 20,000 years–effectively allowing agriculture to be restarted in the… read more

World’s Fastest Computer Gets Even Faster

November 14, 2005

The IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer, which operates at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, has doubled its performance to 280.6 trillion calculations a second (teraflops), up from 136.8 teraflops from the list released in June.

The system is used to study the United States nuclear stockpile and perform other research.

Who Says Science Can’t Be Fun?

January 17, 2003

Commercial applications have come from the fertile imagination of MIT Media Lab researchers, such as composer Tod Machover, whose Etch-A-Sketch-like device lets children compose by drawing lines on a computer screen and is due to be released as a toy.

IBM gets $16 million to bolster its brain-on-a-chip technology

August 10, 2009

IBM has received $16.1 additional funding from DARPA to work on the Systems of neuromorphic adaptive plastic scalable electronics (SyNAPSE) program, bringing the total to $21 million.

DARPA is looking to develop electronic neuromorphic machine technology that is scalable to biological levels. The goal is to develop systems capable of analyzing vast amounts of data from many sources in the blink of an eye, letting the military or civilian… read more

The World’s Smallest Crime Lab

March 4, 2008

George Mason University researchers have built a microwave smaller than an ant that can heat pinhead-size drops of liquid to precise temperatures–critical for the kind of lab-on-a-chip devices investigators could someday use in the field.

One big potential payoff: a portable DNA-analysis kit that could use crime-scene evidence, such as a drop of blood, to produce the genetic fingerprint of the culprit.

Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame

November 28, 2005

A disc that can hold 300 gigabytes of data — 60 times more than a DVD — and can be used to read and write data 10 times faster is set to go on sale with compatible drives in late 2006 by InPhase Technologies and Hitachi.

The disc stores information in holographic memory.

InPhase says the technique could theoretically be used to store up to 1.6 terabytes of… read more

To the Moon in a Space Elevator?

February 5, 2003

The Columbia disaster could spur faster development of a radically different approach to reaching outer space: the space elevator.

Using lightweight, strong carbon nanotubes, it’s feasible to talk of building a meter-wide “ribbon” that would start on a mobile ocean platform at the equator and extend 62,000 miles up into space. It would ferry materials such as satellites and replacement parts for space stations — or even people –… read more

Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise

August 17, 2009

Eating fatty food triggers a short-term decline in both short-term memory and exercise performance, according to the lead study researcher, physiologist Andrew Murray of Cambridge University.

Entangled memory is a first

March 7, 2008

California Institute of Technology physicists are the first to store two entangled quantum states in a memory device and then retrieve the states with their entanglement intact.

Their demonstration, which involves “stopping” photons in an ultracold atomic gas and using a hologram to store the states for 8 microseconds, could be an important step towards the practical implementation of quantum computers.

NEC Develops Paper-Thin Mobile Battery

December 9, 2005

NEC has developed the ORB (Organic Radical Battery), a flexible battery only 300 microns thick made out of “organic radical polymer” and that recharges in under a minute.

NEC said it initially would be used in applications such as smartcards and “intelligent paper.”

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