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Fertilizer from the stars

June 1, 2005

Gamma-ray bursts from nearby supernovas of giant stars or a collision between neutron stars could have showered our planet with nitrate, an essential nutrient for plants, helping plants colonize the land about 440 million years ago.

Nanotechnology innovation allows gene detection in a single cell

January 11, 2008
DNA nanoarrays bound to their RNA targets (Yonggang Ke)

Scientists at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have developed the world’s first gene detection platform made up entirely from self-assembled DNA nanostructures.

The DNA nanoarrays were able to detect three different RNA genes.

Bell, Torvalds usher next wave of supercomputing

May 23, 2002

A compact supercomputer based on a Beowolf cluster called Green Destiny was unveiled at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Using compact, stripped-down server blades, Los Alamos scientists were able to build a system that is much smaller, consumes less power and is more cost-effective than typical supercomputers. It uses Crusoe processors from Transmeta, which require no active cooling.

YouTube Moves Closer to the Boob Tube

June 3, 2009

Google has unveiled YouTube.com/XL, a revamped version of YouTube.com/TV that works on any Web browser that can be connected to a TV, and is intended to be viewed on a television set or on a large PC screen.

It can also be controlled with some remote controls, and can be made to display a series of clips continuously.

New Skin Lets Robots Get Sensitive

June 16, 2005

A new type of skin with more than 1,000 infrared sensors embedded all over its surface allows a robot to “feel” changes in its surroundings and move accordingly.

The Naked Ear

January 17, 2008

Two fully implantable hearing aids are now in clinical trials.

(Otologics/Peter Belanger)

Chips’ future cast

June 20, 2002
Image A shows a quartz template used to press ultrasmall patterns into silicon. Image B shows the pattern as it appears in silicon.

A new laser-stamping technique could produce computer chips with 100 times more transistors on a chip, according to Stephen Chou of Princeton University.

The research could lead to patterns imprinted with features only 10 nanometers wide onto a silicon wafer, compared to the lower limit of about 130 nanometers wide with photolithography.

The technique is derived from a similar method used to print compact discs.… read more

Parkinson’s breakthrough could slow disease progression

October 25, 2012

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Northwestern University scientists have developed a new family of compounds that could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s, the second most common neurodegenerative disease, is caused by the death of dopamine neurons, resulting in tremors, rigidity and difficulty moving. Current treatments target the symptoms but do not slow the progression of the disease.

The compounds work by blocking calcium. The compounds target and shut a relatively… read more

Opening Doors on the Way to a Personal Robot

June 9, 2009

PR2, the first robot able to navigate in a building reliably and repeatedly recharge itself, has been developed by Willow Garage.

It is powered by several Intel microprocessor chips and “sees” with a combination of sensors including scanning lasers and video cameras.

Entering a dark age of innovation

June 30, 2005

We are fast approaching a new dark age, says Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon’s Naval Air Warfare Center.

He says the rate of technological innovation reached a peak a century ago and has been declining ever since.

He plotted major innovations and scientific advances over time compared to world population, using the 7200 key innovations listed in a recently published book, The History of Science… read more

Inventions: 3D tissue printer, implantable camera

January 22, 2008

James Yoo at the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University uses a standard inkjet printing mechanism to create layers of viable cells, which can then be built into 3D structures with different kinds of cells.

Michelle Hauer at the University of Southern California has come up with a camera design small enough to be implanted within the lens of the eye, and takes into account the effect… read more

Supercomputing: Suddenly Sexy

July 9, 2002

Supercomputing is beating Moore’s Law, with power for the same price doubling every 15 months.

NEC’s new Earth Simulator, rated at 35 teraflops is the world’s fastest and will ultimately act as Japan’s early warning of typhoons. But IBM’s 200 teraflops Blue Gene/L will soon top the list.

The next challenge for the supercomputing community is a petaflops machine, capable of a quadrillion floating-point operations per… read more

High-flying kites could power New York

June 16, 2009

A fleet of kites could harvest enough energy from high-altitude winds to power New York City, with an average wind power density of up to 16 kilowatts per square meter, report researchers from the Carnegie Institution and California State University.

Technologies proposed to harvest these high altitude winds include tethered, kite-like turbines that would be floated to the altitude of the jet streams at an altitude of 20,000-50,000 feet… read more

A virtual view beneath the skin

May 17, 2011

A device developed at Microsoft projects images of bone structure, muscle, tendons and nerves onto a patient’s skin. (Credit: Microsoft Research)

A handheld device with an attached pico-projector can be used to help patients “see” their injuries, thanks to a project led by Amy Karlson, of Microsoft Research’s Computational User Experiences Group in Redmond, Washington.

The new tool, AnatOnMe, projects a virtual image of broken bone, tendons, and nerves on a patient’s skin, taken from stock images. Tests have shown AnatOnMe encourages patients to stick… read more

Armed With Right Cellphone, Anyone Can Be a Journalist

July 18, 2005

Got a cellphone camera? You, too, can be a television journalist. The news staff of WABC-TV, the ABC affiliate in New York, started soliciting cellphone pictures and amateur video last week from people who witness a news event.

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