science + technology news

Nanotube-enhanced Solar Energy

April 28, 2006

AMBIT Corporation plans to accelerate investment in its patented nanotube-on-silicon technology, which can boost the efficiency of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity by up to 18 percent.

The nanotubes act as antennas for the solar light and can also be used for optical detectors and nanotube memory.

FLOATEC project develops new floating house technology

September 6, 2011
Floating houses

The FLOATEC project has developed “amphibian houses” designed to float in the event of a flood, gizmag reports.

Building a floating house is actually a relatively easy construction process, says a Floatec exec. The secret: the foundations, using multiple layers of light plastic foam supporting the concrete, allowing it to float.

The primary market for floating houses is low-lying land such as the Netherlands,… read more

UCLA Physicists Create Single Molecule Nanoscale Sensor

July 15, 2003

Physicists have created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor, using a single molecule more than 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair to recognize the presence of a specific short sequence in a mixture of DNA or RNA molecules that could help with early diagnosis of genetic diseases, and have numerous other applications for medicine, biotechnology and other fields.

Philip Rosedale: The web needs to be more lifelike

November 16, 2009

Residents of Second Life have spent one billion hours in this digital world. Now founder Philip Rosedale has plans to push the concept much further in a new virtual venture.

“My expectation is we will see a web-scale usage fairly soon, meaning 1 billion people,” says Rosedale. “I think the total GDP of virtual worlds will catch up with real-world GDP over the next 20 to 30 years.”

Next Step In Robot Development Is Child’s Play

April 28, 2008
(ICT Results)

The RobotCub project, developers of the iCub robot, want to develop their robots’ cognitive capabilities by mimicking how small children learn by doing and by comparing their actions to previous experience.

Six European research labs have proposed projects to help train the robots to learn about their surroundings, just as a child would.

iCub robots are about the size of three-year-old children, with highly dexterous hands… read more

Technology’s Future: A Look at the Dark Side

May 17, 2006

Any technology powerful enough to improve life radically is also capable of abuse and prone to serious, unanticipated side effects.

Using ultrasound to treat brain disorders in clinical emergencies

September 12, 2011

Virginia Tech researchers have developed a guide for using low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound to noninvasively stimulate intact brain circuits, which may one day lead to first-line therapies in combating life-threatening epileptic seizures.

They said the major advantage of using ultrasound for brain stimulation is spatial resolution at millimeter precision while being focused through the skull to deep-brain regions without the need for invasive brain surgery. It… read more

Sensors guard privacy

July 22, 2003

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have addressed the privacy problem with a way to set up networks of tiny sensors that allows users to gain useful traffic statistics but preserves privacy by cloaking location information for any given individual.

Medibots: The world’s smallest surgeons

November 20, 2009

Swimming camera capsule (The Royal College of Surgeons / Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna)

Advances in robotics could revolutionize healthcare, pushing the limits of what surgeons can achieve, from worm-inspired capsules to crawl through your gut, and systems swallowed in pieces that assemble themselves inside the body, to surgical robots that will soon be ready to embark on a fantastic voyage through our bodies, homing in on the part that’s ailing and fixing it from the inside.

H.P. Reports Big Advance in Memory Chip Design

May 1, 2008

Hewlett-Packard scientists have designed a simple circuit element, the memrister, that they believe will make it possible to build tiny powerful computers that could imitate biological functions.

The memristor would be used to build extremely dense computer memory chips that use far less power than today’s DRAM memory chips, and should be fairly quickly commercialized, said R. Stanley Williams, director of the quantum science research group at Hewlett-Packard.… read more

Engineers develop techniques to boost efficiency of cloud computing infrastructure

March 12, 2013

Percentage of Gmail backend server jobs within various locality score ranges (credit: Clarity)

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego and Google have developed a novel approach that allows the massive infrastructure powering cloud computing as much as 15 to 20 percent more efficiently.

This novel model has already been applied at Google.

Computer scientists looked at a range of Google web services, including Gmail and search. They used a unique approach to develop their… read more

Outward Bound for Robots

June 1, 2006

A computer navigation system based on the hippocampus portion of the brain has been tested on an autonomous robotic car. By enabling the robot to take “cognitive fingerprints” of its surroundings, the software allows the vehicle to explore and remember places in much the same way mammals do.

China and India developing biotech drugs

September 20, 2011

Chinese and Indian drug makers have taken over much of the global trade in medicines and now manufacture more than 80 percent of the active ingredients in drugs sold worldwide. But they had never been able to copy the complex and expensive biotech medicines increasingly used to treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases in rich nations like the United States — until now.

Virtual humans edge closer

July 30, 2003

Avatars seem to be getting ever more lifelike, with more realistic visual appearance, speech, and body motion.

But as an avatar approaches reality, it could fall into the “Zombie Zone,” in which expectations that a character is actually human are suddently “violated by something that slightly wrong in the voice, or the face, or in the way it moves, and it gives you a horrible feeling that is not… read more

Why females live longer than males: is it due to the father’s sperm?

December 2, 2009

Mice created from two female genome lived an average of 186 days longer (a third longer) than control mice created from the normal combination of a male and female genome, Japanese scientists have found.

The study may give an answer to fundamental questions: whether longevity in mammals is controlled by the genome composition of only one or both parents, and why women are at an advantage over men with… read more

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