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Surfing the light fantastic

Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time; could lead to new optical discoveries such as plasmonic holograms
July 6, 2015

Artistic rendition of the superluminal running wave of charge that excites the surface plasmon wakes  (credit: Daniel Wintz, Patrice Genevet, and Antonio Ambrosio)

Harvard researchers have created surface plasmons (wakes of light-like waves moving on a metallic surface) and demonstrated that they can be controlled and steered. Their demonstration was based on the Cherenkov effect, in which a charged particle moving with a velocity faster than the phase velocity of light in the medium radiates light that forms a cone with a half angle determined by the ratio of… read more

Surfing the Web Stimulates Older Brains

October 15, 2008

In an experiment, adults 55 to 78 years old who have regularly searched the Internet showed twice the increase in brain activity in MRI scans when performing a new Internet search than their counterparts without Internet search experience, especially in the areas of the brain that control decision making and complex reasoning, UCLA researchers have found.

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.

Surgeons may get Minority Report-style display

June 17, 2008

Ben Gurion University engineers have developed a sterile browsing system for doctors, using a screen and gesture-recognition system that allows surgeons to flip back and forth through radiology images, such as MRI and CT scans, by simply groping in mid-air.

Surgeons See into Their Patients

May 25, 2001

A new imaging and navigation system helps physicians see internal organs, bones, and vessels.

The Cbyon Suite from Cbyon Inc. creates a virtual 3-D model of a patient using data from magnetic resonance images, X-rays, ultrasounds and other types of scans. Doctors can peel through the data layer by layer and pinpoint the location of their surgical tools within 6 mm.

Surgeons use woman’s own tissue to rebuild ear lost to cancer

Cartilage model placed under forearm skin to grow new covering
October 1, 2012


Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine have successfully created a new ear for a woman who lost one of her ears to an aggressive form of skin cancer.

The reconstruction required six operations over a period of 20 months, beginning in January 2011. It is one of the most complicated ear reconstructions ever performed at Johns Hopkins, according to surgeons involved in the case.… read more

Surgical chip shows patient info

November 30, 2004

A surgeon has invented a chip for patients designed to help prevent hospital errors.

SurgiChip is a one-inch-square RFID chip with embedded information that can be read by computers and hand-held devices so that hospital workers know that they have the right patient and the right procedure.

The information on the operation is placed in the computer. The patient sees it on a monitor and verifies that it’s… read more

Surgical drill feels its way through tissue

April 2, 2007

A medical drill being tested in the UK simplifies delicate surgical procedures by sensing the properties of surrounding tissue. It has already been used to give profoundly deaf patients cochlear implants — a process that requires extreme caution to avoid damaging delicate tissues inside the ear.

Surgical robots

January 19, 2012


Blake Hannaford and his colleagues at the University of Washington are about to release a flock of medical robots with wing-like arms, called Ravens, in the hope of stimulating innovation in the nascent field of robotic surgery.

The Raven — originally developed for the American army by Dr Hannaford and Jacob Rosen of the University of California, Santa Cruz as a prototype for robotic surgery on the battlefield —… read more

Surgical Robots Get a Sense of Touch

December 20, 2006

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a haptic feedback system for surgical robots, which lack subtle sensations.

Their goal is to understand the forces of the robot interacting with the patient and to use motors on the master robot–controlled by the surgeon–to create forces that are equal to those being applied to the patient.

Surgical Tags Plan for Sex Offenders

November 15, 2002

Britain is considering a controversial scheme to implant surgically electronic tags in convicted pedophiles amid fears that the extent of the abuse of children has been massively underestimated. The government could then track pedophiles by satellite, with a system similar to that used to locate stolen cars. The tags can be put beneath the skin under local anesthetic and would also be able to monitor the heart rate and blood… read more

Surprising discovery: Multicellular stress response is ‘all for one’

May 9, 2008

Northwestern University researchers have found that in the worm C. elegans, specialized neurons organize and control how cells respond to environmental stress, rather than the cells responding individually.

The researchers suggest that other organisms, including humans, may have a similar central neuronal control switch for regulating temperature and the expression of genes, which protects the health of proteins.

The results may lead to new ways to study stress… read more

Surprising responses to faces from single neurons in the amygdala

September 30, 2011

Adolphs HiRes

Which one of the two images on the right do you respond to?

Neurons in the the amygdala portion of the brain respond strongly when a person sees an entire face, but respond much less to a face in which only a very small region has been erased, neuroscientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered by looking at recordings from… read more

Surprising twist in debate over lab-made H5N1

March 11, 2012

H5N1 virus (credit: Lennart Nilsson)

A researcher who created one of the H5N1 mutants and a leading U.S. health official say the threat has been blown out of proportion, offering what they said were clarifications and “new data” to better gauge the risk it presents.

Contrary to widespread reports, the researcher, Ron Fouchier of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, revealed that the virus made in his lab does not kill ferrets infected by… read more

Surveillance made easy

August 25, 2008

Governments around the world are developing increasingly sophisticated electronic surveillance methods in a bid to identify terrorist cells or spot criminal activity.

German electronics company Siemens has gone a step further, developing a complete “surveillance in a box” system called the Intelligence Platform, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using… read more

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