science + technology news

Consortium seeks to ramp nanoelectronics research

December 10, 2005

Seeking to accelerate nanoelectronics research in the United States, a consortium of companies has announced its first research grants under the Semiconductor Industry Association’s new Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI). The goal is to demonstrate novel computing devices with critical dimensions below 10-nm.

The grants will fund the creation of two new university-based nanoelectronics research centers — one in California and the other in New York. The grants will also… read more

Faster computer graphics

June 14, 2011

At right, a standard digital animation algorithm has simulated blur by sampling 256 different points on the wings of a moving butterfly for every pixel in the frame. At left is the image produced by sampling one point per pixel. In the center is the result of a new algorithm that samples only one point per pixel but infers the color values of the surrounding points. The result is very close to the 256-sample image but much easier to compute. (Credit: Jaakko Lehtinen)

MIT computer graphics researchers have developed a technique to simulate the photographic blur caused by moving objects (a computationally complex calculation) and the unfocused background of an image when the camera is focused on an object in the foreground.

The result could be more convincing video games and frames of digital video that take minutes rather than hours to render (motion doesn’t look fluid without some blur).

New atlas for neuroscientists

February 19, 2003

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed computerized atlases and associated tools for visualizing and analyzing the brain.

The 3-D maps outline structural and functional areas in the cerebral cortex and the cerebellar cortex.

Detailed maps such as these will help physicians better understand the implications of brain damage due to stroke, epilepsy, trauma and other causes, and will help guide neurosurgeons in… read more

Scientists discover potential new drug delivery system

August 26, 2009

Using a peptide allows for an attached nanoparticle, such as a drug, to be delivered more effectively from the bloodstream into cells, similar to how viruses work.

Nanomaterials show unexpected strength under stress

March 13, 2008

University of Maryland-College Park and NIST researchers have discovered that materials such as silica that are quite brittle in bulk form behave as ductile as gold at the nanoscale.

At the macroscale, the point at which a material will fail or break depends on its ability to maintain its shape when stressed. The atoms of ductile substances are able to shuffle around and remain cohesive for much longer than… read more

DNA self-assembly used to mass-produce patterned nanostructures

December 23, 2005

Duke University scientists have used the self-assembling properties of DNA to mass-produce nanometer-scale structures in the shape of 4×4 grids, on which patterns of molecules can be specified.

They said the achievement represents a step toward mass-producing electronic or optical circuits at a scale 10 times smaller than the smallest circuits now being manufactured.

The smallest features on these square DNA lattices are approximately 5 to 10 nanometers,… read more

Communication helps target tumors

June 21, 2011

Mouse tumor imaging using targeted particles (credit: Liat Goldshaid et al.)

A new technique that uses nanoparticles and engineered proteins to broadcast the location of cancer in the body can deliver up to a 40-fold greater concentration of chemotherapy drugs to tumors than untargeted cancer treatments.

By designing a system of nanoparticle and protein components that can communicate with one another, biomedical engineer Geoffrey von Maltzahn of Flagship Ventures, an investment firm that helps launch new therapeutics and medical… read more

Convergence of P2P and Grid Predicted

March 5, 2003

The two current popular incarnations of distributed computing technology, Peer-to-peer (P2P) and grid computing, will converge. “The complementary nature of the strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches suggests that the interests of the two communities are likely to grow closer over time.”

Lobsters teach robots magnetic mapping trick

September 2, 2009

University of Oulu, Finland computer scientist Janne Haverinen has designed a robot that can navigate using variations in the geomagnetic field, allowing for more precision than GPS satellites and at lower cost than vision systems.

The research was inspired by a report of a similar ability in lobsters.

The future of biomedicine: virtual humans

March 18, 2008

Scientists have recently provided a sneak preview of the future of biomedicine with a range of projects seeking to assemble virtual humans–or parts of them–on computers and “labs on a chip.”

The technology could usher in a new era of personalized medicine in which rapid tests tell doctors which treatments have the best chances of success for individual patients.

In addition, copying the brain’s chemistry is important for… read more

Mine robot bogged down in mud in West Virginia rescue

January 4, 2006

A robot designed to search mines during emergencies was bogged down by mud earlier Tuesday, and was temporarily out of service in efforts to locate 13 miners trapped in a West Virginia mine.

The rescue robot, developed for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, is 30 inches wide, 50 inches tall and was designed to find possible escape routes for those trapped inside and determine whether it’s safe… read more

Acoustic ‘cloaking device’ shields objects from sound

June 28, 2011

Acoustic Cloak

Scientists at Duke University have developed a cloaking device using metamaterials that makes objects invisible to sound waves.

The device uses stacked sheets of plastic with regular arrays of holes through them. The exact size and placement of the holes on each sheet, and the spacing between the sheets, has a predictable effect on incoming sound waves.

When placed on a flat surface, the stack redirects the waves such… read more

Recent advances in computer vision

March 24, 2003

Human eye movements to scroll a computer screen up and down, a camera that periodically scans a scene in front of you and turns images into sounds, automatic media interpretation to assist users in searching for specific scenes and shots, and a system that can detect suspicious pedestrian behavior in parking lots are examples of new computer-vision systems.

After Hubble Repair, New Images From Space

September 10, 2009

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Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled dramatic new pictures and observations from the retrofitted Hubble Space Telescope.

Therapeutic cloning used to treat brain disease in mice

March 23, 2008

An international team has restored mice with a Parkinson’s-like disease back to health, using neurons made from their own cloned skin cells.

Sloan-Kettering Institute and RIKEN Center (Japan) researchers created embryonic stem (ES) cell lines from the cells, coaxed them to develop into neurons, and transplanted them back into the mice, which got significantly better, without suppressing their immune systems to allow the grafts to survive.

See Also… read more

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