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Bio fuel cells could power portable gadgets

April 23, 2006

A hydrogen fuel cell that uses enzymes instead of expensive metal catalysts to drive chemical reactions has been developed by researchers from Oxford University.

They used two enzymes, one harvested from bacteria and the other from fungus, to catalyse the same chemical reactions.

Ultrasensitive particles offer new way to find cancer

September 1, 2011

MIT chemical engineers have designed particles that can detect microRNA inside living cells (Image source: Stephen Clifford Chapin)

MIT researchers haveĀ engineered a way to detect abnormal microRNA levels in the blood of cancer patients, raising the possibility of developing a simple blood test to diagnose or monitor the disease.

The technology consists of an array of tiny particles, each designed to latch onto a specific type of microRNA. By exposing blood samples to these particles, the researchers can generate a microRNA… read more

Miniature biolab embedded on silicon chip

July 10, 2003

Researchers from Cornell University have developed a miniaturized DNA-based biological testing system that fits on a silicon chip and can be customized to detect a wide variety of microorganisms.

The 2 cm x 4 cm chip captures the DNA from the sample and purifies it. A reaction chamber performs a polymerase chain reaction to rapidly replicate the selected segment of DNA, which can then be tested.

Cady and… read more

Digital ‘Cloud’ could form over London for the 2012 Olympics

November 12, 2009


MIT researchers have proposed to build a tourist attraction called “The Cloud” in London for the 2012 Olympics.

The structure would consist of two 400-foot tall mesh towers that are linked by a series of interconnected plastic bubbles, which would themselves house an observation deck inside and be used to display everything from Olympic scores and highlights to a “barometer of the city’s interests and moods” outside.

New nanotech products hitting the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week

April 25, 2008

New nanotechnology consumer products are coming on the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Project Director David Rejeski said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday.

The number of consumer products using nanotechnology has grown from 212 to 609 since PEN launched the world’s first online inventory of manufacturer-identified nanotech goods in March 2006. Health and fitness items, which… read more

Shape-shifting car will brace for impact

May 11, 2006

A car that can anticipate a side-on impact and subtly alter its body shape to absorb the force of the crash is being developed by researchers in Germany.

The car will use hood-mounted cameras and radar to spot a vehicle on course for a side-on collision. Once it realizes an impact is imminent, it will activate a shape-shifting metal in the door. This reinforces the bond between door and… read more

Scripps Research scientists produce first stem cells from endangered species

September 8, 2011
Drill primate

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have produced the first stem cells from endangered species, starting with normal skin cells.

Such cells could eventually make it possible to improve reproduction and genetic diversity for some species, possibly saving them from extinction, or to bolster the health of endangered animals in captivity.

They experimented with two endangered species: the drill and the northern white rhinoceros.… read more

University develops dancing robot that can follow lead

July 20, 2003

A team at Tohoku University has developed a robot that can follow a human dancer’s lead.

The robot can predict the dancer’s next move through hand pressure applied to its arms and back, and also judging from dance steps it is making, and can then turn at the appropriate speed. Equipped with a computer, sensors and batteries, it can move in any direction on four wheels and has memory… read more

Innovation: The dizzying ambition of Wolfram Alpha

November 18, 2009

Stephen Wolfram wants Wolfram Alpha to generate knowledge of its own.

Alpha has been exposed to more utterances than a typical child would hear in learning a new language, allowing it to get smarter at understanding how people phrase their requests, he says.

“You’ll be able to ask it a question, and instead of it using knowledge that came out of a method invented 50 years ago it… read more

Silver nanoparticles in wastewater may be killing beneficial bacteria

April 30, 2008

University of Missouri researchers have found that silver nanoparticles in water may harm benign bacteria used to remove ammonia from wastewater treatment systems, halting their reproduction.

Products containing silver nanoparticles include socks (to inhibit odor-causing bacteria), and high-tech, energy-efficient washing machines, where they are used to disinfect clothes.

See Also As nanotechnology goes mainstream, ‘toxic socks’ raise concerns

University of Missouri-Columbia News Release

No aging, robot cars — and radical business plans

May 26, 2006

If Ray Kurzweil is right, the business landscape — indeed, the entire human race — is about to be transformed beyond all recognition.

Here’s the question Kurzweil is asking these days: What if the exponential growth shown in Moore’s Law applies not just to etching transistors in silicon chips, but to all of human progress and innovation?

Chatting with Online Characters

July 25, 2003

Oddcast, a company that makes conversational characters, and the ALICE AI Foundation have announced a partnership to create smarter online characters.

One of the first applicationss is an online tutor for teaching English to Chinese people.

Device spells doom for superbugs

November 30, 2009

(New Journal of Physics)

A prototype device that uses “cold atmospheric plasma” to rid hands, feet, or even underarms of bacteria, including the hospital superbug MRSA, has been developed by Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics researchers.

The team says that an exposure to the plasma of only about 12 seconds reduces the incidence of bacteria, viruses, and fungi on hands by a factor of a million, a number that stands in sharp… read more

Robobug goes to war

May 5, 2008

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield.

As in minority report, the robots will be released in a swarm into the building to relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside, or equipped with sensors to detect chemical, biological or… read more

Defibrillation’s Alternative

June 7, 2006

Biophan Technologies has been awarded a patent for a technique that avoids the need for a powerful electrical shock by predicting the onset of ventricular fibrillation (VF) and treating it with a weak signal before it occurs.

Biophan’s algorithms are built on chaos theory, which has been used previously to highlight the early signs of VF. This earlier research suggested that by detecting changes in the nonlinear or chaotic… read more

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