Astronomers reported Wednesday that they had made the first detection of an organic molecule, methane, in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system and had confirmed the presence of water there, clearing the way for a bright future of inspecting the galaxy for livable planets, for the chemical stuff of life, or even for life itself.
December 14, 2004
Researchers have turned an atomic force microscope (AFM) into a surgical tool for cells that could add or remove molecules from precise locations inside a cell without harming it.
They used a beam of energetic ions to sharpen a standard silicon AFM tip into a needle just eight micrometers long and 200 nanometers wide.
The needle could allow for injecting molecules into specific regions of a cell or… read more
June 5, 2001
Concentration drains glucose from a key part of the brain, based on University of Illinois research on rats. The effect was more dramatic in older rats, whose brains also took longer to recover.
Researchers said the findings may have implications for the way schools schedule classes and meals.
Reducing Americans’ average intake of sodium to the amount recommended by health officials could save the nation as much as $18 billion annually in avoided health care costs and eliminate 11 million cases of high blood pressure (and related illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases) nationally, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
August 3, 2011
Giardia, a pathogen that attacks the small intestines of humans and animals, is serving as the inspiration for developing robots that can fight disease and aid in military operations, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have found.
The researchers found that each of the four pairs of Giardia flagella conducts different functions. The discovery may lead to bio-inspired swimming microrobots for nanomedicine, such as site-specific controlled drug… read more
March 27, 2008
New concept notebooks created by independent designers offer a sneak peek at how we’ll be computing in 2015.
Longer and more intense physical activity may help people maintain their cognitive skills as they age, according to a 10-year study of elderly men published in the December 28, 2004 issue of Neurology.
The study showed that over 10 years the cognitive decline in men who had reduced their daily physical activity by an hour or more was 2.6 times greater than the decline in men who maintained their… read more
A new way to change quantum spin states on ultrafast time scales (femtoseconds) by manipulating electron spins could pave the way for all-optical quantum computation in solids by loosening the stringent requirements on coherence times.
Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara used 10-13 second pulses of laser light to “tip” the spin alignment of the electrons.
September 21, 2009
IBM has a partnership with the US Department of Energy to build a 20 petaflops machine by 2011-2012*, followed by an exaflop machine (10^18 flops), the processing equivalent of about a billion PCs.
IBM is also planning to develop over the next 10 years a machine capable of processing the exabyte (10^18) of data expected to flow per day from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project. And the… read more
August 9, 2011
A wearable camera system makes it possible for motion capture to occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas, and outdoors, scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP), and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have shown.
The camera system reconstructs the relative and global motions of an actor, using a process called structure from motion (SfM) to estimate the pose of the cameras… read more
Purdue University researchers have created the first active-matrix display using a new class of transparent nanowire transistors and circuits.
Future applications include e-paper, flexible color monitors, and heads-up displays embedded in car windshields.
January 10, 2005
Rats can tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese by recognizing the difference in rhythmic properties of the languages.
Rat ancestors may have evolved the ability to sense sound patterns that might warn of predators approaching or changing predator behaviour. Humans may have evolved similar skills for similar reasons, before the ability was co-opted for other purposes, such as helping in the development and decoding of speech.
July 24, 2001
Highly insulating new honeycomb material may allow microelectronic integrated circuits to be made even smaller, increasing the power of microchip and computer technology.
When electronic devices get very small, insulating silica films must be shrunk to the same proportions. Too thin, they become leaky and electrical currents seep out, creating problems such as crosstalk between different parts of the circuit.
Leakage could become a problem once the dimensions of… read more
September 28, 2009
We will be able to upload the human brain to a computer, capturing “a person’s entire personality, memory, skills and history,” by the end of the 2030s; humans and non-biological machines will then merge so effectively that the differences between them will no longer matter; and, after that, human intelligence, transformed for the better, will start to expand outward into the universe, about 2045, says Ray Kurzweil.
April 4, 2008
CardioArm, a snakelike surgical robot from Carnegie Mellon University, could let a surgeon performing a critical heart operation make just one incision.
The curved robot has a series of joints that automatically adjust to follow the course plotted by the robot’s head, operated using a computer and joystick. This provides greater precision than a flexible endoscope can offer.
The smallest version of the device is 300… read more