science + technology news

Maths holy grail could bring disaster for internet

September 7, 2004

Mathematicians could be on the verge of solving two separate million-dollar problems.

If Louis de Branges really has cracked the

How to unplug from the grid

December 5, 2008

Once the preserve of mavericks, hippies and survivalists, there are now approximately 200,000 off-grid households in the US, a figure that has been increasing by a third every year for the past decade.

In addition, nearly 30,000 grid-connected US households supplement their supply with renewables, according to the non-profit Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Tech companies set goals for energy efficiency

June 13, 2007

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a group of some of the biggest U.S. technology companies, said they’ve committed to a plan to improve the power efficiency of equipment they make and use.

Improving power supply efficiencies and the use of power management techniques along the timeline Climate Savers has described would reduce global carbon emissions from the operation of computers by 54 million tons per year. In 2010, it… read more

Deep brain stimulation may hold promise for mild Azheimer’s disease

May 8, 2012

Deep brain stimulation (credit: Parkinson's UK)

A study at the University of Toronto on a handful of people with suspected mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggests that a device that sends continuous electrical impulses to specific “memory” regions of the brain appears to increase neuronal activity.

Results of the study using deep brain stimulation, a therapy already used in some patients with Parkinson’s disease and depression, may offer hope for at least some with AD,… read more

Predictions for IP Television Highlight Increased High Speed Bandwidth for the Home

September 17, 2004

All major phone companies have initiatives related to broadband-delivered IP television, according to FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

Verizon is rolling out high-capacity fiber-optic lines with the goal of signing up one million homes by the end of this year and another two million homes in 2005. Qwest Communications already operates a small IP television service in Arizona, and the other three Baby Bells are also ramping up their efforts.

New nanocrystal alloys could lead to more powerful flash memory

September 20, 2010

This schematic shows enthalpy curves sketched for the liquid, crystalline and amorphous phases of a new class of nanomaterials called “BEANs” for Binary Eutectic-Alloy Nanostructures. (Daryl Chrzan)

A new class of phase-change materials (used in non-volatile or “flash” memory)  has been discovered by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

It could be applied to phase-change, random-access memory technologies and possibly optical data storage.  The new phase-change materials — nanocrystal alloys of a metal and semiconductor — are called “BEANs,” for binary eutectic-alloy nanostructures, such as quantum dots… read more

What’s Next for Computer Interfaces?

December 11, 2008

A project called nanoTouch, developed at Microsoft Research, tackles the challenges of adding touch sensitivity to ever-shrinking displays. A gadget would have a front that is entirely a display, a back that is entirely touch- sensitive, and a side that features buttons.

Perceptive Pixel describes software that recognizes how hard a user is pressing a surface. If they press hard on an image of, say, a playing card and… read more

Carbon nanotube injectors probe living cells without damage

June 21, 2007
The CNT nanoinjector tip, conjugated with streptavidin-coated quantum dots. Right: Quantum dots are shown in red after being injected into a living human HeLa cell (the dark shape is the AFM cantilever).

In order to investigate the processes that go on inside a single human cell–or even specific subcellular compartments–researchers need a device that is small and controlled enough to pass through the delicate cell membrane. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), with their needle-like geometry, high elasticity and strength, have recently shown that they’re up to the task.

British Researchers Apply for Licence to Generate Human Brain Cells

September 29, 2004

The scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute have formally applied for a license to clone human embryos to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (called MND or motor neurone disease in the UK).

The research team plans to take DNA from the skin or blood of a person with MND and implant it into a human egg from which the genetic material has been… read more

Carbon nanotubes may lead to better brain electrodes and neuroprosthetic devices

December 22, 2008

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have found that carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which are highly conductive and corrosion-resistant, form extremely tight contacts with neuronal cell membranes and could act as a new building block for novel “electrical bypass” systems for treating traumatic injury of the central nervous system.

CNTs could also replace metal parts in clinical applications such as deep brain stimulation for the treatment of… read more

Google: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

July 5, 2007

Google Inc. has been putting together a massive cable network that could provide customers around the world with telecommunications services ranging from broadband Internet to home and mobile phones.

Google has reportedly approached the Federal Communications Commission recently about obtaining wireless spectrum, the base upon which mobile phone networks are built, in the U.S. agency’s next auction, expected in 2009. That could be the target date for Google to… read more

Photocrystallography Captures Big Changes in Transient Molecular Species

October 13, 2004

University at Buffalo scientists have reported the first experimental measurements of structures of high-energy states of molecules that exist for just millionths of a second.

Led by Philip Coppens, Ph.D., the UB scientists used a “photocrystallography” technique that uses intense laser light and X-ray diffraction to reveal the structure of highly reactive molecules in these transient states.

“In the time-resolved studies, we take very short snapshots to capture… read more

DoCoMo Shows Prototype Augmented Reality Display

October 8, 2010

(PC World)

NTT DoCoMo has developed a tiny display that clips onto a pair of eyeglasses and provides navigation services or information about local shops.

The prototype system, called AR Walker, includes a gyro sensor that can detect which way the wearer is facing to provide directions. It connects wirelessly to a mobile phone, which runs the software and provides the GPS data.

The research is being done with Olympus,… read more

Top Technology Breakthroughs of 2008

December 29, 2008

R&D labs were busy laying the foundations of some amazing future technologies in 2008. They produced concepts such as silicon chips you can swallow for personalized medicine from the inside out and a fourth fundamental element in electronic circuitry.

Researchers Dream of Humanizing Androids

July 11, 2007
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology research professor Jimmy Or says he

A small coterie of devoted professionals and amateurs are working to make fully articulated, humanoid and even sinuously dancing robots a reality.

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