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Say hello to your robot self

October 16, 2006

Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro is at the forefront of designing machines that look just like us.

Equipped with off-board cameras, microphones and floor sensors, Repliee Q1Expo, an android copy of Ayako Fujii, a real newscaster, can detect human presence and interview people with a microphone, moving its upper body in a smooth, natural fashion.

Dr. Ishiguro can remote-control it, Wizard of Oz-style, using a motion-capture system that transmits his… read more

Wireless World

November 26, 2003

In a few years, wireless will become the dominant form of communication service in the U.S. Already there are about 147 million cell phones in the country, compared with 187 million traditional phone lines, according to FCC figures.

Random fluctuations give rise to odd genetic phenomenon

February 18, 2010

MIT biophysicists have demonstrated that some cases of incomplete penetrance* are controlled by random fluctuations in gene expression, which could influence the mutations that can cause cancer.

Knowing the specific points in cellular pathways that are most important in controlling a cell’s response to mutation could give drug designers better targets for new therapies.

* Not every person who carries a mutated gene expresses the trait or condition… read more

‘Smart bomb’ nanoparticle strategy to stop metastasis

July 8, 2008

Researchers at University of California, San Diego have developed a nanoparticles/anti-cancer-drug combination that acts as a “smart bomb” to target metastasis (spreading) in mouse pancreatic and kidney cancer.

The 100-nm. nanoparticle comprises (unnamed) lipid polymers that deliver the drug doxorubcin, selectively targeting blood vessels that feed cancerous lesions by homing in on the protein marker integrin alpha-nu-beta-3 found on the surface of those blood vessels. It has a strong… read more

New technique for deep brain stimulation surgery proves accurate and safe

June 10, 2013

X-ray showing electrodes used in deep brain stimulation (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oregon Health & Science University neurosuirgeons have developed a safer new way to perform the surgery for Parkinson’s disease. It allows for more accurate placement of the brain electrodes and is likely safer for patients.

The success and safety of the new surgical technique could have broad implications for deep brain stimulation,(DBS) surgical procedures.

With traditional DBS surgery,  there is a small chance of… read more

‘Tower of Babel’ translator made

October 26, 2006

A new device being created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University uses electrodes attached to the neck and face to detect the movements that occur as a person silently mouths words and phrases.

Using this data, a computer can work out the sounds being formed and then build these sounds up into words. The system is then able to translate the words into another language, which is read out… read more

Is there a Moore’s law for energy efficiency?

December 20, 2011

The energy needed to perform computations is falling exponentially, a trend that predates the transistor.

IEEE Spectrum Podcast interviews Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, who published a paper looking at the Moore’s Law-like exponential progress in the energy efficiency of computers over the past six decades.

Download an mp3 of this podcast

U.S. official calls for closer cooperation on nanotechnology

December 10, 2003

Joseph Bordogna, deputy director of the National Science Foundation, called for closer cooperation between the scientific and engineering research communities on nanotechnology development to create “nano transformations” in all scientific and social fields.

Putting the Web in a Spreadsheet

March 1, 2010

IBM BigSheets can be used to collect, analyze, and visualize large quantities of unstructured data on the Web.

It uses IBM’s Hadoop to crawl through Web pages, parsing them to extract key terms and other useful data. It organizes this information in a very large spreadsheet, where users can analyze it using the sort of tools and macros found in desktop spreadsheet software.

Tiny fishing reel gets DNA researchers out of a tangle

July 14, 2008
(K Terao/Kyoto University)

Kyoto University researchers have developed the world’s smallest fishing reel to wind up DNA strands without damaging them.

The microdevice lets geneticists more precisely locate specific genes and identify genetic disorders.

The researhers developed minuscule hooks and bobbins that mimic the way a fishing reel winds line onto a spool as a safer way to manipulate DNA. These are fabricated from a polymer called SU-8 photoresist… read more

‘Nanoporous’ material gobbles up hydrogen fuel

November 7, 2006

Hydrogen-powered cars could one day store fuel safely and efficiently using polymers filed with nanoscopic holes.

Seven Days of Creation

December 18, 2003

Advanced Cell Technology is working to clone human embryos and perfect other techniques in pursuit of stem cells. ACT’s ultimate goal: hundreds of stem cell lines to treat everything from Alzheimer’s to diabetes to Parkinson’s.

It’s 2010 – finally my jet pack is here!

March 10, 2010

Martin Aircraft Jetpack

Martin Aircraft in New Zealand has announced the first commercially-available jet pack, priced at $86,000 and due on the market in a year (training required).

Emotional robot has empathy, understands your frustration

July 18, 2008

The Feelix Growing project uses software that allows robots to adjust to how a person is feeling based on feedback from cameras and sensors.

The bots look at a human’s facial expression and key in on their voice and proximity to determine what kind of mood they’re in.

Efficiency Jump for White OLEDs

November 21, 2006

In an advance that could hasten the day when energy-efficient glowing plastic sheets replace traditional lightbulbs, a method for printing microscopic lenses nearly doubles the amount of photons coming out of the materials, called organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs.

The technology increases the light output of the thin, flexible OLEDs by 70 percent, bringing them closer to being competitive with white-light sources.

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