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Building a Self-Assembling Stomach-Bot

September 22, 2008
(ETH Zurich)

By using magnetic links between capsules, a team of European researchers hopes to build a snake-like robot that can self-assemble inside a patient’s stomach to perform different tasks: imaging, power, taking samples, etc., and link together, creating a snake-like device that could slide through the intestines, performing more-complex tasks than those performed by a single capsule or several free-floating ones.

Building a Search Engine of the Brain, Slice by Slice

December 28, 2009

A “Google Earthlike search engine,” the first entirely reconstructed, whole-brain atlas with resolution all the way down to the level of single cells–2.5 petabytes of information– will be available at the Brain Observatory at U.C. San Diego to anyone who wants to log on.

Building a nanotransistor bottom-up

November 19, 2003

Scientists at North Carolina State University are attempting to build the first transistor using a bottom-up, or molecular assembly approach.

“Our research will tackle two critical issues in future materials for advanced molecule-based information processing,” says Dr. Chris Gorman, professor of chemistry. “How to assemble and attach single molecules to electronic contacts and how to create electronic gain — the fundamental operating principle of a transistor — at the… read more

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

February 1, 2013

Lunar base made with 3D printing (credit: ESA)

Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials.

Renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using simulated lunar soil (regolith).

The architects devised a weight-bearing “catenary” dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a… read more

Building a hand-held lab-on-a-chip to simplify blood tests

April 12, 2006

A cell phone-sized blood-count machine requiring less blood than a mosquito bite will make blood tests easier for many patients, from neonatal units to astronauts in space.

Source: National Space Biomedical Research Institute news release

Building a Brain on a Silicon Chip

March 25, 2009
(Karlheinz Meier)

An international team of scientists in Europe has created a silicon chip designed to function like a human brain, with 200,000 “neurons” linked up by 50 million “synaptic connections.”

A neuron circuit typically consists of about 100 components, while a synapse requires only about 20; they can operate in parallel and about 100,000 times faster than a real human brain.

The hope of the Fast Analog… read more

Building a Better Search Engine

July 31, 2007

Powerset, Inc. is on the verge of offering an innovative natural-language search engine, based on linguistic research at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

The engine does more than merely accept queries asked in the form of a question. The company claims that the engine finds the best answer by considering the meaning and context of the question and related Web pages.

Building a Better Limb

July 28, 2006

A prosthetic arm now in development by Johns Hopkins University and DEKA Research & Development will be as flexible and attractive as a real arm.

It will sense the weight and texture of objects, give the wearer a “feel” for what the arm is doing, and be able to make 22 independent motions, as opposed to the three in current prosthetic arms.

Scientists now building the DARPA arms… read more

Building a Better Cat

December 5, 2002

Hasbro’s FurReal Friends has become one of the season’s hottest toys, subordinating gadgetry to realistic cat attributes (such as fur) and behaviors.

When the cat is first turned on, it “wakes up,” stretching its neck and arching its back. It meows and then begins to monitor six scattered sensors that can tell if it is being touched on the head, neck, back or tail.

It… read more

Building a Better Backbone

May 16, 2001

Surging Internet growth is straining the capacity of the Internet backbone. New developments to increase bandwidth include Raman amplification (allows a signal to be amplified without introducing noise), polarized light, and “photonic-band-gap crystals” to eliminate interference between wavelengths.

Current research could enable holographic 3-D videoconferences, long-distance surgery, and instantaneous access to books stored at any library in the world.

Building 3D heart tissue with a programmable chip-making device

July 15, 2013

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By adapting a programmable device used to manufacture integrated circuits, Draper Laboratory researchers have devised a semi-automated process to build three-dimensional heart tissue, MIT Technology Review reports.

Tissue is grown in the lab by “seeding” scaffolds — usually composed of a porous elastic or gelatinous material — with cells meant to develop into specific tissues.

But highly ordered cellular architectures, which are essential for complicated organs like… read more

Bugs trained to build circuit

October 11, 2002

Researchers are developing bacteria to form nanoscale microbial machines that could eventually repair wounds or build microscopic electrical circuits.

Researchers at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Ibaraki, Japan trained the bacterium Acetobacter xylinum to exude ribbons of cellulose, a biological building material, laying down strips at a rate of 4,000ths of a millimetre per minute.

They are also exploring the use of genetically modified bacteria… read more

Bugs provoke the immune system into fighting cancer

April 2, 2008

Advaxis has developed a method of deliberately infecting people with a harmless version of the bacteria that cause listeriosis to to kick-start the body’s immune system and increase its ability to destroy tumors.

Bug’s eye inspires hemispherical digital camera

May 2, 2013

Nearly hemispheric (credit: John A. Rogers/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Inspired by the complex fly eye, researchers have developed a nearly hemispherical digital camera with 180 tiny lenses, delivering exceptionally wide-angle field of view and sharp images.

Humans capture pictures using the two lenses of our relatively flat eyes, while a top-of-the-line SLR camera has just one flat lens.

The new camera — a rounded half bubble, similar to a bug’s eye — has 180 microlenses mounted… read more

Bug-popping nanotubes promise clean surfaces

August 22, 2007

A Yale University study found that soating surfaces with carbon nanotubes could keep them microbe-free.

The nanotubes punctured bacteria cells, causing the genetic material to float out.

The Yale researchers envisage materials covered with carbon nanotubes to keep them microbe-free. The nanotubes could either be applied to the surface or incorporated during the manufacturing process.

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