science + technology news

Astronomers zoom in on galaxy’s glittering heart

November 2, 2005

Astronomers have obtained the closest glimpse yet of the supermassive black hole thought to lurk at the center of our galaxy. They focused on radio emissions around the black hole over an area equal in width to the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

If astronomers are able to see up to the edge of the black hole’s event horizon — beyond which no light can… read more

Metamaterials could improve wireless power transmission

May 24, 2011

Electrical engineers at Duke University have determined that it is theoretically possible to improve the efficiency of recharging devices without wires, using metamaterials.

Normally, as power passes from a transmitting device to a receiving device, most (if not all) of it scatters and dissipates unless the two devices are extremely close together. The metamaterial postulated by the researchers, which would be situated between the energy… read more

Giving robots the gift of sight

January 1, 2003

Hans Moravec has completed work on a three-dimensional robotic vision system that can navigate offices and homes. It consists of stereoscopic digital cameras and 3D grid software that determines the robot’s distance from objects by noticing the different placement of the object in the two camera images and applying a geometric equation.

Sin Bins For Worst Families

August 3, 2009

The government of England plans to put 20,000 more problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision in their own homes to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Killer Military Robots Pose Latest Threat To Humanity, Robotics Expert Warns

February 27, 2008

University of Sheffield Professor Noel Sharkey is concerned that we are beginning to see the first steps towards an international robot arms race.

He warns that it may not be long before robots become a standard terrorist weapon to replace the suicide bomber.

Ultra-sensitive microscope reveals DNA processes

November 16, 2005

A new microscope sensitive enough to track the real-time motion of a single protein, right down to the scale of its individual atoms, has revealed how genes are copied from DNA.

Mining patterns in search data with Google Correlate

May 31, 2011

Google Ribosome

Google Correlate has been launched onĀ Google Labs. UsersĀ can now upload their own data series and retrieve a list of search terms based on popularity to see what best corresponds with a real world trend.

In the example below, official flu activity data were uploaded from the U.S. CDC over the last several years. The data reveal that people search for terms like [cold… read more

10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World

January 20, 2003

Technology Review’s editors have identified ten emerging technologies that they predict will have a tremendous influence in the near future: Wireless Sensor Networks, Injectable Tissue Engineering, Nano Solar Cells, Mechatronics (integrated mechanical-electronic components with intelligent-software control), Grid Computing, Molecular Imaging, Nanoimprint Lithography, Software Assurance, Glycomics (turning sugars into drugs), and Quantum Cryptography.

Supercomputer Visuals Without Graphics Chips

August 10, 2009

Rather than moving massive datasets to a specialized graphics-processing cluster for rendering, researchers are writing software that allows the thousands of processors in a supercomputer to do the visualization themselves.

Image of a core-collapse supernova generated on Argonne National Laboratory’s supercomputer (Argonne National Laboratory)

Out of the Blue

March 4, 2008

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne computational neuroscientists hope to model a complete rat brain within two years on their IBM Blue Brain supercomputer and download it into a robotic rat to develop like a real rat–one with a “mind of its own.”

They also want to simulate what that brain experiences, and generate a movie of its reality rooted in the details of its brain.

Beyond… read more

Google makes data free for all

November 29, 2005

Google has launched a new service called Google Base. It allows anyone to upload files for free to its massive server farms, making the data instantly searchable.

Although mainly aimed at online markets for such things as homes and jobs, scientists say the facility could have important implications for data-sharing in science, and perhaps boost efforts to make the web more “intelligent,” bringing structured web pages to the masses… read more

Optical Observation Of Single Molecules In Their Natural State

February 5, 2003

Scientists at Cornell University have for the first time optically isolated individual biological molecules in naturally occurring molecular concentrations and watched their complex behavior as they interact with a protein.

The technique, made possible by the ability of nanofabrication to produce a microchip with light-impeding holes with a diameter one-tenth of the wavelength of light, could promise a new method of DNA sequencing by which the genetic code can… read more

Found: first amino acid on a comet

August 18, 2009

An amino acid, glycine, has been found on a comet for the first time, a new NASA analysis of samples from NASA’s Stardust mission reveals, confirming that some of the building blocks of life were delivered to the early Earth from space.

New security camera promises to protect, not reveal your body parts

March 10, 2008

ThruVision is developing a camera that passively images objects that emit Terahertz, or T-rays.

T-rays are “black body” radiation (between microwave and infrared on the spectrum) naturally emitted from all materials, including people. The camera collects these naturally occurring T-rays and processes them to form images that reveal concealed objects hidden under a person’s clothing without displaying physical body detail, the company says.

Consortium seeks to ramp nanoelectronics research

December 10, 2005

Seeking to accelerate nanoelectronics research in the United States, a consortium of companies has announced its first research grants under the Semiconductor Industry Association’s new Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI). The goal is to demonstrate novel computing devices with critical dimensions below 10-nm.

The grants will fund the creation of two new university-based nanoelectronics research centers — one in California and the other in New York. The grants will also… read more

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