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Shifting Into Overdrive: What happens when mass storage leaves microchips in the dust

May 9, 2003

In mass storage, we have seen a 60,000-fold fall in price — more than a dozen times the force of Moore’s law.

Implications of lower-cost mass storage: the cheaper the disk space, the more dead the traditional business models of the entertainment industry; we will save copies of everything; and your memory will improve — there will be space to store whatever you wish to recall from your day.

Game-changing nanodiamond discovery for MRI

January 15, 2010

A Northwestern University study shows that coupling a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent to a nanodiamond* results in dramatically enhanced signal intensity and vivid image contrast.

The ability to image nanodiamonds in vivo would be useful in biological studies where long-term cellular fate mapping is critical, such as tracking beta islet cells or tracking stem cells.

* Carbon-based materials approximately four to six nanometers in diameter. Each… read more

Laptops could betray users in the developing world

June 6, 2008

Rolling out Internet-ready laptops to inexperienced users across the developing world poses a huge security problem by potentially allowing repressive governments to track the Internet activity of their citizens directly, some computer security researchers suggest.

Nanotube networks conjured on crystals

March 2, 2006

The key to instantly assembling intricate networks of nanotubes has been discovered by scientists armed with some of the most sophisticated microscopes in the world.

The phenomenon may some day help material scientists manufacture nano-circuits that channel electrons through tiny tunnels instead of along silicon wires, which have to be etched lithographically. Such circuits would be many times smaller than today’s, allowing greater computer power to be packed into… read more

Sorenstam’s Got Game, in Reality and Virtually

May 25, 2003

A virtual golf course has been created with the strengths of male and female golfers. It rewards precision, while penalizing shots that are too long or too short, leveling the playing field between men and women.

In a simulated four rounds of golf, golfer Annika Sorenstam was the winner.

Conductive ‘Energy Textiles’ enable new wearable electronics with better energy storage

January 21, 2010

A new process for making stretchable, porous, and conductive “Energy Textiles” using “ink” made from single-walled carbon nanotubes has been developed by Stanford University scientists, according to the American Chemical Society’s Nano Letters.

These highly conductive textiles can provide new design opportunities for wearable electronics, including energy storage applications using supercapacitors.

Have we underestimated total oil reserves?

June 12, 2008

The record $139 per barrel price of oil this week may partly be because the amount of available oil in known reserves has been significantly underestimated, due to a statistical error (failure to combine bell curves for multiple reservoirs), says Richard Pike, a former oil-industry adviser and chief executive of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry

According to published estimates, there are 1200 billion barrels still to be extracted,… read more

Supercomputer builds a virus

March 14, 2006

One of the world’s most powerful supercomputers has built a computer model of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus.

The researchers say the simulation is the first to capture a whole biological organism in such intricate molecular detail.

Running on a machine at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana, the program calculated how each of the million or so atoms in the virus and a surrounding drop of… read more

Shocking Cells Into Submission

June 6, 2003

A new treatment called electroporation uses pulses of electric current to force cells to accept DNA, which is designed to fight HIV, cardiovascular disease and other maladies.

A mind at rest strengthens memories, researchers find

January 28, 2010

Our memories are strengthened during periods of rest while we are awake, not just during sleep, researchers at New York University have found.

Self-healing electronics restores broken connection in microseconds

December 21, 2011

Self-healing electronics. Microcapsules full of liquid metal sit atop a gold circuit. When the circuit is broken, the microcapsules rupture, filling in the crack and restoring the circuit (credit: Scott White)

University of Illinois engineers have developed a self-healing system that restores electrical conductivity to a cracked circuit in microseconds.

“It simplifies the system,” said chemistry professor Jeffrey Moore, a co-author of the paper. “Rather than having to build in redundancies or to build in a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed to take care of the problem itself.”

As electronic devices are evolving to perform… read more

Viral DNA imaged inside shell

June 18, 2008
Tightly wound viral DNA in a bacteriophage (UCSD)

UC San Diego researchers and colleagues used electron microscopy and 3D computer reconstruction to find and image the structure of an asymmetrical virus at 8 Angstroms (.8 nanometer) resolution.

Previously, only symmetrical spherical viruses had been imaged with this resolution. The image will help to unravel how the virus locks onto its host and infects the cells by injecting its DNA.

University of Californiaread more

New data transmission record — 60 DVDs per second

March 27, 2006

German and Japanese scientists recently collaborated to achieve a newworld record for data transmission.

By transmitting a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link, the researchers bettered the old record of 1.28 terabits per second held by a Japanese group. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower.

New fluorescent protein from eel revolutionizes key clinical assay

Saving human lives while preserving an endangered species
June 19, 2013

Fluorescence image of a transverse section of a formalin-fixed eel (credit: RIKEN)

Unagi, the sea-going Japanese freshwater eel, harbors a fluorescent protein that could serve as the basis for a revolutionary new clinical test for bilirubin, a critical indicator of human liver function, hemolysis, and jaundice, according to researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

Best known as a culinary delicacy in Japan, the freshwater eel Unagi (Anguilla japonica) and related species have seen a worldwide decrease… read more

Computing’s Big Shift: Flexibility in the Chips

June 16, 2003

An emerging type of chip architecture known as adaptive, or reconfigurable, computing, could transform technology, combining the programmability of the microprocessor with the speed of dedicated hardware.

With this new approach, software is able to effectively redraw a chip’s physical circuitry on the fly. Adaptive computing enables a single chip to perform tasks normally requiring several; it can add speed while saving cost and energy, compared to today’s conventional… read more

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