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Scientists Close to Reconstructing First Living Cell

June 12, 2008
(Janet Iwasa)

Harvard Medical School researchers have built a model of what they believe in the first living cell on Earth (3.5 to 4 billion years ago), containing a strip of genetic material surrounded by a fatty membrane and capable of replicating.

No More Human Guinea Pigs

September 9, 2003

DARPA’s “Virtual Soldier” program plans to create an army of digital test subjects that can be subjected to new drugs, new medical procedures—even new weapons—without using soldiers as human guinea pigs. The “Virtual Soldier” will be an exact, computerized copy of every part of a person’s body.

Energy-harvesting rubber sheets could power pacemakers, mobile phones

January 28, 2010

(Michael McAlpine/Princeton University)

Piezoelectric ceramic nanoribbons embedded onto silicone rubber sheets that harness natural body movements such as breathing and walking to power pacemakers, mobile phones and other electronic devices, have been developed by Princeton University engineers.

The devices are biocompatible, so they could also be implanted in the body to perpetually power medical devices.

Seeing terror risk, US asks journals to cut flu study facts

December 21, 2011

A(H5N1) virus

For the first time ever, a government advisory board is asking scientific journals not to publish details of certain biomedical experiments, for fear that the information could be used by terrorists to create deadly viruses and touch off epidemics.

In the experiments, conducted in the United States and the Netherlands, scientists created a highly transmissible form of a deadly flu virus that does not normally spread from person to… read more

Nanofactory Collaboration website launched

July 26, 2006

Nanotechnologists Robert A. Freitas, Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle have launched a “Nanofactory Collaboration” website.

“This is the first and only dedicated international research effort with the explicit objective of building a working diamondoid nanofactory, by slowly and methodically working through the possible technical roadblocks one by one,” Freitas told

There are 23 individual research participants on the site so far. Most noteworthy: the general… read more

Genetic-testing start-ups asked to stop selling in Calif.

June 18, 2008

Genetic-testing start-up 23andMe and a dozen of its California-based peers were ordered by state health officials last week to stop selling DNA tests to consumers until their operations could be investigated for compliance with state standards.

The Genetically Modified Bomb

September 24, 2003

Anybody who’s part of a group with a shared genetic profile may be at risk in the future from “genetic bombs,” a virus or bacteria designed to kill people who fit a certain genotype for purposes of mass genocide or social control.

Siri: Your Personal Assistant for the Mobile Web

February 5, 2010

Siri, a new iPhone app based on SRI International’s ambitious CALO artificial intelligence project, transcribes spoken text and routes these commands to the right web services.

The company, for example, pulls concert data from StubHub, movie times from MovieTickets, movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, restaurant data from Yelp and you can order a taxi through TaxiMagic.

Apocalypse soon

August 10, 2006

The Israel-Hezbollah conflict has convinced many premillennialists that God, working through Israel, is steering the world toward its final days and the return of the Messiah, Jason Boyett says in

Meanwhile, Shiite Muslims believe the time is now for the return of the Hidden Imam and a final battle, possibly on August 22 this year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has hinted, Princeton professor emeritus Bernard Lewis points… read more

Researchers develop neural implant that learns with the brain

June 25, 2008

University of Florida researchers have designed a brain-computer interface (BCI) that can adapt to a person’s behavior over time, helping complete a task more efficiently.

When they tested the BCI on rats (allowing the rat to move a robotic arm using thought alone), the system helped the rats become increasingly efficient at moving the robot arm, even when the movement goals became more difficult.

Until now, BCIs have… read more

Is Life the Key to New Tech?

October 8, 2003

DNA computing has the potential to perform trillions of calculations at once and the size and the ease of interfacing with living material may make them ideal for use in medicine. But bio-molecular computers must await a breakthrough in designer enzymes.

New discovery of the ways cells move could boost understanding of spread of cancer

June 25, 2013


Led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), investigators found that epithelial cells — the type that form a barrier between the inside and the outside of the body, such as skin cells — move in a group, propelled by forces both from within and from nearby cells — to fill any unfilled spaces they encounter.… read more

Meet The First Miners of the New Social Graph

February 12, 2010

Three “miners of the new social graph” are using social-network data from Twitter, Facebook, and other services to create tools that can unearth potential connected people and audiences.

Optogenetics switch turns neurons on and off

January 4, 2012

Molecular combination switch: two light-sensitive membrane proteins (red and purple) are linked via a connecting piece (green) and anchored into the cell wall (left). When the cell is illuminated with blue light, it allows positively charged ions in. Orange light has the opposite effect, allowing negatively charged ions into the cell. The cell is activated or deactivated, respectively (right). (Credit: MPI of Biophysics)

A research team at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt am Main has developed a molecular light switch that makes it possible to control cells more accurately than ever before.

The combination switch consists of two different light-sensitive membrane proteins — one for on, the other for off.

Optogenetics is a new field of research that aims to control cells using light,… read more

Nano Engineering Simulations

August 22, 2006

The largest model ever simulated with NanoEngineer-1, a worm drive assembly designed by K. Eric Drexler, Josh Hall, Ninad Sathaye and Mark Sims, includes 11 components totalling 25,374 atoms.

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