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Tiny technology, big ideas

January 20, 2003

Imagine never having to polish your shoes again, having glistening white teeth without visiting a dentist, or owning a mobile phone powered by a miniature battery. Researchers are developing nanotechnology-based solutions to achieve these and other breakthroughs.

Virtual computer army takes on the botnets

August 10, 2009

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have created more one million virtual computers to provide insight into how networks of infected computers called botnets wreak havoc on the Internet.

‘Long-life’ genes found in 100-year-old humans

March 4, 2008

Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers found two mutations that make people live longer.

Both mutations affect the receptor for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). By making the receptor slightly faulty, the mutations may disrupt IGF1 binding and decelerate the process of maturation and aging.

Air guitarists’ rock dreams come true

November 29, 2005

The Virtual Air Guitar project, developed at Helsinki University of Technology, uses a computer to monitor the hand movements of a “player.” The system adds riffs and licks to match mid-air finger work.

Skin cancer treatment: biggest breakthrough in 30 years

June 6, 2011

Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and colleagues have shown that vemurafenib outperforms the most common chemotherapy drug for metastatic melanoma, dacarbazine.

The researchers compared the drugs on 672 patients with late stage, inoperable melanoma. They found that 48 per cent of those receiving vemurafenib responded to the treatment, while only 5 per cent of patients responded to dacarbazine. At 6 months, survival was 84… read more

Mutant Bacteria Become Microscopic Motors

February 5, 2003

University of Arkansas researcher Steve Tung is incorporating living bacteria into microelectromechanical systems to form living motors for pumps and valves. These tiny bioMEMS devices could be used in systems for drug delivery or DNA sequencing.

News tip: Walter Purvis

Sony patents reveal emotion recognition software

August 17, 2009

Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed patents for software that can recognize emotions, including, laughter, sadness, joy, anger and boredom.

The patents may be related to Sony’s PlayStation 3 motion-tacking technology, which can detect facial expressions, and sound similar to Microsoft’s Project Natal, which can detect emotional responses through facial and voice recognition.

A simulated robot with bacterial brain

Models how bacteria might affect the mind (bacteria that act like tigers?); applications may include treating mental and physical illnesses, agriculture, and remediating oil spills
July 28, 2015

computational simulation ft

Virginia Tech scientist Warren Ruder, an assistant professor of biological systems engineering, has created an in silico (computer-simulated) model of a biomimetic robot controlled by a bacterial brain.

The study was inspired by real-world experiments where the mating behavior of fruit flies was manipulated using bacteria, and in which mice exhibited signs of lower stress when implanted with probiotics (“healthy” bacteria).

A math modelread more

Assembly technique for tiny wires may eventually help detect cancer and other diseases

March 10, 2008

Bottom-up manufacturing may hold the key to production of tiny medical devices capable of testing for multiple molecules like viruses or cancer markers, according to Penn State researchers.

In bottom-up fabrication, researchers manufacture nanowires using inorganic or organic material. They then attach probe molecules to the wires, and attach each group of nanowires and their probes to the chips in the numbers and locations desired.

The bottom-up method… read more

Strong Magnetism Creates Two-Dimensional Superconductivity

December 9, 2005

It should be possible to achieve stable superconductivity at higher temperatures by restricting electrons to two dimensions in space, University of Arizona physicist Andrei Lebed has shown.

Electrons will become completely two-dimensional within laboratory-produced magnetic fields that are between 200,000 times and a million times stronger (10 to 50 Tesla) than the magnetic field at the surface of the Earth, Lebed said.

In research published in the Dec.… read more

Word ‘bursts’ may reveal online trends

February 19, 2003

Searching for sudden “bursts” in the usage of particular words could be used to rapidly identify new trends and spot problems, according to Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University, who has developed algorithms that identify bursts of word use in documents.

Entangled Light, Quantum Money

August 26, 2009

Cal Tech physicists have demonstrated a way for quantum entanglement to be created in networks, leading to the possibility of
light-based quantum wide-area repeater networks (QWANs) that could be used for near-instantaneous computerized trading systems, uncounterfeitable money, and insurmountable digital-rights protection.

A protein that makes breast cancer spread

March 13, 2008

University of California Berkeley scientists have discovered a protein that determines if breast cancer will spread and become deadly.

The protein–SATB1–changes the levels at which more than a thousand genes are expressed in breast cancer cells, seemingly controlling whether cancer cells will survive elsewhere.

The scientists say the protein–found inside the nuclei of cells–would be difficult and potentially dangerous to target with drugs. However, SATB1 levels could be… read more

Single molecule absorption spectroscopy developed

December 21, 2005

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a powerful new tool for probing molecular structure on surfaces, combining the chemical selectivity of optical absorption spectroscopy with the atomic-scale resolution of scanning tunneling microscopy.

“First, the sample molecule is placed on a transparent silicon substrate,” said Joseph Lyding, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a researcher at the Beckman Institute. “Laser light will either be absorbed by… read more

Using ‘smart materials’ to develop new drugs

June 21, 2011

Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Surrey have developed a more effective method for making proteins crystallize, using “smart materials” that remember the shape and characteristics of the molecule.

The process of developing a new drug normally works by identifying a protein that is involved in the disease, then designing a molecule that will interact with the protein to stimulate… read more

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