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A Sharper Future for Retinal Implants

February 2, 2011


Research at the Italian Institute of Technology suggests a way to make higher-quality, more biocompatible retinal implants by integrating living neural cells with a soft organic polymer semiconductor. It could lead to a retinal implant that produces much clearer vision.

The researchers grew neural cells in a petri dish directly on top of the polymer. Light shined on the polymer activates the photodiodes, which stimulate individual neurons… read more

Solid stops light

January 8, 2002

A crystal that holds light could facilitate quantum computing.
Researchers in the United States and Korea have brought light to a complete standstill in a crystal. The pulse is effectively held within the solid, ready to be released at a later stage.

This trick could be used to store information in a quantum computer.

Normal computers store information in simple binary form (1′s and 0′s) in electronic and… read more

A Better, Cheaper Multitouch Interface

April 1, 2009

NYU researchers have developed new technology called Inexpensive Multi-Touch Pressure Acquisition Devices (IMPAD) that can be made paper thin and can fit on small portable devices or cover an entire table or wall.

IMPAD measures a change in electrical resistance when a person or object applies different pressure to a specially designed pad, consisting of only a few layers of materials. It opens up a new dimension of pressure… read more

Synthetic Molecule Makes Cancer Cells Commit Suicide

November 14, 2007
Triggering cancer cells

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have developed a small molecule that can turn the survival signal for a variety of cancer cells into a death signal. The molecule mimics the activity of Smac, a protein that triggers the suicide of some types of cancer cells.

Sony patent takes first step towards real-life Matrix

April 7, 2005

Sony has patented a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating “sensory experiences” ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds.

It could allow for movies and computer games in which you get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. And it could give blind or deaf people the chance to see or hear, the… read more

Cloning, germ warfare and GM crops

February 6, 2002

The biotech industry is under siege. It is faced with campaigns against cloning and GM crops — while trying to tackle the potential disaster of germ warfare. Undaunted, the European Commission, which wants to make Europe a front-runner in this fast-moving sector, has just released a policy paper, Life Sciences and Biotechnology – A Strategy for Europe. The goal is an all-encompassing biotechnology framework, a hugely ambitious project that will… read more

On the Net: College too expensive? Try YouTube

April 9, 2009

More than 100 schools have partnered with YouTube to make the YouTube EDU channel, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, and UC Berkeley.

World’s thinnest piezoelectricity generator

Could lead to wearable electronic devices based on MoS2 that are transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable
October 16, 2014

Positive and negative polarized charges are squeezed from a single layer of atoms, as it is being stretched. (Credit: Lei Wang / Columbia Engineering)

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Georgia Institute of Technology reported Wednesday (Oct. 15) that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity (generation of electricity from mechanical stress) and the piezotronic effect (using piezoelectricity as a semiconductor gate to control current flow in a device) in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) — potentially resulting in devices that are optically transparent, extremely… read more

Virtual Eve: first in human computer interaction

November 20, 2007
(Massey University)

A near-human virtual teacher called Eve can tell if a child is frustrated, angry or confused by an on-screen teaching session and can adapt the tutoring session appropriately.

With a human-sounding voice, Eve can ask questions, give feedback, discuss questions and solutions and show emotion. To develop the software, the Massey University researchers observed children and their interactions with teachers and captured them on thousands of images.… read more

Computer generates verifiable mathematics proof

April 20, 2005

Mathematicians have employed logic-checking software to help develop a proof of the Four Color Theorem. The method could be used to develop a similar system for checking the logic used in computer programs, which could pre-empt some unforeseen bugs that cause programs to crash.

The Four Color Theorem states that any four colors are the minimum needed to fill in a flat map without any two regions of the… read more

Microbots made to twist and turn as they swim

February 17, 2011

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a way to propel and rotate microbots in water.

Their microbot, which is 3 millimeters long, is essentially a diode, which they control by applying electrical fields. The development may some day allow microbots to perform remote diagnosis and drug delivery in the body, “Fantastic Voyage” style.

Senate to debate ban on cloning

February 21, 2002

The Senate is preparing to debate the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 (S.790), which would ban all forms of human cloning as well as the importation of therapies developed from cloned human embryos.”Such a ban could be passed without much public comment, so if you have strong views on this, get them in immediately,” Eric Drexler and Chris Peterson suggest in the Feb. 2002 Foresight Senior Associate Letter. “See… read more

New nucleotide could revolutionize epigenetics

April 17, 2009

The discovery of a sixth nucleotide (DNA code character) by Rockefeller University researchers suggests a new mechanism for regulation of gene expression and nuclear structure.

NEC develops real-time Japanese-to-English mobile translation software

December 3, 2007

NEC has developed a system that can understand around 50,000 Japanese words and translate them to English text on the mobile’s display in just a second or two.

Video conferencing gets quantum security

May 3, 2005

Quantum cryptography has been sped up to the point that it can be used to secure video conferencing, currently over a distance of about 120 kilometers.

Scientists from Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory have invented a system capable of generating 100 quantum keys every second, each consisting of 128 bits. This is fast enough for every individual frame of video to be protected by its own encryption.

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