science + technology news

Using nanoparticles, in vivo gene therapy activates brain stem cells

July 26, 2005

University at Buffalo scientists have delivered genes into the brains of living mice with no observable toxic effect.

Scientists used gene-nanoparticle complexes to activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in vivo, demonstrating that it may be possible to “turn on” these otherwise idle cells as effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s.

In addition to delivering therapeutic genes to repair malfunctioning brain cells, the nanoparticles… read more

Chrome browser integrates speech technology using HTML5

April 7, 2011

Google’s latest Chrome browser integrates speech-to-text capabilities.

Google has been working with the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Speech Incubator Group to determine the feasibility of integrating speech technology in HTML5, the Web’s new, emerging standard language.

A Web page employing the new HTML5 feature could have an icon that, when clicked, initiates a recording through the computer’s microphone, using Google’s Chrome browser. Speech is captured and sent… read more

Coherent Computing: Making qubit superpositions in superconductors last longer

August 9, 2002

Research teams have made critical breakthroughs in developing quantum computers. The Quantronics group at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay, France, and Siyuan Han’s laboratory at the University of Kansas reported qubit chip designs with coherence times at least 100 times as great as those achieved before. Investigators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colo., have come up with a design that they think… read more

Restoring Sight

May 29, 2009
(Steve Gschmeissner/Photo Researchers)

Scientists aim to treat retinitis pigmentosa by developing novel gene therapies using channelrhodopsin-2 (a light-sensitive protein derived from algae) and similar tools to make different retinal cells, such as bipolar cells (shown in pink in the middle section of the photo), responsive to light.

Scientists believe that channelrhodopsin targeted toward different cell types could ultimately treat a broader range of diseases, including Parkinson’s and epilepsy.

Crash Warning System Monitors Nearby Traffic And Warns Of Possible Collisions

January 14, 2008

European researchers have demonstrated a software-based collision warning system for cars that could alert the driver several seconds in advance of an impact.

The Collision Warning System prototype finds the position, speed and trajectory of neighboring and oncoming traffic using GPS and the Vehicle2Vehicle (V2V) car communication protocol.

A step toward the $1,000 personal genome using readily available lab equipment

August 5, 2005

The theoretical price of having one’s personal genome sequenced just fell from the prohibitive $20 million dollars to about $2.2 million, and the goal is to reduce the amount further–to about $1,000–to make individualized prevention and treatment realistic.

The sharp drop is due to a new DNA sequencing technology developed by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The new technique calls for replicating thousands of DNA fragments attached to one-micron… read more

Controlling movies with brainwaves

April 13, 2011

Mind Wave

MyndPlay, Ltd. is launching a new mind-controlled media platform is being launched at the Gadget Show Live in the UK this week.

The company claims it is the first mind-controlled media player and content development system¬†that connects with EEG brain-computer interface (BCI) technology to allow viewers to change the direction and outcome of a video or movie using only their minds.¬†It connects with NeuroSky’s EEG… read more

A Universal Tool to Rescue Old Files From Obsolescence

August 30, 2002

Dr. Raymond Lorie, a researcher at the I.B.M. Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., has developed a “universal virtual computer” for long-term preservation of obsolescent digital documents.

The system, which uses semantic tags, is designed to be logical and accessible so computer developers of the future will be able to write instructions to emulate it on their machines.

Targeting the Brain with Sound Waves

June 4, 2009
(William Tyler, Arizona State University)

Ultrasonic waves could one day be used as a noninvasive alternative to deep-brain stimulation (DBS) and vagus nerve stimulation in treating neurological disorders, says William Tyler, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, who has started a company called Supersonix to commercialize the technology.

Nanotubes Help Advance Brain Tumor Research

January 17, 2008

The potential of carbon nanotubes to diagnose and treat brain tumors is being explored through a partnership between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and City of Hope.

They plan to functionalize and attach inhibitory RNA to nanotubes and deliver it to specific areas of the brain. It could also be used to treat stroke, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders and other disease processes in the brain.

Brains, cancer and computers

August 17, 2005

AI in medicine was a key theme at Edinburgh’s recent International Joint Conference in AI.

Out-of-body experience clues may hide in mind

September 20, 2002

Swiss neurology researchers have tied “out the body experience” to stimulation the brain’s angular gyrus in the right cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for things like body and space awareness, and logical sequencing.

Stretched neutrinos could span the universe

June 10, 2009

The most massive quantum-mechanical superpositions of three different mass-energy states of “relic” neutrinos produced by the big bang may have slowed down, stretching them across the universe as it expanded, according to calculations by George Fuller and Chad Kishimoto of the University of California, San Diego.

Longest Piece of Synthetic DNA Yet

January 25, 2008

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute have crafted a bacterial genome from scratch, moving one step closer to creating entirely synthetic life forms–living cells designed and built by humans to carry out a diverse set of tasks ranging from manufacturing biofuels to sequestering carbon dioxide.

They pieced together the genes of Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest free-living bacterium that can be grown in the laboratory.

The final step… read more

Molecular motors push liquid uphill

August 29, 2005

Droplets of liquid have been moved uphill by molecular motors designed to manipulate Brownian motion.

The “nano-shuttles” are long hydrocarbon-based molecules each with a ring of organic molecules strung, but not chemically bonded, around them. They could create a range of different types of smart surfaces, such as adhesive surfaces that can be switched on and off, or surfaces that can be switched from one color to another.

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