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Still Waiting for Personalized Medicine

November 28, 2006

Pharmacogenomics–a field whose researchers aim to let doctors tailor prescriptions to their patients’ genetic makeups–is one of the most tantalizing promises of the genomic era: quick and easy tests that tell you which drugs to take or what dose is right for you.

A few tests have been developed for specific diseases, such as cancer–most notably a genetic test that predicts which lung cancer patients will respond to some… read more

There’s Electricity in the Air

January 13, 2004

The world’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft, the Electric Airplane (Eplane) will be powered by an advanced electric motor. In its final form, it will fly solely on the power of a fuel cell and have a 500-mile range, with emergency assist from reserve batteries.

Nanowire lawns make for sheets of image sensors

July 29, 2008

University of California, Berkeley researchers are growing a mixed “lawn” of two kinds of nanowires to make a new kind of cheap, high-quality image sensor array that could be made in meter-scale sheets.

The arrays are reliable, flexible and easy to scale up. They could be grown to form rolls of tape several meters in diameter with all the needed components to do active sensing, translate the data, and… read more

Alloy Holds Out Promise of Speedier Memory Chip

December 11, 2006

Scientists at IBM and two partner companies have developed a material that could lead to a new kind of computer memory chip that is more than 500 times as fast as today’s flash chips and just 3 nanometers high by 20 nanometers wide, offering the promise that the technology can be shrunk to smaller dimensions than could be attained by flash manufacturers.

The compounds, known as GST, or germanium-antimony-tellurium… read more

Chinese crunch human genome with videogame chips

January 10, 2012


The world’s largest genome sequencing center once needed four days to analyze data describing a human genome. Now it needs just six hours.

The trick is servers built with graphics processing units (GPUs). This fall, BGI — a mega lab headquartered in Shenzhen, China — switched to servers that use GPUs built by Nvidia, and this slashed its genome analysis time by more than an order of… read more

I Dream of Techno-Genie

January 23, 2004

As watchers of ancient sitcoms know, a genie can bring you immense power but is also hard to control, and the granting of your wishes is not necessarily a good thing. As such, a genie can serve as a metaphor for technology, with a subtly negative connotation. And that explains the title of an interesting but quite arguable new book Living with the Genie: Essays on Technology and the Quest… read more

Paintable Electronics

April 1, 2010

Chan spray electronics

An organic semiconductor — poly(3-hexylthiophene), or P3HT — may be a future viable candidate for creating large-area electronics, such as solar cells and displays that can be sprayed onto a surface as easily as paint, a research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found.

The material could overcome one of the main cost hurdles blocking the large-scale manufacture of… read more

Automated, Wearable Kidney Offers Continuous Dialysis

August 4, 2008

Researchers at UCLA and Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles have designed an automated wearable artificial kidney (AWAK) that would allow kidney-failure patients to have hemodialysis (remove metabolic waste and regulate fluid levels) without being connected to a stationary machine.

The new machine would be bloodless (no blood circulating outside the body) and function continuously.

Patients undergoing conventional dialysis must be hooked up to a machine three times… read more

Building 3D heart tissue with a programmable chip-making device

July 15, 2013


By adapting a programmable device used to manufacture integrated circuits, Draper Laboratory researchers have devised a semi-automated process to build three-dimensional heart tissue, MIT Technology Review reports.

Tissue is grown in the lab by “seeding” scaffolds — usually composed of a porous elastic or gelatinous material — with cells meant to develop into specific tissues.

But highly ordered cellular architectures, which are essential for complicated organs like… read more

New firm aims to be a Google for photos

December 20, 2006

Polar Rose, based in Sweden, has unveiled a new image search tool that uses 3D mapping techniques to recognize facial patterns.

Volunteers wanted for planet hunt

January 16, 2012


Members of the public are being asked to join the hunt for nearby planets that could support life.

Volunteers can go to the Planethunters website to see time-lapsed images of 150,000 stars, taken by the Kepler space telescope. They will be advised on the signs that indicate the presence of a planet and how to alert experts if they spot them.

“We know that people will… read more

BBC Airs Scaremongering Nanotech Documentary

February 9, 2004

“The BBC saw fit to fuel the fires of fear over nanotech in last night’s Horizon. While the web content is quite moderate, the prevailing image of nanotech the program presented was a swarm of CGI grey goo flying like a whirling dervish over a blasted desert (an image straight out of Michael Crichton’s Prey, interspersed with time-lapse shots of reproducing cells and decaying animals as the commentary spoke of… read more

‘Facebook for scientists’

April 13, 2010

Indiana University has received more than $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on a $12.2 million, seven-university project designed to network researchers around the country.

Practical Cloaking Devices On The Horizon?

August 11, 2008

University of California, Berkeley scientists have created a multilayered, “fishnet” metamaterial that unambiguously exhibits negative refractive index, allowing for invisibility in three dimensions for the first time, Nature magazine plans to report this week.

Top 10 stories of 2006

December 29, 2006’s hit-lists of hot news for 2006 include “‘Vegetative’ patient shows signs of conscious thought” and “Hawking rewrites history… backwards.”

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