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Can Pleo Robot Charm the Market?

February 7, 2006

Caleb Chung, the co-inventor of the popular Furby doll, is launching a new dinosaur robot for kids called Pleo that he hopes will build upon his dream of creating lifelike, emotionally responsive mechanical animals.

The $200 Pleo will have soft-polymer-based skin that covers a series of pressure sensors, infrared in the head to “see” objects and avoid edges, a potentiometer in its belly, force-feedback sensors in its toes to… read more

Can personalized medicine fix healthcare?

November 15, 2009

“Healthcare is a trial and error industry…because the current pharma R&D model of blockbusters for broad patient groups is broken,” says Rita Lim-Wilby, Conference Director at PCI Pharma. “The solution is targeted therapeutics.”

That’s the premise of PCI Pharma’s “Advances Towards Personalized Medicine,” a one-day symposium, to be held at the Claremont Resort and Spa, Berkeley, California, on Thursday, November 19, 2009, featuring ten speakers from the University of… read more

Can next-generation reactors power a safe nuclear future?

March 28, 2011

Areva's Taishan 1 EPR Facility Under Construction in China	 (credit: Areva)

The Union of Concerned Scientists has proposed that safe, secure nuclear power requires smaller plants that simply cannot melt down, says Ed Lyman, a physicist and expert on nuclear plant design.

Generation III-plus includes a handful of high-tech plant designs, many of which still await regulatory approval. Others, like France-based Areva’s Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) and Westinghouse’s AP1000 (both are pressurized water reactors) are already under construction, and they are designed… read more

Can neuroscience help Gap produce a better logo?

October 21, 2010


After Gap’s new logo failed, Neuromarketing company NeuroFocus used EEG and eye-tracking techniques to investigate the neural responses of a group of volunteers who were shown both Gap logos.

Neurofocus explained that the new logo didn’t register as novel or stylish in the volunteer’s brains, two big no-nos for a successful logo. The old logo on the other hand was a big hit, scoring high in the company’s… read more

Can Neanderthals be brought back from the dead?

January 22, 2013


In a SPIEGEL interview, synthetic biology expert and Harvard University professor of genetics George Church explains how DNA will become the building material of the future — one that can help create virus-resistant human beings and possibly bring back lost species like the Neanderthal.

In his new book, “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves,” which he has also… read more

Can nanotech keep chipmaking up to speed?

March 11, 2004

Chipmakers should do more extensive nanotechnology research, right now, says Juri Matisoo, vice president of technology, Semiconductor Industry Association.

The SIA is predicting that today’s manufacturing techniques may stop finding advances some time around 2011.

Can nanopulses heal?

February 5, 2004

Exposing cells noninvasively to an extremely powerful electric field for nanoseconds might one day be used to treat cancer, speed up healing or tackle obesity.

Teams led by Vernier, Karl Schoenbach of Old Dominion University and Stephen Beebe of Eastern Virginia Medical School, both in Norfolk, Virginia, have shown that “nanopulsing” with electric fields with gradients of tens of megavolts per meter, applied for nanoseconds, can kill tumor cells… read more

Can micro-scaffolding help stem cells rebuild the brain after stroke?

April 14, 2008

Neural stem cell-scaffold combinations could be injected into the brain to provide a framework inside the cavities caused by stroke so that the cells are held there until they can work their way to connect with surrounding healthy tissue, University of Nottingham neurobiologists propose.

Strokes cause temporary loss of blood supply to the brain, which results in areas of brain tissue dying, causing loss of bodily functions… read more

Can internal ‘brain music’ be used in therapy?

April 27, 2009

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggest that piano renditions of an individual’s cerebral music can help in dealing with insomnia and fatigue in the aftermath of a stressful experience.

The DHS researchers hope to record the brain’s natural activity during periods of calm or alertness. Human Bionics will convert the signal into an audible polyphonic melody. Individuals will be asked to listen to the tracks at… read more

Can interacting with avatars reduce depression?

February 12, 2013


A preliminary study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University suggests that depression symptoms may be significantly reduced when 18- to 25-year-olds interact with computerized avatars — virtual 3D images of a healthcare provider like a nurse practitioner or physician — as a way to rehearse office visits ahead of time and learn self-management skills.

At this age, a majority of young people do not… read more

Can Intel and DreamWorks cross the uncanny valley?

November 17, 2011

A collaboration between Intel and DreamWorks is leading to near-real-time rendering that is 50 to 70 times faster than anything being used today, Forbes blogger E.D. Kain reports.

According to DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, it takes an experienced 3D animator a week to animate three seconds of finished product, much of which is rendering time. That’s OK for film, but rendering time makes video games sluggish, and … read more

Can humans sense the Earth’s magnetism?

June 22, 2011

Cryptochrome protein CRY1 (credit: C. A. Brautigam et al.)

New research shows that a human retina protein, CRY2, can function as a light-sensitive magnetic sensor when implanted into Drosophila flies, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers have found.

In many migratory animals, the light-sensitive chemical reactions involving the flavoprotein cryptochrome (CRY) are thought to play an important role in the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field. Previous studies from the Reppertread more

Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It?

January 30, 2007

We will make it to 2100, a New York Times journalist bets on, challenging British astronomer royal Martin Rees’ prediction: “By 2020, bioterror or bioerror will lead to one million casualties in a single event” because “by 2020 there will be thousands — even millions — of people with the capability to cause a catastrophic biological disaster.”

Can HP fool Moore’s Law?

January 16, 2007

Researchers from HP Labs plan to publish a paper this month that outlines how it may become possible to substantially increase the performance of certain types of chips, and reduce their power consumption, by replacing the communication wires inside chips with a crossbar grid of nanowires.

By removing the traditional interconnects, the size of a given chip would naturally and drastically shrink. Performance would increase, but the chips could… read more

Can hobbyists and hackers transform biotechnology?

April 25, 2011


In the just-published Biopunk, journalist Marcus Wohlsen surveys the biohacker movement, which has been made possible by a convergence of better and cheaper technologies.

The bio DIYers believe that individuals have a fundamental right to biological information, that spreading the tools of biotech to the masses will accelerate the pace of progress, and that the fruits of the biosciences should be delivered into the hands of the… read more

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