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Printing Muscle and Bone

December 19, 2006

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully directed adult stem cells from mice to develop into bone and muscle cells with the aid of a custom-designed ink-jet printer. They say it’s a first step toward better understanding tissue regeneration, which may one day lead to therapies for repairing damaged tissues, as occurs in osteoarthritis.

Incorporate disassembly into every self-assembled nanotech product

February 6, 2004

We can avoid the risks of molecular nanotechnology by building “self-regulating assembly” and “disassembly” into nanotechnology from the start, says Douglas Mulhall, author of “Our Molecular Future.”

Self-regulating assembly means built-in controls that limit replication rates of molecular assemblers. Ddisassembly (such as building in biodegradability) ensures that assemblers won’t be fundamentally defective from environmental and military security viewpoints.

3D Printing and Self Replicating Machines In Your Living Room — Seriously!

April 10, 2009

Its like having a mini factory in your own home: the Reprap machine consists of a half-meter frame enclosing its fabrication workspace, motors, electronic circuitry and an extruder — a device that can squirt out complex three-dimensional patterns of molten plastic filaments that will ultimately solidify into the shape of your 3D object.

How it works: software on a PC takes design files produced by 3-D drawing programs and… read more

A search engine for the human body

March 14, 2011

Body Scan

A new search tool developed by researchers at Microsoft indexes medical images of the human body, automatically finding organs and other structures, using 3D medical imagery.

CT scans use X-rays to capture many slices through the body that can be combined to create a 3D representation. This is a powerful tool for diagnosis, but it’s difficult to navigate.

The new search tool indexes scanned data and lists the… read more

Stem Cells without the Embryos

November 21, 2007

Kyoto University and University of Wisconsin scientists appear to have independently achieved one of regenerative medicine’s holy grails: reprogramming human adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, without the use of an embryo or a human egg.

The method could provide a way to make patient-specific stem cells, a feat not yet achieved in humans. Such cells could eventually be used for studying complex genetic diseases, or for… read more

The Year in Nanotech

December 29, 2006

Carbon-nanotube displays and computers, nanowires that generate electricity from body movements, and nanospheres that engulf cancer cells are among the year’s developments.

New optical recording technique can see millisecond nerve impulses

February 17, 2004
Second-harmonic generation microscopy image of a sea slug (Aplysia) neuron

High-resolution images of millisecond-by-millisecond signaling through nerve cells is now possible by combining the bright laser light of multiphoton microscopy with specially developed dyes and a phenomenon called second-harmonic generation, say biophysicists at Cornell University and Université de Rennes, France.

This technique allows for looking at membrane potential in nerve-cell signaling with high resolution deep in intact tissue. And by “stacking” multiple images at various depths of focus, the… read more

Robots Get Down to Business

April 17, 2009

Robots designed to work as firefighters, receptionists, gardeners, and handymen were demonstrated at the RoboBusiness conference in Boston on Thursday.

Mass-Producing 3-D Particles

December 3, 2007
(Ji-Hyun Jang, MIT)

MIT researchers have invented a microfluidic way to efficiently make particles. It could provide a way to create millions of labeled tags with the potential to become ultrafast, ultrasensitive biosensors for medical diagnostics.

Record-Breaking Speed for Flexible Silicon

January 10, 2007

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have made ultrathin silicon transistors that operate more than 50 times faster than previous flexible-silicon devices and are expected to reach 20 Gigahertz.

The Problem with Dead White Males

February 27, 2004

A recent poll suggests an alarming gap in university presidents’ knowledge: the entire past 200 years. Asked to name the books “you believe every undergraduate university student should read and study in order to engage in the intellectual discourse, commerce, and public duties of the 21st century,” the academic leaders came up with a list highly deficient in science and that pretty much excluded anything written after 1800.

The… read more


April 27, 2009

“If you’re a company that’s got forty-seven offices worldwide, and all of a sudden your Singapore office is using cognitive enablers, and you’re saying to Congress, ‘I’m moving all my financial operations to Singapore and Taiwan, because it’s legal to use those there,’ you bet that Congress is going to say, ‘Well, O.K.,’” says Zack Lynch of NeuroInsights.

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How neurons choose between encoding and propagating information

March 28, 2011

Olfactory Bulb

Researchers from the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint program between Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh, have found two ways that neurons choose between encoding and propagating information, says Nathan Urban, the Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences at CMU.

The researchers looked at mitral cell neurons in the brain’s olfactory… read more

Toyota’s new robot can play the violin, help the aged

December 10, 2007

Toyota Motor on Thursday unveiled a robot that can play the violin as part of its efforts to develop futuristic machines capable of assisting humans in Japan’s graying society.

Toyota also unveiled a two-wheeled, single-seat “mobility robot” that could be used to transport an elderly or disabled person over uneven ground and around obstacles. Toyota said it aims to put robots capable of assisting humans into use… read more

Neural ‘extension cord’ developed for brain implants

January 21, 2007

A “data cable” made from stretched nerve cells could someday help connect computers to the human nervous system. The modified cells should form better connections with human tissue than the metal electrodes currently used for purposes such as remotely controlling prosthetics.

Connecting the chord to electrodes outside of the brain means the reaction of neurons to non-organic material can be controlled. In the future, the cord could connect an… read more

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