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Robots get an artificial skin

July 1, 2010

Artificial skin that can cover robots and floors for safety has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation.

Consisting of conductive foam, textiles and an intelligent evaluation circuit, the sensor system detects points of contact and differentiates between gentle and strong contact. It registers people immediately.

Nano-levers could speed up hunt for superbug drugs

October 13, 2008

University College London researchers have developed a nanoscale cantilever that could speed up the screening of potential new antibiotics to combat growing numbers of drug-resistant “superbugs.”

It could assess the quality of an antibiotic against thousands of bacterial proteins in minutes, if an array of the springboards were painted with mucopeptides from a variety of different bacteria.

Study Re-evaluates Evolution of Mammals

March 29, 2007

The mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs and other life 65 million years ago apparently did not, contrary to conventional wisdom, immediately clear the way for the rise of today’s mammals.

In fact, the ancestral branches of most mammals, including primates, rodents and hoofed animals, emerged long before the global extinction and survived it more or less intact. But it was not until at least 10 million to 15… read more

Puckish robots pull together

June 1, 2004

The frictionless conditions of space are being simulated by air-hockey tables, as a new generation of intelligent robots is trained to build space stations and solar arrays.

The work demonstrates how teams of mobile, communicating robots can perform complex tasks: for example, they can collaborate to push objects over a surface. This is reminiscent of the way ants show group intelligence when carrying out collective tasks such as foraging.… read more

New Solar Energy Material Captures Every Color Of The Rainbow

October 20, 2008

Ohio State University and National Taiwan University chemists have created a new hybrid photovoltaic material that combines electrically conductive plastic with metals including molybdenum and titanium.

It overcomes two major obstacles to solar power: it absorbs energy at all wavelengths in sunlight, and it makes free electrons stay free longer, increasing electrical current output.

The Memory Hacker

April 8, 2007

USC’s Center for Neural Engineering researchers have developed a chip that can communicate with brain cells, a first step toward an implantable machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones.

The chip can receive analog signals from live brain tissue, convert them to digital signals, and then reconvert them to an analog signal relayed to healthy neurons on the other side.… read more

Dog’s verbal tricks probe origin of language

June 11, 2004

A pet dog with a “vocabulary” of 200 words has given scientists clues that some animals may have the comprehension necessary for language, even though they cannot actually talk.

World’s smallest storage device lies in the nucleus of an atom

October 27, 2008

Scientists at Princeton University, Oxford University, and the U.S. Department of Energy have demonstrated the “ultimate miniaturization of computer memory,” storing data for nearly 2 seconds in the nucleus of an atom — a key step in the development of quantum computers.

Fun and profit with obsolete computers

April 16, 2007

Even as the power and speed of today’s computers make their forerunners look ever punier, a growing band of collectors are gathering retro computers, considering them important relics and even good investments.

In an old barn in Northern California that also houses pigs, Bruce Damer, 45, keeps a collection that includes a Cray-1 supercomputer, a Xerox Alto (an early microcomputer introduced in 1973) and early Apple prototypes.

“For… read more

Safer, personalized cancer therapy by linking cancer genes with effective anticancer drugs

March 29, 2012


In the largest study of its kind, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute researchers have uncovered hundreds of associations between mutations in cancer genes with sensitivity to anticancer drugs in order to develop a personalized approach to cancer treatments.

One of the key responses the team found was that cells from a childhood bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, respond to a drug that is currently used in the treatment of breast and… read more

What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

June 28, 2004

Privacy advocates are hindering development of sophisticated pattern-analysis and data mining tools for detecting terrorist networks, say some experts.

Buckyballs Found in Space

July 23, 2010


Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered carbon molecules known as “buckyballs” in space for the first time.

“We found what are now the largest molecules known to exist in space,” said astronomer Jan Cami of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. “We are particularly excited because they have unique properties that make them important players for all… read more

Singularity Summit 2008 Reviewed

November 3, 2008

Keith Kleiner has written a comprehensive review and analysis of Singularity Summit 2008.

Major Discovery: New Planet Could Harbor Water and Life

April 25, 2007

An Earth-like planet spotted outside our solar system is the first found that could support liquid water and harbor life.

The new “super-Earth” is called Gliese 581 C. Because it lies within its star’s habitable zone and is relatively close to Earth, Gliese 581 C could be a very important target for future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, said study team member Xavier Delfosse of… read more

Raver Wearable Displays

July 9, 2004

France Telecom has done some fun R&D to display pixelated images from your cellphone on your shirt or sleeve.

These raver garments can even be used as a standalone device that can animate based on sounds and gestures. The technology uses a flexible circuit board with LEDs and other electronic bits like sensors layered in a fabric layered sandwich.

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