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Tiny Living Machines

January 29, 2008

Harvard University researchers have developed devices made of heart tissue that could screen drug candidates and be used to power implantable robots.

The muscle cells would be fueled by sugar in the bloodstream and maintained by the same repair mechanisms that keep the heart pumping. And the muscle-coated film could also be used to regenerate tissue damaged in heart attacks.

Wikipedia’s Wales wants to take on Google

December 25, 2006

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will launch Wikiasari, a search engine to compete with Google, Yahoo, Ask and others early next year.

Wikiasari would apply the “wisdom of the crowd” to judging the value of a Web page.

Innovation: Smarter phone calls for your smart phones

June 22, 2009

Google Voice (will soon give users a single number that is forwarded to different combinations of devices according to who is calling and what time it is), a possible Google device that would switch to the cheapest provider, and “super Wi-Fi” “white space” mobile devices using the now-available analog TV spectrum are among the coming innovations in smarter call management.

Biological joints could replace artificial joints

January 6, 2011

University of Missouri and Columbia University researchers have found a way to create biological joints in animals, and they believe biological joint replacements for humans, using a patient’s own cells, aren’t far away.

James Cook, a researcher in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery participated on a research team that created new cartilage in animals using a biological “scaffold” in the animals’ joints. Cook… read more

Benign Viruses Shine on the Silicon Assembly Line

February 12, 2004

MIT professor Angela M. Belcher has altered the DNA in a virus to generate a variety of self-assembling, regular nanowires made of magnetic and semiconducting materials that may one day be part of the extremely small circuitry in the next generation of ever-shrinking high-speed electronic components.

Dr. Belcher has jointly founded a company, Semzyme, with Evelyn L. Hu, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California at… read more

A Green Energy Industry Takes Root in California

February 1, 2008

Investment in solar power is rising in California, the product of billions of dollars in investment and mountains of enthusiasm.

New clues to how synapses in the brain are programmed

July 25, 2014

Cerebellar granule cells, parallel fibers, and flattened dendritic trees of Purkinje cells (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Washington University School of Medicine researchers have identified a group of proteins that program synapses in the brain, controlling neural development and learning, with implications for conditions such as autism.

In a study of the cerebellum (which plays a central role in controlling the coordination of movement and is essential for “procedural motor learning”) of mice, published in the journal Neuron, they found that a complex of… read more

It’s Alive!

January 4, 2007

Furby inventor Caleb Chung wants to create “an artificial life-form” — something that looks eerily alive and is affected by its environment.

Pleo, a tiny dinosaur, begins as a baby, and its personality is forged by how you treat it. If it uses a high-pitched squeak and you feed it, it will learn to repeat that noise to get fed. Be nice to it and it will become mellow… read more

Stem cell surprise for tissue regeneration

June 26, 2009

Genes that make muscle stem cells in the embryo are surprisingly not needed in adult muscle stem cells to regenerate muscles after injury, scientists working at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology with colleagues have found.

The finding challenges the current course of research into muscular dystrophy, muscle injury, and regenerative medicine, which uses stem cells for healing tissues, and favors using age-matched stem cells for therapy.

The future of nanoscience

January 13, 2011

Four prominent researchers — David Awschalom, Angela Belcher, Donald Eigler, and Michael Roukes — are sharing their thoughts about the future of nanoscience and nanotechnology. In a special dialogue ahead of a Kavli Futures Symposium on the same topic, the scientists focused on how Feyman’s vision may evolve in the next fifty years, beginning with taking nanoscience in an upward direction.

“We’ve gained some important beachheads… read more

CMU the favorite in robot race across Mojave

February 23, 2004

On March 13, up to 20 robotic vehicles will compete in a $1 million Grand Challenge race sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The winner will be the first machine to cover the still-undisclosed route from somewhere outside Barstow, Calif., to somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas within 10 hours.

No robot has ever done anything like this. Never has an autonomous vehicle gone so far,… read more

‘Holy Grail’ Of Nanoscience: DNA Technique Yields 3-D Crystalline Organization Of Nanoparticles

February 7, 2008

Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have for the first time used DNA to guide the creation of three-dimensional, ordered, crystalline structures of nanoparticles, an achievement some see as the “holy grail” of nanoscience.

The ability to engineer such 3-D structures is essential to producing functional materials that take advantage of the unique properties that may exist at the nanoscale–for example, enhanced magnetism, improved catalytic activity, or new optical properties.

Memories are made of this molecule

January 16, 2007

European scientists have isolated a receptor molecule called TrkB that initiates a signalling pathway for long-term potentiation (LTP) in the brain of a living mouse.

Interplanetary internet gets permanent home in space

July 8, 2009

The interplanetary Internet now has its first permanent node in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

It could one day allow data to flow between Earth, spacecraft, and astronauts automatically, using delay-tolerant networking (DTN) to cope with the patchy coverage in space that arises when spacecraft pass behind planets or suffer power outages.

NASA aims to have the DTN protocol ready for use on future spacecraft by… read more

Designing Minds to the Millstone

March 5, 2004

What makes 800 of the country’s smartest, most wildly successful architects, designers, inventors, chief executives, psychologists, ichthyologists, cosmologists, economists, digital artists and other members of the creative, academic and financial elite happy?

Answer: Ruminating about “The Pursuit of Happiness” at the TED conference, the annual $4,000-a-pop three-and-a-half-day hedonistic be-in for the brain that brings together “thought leaders” from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design.

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