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Cellphone-based optometry solution allows for low-cost eye exams

July 5, 2010

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MIT Media Lab researchers have developed an interactive, portable, and inexpensive solution for estimating refractive errors in the human eye.

The NETRA system uses an ordinary cell phone. The subject looks into this display at a very close range and aligns (overlaps) displayed patterns . Since the light rays from these patterns pass through different regions of the visual system, the alignment task gives a measure… read more

Invention: Billboards that know you at a touch

October 14, 2008

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in South Korea had filed a patent application for a system to deliver custom ads to the public when they touch an electronic poster, using a “body area network” to upload personal data.

God’s Numbers

April 2, 2007

The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God — and nearly half reject the theory of evolution.

Thirty-four percent of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of… read more

Study: Self-replicating nanomachines feasible

June 4, 2004

A useful self-replicating machine could be less complex than a Pentium IV chip, according to a new study of of “kinematic cellular automata” performed by General Dynamics for NASA.

Through simulations, the researchers demonstrated the feasibility of this kind of self-replication, which could in a decade or more lead to the mass manufacture of molecularly precise robots, display monitors and integrated circuits that can be programmed in the field,… read more

Superconductivity Rekindles

October 21, 2008

Recent discovery of new high-temperature superconductors has revitalized the search for practical materials by numerous researchers.

Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future

April 10, 2007

Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx’s proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132 percent, while Europe’s drops as fertility falls. “Flashmobs” – groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups.

This is the world in 30 years’ time envisaged by a Ministry of Defence team responsible for painting a… read more

Google backs character-recognition research

April 12, 2007

Google is sponsoring an artificial-intelligence research group’s work to develop advanced technologies for character recognition.

The Ocropus open-source project’s goals include developing a high-level, easy-to-use handwriting recognition system that can convert handwritten documents to computer text, assisting in the creation of electronic libraries, analyzing historical documents and helping vision-impaired people access information.

Oxygen burst: MIT is readying new technologies that put humans in the center of computing

June 22, 2004

MIT’s Project Oxygen — so named because founder Michael Dertouzos believed computers should be as invisible to their users as the air they breathe — has begun to bear technology fruit.

Last week, in a series of demonstrations at MIT’s futuristic Stata Center, researchers showed off a new reconfigurable microchip that enables a mobile device to change, chameleon-like, from cellphone to hand-held computer to music player; a 1,020-microphone array… read more

Silicon Optical Fiber Made Practical

October 30, 2008

Scientists at Clemson University for the first time have been able to make a practical optical fiber with a silicon core, combining optoelectronics with optical fibers.

The development of a silicon fiber opens the way for signal processing functions that are currently done electronically or in separate optical circuits to be performed directly inside the fiber, which allows for more compact, efficient systems.

The advance ultimately should help… read more

Engineering The Heart Piece By Piece

April 23, 2007

Scientists are closer than ever to bioengineering entire areas of the heart, as well as heart valves and major blood vessels.

Nanotechnology-based applications are accelerating the development of nanomedicine

July 6, 2004

With the potential for targeted therapy, and therefore reduced side effects, nanomedicine holds the promise of significantly improving quality of life parameters.

Key to nanomedicine’s rapid evolution has been the embrace of nanotechnology-based applications by pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and drug delivery companies. Prominent instances include the use of Elan Corporation’s NanoCrystal technology by Wyeth and Merck and the deployment of Quantum Dot Corporation’s Qdot(r) particles by Pfizer, GSK, Astra Zeneca… read more

Has new physics been found at the ageing Tevatron?

November 5, 2008

New unexplained particles created at the Collider Detector at Fermilab could be a signature of theortical dark matter, some physicists are speculating.

Scientist proposes adhesive Spider-Man suit

April 30, 2007

In an upcoming paper, Nicola Pugno, a professor of structural engineering at the Polytechnic University in Turin, Italy, discusses formulas for fashioning carbon nanotubes into superadhesive gloves and boots that could be used to create a Spider-Man-like suit in the near future.

He also outlines a theory for using carbon nanotubes to create large invisible cables that could act as human-strength cobwebs.

Polite computers win users’ hearts and minds

July 20, 2004

Computer glitches are a lot less annoying for many users if the machines are programmed to acknowledge errors gracefully when something goes wrong, instead of merely flashing up a brusque “you goofed” message, research shows.

But Jonathan Klein, who builds robotic toys at iRobot, warns that any apology will eventually cease to sound sincere if it is repeated too often.

He believes the answer is software that will… read more

Now: The Rest of the Genome

November 11, 2008

Only 1 percent of the genome is made up of classic genes. Scientists are exploring the other 99 percent and uncovering new secrets and new questions.

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