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Caltech engineers build smart petri dish

October 5, 2011

iPhone Microscope

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) engineers are transforming the way cell cultures are imaged by using a cell phone as ePetri, a “smart” petri dish.

Conventional use of a petri dish requires that the cells being cultured be placed in an incubator to grow. As the sample grows, it is removed — often numerous times — from the incubator to be studied under a microscope.… read more

Big questions for tiny particles

August 19, 2003

From clear sunscreen to self-cleaning cars, nanotechnology seeps into daily life and starts to raise tough ethical issues.

A Deluge of Data Shapes a New Era in Computing

December 16, 2009

Computational power created computational science, which produced
a “fourth paradigm” — the overwhelming flow of data that now requires a computing change, said Jim Gray, a database software pioneer and a Microsoft researcher, a few weeks before he was lost at sea off the California coast in January 2007.

The goal, he insisted, was not to have the biggest, fastest single computer, but rather “to have a world in… read more

IBM Research Unveils Breakthrough In Solar Farm Technology

May 16, 2008

IBM scientists are using a large lens to concentrate the Sun’s power, capturing a record 230 watts onto a centimeter square solar cell, in a technology known as concentrator photovoltaics, or CPV.

That energy is then converted into 70 watts of usable electrical power, about five times the electrical power density generated by typical cells using CPV technology in solar farms.

The IBM research team developed a system… read more

Self-Powered Silicon Laser Chips

July 6, 2006

A new method of turning waste heat into electrical power could speed up communications inside computers — and mark another advance in the field of silicon photonics.

Scientists model binary signal processing in cells

October 14, 2011

Comparison of experimentally measured information obtained by collective cell responses (circles) versus logarithmic trend (solid black line) predicted the bush model (inset) (credit: Raymond Cheong et al./Science)

Researchers from Johns Hopkins have quantified the number of possible decisions that an individual cell can make after receiving a cue from its environment, and surprisingly, it’s only two.

The first-of-its-kind study combines live-cell experiments and math to convert the inner workings of the cell decision-making process into a universal mathematical language, allowing information processing in cells to be compared with the computing power of… read more

Mysteries of the universe

August 26, 2003

One morning last April, the New York Times op-ed page ran a piece by the Australian physicist Paul Davies warning readers not to be so gullible as to believe there could be more than one universe.

The next month, Scientific American published a long article by the physicist Max Tegmark asserting that, to the contrary, parallel universes almost certainly do exist. Around the same time, bookstores received Are Universes… read more

The $75 Future Computer

December 23, 2009


The XO-3, an upgrade in 2012 to the XO computer from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), hopes to be an all-plastic, waterproof tablet PC with 8-gigaherz processor, virtual keyhboard, and camera, half the thickness of an iPhone, and using less than a watt of power, all for $75.

Carbon nanotubes: the new asbestos?

May 21, 2008

Researchers led by Ken Donaldson of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research found that injecting long (more than 20 microns in length), straight, multi-walled carbon nanotubes can cause the same kind of damage as that inflicted by asbestos fibers when they are injected into the lung’s outer lining, called the mesothelium.

Andrew Maynard, co-author and chief scientific adviser for the project on emerging nanotechnologies at the Woodrow… read more

Gadgets get the feel of the tactile world

July 14, 2006

Gadgets that stimulate our sense of touch, known as haptic devices, will soon add a new dimension to communications, entertainment and computer control for everybody, and for people with visual impairment they promise to transform everyday life.

Cellphones could soon have a tactile “display”, for example, and portable gadgets containing a GPS device will be able to nudge you towards your desired destination.

Researcher Finds Method to Define Genetic ‘Words’

September 9, 2003

Stuart Kim, PhD, associate professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, has created a genome dictionary that could help researchers understand the role of newly identified genes. It also provides a glimpse into how a gene’s function has evolved over time.

The Year in Energy

December 29, 2009

Liquid batteries, giant lasers, and vast new reserves of natural gas highlight the fundamental energy advances of the past 12 months.

Placenta-on-a-chip models the vital mother-fetus placental barrier

Will help in studies on preterm birth
July 25, 2016

The flash-drive-sized device contains two layers of human cells that model the interface between mother and fetus. Microfluidic channels on either side of those layers allow researchers to study how molecules are transported through, or are blocked by, that interface. (credit: University of Pennsylvania)

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the first placenta-on-a-chip that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier — part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the March of Dimes to identify causes of preterm birth and ways to prevent it.

Prematurely born babies may experience lifelong, debilitating consequences, but the underlying mechanisms of this condition are not well understood due in part to… read more

The Fingerprints of Embryos

May 27, 2008

Researchers at Monash University, in Australia, led by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and stem-cell pioneer Alan Trounson, have harnessed DNA fingerprinting (used to settle paternity suits and implicate criminals) to match an embryo to the baby it ultimately becomes.

The technique may help researchers develop tests to more reliably discriminate between viable embryos and their nonviable siblings.

When multiple embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus during IVF and… read more

New technique to deliver life-saving drugs to the brain

April 19, 2013


Researchers from Florida International University (FIU)’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine have developed a revolutionary technique that can deliver and fully release the anti-HIV drug AZTTP into the brain.

Madhavan Nair, professor and chair, and Sakhrat Khizroev, professor and vice chair of the HWCOM’s Department of Immunology, used magneto-electric nanoparticles (MENs) to cross the blood-brain barrier and send a significantly increased level… read more

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