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Self-assembling polymer arrays improve data storage potential

August 15, 2008

University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hitachi have achieved higher data-storage density by using self-assembling block copolymers to shrink the size of the pattern manufacturing templates used in disk drives and other data-storage devices, paving the way to smaller electronic devices and higher-capacity hard drives.

When added to a lithographically patterned surface, the copolymers’ long molecular chains spontaneously assemble into the designated arrangements, down to the molecular level. The method offers… read more

Design by DNA

May 12, 2005

DNA molecules provide the architecture for all living things. New York University chemist Ned Seeman thinks they could also be a perfect assembly platform for the smallest computing devices ever built.

Bioengineer calls for personal health devices

April 29, 2010

A growing set of nanoscale components are emerging from the lab that someday will power handheld devices that can provide custom health care advice, marrying novel bioengineering components with existing computer and consumer technologies, says Luke P. Lee, professor of bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley.

The new devices he envisions could, for example, “examine your physiological data every week and help you behave based on examining very sensitive biomarkers… read more

Big Brains Rule Trading Floor

April 17, 2002

“A growing number of tech-savvy traders…[are creating] programs to make the computer a tool for making small-scale pricing decisions, the task traditionally performed by traders.”

California Licenses 2 Companies to Offer Gene Services

August 21, 2008

California has granted business licenses to companies that offer consumers information about their genes: Navigenics and 23andMe, requiring doctors to be involved in ordering genetic tests.

Both offer services, costing from $1,000 to $2,500, that scan a person’s whole genome, providing a variety of information about the risk of various diseases.

New York State also has taken action against at least 31 genetic testing companies, saying they cannot… read more

Attaching amino acids to electronic device materials

May 26, 2005

Researchers at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Laboratories has tested the adhesion of amino acids to semiconductors, metals and insulators used in electronic devices. The team used their results to design an inorganic nanostructure that selectively bound to a particular primary peptide sequence.

Their results could have applications ranging from biomolecular detection to biomolecular manipulation and basic biological molecule studies, such as X-ray analysis of proteins or intracellular peptide assays.

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

May 6, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks, and wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites.

Cable and telecommunications executives have warned that using land-line phone rules to govern their management of Internet traffic would lead them to cut billions of capital… read more

Supercomputing platform built for gaming

May 13, 2002

The “Butterfly Grid,” a distributed supercomputer games network, could allow more than a million people to play graphics-rich games together via the internet.
The project borrows scientific supercomputer “grid” techniques developed to seamlessly connect scientific computers for research, sharing power and storage via the Internet.

West Virginia-based Butterfly has developed the software that will allow game developers to enable any game to plug into the network… read more

A Genetic Link for Vision Loss

August 28, 2008

Researchers from multiple institution have identified a genetic link associated with dry macular degeneration, which they say may lead to treatments for the debilitating disease.

Photoacoustics technique detects small number of cancer cells

March 29, 2012


The inability to detect the presence of only a few cancer cells severely limits detection of the earliest stages of cancer. Current detection techniques use ionizing radiation, which is unable to detect just a few cancer cells in the million cells per millimeter in tissue.

Now University of Missouri-Columbia and Mexico’s Universidad de Guanajuato researchers have used pulsed photoacoustic techniques — which combine the high optical contrast of… read more

The replicator: create your own body double

June 9, 2005

Two computer scientists are trying to build an intelligent material that can replicate a physical 3-D facsimile of you from nothing more than a stream of video images.

If it works, all you’ll need to project yourself around the globe is an Internet connection and a pile of their “claytronics” self-organizing nanocomputers that can stick to each other and communicate with built-in wireless at the other end to assemble… read more

Modern cars vulnerable to malicious hacks

May 14, 2010

Using a laptop and custom-written software, researchers at University of Washington and University of California, San Diego were able to hack into the control systems of a car.

In tests done wirelessly via the Internet, they demonstrated that they could disable the brakes and turn off the engine while the vehicle was moving at 65 kilometres per hour.

Sounds Realer Than Reality

June 5, 2002

Scientists can generate imitations of real-life sounds significantly more convincing than actual recordings of the events they are intended to mimic.Experimental psychologists Laurie Heller and Lauren Wolf at Brown University found that listeners rated some artificially generated sounds — simulating “walking in leaves” by running fingers through cornflakes, for example — as more convincing than the real ones.

Enhancing the sound envelope (slower changing component) results in better perception… read more

A Chinese Challenge to Intel

September 2, 2008

Chinese researchers have unveiled details of Godson-3, a scalable microprocessor with four cores (work in parallel) that they hope will bring personal computing to most ordinary people in China by 2010, with an eight-core version in development.

Microbes Can Produce Miniature Electrical Wires

June 23, 2005

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered a tiny biological structure that is highly electrically conductive.

The conductive structures, known as “microbial nanowires,” are produced by a novel microorganism known as Geobacter. The nanowires are only 3-5 nanometers in width, but durable and more than a thousand times long as they are wide.

The finding could provide new approaches to using microbes to assist in the… read more

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