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Smart contact lens feels the pressure of glaucoma

July 10, 2008
Prototype lenses with pressure sensors (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co)

University of California, Davis researchers have made a contact lens with a built-in pressure sensor that could help monitor conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane, the organic polymer traditionally used for contact lenses) usually cannot conduct electricity or have complicated features, so they developed new techniques to embed conducting circuits with circuit features of 10 micrometers. A transparent sensor could be worn continuously, sending… read more

Robot Rights

November 3, 2003

“Robots are people, too! Or at least they will be, someday.” That’s the rallying cry of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, and it’s beginning to become a genuine issue.


  • Would it be moral to impose Asimov’s laws of robotics on an intelligence that we created. Wouldn’t we be creating slaves? And, if so, wouldn’t that be bad?
  • read more

    Carbon nanotubes generate electricity that could be harnessed for new energy systems

    March 8, 2010

    Carbon Nanotubes with a Lit Fuel Coating

    Carbon nanotubes with a lit fuel coating generate an electrical current, the result of a fast-moving combustion wave (thermal wave) traveling along the length of the carbon nanotube that drags electrons along, MIT scientists have discovered.

    The system puts out about 100 times greater energy in proportion to its weight than a lithium-ion battery. In theory, says Michael Strano, MIT’s Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor… read more

    Move Into Space, but Where?

    September 26, 2006

    Attendees of the Space 2006 conference on permanent human settlements presented arguments for locations on Mars, the moon, or habitats orbiting the Earth.

    ‘Ten Commandments’ of race and genetics issued

    July 18, 2008

    A multidisciplinary group focused on contentious issues related to race, genetic markers and medicine has released a set of 10 guiding principles for the scientific community.

    The group–ranging from geneticists and psychologists to historians and philosophers–was led by anthropologist Sandra Soo-Jin Lee of Stanford University.

    The guidelines include “members of the same race may have different underlying genetics,” and “oversimplified science feeds popular misconceptions.”

    Science Times 25th Anniversary

    November 11, 2003

    To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the New York Times Science News section poses 25 of the most provocative questions facing science.

    AMARSi project could see robots learn from co-workers

    March 15, 2010

    If successful, the four-year, 7 million euro, EU-funded AMARSi (Adaptive Modular Architecture for Rich Motor Skills) project (which started this month) will enable humanoid (and quadruped) bots to autonomously learn and develop motor skills in open-ended environments in the same way humans do — by learning from the data provided by movement and essentially rewiring their circuits to process and store the new knowledge they’ve acquired.

    DNA motor programmed to navigate a network of tracks

    January 24, 2012

    A depiction of a DNA origami tile with a built-in network of tracks. The DNA engine or motor, in red, can be programmed to navigate a series of junctions to reach one of four desired end points (credit: Sugiyama Lab, Kyoto University iCeMS)

    Researchers at Kyoto University and the University of Oxford have used DNA building blocks to construct a motor capable of navigating a programmable network of tracks with multiple switches, allowing motor molecules to travel along these rail systems.

    The research uses DNA origami — strands of DNA molecules sequenced to self-assemble into 2D or 3D structures.

    “We have demonstrated that it is possible to… read more

    The Long Zoom

    October 10, 2006

    Electronic Arts’ forthcoming Spore game will allow you to “create an world that is entirely yours: the creatures, the vehicles, the cities, the planets,” says designer Will Wright.

    Those layers map onto different spatial scales that you advance through as you play: cell, creature, tribe, city, civilization and space.

    As you work your way through the Spore levels, your creatures are automatically sent back to the central Spore… read more

    “Consensus” on Man-Made Warming Shattering

    July 23, 2008

    Physics & Society, The journal of the American Physical Society, has published “Climate Sensitivity Revisited,” a debate.

    “There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution,” the paper notes.

    “Global mean surface temperature… read more

    Next Big Thing in Biotech: RNAi

    November 21, 2003

    A new tool that blocks disease-causing genes, RNA interference (RNAi), could lead the way for the next wave of blockbuster drugs in biotechnology.

    How chemical components protected each other to create RNA

    July 31, 2013

    A computer graphic of an RNA molecule (credit: Richard Feldmann)

    The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists.

    It could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life came about on the planet, according to Sarah Keller, UW professor of chemistry, and Roy Black, UW affiliate professor… read more

    The universe is a quantum computer

    March 23, 2010

    In Decoding Reality, physicist Vlatko Vedral argues that we should regard the entire universe as a gigantic quantum computer, as MIT scientist Seth Lloyd has suggested in a series of papers and his 2006 book, Programming the Universe.

    Fast, open-science publishing for biology and medicine

    January 31, 2012


    The Faculty of 1000 (F1000) has announced an experiment in online science publishing aimed at sharing research results widely and rapidly, Nature News Blog reports.

    Unlike ArXiv, it will use open peer review to check postings afterwards and will charge for submissions.

    The F1000 Research project begins publishing later this year, covering biology and medicine. It will accept any format… read more

    ‘DNA computer’ is unbeatable at tic-tac-toe

    October 18, 2006

    A computer that uses strands of DNA to perform calculations could help researchers refine techniques for analysis of DNA samples.

    MAYA-II, developed by researchers at Columbia University and the University of New Mexico, uses a DNA logic gate that consists of a strand of DNA that binds to another specific input sequence. This binding causes a region of the strand to work as an enzyme, modifying yet another short… read more

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