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Restoring Sight

May 29, 2009
(Steve Gschmeissner/Photo Researchers)

Scientists aim to treat retinitis pigmentosa by developing novel gene therapies using channelrhodopsin-2 (a light-sensitive protein derived from algae) and similar tools to make different retinal cells, such as bipolar cells (shown in pink in the middle section of the photo), responsive to light.

Scientists believe that channelrhodopsin targeted toward different cell types could ultimately treat a broader range of diseases, including Parkinson’s and epilepsy.

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight

March 4, 2015

Scientists of the University of Luxembourg and of the Japanese electronics company TDK have extended sensitivity of a conductive oxide film used in solar cells in the near-infrared region to use more energy of the sun and thus create higher current.

Similar attempts have been made before, but this is the first time that these films were prepared by a one-step process and, at the same time, stable in… read more

Crash Warning System Monitors Nearby Traffic And Warns Of Possible Collisions

January 14, 2008

European researchers have demonstrated a software-based collision warning system for cars that could alert the driver several seconds in advance of an impact.

The Collision Warning System prototype finds the position, speed and trajectory of neighboring and oncoming traffic using GPS and the Vehicle2Vehicle (V2V) car communication protocol.

A step toward the $1,000 personal genome using readily available lab equipment

August 5, 2005

The theoretical price of having one’s personal genome sequenced just fell from the prohibitive $20 million dollars to about $2.2 million, and the goal is to reduce the amount further–to about $1,000–to make individualized prevention and treatment realistic.

The sharp drop is due to a new DNA sequencing technology developed by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The new technique calls for replicating thousands of DNA fragments attached to one-micron… read more

The Even-More-Compact Disc

August 30, 2002

The new miniaturized DataPlay digital media offers CD performance and 500 MB storage at a tiny size but at expensive prices initially for media and players.

DataPlay discs will be available in blank, recordable form as well as prerecorded, copy-protected albums.

Targeting the Brain with Sound Waves

June 4, 2009
(William Tyler, Arizona State University)

Ultrasonic waves could one day be used as a noninvasive alternative to deep-brain stimulation (DBS) and vagus nerve stimulation in treating neurological disorders, says William Tyler, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, who has started a company called Supersonix to commercialize the technology.

3D-printed sensors to lower cost, improve comfort in diabetes management

March 18, 2015

Optical microscopy images of patterned gold on polyimide film substrate (top) prepared via microcontact printing and after platinum and silver electrodes deposition (bottom) by electroplating (credit: Xiaosong Du et al./ Xiaosong Du/ ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology)

Engineers at Oregon State University have used additive manufacturing to create an improved type of glucose sensor for patients with Type 1 diabetes, part of a system that should work better, cost less, and be more comfortable for the patient.

A key advance is use of an electrohydrodynamic jet (“e-jet” printing) to make the sensor, which detects glucose concentration based on electric current… read more

Nanotubes Help Advance Brain Tumor Research

January 17, 2008

The potential of carbon nanotubes to diagnose and treat brain tumors is being explored through a partnership between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and City of Hope.

They plan to functionalize and attach inhibitory RNA to nanotubes and deliver it to specific areas of the brain. It could also be used to treat stroke, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders and other disease processes in the brain.

Brains, cancer and computers

August 17, 2005

AI in medicine was a key theme at Edinburgh’s recent International Joint Conference in AI.

Robots find high levels of radiation, throwing doubt on ‘road map’ to control Fukushima crisis

April 19, 2011

Remoted-controlled robot in number 1 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (credit: Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

Two remote-controlled robots from iRobot found high radiation levels in reactor buildings 1 and 3 Monday.

The finding could make it impossible for workers to enter the Fukushima plant to carry out crucial fixes under a a six-month “road map” for bringing radioactivity under control, Christian Science Monitor reported Monday.

The robots detected radiation leaking at a rate of 49 millisieverts per hour in the No.… read more

Intel unfurls experimental 3D transistors

September 20, 2002

Intel unveiled more technical details on its Tri-Gate transistor, an experimental circuit that could become a crucial element in the company’s efforts to continue to heed Moore’s Law by making smaller and faster chips.

The transistors have three gates rather than one, so they behave more like 3-D objects. Increasing the number of transistor gates increases the amount of current that can be handled and reduces leakage, boosting performance.

Stretched neutrinos could span the universe

June 10, 2009

The most massive quantum-mechanical superpositions of three different mass-energy states of “relic” neutrinos produced by the big bang may have slowed down, stretching them across the universe as it expanded, according to calculations by George Fuller and Chad Kishimoto of the University of California, San Diego.

Longest Piece of Synthetic DNA Yet

January 25, 2008

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute have crafted a bacterial genome from scratch, moving one step closer to creating entirely synthetic life forms–living cells designed and built by humans to carry out a diverse set of tasks ranging from manufacturing biofuels to sequestering carbon dioxide.

They pieced together the genes of Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest free-living bacterium that can be grown in the laboratory.

The final step… read more

Molecular motors push liquid uphill

August 29, 2005

Droplets of liquid have been moved uphill by molecular motors designed to manipulate Brownian motion.

The “nano-shuttles” are long hydrocarbon-based molecules each with a ring of organic molecules strung, but not chemically bonded, around them. They could create a range of different types of smart surfaces, such as adhesive surfaces that can be switched on and off, or surfaces that can be switched from one color to another.

Can hobbyists and hackers transform biotechnology?

April 25, 2011


In the just-published Biopunk, journalist Marcus Wohlsen surveys the biohacker movement, which has been made possible by a convergence of better and cheaper technologies.

The bio DIYers believe that individuals have a fundamental right to biological information, that spreading the tools of biotech to the masses will accelerate the pace of progress, and that the fruits of the biosciences should be delivered into the hands of the… read more

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