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‘Nanofingers’ sensors developed

December 9, 2003

Future sensors may take the form of microscopic finger-like structures developed at Ohio State University. The “nanofingers” are carved onto the surface of inexpensive ceramic material and consist of a single crystal of titanium oxide.

The 50-nanometers-wide nanofingers provide a large surface area, making them good for capturing chemicals from the air, gathering light for electricity-generating solar cells, or for photocatalysis, in which light activates chemical reactions that clean… read more

Meet QB, Your New Robotic Coworker

May 19, 2010


Anybots’ QB, a $15,000 “remote presence robot,” allows a telecommuting worker to remotely attend meetings, drop into the offices of colleagues, and otherwise collaborate with people in an office.

Cameras in its eyes capture video; speakers and microphones let it relay sound back and forth; an LCD in its forehead can display a still image or video of the remote colleague; and a laser… read more

Microbes for Off-the-Grid Electricity

September 4, 2008

Lebone Solutions aims to use microbial fuel cells to provide power to Africans who are off the grid.

In some parts of Africa, only a small amount of energy is enough for a few hours of lamp light in the evening, or for powering the ubiquitous cell phones–something that some residents will walk five hours to a generator to do.

It May Come as a Shock

November 7, 2006

Two different kinds of stimulatory devices are now in large-scale clinical trials for possible use in patients with the most severe migraine cases.

The two approaches are occipital nerve stimulation, or ONS, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Experts say approaches like these represent a powerful new trend in migraine research.

Optical fibres cut their losses

December 18, 2003

New super-thin optical fibers confine light signals much more securely than their thicker counterparts. The new low-loss design will combat the leaks that can severely weaken a telecommunications signal when conveyed over many kilometers.

The new fibers are 50 nanometers across — around 10,000 times thinner than current optical fibers. They are also highly flexible, so they can guide light signals around tight bends, which will help the production… read more

Self-Assembling Gold Nanoparticles Use Light to Kill Tumor Cells

May 27, 2010

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a method for creating supramolecular assemblies of gold nanoparticles that function as highly efficient photothermal agents for delivery to tumors, using a laser beam to heat the nanoparticles above 374 degrees C, the temperature at which explosive microbubbles form.

Brightest gamma-ray burst was aimed at Earth

September 11, 2008

Astronomers think they know what caused the brightest ever gamma-ray burst, which was observed in March: a tightly beamed jet of matter that happened to be aimed almost directly at Earth, coming from 7.5 billion light years away, more than halfway across the universe.

This animation shows how astronomers think light from a gamma-ray burst called 080319B was released. A narrow jet punched though the outer layers of… read more

Big brother is listening to you

November 20, 2006

To prevent fights breaking out, surveillance cameras in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands have been adapted to listen out for voices raised in anger. Microphones attached to the cameras feed the sound signals to software that can detect voices that are aggressive in tone.

In a trial earlier this year, police made three arrests after being alerted by the system

Caltech lecture by Crichton on ‘consensus science’

January 5, 2004

Michael Crichton understands the core values of science better than some prominent scientists, as he showed in this lecture at Caltech about the dangers of “consensus science”: “I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.

“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter… read more

New “Brains” For LittleDog

June 2, 2010

The small four-legged robot LittleDog, from Boston Dynamics, has acquired an impressive array of improved locomotion skills thanks to researchers at the University of Southern California.

White roofs, streets could curb global warming

September 18, 2008

If the 100 largest cities in the world replaced their dark roofs with white shingles and their asphalt-based roads with concrete or other light-colored material, it could offset 44 metric gigatons (billion tons) of greenhouse gases, a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley shows.

White surfaces would also lower the cost of air conditioning by up to 20% in hot months and cool a city by… read more

Bio-inspired Assembly of Nanoparticle Building Blocks

November 30, 2006
V-shaped amphiphilic molecules containing gold nanoparticles form cylindrical micelles when exposed to water

Chemists at Rice University have discovered how to assemble gold and silver nanoparticle building blocks into larger structures based on a novel method that harkens back to one of nature’s oldest known chemical innovations — the self-assembly of lipid membranes that surround every living cell.

Researchers believe the new method will allow them to create a wide variety of useful materials, including extra-potent cancer drugs and more… read more

Steering toxic drug-filled nanoparticles to zap cancer, not healthy cells

November 26, 2013

Multifunctionalized drug-loaded nanoparticle

North­eastern researchers are developing sim­u­la­tion soft­ware called Mag­nasim to more accu­rately steer simulated drug-filled mag­netic nanopar­ti­cles to tumor masses where they can safely dis­charge their con­tents.

The drugs used to kill cancer cells are just as toxic to neigh­boring healthy cells, so researchers have long sought a drug delivery method that tar­gets only cancer cells, bypassing the healthy ones.

Func­tional Mag­netic Res­o­nance Imaging (fMRI) is being… read more

Transforming Thoughts Into Deeds

January 15, 2004

A brain-computer interface created by Cyberkinetics called BrainGate could help patients with no mobility to control a computer, a robot, or eventually their own rewired muscles, using only their thoughts.

Simple way to create nanocircuitry on graphene developed

June 11, 2010

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

A method of drawing nanoscale circuits onto atom-thick sheets of graphene has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The simple, quick one-step process for creating nanowires, based on thermochemical nanolithography (TCNL), tunes the electronic properties of reduced graphene oxide, allowing it to switch from being an insulating material to a conducting material.… read more

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