science + technology news

‘Destruct’ triggers may be jammed in tumor cells

May 1, 2008

University of Florida scientists have found that tumor cells may be protected from radiotherapy or chemotherapy: their self-destruct mechanisms are blocked.

They found that slight changes in the protein scaffolds that support the “reaper” and “hid” genes (which help trigger cell death) cause the tumor cells to become resistant to X-rays.

University of Florida News Release

Carbon nanotubes pinned down at last

June 1, 2006

A new process that bonds carbon nanotubes to silicon to create transistors could lead eventually lead to large-scale integration of nanoelectronic devices.

Robots to reduce cost of building aircraft

September 20, 2011

Plastic Gripper

Fraunhofer researchers have come up with a concept for a flexible assembly-line concept using robots to build future aircraft more flexibly and economically.

The aircraft will be machined and assembled by small industrial robots, as in the automotive sector. The key element of the assembly line is a versatile component gripper made of lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) that can deal flexibly with various… read more

AI Depends on Your Point of View

July 30, 2003

The Real-World Reasoning project, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program, is designed to get computers to start examining situations in more than one way, integrating rule-based and probabilistic reasoning as well as game theory and strategic thinking.

It’s part of a larger effort to move toward machines that can think for themselves.

Nanoimaging in 3-D

December 2, 2009

(Alexander Govyadinov)

A new nondestructive near-field method for subwavelength optical imaging of nanoscale objects in three dimensions has been demonstrated by University of Pennsylvania scientists.

Piecing Together The Next Generation Of Cognitive Robots

May 7, 2008

The European Cognitive Systems for Cognitive Assistants artificial cognitive systems (CoSy ACS) project incorporates a range of technologies, including a design for cognitive architecture, spatial cognition, human-robot interaction and situated dialogue processing, and developmental models of visual processing.

It integrates multiple cognitive functions to create robots that are more self-aware, understand their environment and can better interact with humans.

A Dose Of Genius

June 12, 2006

The use of “smart pills” that increase concentration, focus, wakefulness and short-term memory is soaring.

Scientists debate value of citizens’ advisory panels

August 6, 2003

The National Science Foundation is experimenting with a system of citizens’ advisory panels to consider the ethical, social and practical implications of new technologies and recommend policies that might reduce misunderstanding and obstruction on issues such as genetically modified foods and nanotechnology.

Boom! Hok! A Monkey Language Is Deciphered

December 8, 2009

The Campbell’s monkey of Tai Forest, Ivory Coast appear to exhibit the most complex example of “proto-syntax” in animal communication known to date, say researchers writing in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The monkeys can both vary the meaning of specific calls by adding suffixes and combine calls to generate a different meaning.

Closer encounter: Nasa plans landing on 40m-wide asteroid travelling at 28,000mph

May 9, 2008

NASA plans to use Orion, the Space Shuttle replacement, for a three to six month round-trip to an asteroid, with astronauts spending a week or two on the rock’s surface.

The mission will give space officials a taste of more complex missions, and samples taken from the rock could help scientists understand more about the birth of the solar system and how best to defend against asteroids that veer… read more

Reading ‘to go’ for blind people

June 22, 2006

The K-NFB, the latest product to be developed by inventor Ray Kurzweil, is a portable scanning device that reads text to visually impaired people.

It will help with ad-hoc reading of documents such as bills and receipts, instructions on food packaging or medication or emergency evacuation notices in hotels.

Ray Kurzweil is also inventor of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind and other landmark… read more

Help NASA find life on Mars with MAPPER

October 4, 2011

Mapper3

NASA is asking people to help them discover how they could find life on Mars through a new citizen-science website called MAPPER.

MAPPER lets you work side-by-side with NASA scientists to explore the bottom of the lakes from the perspective of a DeepWorker submarine pilot.

NASA is collaborating with the Pavilion Lake Research Project, which has been using DeepWorker submersible vehicles to explore and… read more

It’s a Flawed World After All

August 18, 2003

The recent MSBlaster worm and power blackout incidents have laid bare the brittleness of increasingly complex, interconnected systems, leading some to question their near-total dependence on them.

Nanoprobes hit targets in tumors, could lessen chemo side effects

December 15, 2009

The number and distribution of nanoprobes coated with the breast cancer drug Herceptin and inserted into live human tumor cells in the lab have been measured by Purdue University researchers.

Targeting only tumor cells with nanoprobes would require less drugs and mitigate the side effects of cancer chemotherapy drugs, they suggest. Cancer treatments often use high drug concentrations that damage healthy cells near a tumor.

Hydrogen Fuel from Formic Acid

May 15, 2008

New research at the Leibniz Institute of Catalysis (Germany) shows that formic acid could be used as a safe, easy-to-transport source of hydrogen for fuel cells–initially to power portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops.

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