October 25, 2005
Total sales in the MEMS (microlectromechanical systems) market will reach $5.4 billion this year and will grow to more than $7 billion in 2007.
Biggest sellers: inertial devices, micromirrors for projection devices and TVs, pressure sensors, RF applications, analytical instruments, and in biomedical monitoring devices.
March 12, 2008
Japanese researchers have built a 17 molecule machine capable of parallel processing.
A central control molecule is able to change the states of the other 16 molecules, in a discovery that could provide a way to control many molecular machines simultaneously and eventually lead to a powerful new method of molecular assembly.
Modeled on how glial cells work to pass along instructions among neurons… read more
December 19, 2002
Recent discoveries indicate that a class of RNA molecules called small RNAs operate many of the cell’s controls. They can shut down genes or alter their levels of expression.
In some species, truncated RNA molecules literally shape genomes, carving out chunks to keep and discarding others. There are even hints that certain small RNAs might help chart a cell’s destiny by directing genes to turn on or off during… read more
September 1, 2009
The reliability of most gene tests is questionable, says Dr. Siobhan Dolan, an expert in human genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, and interpretations of test results offered by some companies fall way short of what a consumer might learn from a certified medical geneticist or genetic counselor (which are in short supply).
Privacy concerns are another important issue. Consumers have no way to know how a company might use… read more
November 7, 2005
Amazon.com has launched a new program called Amazon Mechanical Turk, through which a computer can ask humans to perform tasks that it can’t do itself, such as identifying objects in photographs.
March 17, 2008
IBM researchers have discovered a way to significantly improve the performance of graphene transistors.
By stacking two layers of graphene on top of each other, they reduced the electrical noise of the device by a factor of 10.
Graphene has enhanced electron mobility, typically anywhere from 50 to 500 times faster than silicon, but transistors created from the material have been plagued by noise, making the… read more
January 9, 2003
Research at the University of California at Berkeley will allow fully assembled electric and electronic gadgets such as light bulbs, radios, remote controls, mobile phones and toys to be printed in one go. The trick: print layers of conducting and semiconducting polymers in such a way that the circuitry is built up as part of the bodywork.
September 8, 2009
One version of the upcoming Asus Eee-book reader will have have a hinged spine, letting users view the text of their book on one screen (turning its pages using the touch screen), while browsing a Web page on the other.
It may also feature a virtual keyboard, speakers, a Webcam, full-color screen, and mic for Skype voice calls.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a chemical sensor that combines a carbon nanotube transistor with olfactory receptor proteins, the cell components in the nose that detect odors.
The sensor comprises a single-walled carbon nanotube field effect transistor (swCN-FET) with a nanoscale layer of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) adsorbed to the tube’s outerwall. The current through the swCN-FET shows a characteristic response to gaseous… read more
November 19, 2005
Physicists have generated extra-bright beams of infrared light from single-walled carbon nanotubes. The new technique is more efficient than many existing methods for producing light and could have applications in optoelectronics.
The IBM-Duke team found that when certain voltages were applied, the nanotubes emitted infrared light localized in a nano-sized area. This resulted in a very bright source of light: a 3 milliamp current was able to produce about… read more
Astronomers reported Wednesday that they had made the first detection of an organic molecule, methane, in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system and had confirmed the presence of water there, clearing the way for a bright future of inspecting the galaxy for livable planets, for the chemical stuff of life, or even for life itself.
January 24, 2003
Adaptive optics, originally developed for astronomy (using mirrors to eliminate the visual distortion caused by the earth’s atmosphere), is being used by ophthalmologists to see to see individual cells in the retina.
It is being combined with optical coherence tomography, which allows doctors to capture images deep inside tissue.
Reducing Americans’ average intake of sodium to the amount recommended by health officials could save the nation as much as $18 billion annually in avoided health care costs and eliminate 11 million cases of high blood pressure (and related illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases) nationally, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
They say that the results of their latest proof-of-concept experiments could lead to the replacement of electrical components with those based on optical technologies, which should allow for faster and more efficient transmission of information, much in the same way that… read more