science + technology news

How Calorie-Restricted Diets Fight Obesity and Extend Life Span

December 29, 2009

European scientists have identified changes in the levels of 6 proteins, including proteins that tell the body to store fat, that could serve as important markers for improving or tracking the effectiveness of therapies involving calorie-restricted diets.

Cell ‘organs’ get plastic upgrades

May 26, 2008

University of Basel researchers have built artificial polymer organelles (internal compartments in cells that carry out specialized metabolic functions) and added them to live human cells in a lab dish.

The 200-nanometers-wide capsule contained enzymes, just like natural organelles. The artificial organelle’s membrane can be chemically tuned to control which chemicals can pass through it and regulate the reactions inside.

Applications of an artificial organelle could include boosting… read more

AI set to exceed human brain power

July 25, 2006

AI is already in more common usage than many of us might imagine. AI-inspired systems are already integral to many everyday technologies such as internet search engines, bank software for processing transactions and in medical diagnosis, said Nick Bostrom, Director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute.

Ray Kurzweil believes the development of artificial superintelligence will herald a singularity, in which human cognitive abilities are enhanced by brain implants.

Nanotubes allow for creating smaller micromachines

October 31, 2011

Machined microgear created with

Researchers from K. U. Leuven and the Institute of Ceramics and Glass (ICV-CSIC) have reported the innovative use of carbon nanotubes to create complicated miniaturized ceramic parts.

One promising technique for creating smaller mechanical components is electrical discharge machining (EDM), which uses a spark of electricity to blast away the unwanted material to create complex shapes. However, this method requires that the target material be electrically conductive.… read more

Putting Your Calls Into Context

September 24, 2003

Researchers are marrying the modest cell phone with accelerometers, skin sensors, GPS and a calendar to create a system that always knows where you are and what you are doing, thereby eliminating phone tag.

New year, new vitamin C discovery: It ‘cures’ mice with accelerated aging disease

January 5, 2010

A team of Canadian scientists have found that vitamin C stops and even reverses accelerated aging in a mouse model of Werner’s syndrome, but the discovery may also be applicable to other age-related diseases,.

Intelligent Computers See Your Human Traits

May 30, 2008

By combining audio and visual data, Yongjin Wang from the University of Toronto and Ling Guan from Ryerson University in Toronto have developed a system that recognizes six human emotional states: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust.

Their system can recognize emotions in people from different cultures and who speak different languages with a success rate of 82%.

Emotion recognition systems help the computer to understand the… read more

Big bang pushed back two billion years

August 7, 2006

Our universe may be 15% larger and older than we thought, according to new measurements of the distance to a nearby galaxy.

Fully functional flexible memory on plastic

November 4, 2011

This is an image of flexible memory wrapped on quartz rod (credit: KAIST)

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers have developed fully functional flexible non-volatile resistive random access memory (RRAM), a new technology that allows a memory cell to be randomly accessed, written, and erased on a plastic substrate.

The demand for flexible electronic systems such as wearable computers, E-paper, and flexible displays has recently increased due to their advantages over present rigid electronic systems.… read more

Promise and Peril of the 21st Century

October 7, 2003

“Technology has always been a double-edged sword, empowering both our creative and our destructive natures,” says Ray Kurzweil. “It has brought us longer and healthier lives, freedom from physical and mental drudgery, and many new creative possibilities. Yet it has also introduced new and salient dangers….”

A solid case of entanglement

January 12, 2010

For the first time, physicists have convincingly demonstrated that physically separated particles in solid-state devices can be quantum-mechanically entangled.

The experiment, which used electrons in a superconductor in place of photons in an optical system, forming entangled “Cooper pairs” over a micron or so, was conducted by a team of physicists from France, Germany and Spain.

Mobile Robotic Arm Taught To Manipulate Objects Such As Scissors And Shears

June 5, 2008

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers built a robotic arm that can approach unfamiliar objects such as scissors, garden shears, and jointed wooden toys, and learn how they work by pushing on them and observing how they change.

The arm can “see” its environment through a digital camera. After testing the new object, the arm stores how the objects move as a kinematic model, which can be used to perform… read more

Your Brain Boots Up Like a Computer

August 21, 2006

As we yawn and open our eyes in the morning, the brain stem sends little puffs of nitric oxide to another part of the brain, the thalamus, which then directs it elsewhere.

Like a computer booting up its operating system before running more complicated programs, the nitric oxide triggers certain functions that set the stage for more complex brain operations, according to a new study.

Nanowires could be solution for high-performance solar cells

November 11, 2011

Photovoltaic nanowires grown on a silicon substrate (credit:)

University of Illinois researchers.have developed a way to integrate semiconductor nanowires on silicon wafers, which could help engineers realize high-performance solar cells and other electronics.

“III-V” semiconductors — used in photovoltaic cells — don’t integrate with silicon seamlessly, which is a problem, since silicon is the most ubiquitous electronics device platform.

So instead of a conventional thin film, the Illinois team grew a… read more

DNA copied with convection

October 17, 2003

A new automated process speeds up DNA copying for genetic analysis and biotechnology.

Using convection, the circulation of hot liquids, it can drive a chain reaction that makes strands of DNA multiply exponentially fast. A prototype system generates DNA copies four times faster than standard techniques and could be miniaturized to just .1 millimeter, the researchers claim.

The convection method could drive pocket-sized devices for quick, on-the-spot DNA… read more

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