science + technology news

Geneticists hail variety show

October 26, 2005

An international team has tracked a million DNA variations in volunteers around the world, as part of an effort to map the diversity of human genes. Experts say the growing catalog, called the HapMap, will help to pinpoint genetic causes of disease and develop more effective treatments.

Researchers hope that by cataloging SNPs and the frequency with which they occur in different populations, they will boost efforts to target… read more

Futurists Pick Top Tech Trends

October 26, 2005

Mobile socialization, disruptive technology in the hybrid car market, growing demand for information-sensing devices that can reduce energy consumption, and an IT revolution in 2006 are among the forecasts by futurists.

My Bionic Quest for Bolero

October 26, 2005

To allow for a deaf person with a cochlear implant to hear music, Advanced Bionics is working on a new software algorithm for “virtual channels.”

Machines are catching up to human intelligence

October 26, 2005

A race earlier this month by five driverless vehicles across 132 miles of twisting desert road without a living soul aboard is evidence of the remarkable progress being made in the arcane field of artificial intelligence.

The Potential of MEMS

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.

The Car That Makes Its Own Fuel

October 25, 2005

A unique system that can produce Hydrogen inside a car using common metals such as magnesium and aluminum and running on water has been developed by an Israeli company.

The system reportedly solves the obstacles associated with the manufacturing, transporting and storing of hydrogen to be used in cars. When it becomes commercial in a few years time, the system will be incorporated into cars that will cost about… read more

Trials for stem-cell treatment of brain disease

October 24, 2005

Researchers in California are about to start the first FDA-sanctioned clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for a brain disease.

Stem Cells Inc. will test the safety of injecting fetal-derived neural stem cells into the brains of children suffering from a rare and always fatal disorder known as Batten disease.

Missing links

October 24, 2005

Proponents of Intelligent Design have exploited a vexing question at the heart of Darwin’s theory. Now, say two leading biologists, scientists can — and must — answer back.

In a new book, ”The Plausibility of Life,” published this week by Yale University Press, Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and John Gerhart, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, discuss… read more

UCSD Study Shows ‘Junk’ DNA Has Evolutionary Importance

October 21, 2005

Non-coding regions play an important role in maintaining an organism’s genetic integrity, according to Peter Andolfatto, an assistant professor of biology at UCSD, in the October 20 issue of Nature.

“Sequencing of the complete genome in humans, fruit flies, nematodes and plants has revealed that the number of protein-coding genes is much more similar among these species than expected,” he says. “Curiously, the largest differences between major species groups… read more

The (really scary) soldier of the future

October 21, 2005

The goal of nanobiotechnology is to completely break down the borders between living and nonliving materials. This goal has the most profound implications for every aspect of human endeavor, but in warfare the consequences of integrating our most powerful technologies are almost beyond comprehension.

The fusion of nanotechnology and biotechnology will erase any distinction between chemical, biological, and conventional weapons, altering the face of war (and life) forever.… read more

Robots and TV to be big in 2006

October 21, 2005

Specialized robots, devices for DIY content creation and new TV displays are among the trends to watch in 2006.

Nano-electronics boosted atom by atom

October 21, 2005

Nanoscale microprocessors could get a big performance boost from a technique that enables semiconducting materials to be doped with useful impurities one ion at a time, with nanoscale accuracy.

The “single ion implantation” (SII) process involves using a small aperture to extract single ions from a beam, which are then implanted into the target material.

Eventually, the researchers believe, the process could provide a substantial speed injection to… read more

Tomorrow’s operating room to harness Net, RFID

October 20, 2005

To keep up with accelerating medical data, a “wall of knowledge” in the operating room will present the big picture, minute by minute, of the patient and surgical events from various data.

The digital display includes the patient’s name, weight, age, gender and the procedure he or she is undergoing. It includes a detailed list of medical staff on duty and where they are according to RFID tags they’re… read more

Balloon beams broadband internet from stratosphere

October 20, 2005

A blisteringly fast data downlink — 1.25 gigabits per second — provided by a stratospheric balloon floating 24,000 meters above the Earth, has been tested for the first time.

Korean Researchers to Help Others Clone Cells for Study

October 20, 2005

The Korean researchers who pioneered the cloning of human cells say they will set up a worldwide foundation, the World Stem Cell Foundation, to help create embryonic stem cells for medical research.

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