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So Long, Energizer Bunny

March 27, 2009

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have built a piezoelectric effect (mechanical pressure converted to electricity) nanogenerator, the first to use this effect at the nanoscale.

This could allow microsensors and miniature medical devices to derive their electrical needs from their surroundings instead of from batteries.

How Silicon Valley could become the Detroit of electric cars

November 8, 2007

Last week’s announcement by Shai Agassi, a former SAP executive based in Palo Alto, that he’s raised $200 million for Better Place, a company that will try to revolutionize the electric car industry, is the latest sign of this region’s growing role in one of the hottest sectors of the automotive industry.

Common sense boosts speech software

March 24, 2005

MIT researchers have combined speech recognition software with The Open Mind Common Sense Project database to distinguish among words that sound the same or similar.

The database contains more than 700,000 facts that MIT Media Lab researchers have been collecting from the public.

‘Alien’ message tests human decoders

January 9, 2002

A message that will be broadcast into space later in 2002 has been released to scientists worldwide, to test that it can be decoded easily. The researchers who devised the message eventually hope to design a system that could automatically decode an alien reply.

The new binary message can be downloaded from the CETI home page. The project leaders hope that it will be transmitted by… read more

Researchers bring new brain mapping capabilities to desktops of scientists worldwide

April 1, 2009

Research teams at the University of Utah and University of Colorado at Boulder have made technical advances that have significantly reduced the time it takes to map brain regions.

These include automation tools to tag every cell with a molecular signature, capture 25,000 TEM images weekly, and automatically merge thousands of images into gigabyte-scale mosaics and align the mosaics into terabyte-scale volumes.

The researchers plan to soon reveal… read more

Inbox 2.0: Yahoo and Google to Turn E-Mail Into a Social Network

November 15, 2007

Google and Yahoo have come up with new and very similar plans to respond to the challenge from MySpace and Facebook: They hope to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services (iGoogle and MyYahoo) into social networks.

The Coming Chip Revolution

April 8, 2005

Carbon nanotubes are emerging as a leading candidate to replace silicon in future chips.

One IBM prototype device using carbon nanotubes can carry up to 1,000 times the current of copper wires used in today’s silicon chips, making it vastly more efficient.

In addition to being excellent conductors of heat, nanotubes are 10 times stronger than steel and are resistant to radiation. This matters because as chips get… read more

Tracing the Neural Circuitry of ‘Second Sight’

February 7, 2002

Researchers have traced the light sensing circuitry for a type of “second sight” that is distinct from the conventional visual system and seems to interact directly with the body’s internal clock. The researchers speculate that subtle genetic malfunctions of this machinery might underlie some sleep disorders.In an article published in the February 8, 2002, Science, a research team led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator King-Wai Yau described the circuitry,… read more

3D Printing and Self Replicating Machines In Your Living Room — Seriously!

April 10, 2009

Its like having a mini factory in your own home: the Reprap machine consists of a half-meter frame enclosing its fabrication workspace, motors, electronic circuitry and an extruder — a device that can squirt out complex three-dimensional patterns of molten plastic filaments that will ultimately solidify into the shape of your 3D object.

How it works: software on a PC takes design files produced by 3-D drawing programs and… read more

Stem Cells without the Embryos

November 21, 2007

Kyoto University and University of Wisconsin scientists appear to have independently achieved one of regenerative medicine’s holy grails: reprogramming human adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, without the use of an embryo or a human egg.

The method could provide a way to make patient-specific stem cells, a feat not yet achieved in humans. Such cells could eventually be used for studying complex genetic diseases, or for… read more

At One Trillion Degrees, Even Gold Turns Into the Sloshiest Liquid

April 20, 2005

Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island have produced a state of matter that flows better than water at about a trillion degrees instead of turning into a gas, as expected.

The scientists stopped short of announcing that they had created a subatomic soup known as quark-gluon plasma. Physicists are interested in quark-gluon plasma because it will help them understand the “strong force” that holds protons and… read more

Nano-based DNA detection

February 24, 2002

Microelectrodes and gold nanoparticle probes are being used to create lower-cost, faster and more accurate DNA detection.Northwestern University scientists used a synthetic sequence of DNA that models the anthrax lethal factor to test a technology that could displace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and conventional fluorescence probes in clinical diagnostics and make point-of-care DNA testing possible in the doctor’s office and on the battlefield.

A simple electrical signal indicates that… read more

Robots Get Down to Business

April 17, 2009

Robots designed to work as firefighters, receptionists, gardeners, and handymen were demonstrated at the RoboBusiness conference in Boston on Thursday.

Mass-Producing 3-D Particles

December 3, 2007
(Ji-Hyun Jang, MIT)

MIT researchers have invented a microfluidic way to efficiently make particles. It could provide a way to create millions of labeled tags with the potential to become ultrafast, ultrasensitive biosensors for medical diagnostics.

Smart Phones: Intelligence Spreads

May 4, 2005

The Yankee Group estimates a global market of 49 million smart phones by yearend and 98 million in 2006 as the devices push deeper into the mainstream.

(A BusinessWeek special report.)

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