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Tiny optical disc could store five movies

October 18, 2002

Philips has been secretly developing the world’s smallest optical disc, which will record, play back and erase data using the same precision blue lasers that are being developed for the next generation of high-definition video recorders.

The first versions of the three-centimeter disc (with the same thickness as a DVD) will store one gigabyte on each side, but the dual-layer coating already used for DVDs will double the capacity… read more

Plan to teach military robots the rules of war

June 19, 2009

An “ethical governor” that aims to ensure that robot attack aircraft behave ethically in combat has been developed by robotics engineer Ron Arkin at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Haptics: New Software Allows User To Reach Out And Touch, Virtually

February 1, 2008

European researchers have developed an interface that allows people to touch, stretch and pull virtual fabrics that feel like the real thing.

The new multi-modal software linked to tactile hardware and haptics devices has potential uses in shopping, design and human-machine interaction.

RNA nanoparticles target cancer cells

September 14, 2005

Purdue University scientists have constructed hybrid nanoparticles assembled from RNA that can deliver anticancer therapeutic agents directly to infected cells.

The triangular structures are between 25 and 40 nanometers wide and able to pass through cell membranes into the cell’s interior.

They were able to interrupt the growth of human breast cancer cells and leukemia model lymphocytes in laboratory experiments.

Source: Purdue University news release

An Electronic Cop That Plays Hunches

November 4, 2002

CopLink, a new AI-based investigative tool, is being used to help trace the Washington-area sniper suspects’ movements across the country. It was designed by Hsinchun Chen, director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

Coplink allows police departments to establish links quickly among their own files and to those of other departments. It works by linking and comparing data from new and existing files and also… read more

Waterproof Lithium-Air Batteries

June 26, 2009

Lightweight, high-energy batteries that can use the surrounding air as a cathode are being developed by PolyPlus.

Scientists develop fluorescent proteins for live cell imaging, biosensor design

February 7, 2008

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed a key component of a novel molecular biosensor technology–new “fluorogen activating proteins” (FAPs), which can be used to monitor biological activities of individual proteins and other biomolecules within living cells in real time.

NSA granted Net location-tracking patent

September 26, 2005

The National Security Agency has obtained a patent on a method of figuring out an Internet user’s geographic location.

Patent 6,947,978 describes a way to discover someone’s physical location by comparing it to a “map” of Internet addresses with known locations.

The NSA’s patent relies on measuring the latency, meaning the time lag between computers exchanging data, of “numerous” locations on the Internet and building a “network latency… read more

Talk with a dolphin via underwater translation machine

May 10, 2011

Researchers want to work with dolphins to “co-create” a language that uses features of sounds that wild dolphins communicate with naturally. This is a collaboration between biologists at the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida, and AI researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

The Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT) project will use a smartphone-sized computer and two hydrophones capable of detecting the full range of dolphin… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die

November 18, 2002

Ray Kurzweil has a personal plan for eternal life: don’t die (counting on a low-carb diet, supplements and accelerating medical advances).

“If you combine the knowledge today with the observation that we’re actually on the knee of the curve in terms of acceleration of knowledge and these technologies, and that the full blossoming of the biotech revolution will be here within a couple decades, we can remain healthy through… read more

Nanopillar Solar Cells

July 7, 2009
(Ali Javey, UC Berkeley)

An array of upright nanoscale pillars grown on aluminum foil could lead to solar cells that cost less than conventional silicon photovoltaics, say researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Implants Create Insect Cyborgs

February 12, 2008

Cornell University researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic circuit probes into tobacco hornworms that then mature into long-lived moths whose muscles can be controlled with the implanted electronics.

The ultimate goal of DARPA’s HI-MEMS program is to provide insect cyborgs that can demonstrate controlled flight; the insects would be used in a variety of military and homeland security applications.

See also Darpa hatches plan for insectread more

All human life is indexed on the web

October 11, 2005

Search technology is the fastest growing business in the history of media and may lead to the creation of Hal of 2001, says John Battelle in his book Search: How Google and its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture.

Simple motion-capture system for programming robots

May 15, 2011

The robotic arm can be controlled with an input device. When the hand holding the device is moved, the robot emulates the movement. (Credit: Fraunhofer IPA)

Programming robotic arms just got a lot easier thanks to the efforts of Bernhard Kleiner and his team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart.

The key breakthrough is a set of inertial sensors in a hand-held input device, and software that ties their inputs together to reconstruct a detailed model of body motion.

The device records precise motions… read more

Will China Blindside the West?

December 2, 2002

China’s transformation is trickling even into the poor interior, dragging all 1.3 billion people into the world economy. When historians look back on our time, I think they’ll focus on the resurgence of China after 500 years of weakness — and the way America was oblivious as this happened. For most of human history, China was the world’s largest economy and most advanced civilization. Then it stagnated after about 1450,… read more

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