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Sizing Up the Silicon Problem After the Quake

March 22, 2011

Plant shutdowns in Japan have halted production in factories accounting for 25 percent of the world’s silicon wafers used to make computer chips, according to a report released Monday by the research firm IHS iSuppli.

The Shin-Etsu plant, according to IHS iSuppli, produces 20 percent of the raw wafers used by semiconductor makers worldwide.

Another shuttered wafer factory in Utsunomiya, owned by MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., accounts… read more

Human Demand Exceeds Earth’s Sustainable Supply

June 24, 2002

The global population exhausts a supply of natural resources equivalent to that produced by 1.2 earths each year, eroding nature’s ability to regenerate. This era of unbounded exploitation may soon be forced to a screeching halt, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Graphene Yields Secrets to Its Extraordinary Properties

May 15, 2009

Electrons behave like they don’t have mass in graphene, explaining why electrons are more than 100 times more mobile in graphene than in silicon, Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reseachers have found.

Graphene’s exotic behaviors present intriguing prospects for future technologies, including high-speed, graphene-based electronics that might replace today’s silicon-based integrated circuits and other devices.

Engineering tough, resistant self-assembling amyloid fibers

Could be used as scaffolding for tissue engineering or growing photovoltaics
January 29, 2015

Amyloid fibers self-assemble from smaller proteins. UC Davis researchers have engineered other proteins so they spontaneously form amyloid. These new proteins could be useful in nanotechnology. Here, the cap structure (red) was removed from spruce budworm antifreeze protein and other structures adjusted so that molecules could link up as fibrils (bottom). (credit: UC Davis)

Researchers at UC Davis and Rice University have developed methods to manipulate natural proteins so that they self-assemble into amyloid fibrils.*

“These are big proteins with lots of flat surfaces suitable for functionalization, for example to grow photovoltaics or to attach to other surfaces,” said Dan Cox, a physics professor at UC Davis and coauthor on the paper. The fibers could also be used… read more

The Year in Robots

December 31, 2007

Robots made significant advances in 2007.

In the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, autonomous vehicles demonstrated their abilities in changing lanes, merging onto roadways amidst fast-moving traffic, and traversing busy intersections.

Robots also became more humanoid. Toyota and Honda introduced advanced robots capable of playing music, serving tea, pouring beer, and putting out fires, while children treated the new QRIO–programmed to wave, dance, sit, and stand–more like a peer… read more

How cells with damaged DNA alert the immune system

July 6, 2005

University of California, Berkeley researchers have found that damage to a cell’s DNA sets off a chain reaction that leads to the increased expression of a marker recognized by the body’s immune system, allowing it to differentiate cells that are cancerous from those that are healthy and attack them.

Cells with damaged DNA can also involve other cells in the fight, triggering a mechanism that signals other cells –… read more

Blinded by Science

July 17, 2002

“Science fact is rapidly outstripping science fiction,” said Neil Gershenfeld, head of the new Center for Bits and Atoms at M.I.T.’s Media Laboratory.Examples include:

* A radio-signal message “teleported” in a laser beam

* Genetically altered goats whose milk contains a gene from the golden-orb weaving spider

* “Tooth phone”

* Using principles of insect locomotion and the suction qualities of geckos’ toes to develop lifelike… read more

Spielberg: Games consoles doomed

May 21, 2009

Steven Spielberg has suggested that game consoles will one day be replaced by in-home virtual reality entertainment.

Napkin PC Enables High-Tech Doodling

January 7, 2008

Designer Avery Holleman has developed the concept of a Napkin PC, a device that uses e-paper and radio frequency (RF) technology to enable creative groups to collaborate more effectively.

The technology includes a “napkin” holder filled with rewritable e-paper napkins, as well as a place for colored pens. When someone gets an inspiration, they simply grab a napkin and start doodling with one of the pens. The pen uses… read more

Super-fast broadband coming via cable?

July 21, 2005

By using Ethernet within cable TV networks, in 2006 the speed of broadband internet over cable TV could reach 100 megabits per second, claims a Finnish technology company.

The new technique for increasing transmission speeds over cable is undergoing field trials in the Netherlands.

Nanopolymer targets specific proteins to reduce side-effects of cancer drugs

April 6, 2011

Biochemists at Purdue University have demonstrated a process using a nanopolymer to better assess whether cancer drugs hit their targets, which may help reduce drug side effects.

They developed a nanopolymer that can be coated with drugs, enter cells, and be then removed to determine which proteins in the cells the drug has entered. Since they’re water-soluble, the nanopolymers also may be a better delivery… read more

More Memory on the Way

August 6, 2002

Researchers from the University of Southern California School of Engineering have developed a 256-bits “Data IntensiVe Architecture (DIVA)” memory that puts a processor on the DRAM chip, allowing for significantly faster memory performance and eliminating the gap between CPU and memory performance.

Look out, Rover. Robots are man’s new best friend

May 28, 2009

Industrial robots comprise a roughly $18 billion annual market, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

There are going to be a lot more of them, as they move into homes, hospitals, classrooms, and barracks. NextGen Research has estimated that the worldwide market for consumer-oriented service robots will hit $15 billion by 2015.

Nanotechnology innovation allows gene detection in a single cell

January 11, 2008
DNA nanoarrays bound to their RNA targets (Yonggang Ke)

Scientists at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have developed the world’s first gene detection platform made up entirely from self-assembled DNA nanostructures.

The DNA nanoarrays were able to detect three different RNA genes.

Nano Bones

August 3, 2005

Materials scientist Robert Haddon of the University of California, Riverside and his team hope to someday grow bone back — using carbon nanotubes.

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