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Caught in a dragnet: facial recognition system makes error

July 19, 2011

(Credit: iStockphoto)

John H. Gass’ driver’s license was erroneously revoked after an anti-terrorism computerized facial recognition system that scans a database of millions of state driver’s license images picked his as a possible fraud.

It turned out Gass was flagged because he looks like another driver. His driving privileges were returned but, he alleges in a lawsuit, only after 10 days of bureaucratic wrangling to prove his identity.

At least… read more

Anthrax genome decoded

May 1, 2003

The complete genetic blueprint of Bacillus anthracis has been published in the May 1 issue of Nature.

The researchers found a number of genes encoding proteins that B. anthracis may need to enter its host’s cells. These could provide targets for drugs designed against the organism.

Microchip can detect type and severity of cancer

September 29, 2009

University of Toronto researchers have used nanowires decorated with DNA to develop a microchip sensitive enough to quickly identify low levels of signature biomarkers that indicate the presence of cancer at the cellular level.

Analysis can be completed in 30 minutes, a vast improvement over existing diagnostic procedures, which generally take days.

Uncle Sam searches for a quantum leap

April 6, 2008

Under its new QuEST (Quantum Entanglement Science and Technology) program, DARPA has issued a request for proposal for research projects that address “”dramatic improvements” in “the nature, establishment, control, or transport of multi-qubit entanglement.”

Applications might include parallel computing power in a quantum computer and secure communications using quantum cryptography.

Evanescent wave litho to surface at SPIE

February 17, 2006

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is expected to present a paper that claims it has produced a 26-nm image based on evanescent wave lithography (EWL).

This, in turn, opens EWL as an extension to conventional projection lithography as a means for sub-32-nm chip production, according to RIT.

How to Grab an Atom

May 13, 2003

Researchers at Osaka University have used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to move atoms, marking the first time single atoms have been manipulated using a purely mechanical technique, rather than one involving electric current.

The new method could allow researchers to maneuver single atoms of nonconductive as well as conductive materials, perhaps for nanoscale circuits of the future.

Self-Destructive Behavior in Cells May Hold Key to a Longer Life

October 6, 2009

Links are now emerging between cellular autophagy (eating oneself, a strategy to endure famines) and preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and may even let us live longer.

As nanotechnology goes mainstream, ‘toxic socks’ raise concerns

April 8, 2008

Ordinary laundering can wash off substantial amounts of nanosilver particles from socks impregnated with the material, Arizona State researchers suggest.

The particles, intended to prevent foot odor, could travel through a wastewater treatment system and enter natural waterways where they might have unwanted effects on aquatic organisms living in the water and possibly humans, too, they say.

‘Nano-skin’ could create super-bendy screens

March 6, 2006

A flexible “nano-skin” polymer infused with billions of carbon nanotubes could be used to build efficient electronic parts for highly flexible electronic displays and nanotube interconnects for electronics.

A more powerful ‘lab-on-a-chip’ for genetic analysis

August 2, 2011

Microfluidic chip (credit: University of British Columbia)

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have invented a microfluidic silicone chip that could make genetic analysis more sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective by allowing individual cells to fall into place like balls in a pinball machine.

The UBC device — about the size of a nine-volt battery — allows scientists to simultaneously analyze 300 cells individually by routing fluid-carrying cells through microscopic tubes… read more

Mobile Gadgets Offer New Lessons

May 27, 2003

Using mobile phones and handheld computers to teach basic skills could help a generation of youngsters turned off by traditional education. That is the hope of those involved in the 4.5m euro (#3m) m-learning project, an EU-backed initiative taking place in the UK, Sweden and Italy.

The aim of the project is to see how mobile devices can be used to teach basic numerical and literacy skills to young… read more

Detecting Light with Graphene

October 13, 2009

New IBM research suggests that graphene sheets could be used to make ultrafast photodetectors for future optical communications networks with data rates beyond 40 gigabits per second (vs. the current 10 gigabits per second), for optical computers, and as a better detector for terahertz radiation, which has shown promise for medical and security imaging.

Ten weirdest computers

April 14, 2008

Weird computers have included neurons (a few brain cells from a lamprey, a primitive eel-like vertebrate can be used to control a robot), “gloopware” (interfering waves of propagating ions in a chemical goo behave like a logic gate), slime mold (can work out the shortest route through a maze), and logic circuits that use cascades of atoms bouncing off each other like billiard balls to pass information along their length.

‘DNA origami’ creates map of the Americas

March 16, 2006

A map of the Americas measuring just a few hundred nanometres across has been created out of meticulously folded strands of DNA, using a new technique for manipulating molecules dubbed “DNA origami.”

According to the map’s creator, Paul Rothemund at Caltech in Pasadena, DNA origami could prove hugely important for building future nano-devices including molecular machines and quantum computer components. The technique exploits the fact that complementary base pairs… read more

Facebook using natural language processing to group posts, link to pages

August 9, 2011

Facebook is using natural language processing to group posts in a user’s news feed, and is linking to a page relevant to the topic being discussed.

Facebook has added a new type of story to its news feed: if more than one of a user’s friends post about the same topic, and it has a page on the social network, the posts will be grouped under a “Posted About”… read more

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