science + technology news

I, Nanobot

March 12, 2006

Scientists are on the verge of breaking the carbon barrier — creating artificial life and changing forever what it means to be human. And we’re not ready, predicts materials scientist Alan H. Goldstein.

He predicts, and warns about, the coming elimination of the barrier between living and nonliving materials with the emergence of “animats” (living materials) — nanobiotechnology devices that can survive and function inside human beings, derive energy… read more

Coming Soon: Smarter Soldiers

June 3, 2003

Soldiers of 2011 will step into wired uniforms that incorporate all the equipment they need. The uniforms will monitor vital signs and plug them into a massive network of satellites, unmanned planes and robotic vehicles.

Leading Book Distributor and K-NFB Reading Technology Team Up to Deliver Immersive, Next-Generation Reading Experience

October 16, 2009

Baker & Taylor, Inc., the world’s leading distributor of physical and digital books, has announced a partnership to provide digital media content for K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc.’s forthcoming e-reader.

“For every technology, there comes a tipping point when adoption starts to spread like wildfire,” said Ray Kurzweil, CEO of K-NFB Reading Technology. “For digital books, that time is now. With Baker & Taylor’s market leadership along with our cutting-edge… read more

Making the World A Billion Times Better

April 15, 2008

As powerful as information technology is today, we will make another billion-fold increase in capability (for the same cost) over the next 25 years, says Ray Kurzweil.

“Only technology possesses the scale to address the major challenges — such as energy and the environment, disease and poverty — confronting society. That, at least, is the major conclusion of a panel, organized by the National Science Foundation and the National… read more

Invention: Remote-controlled implants

March 22, 2006

Ear and retinal implants could be precisely positioned using a device designed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The implant is attached to a silicone tube a few millimeters long. The tube has gold particles on its tip and a current is passed wirelessly through these to create a patterned magnetic field that would allow for the implant to be moved around the patient’s head, using an external electromagnet.… read more

Spring-loaded nanotubes could be used in microcircuits

June 13, 2003

Multiwalled nanotubes can act like telescoping spring-loaded shock absorbers, opening the possibility of use in silicon circuits and optoelectronic devices, according to an article in Nature Materials Update, June 12, 2003.

In experiments at Vanderbilt University, it was found that if the inner tubes are partially pulled out and then released, they spring back inside their sheath, oscillating back and forth at a frequency of around 1 gigahertz until… read more

Nanowire Biocompatibility In The Brain: So Far So Good

October 23, 2009

Brain “clean-up cells” (microglia) take care of nanowires injected in rat brains but that break away from their contact points, Lund University researchers have found.

One advantage of nanoscale electrodes is that they can register and stimulate the tiniest components of the brain.

Music Builds Bridges in the Brain

April 18, 2008

Harvard Medical School and Boston College researchers have found that taking music lessons can strengthen connections between the two hemispheres of the brain in children, but only if they practice diligently.

For the children who practiced at least 2.5 hours a week, a region of the corpus callosum that connects movement-planning regions on the two sides of the brain grew about 25% relative to the size of the brain.… read more

Low-Calorie Diet May Lead to Longer Life

April 5, 2006

A low-calorie diet, even in people who are not obese, can lead to changes in metabolism and body chemistry that have been linked to better health and longer life, researchers are reporting.

A six-month study published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that calorie restriction led to decreases in insulin levels and body temperature. Both are considered signs of longevity, partly because an earlier study… read more

Disordered networks synchronize faster than small-world networks

August 18, 2011

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany and collaborators have developed a model to test the speed of synchronization of complex networks.

The researchers tested this model using three very different oscillators acting on complex networks: the Kuramoto, Rössler, and pulse-coupled oscillators. As a result, for all tested networks, they showed that the structure of the coupling between… read more

Remote control

June 26, 2003

Direct brain-to-brain communication is a key goal of DARPA’s $24 million Brain Machine Interface program — almost 10% of DARPA’s basic research budget, according to a Nature June 19 article.

Research also includes:

* A Silicon chip to replace parts of the brain (the hippocampus is first).

* Reminiscent of The Matrix, memory implants to allow pilots to perform moves they may not actually have learned through… read more

TEDMED features medical and health innovations

November 3, 2009

The four-day TEDMED conference last week introduced eye-opening medical and health innovations.

Coverage has included medGadget (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4), Scientific Amarican, Huffington Post, and Twitter.

Exercise changes structure and function of heart

April 23, 2008

Harvard University Health Services and Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found that just 90 days of vigorous athletic training produce significant changes in the heart’s structure and function, and that the type of change varies with the type of exercise performed.

Both strength athletes (football players) and endurance athletes (rowers) had significant overall increases in the size of their hearts, but there also were significant functional differences. The relaxation… read more

Paint-on laser brings optical computing closer

April 20, 2006

A laser created by simply painting a solution of crystals onto glass could be used to make super-fast computers that use light instead of electricity. The technology could also provide cheap sensors for biomedical and motoring applications.

The researchers made the laser by painting a thin tube of glass with a solution of quantum dots, which produce a laser beam when a “pump” beam of normal light is shined… read more

Hubble movies provide unprecedented view of supersonic jets from young stars

August 31, 2011

The glowing, clumpy streams of material shown in these NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images are the signposts of star birth. Ejected episodically by young stars like cannon salvos, the blobby material zips along at more than 700 000 kilometres per hour. The speedy jets are confined to narrow beams by the powerful stellar magnetic field. Called Herbig-Haro or HH objects, these outflows have a bumpy ride through space. When fast-moving blobs collide with slower-moving gas, bow shocks arise as the material heats up. Bow shocks are glowing waves of material similar to waves produced by the bow of a ship ploughing through water. In HH 2, at lower right, several bow shocks can be seen where several fast-moving clumps have bunched up like cars in a traffic jam. In HH 34, at lower left, a grouping of merged bow shocks reveals regions that brighten and fade over time as the heated material cools where the shocks intersect. In HH 47, at top, the blobs of material look like a string of cars on a crowded motorway, which ends in a chain-reaction accident. The smash up creates the bow shock, left. These images are part of a series of time-lapse movies astronomers have made showing the outflows’ motion over time. The movies were stitched together from images taken over a 14-year period by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Hubble followed the jets over three epochs: HH 2 from 1994, 1997, and 2007; HH 34 from 1994, 1998, and 2007; and HH 47 from 1994, 1999, and 2008. The outflows are roughly 1350 light-years from Earth. HH 34 and HH 2 reside near the Orion Nebula, in the northern sky. HH 47 is located in the southern constellation of Vela (credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Hartigan (Rice University))

An international team of scientists led by Rice University has combined two decades of Hubble observations to make unprecedented high-resolution, time-lapse movies revealing never-before-seen details of young jets, the birth pangs of new stars.

The movies reveal the motion of the speedy outflows as they tear through the interstellar environments. Never-before-seen details in the jets’ structure include knots of gas brightening and dimming… read more

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