science + technology news

Engineers build DNA ‘nanotowers’ with enzyme tools

October 13, 2005

Duke engineers are creating the tools that will make bio-manufacturing possible at an industrial scale.

“The development of bio-nanotechnological tools and fabrication strategies, as demonstrated here, will ultimately allow the automated study of biology at the molecular scale and will drive our discovery and understanding of the basic molecular machinery that defines life,” said Stefan Zauscher, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science.

They can vertically extend… read more

MIT launches global nanotech push

October 13, 2005

Leaders of 10 research universities from around the world gathered at MIT Wednesday to launch an international collaboration to use nanotechnology tools for global health and medical research.

The collaboration, called GEM4, or Global Enterprise for Micro-Mechanics and Molecular Medicine, represents an ambitious effort to apply global sourcing principles to research at the intersection of engineering and life sciences.

Robotic Rollouts

October 13, 2005

With the announcement of a $115 million IPO by Burlington, MA-based iRobot, though, companies commercializing robot technology are beginning to attract VC attention.

‘Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines’ Now Freely Available Online

October 11, 2005

Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, the most comprehensive review of the field, co-authored by Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle, is now freely accessible online.

Published in hardback in late 2004, the book is also available in print.

With 200+ illustrations and 3200+ literature references, KSRM describes all proposed and experimentally realized self-replicating systems that were publicly known as of… read more

In HAL’s Footsteps

October 11, 2005

Real progress is being made in developing IT systems that do a better job of monitoring, analyzing, and fixing problems without human intervention.

Several server, software, and services vendors are making the creation of intelligent systems, such as IBM’s autonomic computing, and the equipment and software to go with them the underpinning of their enterprise-management development programs.

Microsoft sees a future on the small screen

October 11, 2005

Microsoft is helping phone companies build a new Internet protocol television system (IPTV) infrastructure for delivering bleeding-edge television services, superfast Internet and phone services over a single line to the home.

Microsoft TV will allow phone companies to deliver four live pictures on a screen at once, with instant channel changes and more options for on-demand video rentals, including high-definition content. It will also merge phone services, so incoming… read more

Driverless robots reach milestone in DARPA race

October 11, 2005

Stanford University’s Racing Team has accomplished a historic feat of robotics, finishing first in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 131.6-mile driverless car race that no artificially intelligent machine has ever conquered before.

Stanford’s “Stanley,” a modified Volkswagen Touareg with sensors and radar mountings, crossed the finish line within eight hours and 14 minutes, beating the 10-hour requirement, according to times posted on the DARPA race Web site.

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.

At Dartmouth, a Remote-Controlled Robot

October 11, 2005

Dartmouth College researchers have built “the world’s smallest” untethered, controllable robot.

The robot is made from a carved piece of silicon that moves across a special surface that contains an embedded electrical grid. The robots motions are controlled by applying a voltage to the grid.

Such robots might one day be used to inspect or fix chips or interact with individual cells. Robots of different shapes could snap… read more

The Future Needs Futurists

October 10, 2005

Prospects for professional futurists are starting to look quite promising. As companies and government agencies grapple with the seemingly scorching rate of technological innovation and change, more are engaging the services of self-described futurists for advice on how to adapt.

The Rise of the Body Bots

October 10, 2005

The most advanced exoskeleton projects are at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Sarcos Research Corp., in Salt Lake City. Both are funded under a $50 million, five-year program begun by DARPA in 2001. During the past several months, each group has been working on a second-generation exoskeleton that is a huge improvement over its predecessor.

Ray Kurzweil calls for 1918 flu genome to be ‘un-published’

October 9, 2005

“The decision by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to publish the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database is extremely dangerous and immediate steps should be taken to remove this data,” says inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.

The cause of one of history’s most deadly epidemics was reconstructed and found to be a bird flu that jumped directly to… read more

Molecular Rotor May Lead To Tiny Sensors, Pumps, Switches

October 7, 2005

A molecular rotor constructed with a few hundred atoms will turn in a desired direction at a selected frequency using an oscillating electrical field concentrated in a tiny area above the molecule.

Such molecular rotors may someday function as nanotechnology machines and be used as chemical sensors, cell-phone switches, miniature pumps or even laser-blocking goggles.

Source: University of Colorado at Boulder news release

Cranking Up the Allen Telescope Array

October 7, 2005

The first 42 of the planned 350 Allen Telescope Array’s antennas will be working by Spring, scanning roughly a half-billion stars in the dense Milky Way region near the galactic center for E.T., from 1390 to 1720 MHz in 450 million, ultra-narrow 1 Hz channels.

Are You Ready for Web 2.0?

October 7, 2005

The idea of a new, more collaborative internet is creating buzz reminiscent of the go-go days of the late 1990s.

Web 2.0, according to conference sponsor Tim O’Reilly, is an “architecture of participation” — a constellation made up of links between web applications that rival desktop applications, the blog publishing revolution and self-service advertising. This architecture is based on social software where users generate content, rather than simply consume… read more

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