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The latest nanotech device: Venetian blinds

October 28, 2005

A molecule, polyguanidine, that flips its arms like the slats on a Venetian blind might in future find uses in computer displays, computer memory, or even windows that become tinted at the flick of a switch.

The leading ‘edge’: plastic fibre slashes network costs

January 10, 2008

A new European project using plastic fiber and off-the-shelf components could make optical networking so cheap and simple that in the future, anyone could install it, bringing ultra-high speed (1 to 10 gigabits/sec) telecom lines into every home.

The library of Utopia

November 19, 2012

The_Reading_Room_at_the_British_Museum

Google’s ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online, MIT Technology Review reports.

Robert ­Darnton. A distinguished historian, prize-winning author, and director of Harvard’s library system, has an ardent desire to see a universal library established online, a library that would, as he puts it, “make all knowledge availableread more

The lie detector you’ll never know is there

January 5, 2006

THE US Department of Defense has revealed plans to develop a lie detector that can be used without the subject knowing they are being assessed.

The Remote Personnel Assessment (RPA) device will also be used to pinpoint fighters hiding in a combat zone, or even to spot signs of stress that might mark someone out as a terrorist or suicide bomber.

The Lifeboat Foundation: Battling Asteroids, Nanobots and A.I.

July 21, 2010

The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to protect people from some seriously catastrophic technology-related events. It funds research that would prevent a situation where technology has run amok, sort of like a pre-Fringe Unit.

The organization has a ton of areas that it’s looking into, ranging from artificial intelligence to asteroids. A particular interest for the group revolves around building shields and lots of them, such… read more

The Little Engine That Could

June 1, 2004

Robert X. Cringley predicts the coming demise of the landline telco monopolies from VoIP (voice over Internet) and Linux running on the latest generation of WiFi routers connected to local subscribers via a mesh network.

“The result is a system with economics with which a traditional local phone company simply can’t compete,” he says.

The Liver Chip

March 5, 2003

Researchers are building a miniature human liver on a silicon chip as a realistic model of the natural organ. Mass produced, such a chip could be a boon to companies developing drugs for hepatitis and other diseases, and for scientists investigating liver cancer and gene therapy and chemical firms testing the toxicity of new materials.

The living dead

May 18, 2001

A cybernetic definition of “life” has been proposed by Bernard Korzeniewski of the Institute of Molecular Biology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland: “A network of inferior negative feedbacks subordinated to a superior positive feedback.”

In other words, life is a system that tries to regulate itself to preserve its identity. Uner this definition, ants, prions, and infertile humans are not alive, but parasitic DNA is, he says.

The ‘living’ micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

March 30, 2012

CyberplasmVehicle

A tiny prototype robot that functions like a living creature is being developed that one day could be safely used to pinpoint diseases within the human body.

Called “Cyberplasm,” it will combine advanced microelectronics with latest research in biomimicry (technology inspired by nature). The aim is for Cyberplasm to have an electronic nervous system and “eye” and “nose” sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial… read more

The loneliness scare — isolation isn’t a growing problem

May 11, 2012

Loneliness

Many commentators believe new technologies have made us lonelier, with headlines likes “Sad, Lonely World Discovered in Cyberspace”; “Alone in the Vast Wasteland”; and “The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier”; and books such as Bowling AloneThe Lonely American, and Alone Together..

On the contrary, people use new media to enhance their existing relationships, suggests Claude S. Fischer,… read more

The Long Zoom

October 10, 2006

Electronic Arts’ forthcoming Spore game will allow you to “create an world that is entirely yours: the creatures, the vehicles, the cities, the planets,” says designer Will Wright.

Those layers map onto different spatial scales that you advance through as you play: cell, creature, tribe, city, civilization and space.

As you work your way through the Spore levels, your creatures are automatically sent back to the central Spore… read more

The Longevity Dividend

March 10, 2006

Congress should invest $3 billion annually in understanding the biology of aging and how it predisposes us to a suite of costly diseases and disorders expressed at later ages, say a group of researchers led by S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois.

The Longevity Pill?

November 29, 2007

Drugs 1,000 times more potent than resveratrol, found in red wine, will be tested by Sirtris to treat diabetes.

The new drugs target an enzyme called SIRT1, which belongs to a class of proteins known as sirtuins that have been shown to lengthen life span in lower organisms, bringing the benefits of caloric restriction without the strict diet.

“As far as I’m aware, this is the first anti-aging… read more

The love hormone is two-faced

Surprise finding shows oxytocin strengthens bad memories and can increase fear and anxiety
July 24, 2013

oxtr_fear

Oxytocin has long been known as the warm, fuzzy hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding and well-being. It’s even being tested as an anti-anxiety drug.

But new Northwestern Medicine research shows oxytocin also can cause emotional pain, an entirely new, darker identity for the hormone.

Oxytocin appears to be the reason stressful social situations, perhaps being bullied at school or tormented by a boss,… read more

The Love Machine: Building computers that care

November 26, 2003

Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are trying to build computers that care about their users.

Affective computing proponents believe computers should be designed to recognize, express, and influence emotion in users.

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