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Darpa’s Far-Out Dreams on Display

March 15, 2004

Darpa is planning for a blimp three times the size of Goodyear’s that would keep watch over an entire city. Another project involves materials that grow or heal themselves.

New artificial blood shows promise

March 15, 2004

A promising new blood substitute called MP4 contains hemoglobin molecules coated with polyethylene glycol to make them bulkier, so the resulting fluid is more viscous than normal blood.

Tests in hamsters that had lost a lot of blood showed they needed less MP4 than real blood to oxygenate their tissues.

Turning Back the Bio Clock

March 15, 2004

Researchers are hard at work building biological time machines that reverse aging in some cells.

Some are trying to reset biological clocks by mimicking “magic factors” in human eggs — the only cells in a woman’s body not programmed to die. Others are identifying molecules that enable salamanders to re-grow limbs. Chemists in San Diego have created a chemical compound they call “reversine,” which resets muscle cells in mice… read more

Pen-size scanner records entire page in one sweep

March 15, 2004

The new DocuPen from Planon System Solutions is a full-page scanner slightly bigger than a pen. It scans at 200-by-200 dots-per-inch resolution into 2 MB of on-board memory.

Robot race suffers quick, ignoble end

March 15, 2004

A robot race across the Mojave Desert turned into a parade of frustration Saturday, as 15 driverless vehicles spun their wheels, flipped over and encountered rocks and ruts that befuddled sensors and baffled programming.

Scientists find ’10th planet’

March 15, 2004

Cal Tech astronomers may have discovered the solar system’s 10th planet, “Sedna,” more than 3 billion kilometers further away from the sun than Pluto.

The planet has a diameter of almost 2,000 km. The discovery will be presenting during a NASA briefing on Monday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Robot trumpets Toyota’s know-how

March 15, 2004

A trumpet-playing robot has been developed by Japanese car maker Toyota to showcase its prowess in humanoid robotics.

Toyota hopes to form a robot band to play at the 2005 World Exposition, being held in Aichi in central Japan.

Method produces uniform, self-assembled nanocells

March 12, 2004

A new method for producing uniform, self-assembled liposomes (a type of artifcial cell) has been developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It may lead to an improved method for encapsulating drug therapies.

Current bulk methods for producing liposomes produce particles in a wide range of sizes, which must be sorted and filtered before being used for drug delivery, since dosage depends critically on… read more

Multilevel Molecular Memory

March 12, 2004

USC/NASA-Ames have produced a nanowire-based memory cell with three different controllable bit states, for a total of 8 distinct levels, allowing for cramming more data into a fixed lateral region on a data storage device.

In Science’s Name, Lucrative Trade in Body Parts

March 12, 2004

A scandal at the cadaver laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, has thrown back a heavy curtain that has kept trade in body parts largely hidden from public view.

The university suspended its Willed Body Program this week, and university police arrested the program’s director and a man the university accuses of trafficking in as many as 800 cadavers in a six-year body-parts-for-profit scheme.

Disembodied robotic arm clambers round home

March 12, 2004

A prototype disembodied robotic arm designed to move around the home has been unveiled.

The meter-long arm, called Flexibot, is capable of docking to a wheelchair or a wall and can help disabled people feed themselves and in other activities.

100-metre nanotube thread pulled from furnace

March 12, 2004

A thread of carbon nanotubes more than 100 meters long has been pulled from a furnace. The previous record holder was a mere 30 centimeters long.

By bundling the nanotubes together into much longer fibers, scientists hope to harness their properties on a larger scale. For example, embedding long carbon nanotube threads in plastic would allow tougher composites for airplane hulls.

Can nanotech keep chipmaking up to speed?

March 11, 2004

Chipmakers should do more extensive nanotechnology research, right now, says Juri Matisoo, vice president of technology, Semiconductor Industry Association.

The SIA is predicting that today’s manufacturing techniques may stop finding advances some time around 2011.

Physics: “Putting The Weirdness To Work”

March 11, 2004

Many scientists foresee revolutionary technologies based on the truly strange properties of the quantum world.

Robot builder could ‘print’ houses

March 11, 2004

A robot for “printing” houses has been developed that takes instructions directly from an architect’s computerized drawings and then squirts successive layers of concrete on top of one other to build up vertical walls and domed roofs. The precision automaton could revolutionize building sites.

The first house will be built in 2005. If the technology is successful, the robot could enable new designs that cannot be built using conventional… read more

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