science + technology news

US plans first face transplant

September 19, 2005

Cleveland Clinic surgeons are to interview a shortlist of patients hoping to be the first to receive a face transplant for a patient whose face is disfigured.

The procedure would involve taking skin and underlying tissues from a dead donor and placing them on the living recipient.

Computer modelling suggests the face should take on more of the characteristics of the skeleton of the recipient than the soft… read more

Google to Put Copyright Laws to the Test

September 19, 2005

Pre-Internet copyright laws are about to be tested as Google attempts to scan millions of books and make their text fully searchable on the Internet. TV programs are next.

Intelligence in the Internet age

September 19, 2005

Terabytes of easily accessed data, always-on Internet connectivity, and lightning-fast search engines are profoundly changing the way people gather information.

‘Magic brush’ paints visual world

September 19, 2005

The I/O Brush, developed at the MIT Media Lab, picks up colors and textures from the environment and allows for painting with them on a large digital screen.

At the tip of the brush is a tiny video camera enclosed by a ring-shaped brush. LEDs are used for illumination and pressure sensors trigger image capture of one frame in the normal mode, and a few seconds of video in… read more

Camera phones will be high-precision scanners

September 19, 2005

New cell-phone OCR software allows entire documents to be scanned simply by sweeping the phone across the page.

The software takes dozens of still images of the page and merges them, using the outline of the page as a reference guide.

Computers Make Big Strides in Predicting Protein Structure

September 16, 2005

Computers can predict the detailed structure of small proteins nearly as well as experimental methods, at least some of the time, according to new studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers.

The findings, which were reported in the September 16, 2005, issue of the journal Science, suggest that scientists eventually may be able to determine the structure of proteins from their genomic sequences, a problem that has seemed insurmountable.… read more

Mobile fuel cells set to take off in 2006

September 16, 2005

Sales of long-lasting and renewable fuel cells for powering mobile devices will reach $1.6 billion by 2010, according to market research firm NanoMarkets.

Warming world blamed for more strong hurricanes

September 16, 2005

A massive global increase in the number of strong hurricanes over the past 35 years is being blamed on global warming, by the most detailed study yet. The US scientists warn that Katrina-strength hurricanes could become the norm.

Nanoscale optics may lead to advances in on-chip data transmission

September 15, 2005

Rice University researchers have discovered a universal relationship between the behavior of light and electrons, according to study co-author Peter Nordlander, professor of physics and astronomy and of electrical and computer engineering.

“We believe the relationship can be exploited to create nanoscale antennae that convert light into broadband electrical signals capable of carrying approximately 1 million times more data than existing interconnects.”

Source: Rice University newsread more

Dartmouth researchers build world’s smallest mobile robot

September 15, 2005

Dartmouth researchers have created the world’s smallest untethered, controllable robot.

The device measures 60 micrometers by 250 micrometers and crawls like an inchworm, making tens of thousands of 10-nanometer steps every second.

Source: Dartmouth College news release

Researchers recover typed text using audio recording of keystrokes

September 15, 2005

UC Berkeley esearchers were able to take several 10-minute sound recordings of users typing at a keyboard, feed the audio into a computer, and use an algorithm to recover up to 96 percent of the characters entered.
The researchers used spectrum analysis, statistical learning theory, spelling and grammar checks, and learning trials to obtain recovery rates of 88 percent for words and 96 percent for characters.

The computer algorithm… read more

RNA nanoparticles target cancer cells

September 14, 2005

Purdue University scientists have constructed hybrid nanoparticles assembled from RNA that can deliver anticancer therapeutic agents directly to infected cells.

The triangular structures are between 25 and 40 nanometers wide and able to pass through cell membranes into the cell’s interior.

They were able to interrupt the growth of human breast cancer cells and leukemia model lymphocytes in laboratory experiments.

Source: Purdue University news release

Polymer Nanocapsules Deliver DNA to the Cell Nucleus

September 14, 2005

Using polymer nanocapsules, a French research team has shown that DNA deposited in polymer nanocapsules penetrates cells and accumulates in the nucleus of cells.

The finding could overcome the limitations of gene therapy, antisense therapy, and small interfering RNA therapy for modifying the genes involved in cancer. Getting the nucleic acids into the cell nucleus with good efficiency has proven difficult with these methods.

Source: Nationalread more

DIY satellites reinvent the space race

September 14, 2005

CubeSat is giving students and companies the opportunity to build and launch functional satellites into low Earth orbit at low cost.


September 13, 2005

There is growing interest–even in an American legal establishment usually resistant to change–in finding ways to incorporate artificial intelligence into the law.

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