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The machine that can copy anything

June 6, 2005

The RepRap, a revolutionary machine that can copy itself and manufacture everyday objects quickly and cheaply, could transform industry in the developing world.

The machine could build items ranging in size from a few millimeters to around 30 centimeters, such as plates, dishes, combs and musical instruments.

The design of the RepRap will be available online and free to use.

See virtual worlds in the round

June 6, 2005

A goldfish bowl in which real-time 3D video images appear suspended in mid-air has been developed by Actuality Systems.

It will be used to visualize slices of the Earth’s crust from seismic data, human organs from MRI and CT scans, and squadrons of aircraft from radar data.

Mission to build a simulated brain begins

June 6, 2005

The “Blue Brain” project, an effort to create the first computer simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level, has been launched by IBM and the Brain and Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytecnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

Calling on a database of the neural architecture of the neocortex, they will map and model the behavior of neocortical columns.

In the second phase,… read more

Scientists Develop Next-Generation Memory Chip

June 3, 2005

A team of international scientists has developed next-generation memory technology that is theoretically capable of makng a 10-nanometer-thick semiconductor.

Can Tamiflu save us from bird flu?

June 3, 2005

Amid ominous signs that H5N1 bird flu is acquiring the ability to spread more readily among people, many health authorities are pinning their hopes on Tamiflu, but supplies are limited.

TV’s Future Is Here, but It Needs Work

June 2, 2005

What if you had a TiVo-like set-top box, complete with a hard drive that could hold 200 hours of video – but instead of recording live broadcasts, you could tap into an enormous library of shows, stored on the Internet, and watch them whenever you liked?

Camera sees behind objects

June 2, 2005

Researchers from Stanford University and Cornell University have put together a projector-camera system that can read a playing card that is facing away from the camera.

The dual-photography system gains information from a subject by analyzing the way projected patterns of light bounce off it.

Survey: U.S. residents addicted to e-mail

June 2, 2005

U.S. residents are so hooked on e-mail that some check for messages in the bathroom, in church and while driving, a new survey sponsored by America Online Inc. has found.

About a fourth of respondents acknowledged being so addicted to e-mail that they can’t go more than two or three days without checking for messages. That includes vacations, during which 60% of respondents admitted logging into their in-boxes.

Yahoo Meets Searchers’ Mindsets

June 2, 2005

Yahoo has developed a smart search tool, Mindset, that adjusts results based on how commercial they are.

When people search using Mindset, a simple slider appears on top of the search results. As the slider is moved closer to shopping, commercial listings rise to the top. If it’s moved in the other direction, toward researching, the results weigh toward educational, community and informational sites.

Molecular transistor developed

June 2, 2005

University of Alberta scientists have designed and tested a new concept for a single molecule transistor.

They have shown, for the first time, that a single charged atom on a silicon surface can regulate the conductivity of a nearby molecule at room temperature, while all surrounding atoms remain neutral.

A molecule placed adjacent to that charged site is “tuned,” which allows electrical current to flow through the molecule… read more

Magnetic resonance goes nano

June 1, 2005

Japanese researchers have built a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) device that has the potential to overcome the current quantum-computng limit of 10 quantum bits.

It could also allow NMR devices to be used in chemistry, biology and medicine to examine smaller samples.

The device measures electron spin by measuring electrical resistance across a 200-by-200-nanometer area of semiconductor material rather than using a centimeter-scale coil to pick up radio… read more

Japan Eyes Advanced Supercomputer as Early as 2010

June 1, 2005

Japan is aiming to develop a supercomputer it hopes will be fast enough to help it regain the top spot, with more than one petaflop (quadrillion calculations per second) by 2011.

That would compare with 70.72 teraflops (trillion calculations per second) for IBM’s Blue Gene/L, currently the world’s fastest computer.

Heroin addiction gene identified and blocked

June 1, 2005

Scientists have identified a critical gene (AGS3 in the nucleus accumbens in the brain) involved in heroin addiction relapse in rats and successfully blocked it, eliminating cravings for the drug.

A related treatment could become available to humans within the next couple of years.

Would you have allowed Bill Gates to be born?

June 1, 2005

There is a good chance we will soon have a genetic test for detecting the risk of autism in an embryo or fetus.

The development of such a screening tool raises the possibility that parents might one day have the option of preventing the birth of a child with even a mild form of the disorder.

As genetic testing moves into the world of mental health, we are… read more

Fertilizer from the stars

June 1, 2005

Gamma-ray bursts from nearby supernovas of giant stars or a collision between neutron stars could have showered our planet with nitrate, an essential nutrient for plants, helping plants colonize the land about 440 million years ago.

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