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Complexity science: next big thing

September 4, 2001

The next big thing will be complexity science, the study of how order inevitability emerges from chaos, says Internet pioneer Jim Rutt. Rutt is interested in applying the theories of complexity science to develop computers, systems and software that will independently think and learn.

“When Ray Kurzweil wrote ‘Spiritual Age of Machines,’ I thought he was nuts,” Rutt said. “But now, I’m convinced that he is definitely onto something.… read more

So Long, Energizer Bunny

March 27, 2009

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have built a piezoelectric effect (mechanical pressure converted to electricity) nanogenerator, the first to use this effect at the nanoscale.

This could allow microsensors and miniature medical devices to derive their electrical needs from their surroundings instead of from batteries.

Pacemaker the size of a tic tac

February 28, 2011

(Image: Metronic)

Medtronic is using microelectronics and chip manufacturing to create pacemakers so small that they could be injected.

Medtronic’s new prototype is smaller than a tic tac and could be installed in the body via a catheter, avoiding invasive surgery. Such a small device would also be a more efficient and safer pacemaker than the larger models in use today. It could be on the market in five years.

The components include circuit board, oscillator… read more

Can We Live to Be 1,000?

February 9, 2005

Recent advances in our understanding of aging may allow today’s sixtysomethings to reach their 1,000th birthdays, says Cambridge University scientist Aubrey de Grey.

How Silicon Valley could become the Detroit of electric cars

November 8, 2007

Last week’s announcement by Shai Agassi, a former SAP executive based in Palo Alto, that he’s raised $200 million for Better Place, a company that will try to revolutionize the electric car industry, is the latest sign of this region’s growing role in one of the hottest sectors of the automotive industry.

Inventing the Robotic Soldier

October 1, 2001
Patent 6,289,263

A small armored sphere rolls swiftly across a craggy landscape. It comes to a sudden stop, perching on three telescoping legs and sprouting a long neck with an eye that can swivel around 360 degrees. The enemy opens fire, but bullets merely ricochet off the sphere’s exoskeleton as from yet another opening there emerges a gun, which — sensing heat and motion — takes aim and fires…

Such… read more

Researchers bring new brain mapping capabilities to desktops of scientists worldwide

April 1, 2009

Research teams at the University of Utah and University of Colorado at Boulder have made technical advances that have significantly reduced the time it takes to map brain regions.

These include automation tools to tag every cell with a molecular signature, capture 25,000 TEM images weekly, and automatically merge thousands of images into gigabyte-scale mosaics and align the mosaics into terabyte-scale volumes.

The researchers plan to soon reveal… read more

Sleepy connected Americans

March 7, 2011

The 2011 Sleep in America poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) finds pervasive use of communications technology in the hour before bed. It also finds that a significant number of Americans aren’t getting the sleep they say they need and are searching for ways to cope.

Americans report very active technology use in the hour before trying to sleep. Almost everyone surveyed, 95%, uses some type… read more

Single-molecule switch opens the door to biomolecular electronics

February 22, 2005

Scientists from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have created the first reproducible single molecule negative differential resistor and in the process have developed a groundbreaking experimental technique that provides a “roadmap” for designing single-molecule devices based on biochemistry.

Arizona State University news release

Inbox 2.0: Yahoo and Google to Turn E-Mail Into a Social Network

November 15, 2007

Google and Yahoo have come up with new and very similar plans to respond to the challenge from MySpace and Facebook: They hope to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services (iGoogle and MyYahoo) into social networks.

Entrepreneurs Respond to Fearful Times

October 26, 2001

Tinkerers and entrepreneurs have found a new source of inspiration: fear of terrorism.
New products beginning to hit the market include fish tanks transformed into special glass boxes for opening suspicious mail, a home anthrax-testing kit, powered parachutes for people who live and work in high-rises, a sealed glass case for people to open their mail in, flavored syrups that can be used to cover up the bitter taste of… read more

3D Printing and Self Replicating Machines In Your Living Room — Seriously!

April 10, 2009

Its like having a mini factory in your own home: the Reprap machine consists of a half-meter frame enclosing its fabrication workspace, motors, electronic circuitry and an extruder — a device that can squirt out complex three-dimensional patterns of molten plastic filaments that will ultimately solidify into the shape of your 3D object.

How it works: software on a PC takes design files produced by 3-D drawing programs and… read more

A search engine for the human body

March 14, 2011

Body Scan

A new search tool developed by researchers at Microsoft indexes medical images of the human body, automatically finding organs and other structures, using 3D medical imagery.

CT scans use X-rays to capture many slices through the body that can be combined to create a 3D representation. This is a powerful tool for diagnosis, but it’s difficult to navigate.

The new search tool indexes scanned data and lists the… read more

How Many Variables Can Humans Process?

March 9, 2005

People cannot process more than four variables at a time, new research shows.

Recognizing these human limitations can make a difference when designing high-stress work environments — such as air-traffic control centers — where employees must keep in mind several variables all at once.

American Psychological Society news release

Stem Cells without the Embryos

November 21, 2007

Kyoto University and University of Wisconsin scientists appear to have independently achieved one of regenerative medicine’s holy grails: reprogramming human adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, without the use of an embryo or a human egg.

The method could provide a way to make patient-specific stem cells, a feat not yet achieved in humans. Such cells could eventually be used for studying complex genetic diseases, or for… read more

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