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Nano bridge builds logic

February 2, 2005

Japanese researchers have devised a nanoscale mechanical switch that works by rapidly creating and destroying a minuscule metal bridge between a pair of wires positioned just one nanometer apart.

If each switch were used as a memory element, such a configuration would allow a memory chip made from the switches to store 2.5 gigabits per square centimeter. Today’s state-of-the-art memory chips store about 1 gigabit per square centimeter.… read more

New Technology Can Be Operated By Thought

November 9, 2007
Wadsworth Center scientists have succeeded in developing a BCI that lets the severely disabled use their personal computers

Neuroscientists have significantly advanced brain-machine interface (BMI) technology.

Severely handicapped people who cannot contract even one leg or arm muscle now can independently compose and send e-mails and operate a TV in their homes, using only their thoughts.

Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

September 19, 2001

Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

Robotic Scientists Make First Discoveries

April 3, 2009

A fully automated robotic laboratory able to design its own molecular biology experiments has made its first discoveries, its team of creators at Aberystwyth University and Cambridge have reported.

The robot scientist “Adam” was developed to identify genes involved in yeast metabolism. Using algorithms programmed by scientists, Adam formulates hypotheses about the origins of “orphan enzymes”: enzymes for which scientists have been unable to identify the encoding genes.… read more

Robot wars

February 15, 2005

At the 24th Army Science Conference, held in Orlando, Florida last December, Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote address entitled “Warfighting in the 21st Century.” News@nature quizzed this renowned commentator on robotics about his views on future warfare.

The hormone of darkness: melatonin could hurt memory formation at night

November 16, 2007

Gregg W. Roman, assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston, has found that melatonin directly inhibits memory formation at night, based on experiments with zebrafish.

The experiments also suggest that the use of melatonin receptor antagonists may allow for retaining the beneficial effects of melatonin’s antioxidant properties without the negative cognitive effects. Such benefits include fighting free radical damage to slow some… read more

Optical DSPs promise tera-ops performance

October 10, 2001

An optically based digital signal processing engine (ODSPE) that has the potential to take DSPs from the current giga-operations-per-second (Gops) limit to tera (trillion) operations per second (Tops) by 2005 has been demonstrated by Lenslet Labs of Israel.
The company has already demonstrated an 8-Tops, 20-watt device. Using conventional DSPs to get that performance would require 40 FPGAs, according to the company.

The technology uses high-speed optical processing –… read more

Diatoms could triple solar cell efficiency

April 13, 2009

Trapping light inside the nanoscale pores of thin-film solar cells coated with titanium dioxide-spiked diatom shells could help triple the electrical output of experimental, dye-sensitized solar cells, according to researchers at Oregon State University and Portland State University.

The pattern of intricate nanoscale features on the diatoms boosted the photovoltaic surface area available and also trapped incident light inside the pores.

Wall-climbing robots race to the top

August 4, 2011

Robot Competition

Fourteen teams of University of British Columbia (UBC) engineering physics students are set to compete in the 11th Annual UBC Engineering Physics Robot Competition.

Students are challenged to design “climber-bots” that can crawl, grab, and lift themselves straight up an eight-foot tall vertical wall. Once at the top, robots have to grab onto a “zip-line” and ride down to the finish line to victory —… read more

Mind Control

February 28, 2005

The BrainGate Neural Interface creates a direct link between a person’s brain and a computer, translating neural activity into action. Matthew Nagle, without use of his limbs but fitted with a BrainGate, can now play a videogame or change channels on TV using only his mind.

After Stem-Cell Breakthrough, the Work Begins

November 27, 2007

Two biotechnology companies hope next year to begin the first clinical trials of therapies derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Geron plans to test a type of neural cell as a treatment for spinal cord injuries, and Advanced Cell Technology wants to plant retinal epithelium cells into the eye to treat retina diseases.

World’s nuclear facilities vulnerable, warns UN agency

November 5, 2001

Nuclear plants are vulnerable to attacks by terrorists, according to a stark new warning by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The world’s 1300 nuclear facilities are not hardened to withstand “acts of war” like a deliberate hit by a large, fully-fuelled passenger jet, warns the IAEA’s director general, Mohamed ElBaradei.

In the US on October 29, following intelligence reports received by the FBI, the air space around all… read more

Boldly Going Nowhere

April 20, 2009

NASA should re-energize its development of nuclear-powered rockets, with the intention of building a craft able to send clusters of micro-bots into deep space at velocities of, say, one-tenth light speed, says SETI astronomer Seth Shostak.

“By the middle of the following century, on-the-scene data from Epsilon Eridani, the nearest known planetary system, could be in our hands.

“These microbots would supply the information that, fed to computers,… read more

Scanning with robots

March 15, 2005

Engineers at Imperial College’s mechatronics in medicine laboratory are developing a robot system to allow more accurate biopsies to be taken within the cramped conditions of an MRI chamber.

The extremely strong magnetic fields generated by MRI scanners rule out the use of motors to operate the robot. So the team is investigating the use of piezo-ceramic actuators, which deflect when a voltage is applied to them, allowing them… read more

Radio Waves Fire Up Nanotubes Embedded in Tumors, Destroying Liver Cancer

December 4, 2007

Scientists at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University have demonstrated in preclinical experiments that cancer cells treated with carbon nanotubes can be destroyed by noninvasive radio waves that heat up the nanotubes while sparing untreated tissue.

The technique completely destroyed liver cancer tumors in rabbits with no side effects noted. (However, some healthy liver tissue sustained minimal heat damage.)

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