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Robots Can Learn Much From High-Tech Playthings

March 22, 2001

The current new generation of electronic toys will make children more readily accept robotic assistants in the home or office when they are adults.

Pradeep Khosla, a professor of engineering and robotics at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, believes that robot designers need to make these machines human-friendly and take away the intimidation factor. “A robot must be able to understand humans on their terms. That means… read more

Nanotech researchers develop artificial pore

September 29, 2009


Using an RNA-powered nanomotor, University of Cincinnati biomedical engineering researchers have developed an artificial pore able to move single- and double-stranded DNA through the membrane, which could lead to the development of a single-pore DNA sequencing apparatus.

Source: University of Cincinnati news release

Quantum lab fits on a chip

November 11, 2004

Two teams of scientists have entangled light and matter inside a solid for the first time.

The teams both use holes inside the semiconductor material gallium arsenide to house a quantum dot. A laser pulse directed at the dot jolts it into spitting out a particle of light, which is entangled with both the quantum dot and the electric field of the cavity itself.

Trapping the entangled objects… read more

Intelligent paint turns roads pink in icy conditions

April 6, 2008

A new temperature-sensitive varnish developed by researchers at French company Eurovia can be applied to road surfaces to warn drivers about dangerous conditions near freezing.

Laying Down the Law: Q&A with Gordon Moore

April 12, 2001

Intel cofounder Gordon Moore, who coined Moore’s Law (the number of transistors that can be packed into an integrated circuit will double every year), believes this doubling will slow down sometime between 2010 and 2020. He doesn’t see a solution in the works.

In the meantime, what should we do with this increased power? “The one capability that to me will make a qualitative difference in how we do… read more

3 Americans Share Nobel for Medicine

October 6, 2009

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded Monday to three American scientists who solved a longstanding puzzle involving telomeres (the ends of chromosomes, counting off the cell’s allotted span of life), with importance to aging and cancer.

A low-cost, low-power DIY cellular data network

August 29, 2011

Mobile Network

Professor Kurtis Heimerl of the University of California, Berkeley has created a do-it-yourself GSM (global system for mobile communications, a worldwide cell-phone standard) cellular data network for areas (such as remote villages) with limited power and network resources, reports Shareable.

The network can be deployed off-the-grid because only low power is required, using solar or wind, and no connection to a cell-phone company is required.

What if devices… read more

Hydrogen Production Method Could Bolster Fuel Supplies

November 29, 2004

Researchers have found a way to produce pure hydrogen with far less energy than other methods.

The development would move the country closer to the Energy Department’s goal of a “hydrogen economy,” in which hydrogen would be created through a variety of means, and would be consumed by fuel cells, to make electricity to run cars, and for other purposes.

The new method involves running electricity through water… read more

Helping a micromachine to work

April 8, 2008
(Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies)

A dilute gas may soon become the lubricant of choice for microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, devices.

By saturating devices with argon gas containing a small amount of 1-pentanol vapor, they can make microscopic machines run at least 100,000 times longer without failing.

The pentanol seems to adhere to silicon MEMS surfaces, creating a one-molecule-thick coating.

The ultimate no-brainer

May 3, 2001

In theory, a quantum computer could exploit the principles of quantum mechanics to achieve massively parallel processing. Quantum laws allow for the bizarre phenomenon of “counterfactuality”: one can glean information about a quantum event that did not actually take place.

Two British researchers have described a hypothetical scheme that could achieve just that. It would allow for probing all the possible states of a quantum computer, including that in… read more

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

October 13, 2009

The hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the Large Hadron Collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, suggest Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics.

FLOATEC project develops new floating house technology

September 6, 2011
Floating houses

The FLOATEC project has developed “amphibian houses” designed to float in the event of a flood, gizmag reports.

Building a floating house is actually a relatively easy construction process, says a Floatec exec. The secret: the foundations, using multiple layers of light plastic foam supporting the concrete, allowing it to float.

The primary market for floating houses is low-lying land such as the Netherlands,… read more

New ‘protopolymer’ chemical state found

December 8, 2004

A new “protopolymer” chemical state has been observed by Penn State researchers in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature.

Protopolymers form when monomers align and interact without forming chemical bonds.

The existence of this bonding state could potentially have significant implications for supramolecular design. These intermolecular interactions could be used to place compounds together like a jigsaw puzzle into complex structures based… read more

He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work)

April 14, 2008

Philip M. Parker, professor of management science at Insead, a business school, has “written” more than 200,000 books, using intelligent computer algorithms to gather and organize information from the Internet and compose it into formulaic structured text–a.k.a. “books.”

Aided by 60 to 70 computers and six or seven programmers, a print-on-demand book costs him about 12 cents of electricity to create, allowing him to break even after the first… read more

DNA photodetectors

May 25, 2001

The DNA nucleoside deoxyguanosine (DG) is being used as an alternative to conventional semiconductor material in experimental photodetectors.

Ross Rinaldi and coworkers at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory of the Instituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia in Italy placed DG nucleosides dissolved in chloroform at the juncture of two electrodes. The DG molecules self-assembled into an array of ribbon-like structures between the electrodes.

The DG-based photodetectors are… read more

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