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Self-assembling vehicles take flight

June 10, 2010

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A “Distributed Flight Array” of miniature vehicles that can self-assemble and then take off vertically and fly as a stable array has been developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Each vehicle has its own motor and flight control system and is equipped with a computer, sensors, and wireless communication systems. When the vehicles are joined together, the combination becomes a sophisticated flight platform capable of coordinated flight,… read more

A new twist on nanoparticle behavior

September 24, 2008

Drug makers and regulators should consider the effects of nanoparticle size and surface when developing and monitoring therapies using nanoparticles, University College Dublin research suggests.

The researchers found that the “corona” (cloud of proteins and other biomolecules that adheres to a nanoparticle immersed in biological media) changes depending on the size of the nanoparticle and the charge on its surface, which can affect the particles’ therapeutic action in the… read more

Subliminal advertising leaves its mark on the brain

March 12, 2007

University College London researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain’s attention on a subconscious level.

Using fMRI to detect the impact on brain activity in the primary visual cortex, they found subjects’ brains did respond to the object even when they were not conscious of having seen it.

“These findings point to the sort of impact that subliminal… read more

Sasser computer worm wriggles worldwide

May 5, 2004

More than a million computers around the world have been infected by the “Sasser” computer worm or one of its variants.

Sasser does not rely on email to spread and requires no action by users to infect a machine. Each variant of the worm infects computers across a network by exploiting a bug in a part of Microsoft’s Windows XP and Windows 2000 operating systems called the Local Security… read more

Pentagon Zombie-Maker’s New Project: Suffocate, Freeze, Reanimate

June 17, 2010

Mark Roth, a biochemist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, is developing a method that could boost trauma survival by using hydrogen sulfide to reduce an organism’s consumption of oxygen combined with lowering its temperature.

Breakthrough for carbon nanotube materials

September 30, 2008

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and the NanoTech Institute of the University of Texas at Dallas have achieved a major breakthrough in the development of a commercially viable manufacturing process for large sheets of a range of materials made from carbon nanotubes.

They demonstrated that synthetically made carbon nanotubes can be commercially manufactured into transparent sheets that are stronger than steel sheets of the same weight.… read more

Making memories that last a lifetime

March 16, 2007

Neurobiologists have discovered a mechanism by which the constantly changing brain retains memories.

They have found that the brain co-opts DNA methylation, the same machinery by which cells stably alter their genes to specialize during embryonic development.

In this process, molecules called methyl groups are attached to genes, which switches them off. Conversely, lack of methyl groups enables the genes to remain activated.

Using drugs that inhibit… read more

Nanotech: Beyond the Hype — and Fear

May 11, 2004

Biomedical applications such as cancer therapy, nanotube superconductors, and nanostructured water-filtration are likely to be some of the earliest successful nanotech applications, says Rice University’s Kristen Kulinowski.

The Challenge of Molecular Communication

June 28, 2010

Emulating the efficient way that bacteria communicate with molecules, computer scientists are developing a mathematical theory of molecular communication based on a wetware model that includes quorum sensing and factors such as Brownian motion, the velocity of fluid flow, and the rate of molecular diffusion.

Atomically Precise Manufacturing Consortium Receives Award from Texas’ ETF and DARPA

October 7, 2008

A consortium led by Zyvex Labs has received $9.7 million funding from DARPA and Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund to develop a new manufacturing technique that enables “Tip-Based Nanofabrication” to accelerate the transition of nanotechnology from the laboratory to commercial products.

Starting with the construction of atomically precise silicon structures, the Consortium initially plans to develop atomically precise, quantum dot nanotech-based products in volume at practical production rates and costs… read more

Citizendium aims to be better Wikipedia

March 26, 2007

Citizendium, just launched, is intended to avoid the errors, juvenile vandalism, and lack of accountability of Wikipedia.

Citizendium’s volunteer contributors will be expected to provide their real names. Experts in given fields will be asked to check articles for accuracy.

Tapping the genius of babies and youngsters to make computers smarter

March 15, 2012

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UC Berkeley researchers are tapping the cognitive smarts of babies, toddlers and preschoolers to program computers to think more like humans.

If replicated in machines, the computational models based on baby brainpower could give a major boost to artificial intelligence, which historically has had difficulty handling nuances and uncertainty, researchers said

“Children are the greatest learning machines in the universe. Imagine if computers could learn as… read more

Nanobacteria revelations provoke new controversy

May 20, 2004

Mayo Clinic researchers have found evidence for the existence of controversial “nanobacteria” — a possible new life form. The research suggested that the organisms are self-replicating in culture and could be identified with an antibody and DNA stain.

Some scientists say nanobacteria are responsible for a wide range of diseases, including calcification of the arteries.

Others say they are simply too small (50 to 500 nm) to be… read more

Discovering a Soft Spot for Circuitry

July 5, 2010

After years of effort to coax empathy from circuitry, devices designed to soothe, support and keep us company are venturing out of the laboratory.

Like Paro, a therapeutic robot modeled after a baby harp seal, one of a handful of personal robots that take forms that are often odd, still primitive and yet, for at least some early users, strangely compelling.

Researchers write protein nanoarrays using a fountain pen and electric fields

October 14, 2008

Northwestern University researchers have demonstrated the ability to rapidly write nanoscale protein arrays using a “nanofountain probe” (NFP).

The nanofountain probe chip has a set of ink reservoirs that hold the solution to be patterned. Like a fountain pen, the ink is transported to sharp writing probes through a series of microchannels and deposited on the substrate in liquid form, aided by an electrical field to control the transport… read more

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