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Rise of the replicators

June 3, 2010

Researchers and hobbyists around the world are developing desktop manufacturing plants with the aim to create a machine that is able to fix itself and, ultimately, to replicate.

Already, anyone with a few hundred dollars and some spare time can build low-cost versions of a 3D printer from plans available free on the Internet.

Intel pushes the limits of free cooling to 90 degrees

September 19, 2008

Intel has conducted an experiment in New Mexico showing it’s possible to use outside air 91 percent of the time to save $2.87 million on cooling a 10MW datacenter.

Salamander robot uses ‘spinal cord’ to move

March 9, 2007

A robotic salamander with an electric “spinal cord” that controls both its walking and swimming has been developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

It could be a forerunner of robots with movements coordinated by an artificial nervous systems, they claim.

Sea of dreams: Genetically modified microbes will lead to a revolution in industrial biotechnology

May 4, 2004

Industrial biotechnology, where cells from genetically modified organisms are used to generate industrially useful products, is a phenomenon that will shake up the chemical industry and eventually rock entire economies because biotechnological processes are cheaper than traditional chemistry, have higher yields or produce a cleaner product.

Examples of new products generated with this method include methionine, an amino-acid animal-feed supplement with a market worth $1.4 billion a year; turning… read more

SeaMicro Drops an Atom Bomb on the Server Industry

June 14, 2010

SeaMicro is announcing today it has created a server with 512 Intel Atom chips that gets supercomputer performance but uses 75 percent less power and space than current servers.

Scientists explore what happened before the universe’s theoretical beginning

September 24, 2008

Some of the top minds in what happened “pre-big bang” gathered at Columbia University earlier this month, proposing theories ranging from “the big bounce,” to “the multiverse,” “the cyclic theory,” “parallel worlds,” and even “soap bubbles.”

Some propose the existence of multiple universes. Others hold that there’s one universe that recycles itself endlessly.

Research focused on enabling desktop computers to see the light

March 15, 2007

University of Bath researchers are are attempting to build an ultra-high-speed desktop computer that runs on light rather than electronics, using attosecond (10^-18 second) light pulses.

The Sound War

May 10, 2004

Two inventors have staked competing claims to a potential audio revolution in which focused beams of sound could direct music or speech to a single person in a crowd.

Known as directional sound, it uses an ultrasound emitter to shoot a laserlike beam of audible sound so focused that only people inside a narrow path can hear it.

Both inventors say the ultimate goal is to replace a… read more

Ray Kurzweil Vows to Right E-Reader Wrongs

June 21, 2010

Ray Kurzweil is developing Blio, a software package that can run on everything from PCs to hand-held devices. It displays colorful images and varying fonts with formatting similar to what people find in physical texts.

Kurzweil argued that the existing e-readers and tablets had limitations in the text formats they support and the way they handle the original images and layouts in printed texts. Blio preserves the original formatting,… read more

A robot dog with an iPhone face

March 29, 2012


Bandai — the Japanese company that brought us the Tamagotchi — has announced Smartpet, a robotic dog that uses an iPhone for a face, Technology Review Hello World reports..

Using a free app (due out March 31) and the iPhone Facetime camera, you can make movements to tell the robo-pup to do various tricks. Smartpet can also recognize voice commands, serve as an alarm clock and hands-free phone, and it… read more

Study shows hotels’ Internet connections unsafe

October 2, 2008

An analysis of the networks in 46 hotels and survey of 147 U.S. hotels by Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration found that a majority of the hotels do not use all available tools to maintain network security.

For example, about 20 percent of the hotels surveyed still use simple hub-type systems, which are most vulnerable to hacking.

Twitter mood maps reveal emotional states of America

July 22, 2010

The mood of the nation at midday and 11 pm EST (Alan Mislove/Sune Lehmann/Yong-Yeol Ahn/Jukka-Pekka Onnela/J. Niels Rosenquist, 2010)

Emotional words contained in 300 million tweets suggest that the West Coast is happier than the East Coast, and across the country happiness peaks each Sunday morning, with a trough on Thursday evenings, computer scientists at Northeastern University have found, describing the technique as “the pulse of the nation.” 

To glean mood from the 140-character-long messages, they filtered the tweets to find ones that contained… read more

Expressive robot computers

March 22, 2007

Researchers who are investigating how far a robot’s physical presence can influence people.

RoCo, the world’s first expressive computer, developed at MIT, has a monitor for a head and a simple LCD screen for a face. It expresses itself using its double-jointed neck, which is equipped with actuators that shift the monitor up and down, tilt it forward and back and swivel it from side to side,… read more

The Cell Hijackers

May 19, 2004

Soon, our knowledge of life processes will let us program cells as we do computers, says Rodney Brooks.

This engineering revolution is coming to be known as synthetic biology. Examples include modifying protein production processes to turn E. coli cells into primitive digital computers; the creation of cells that are genetically altered to deliver drugs within a person’s body; programming a cell to sense blood sugar levels and produce… read more

Nanoparticles combat cancer by inducing hyperthermia

June 29, 2010

Kansas State University researchers are exploring the use of iron-iron oxide nanoparticle-induced hyperthermia to overheat or bore holes through cancerous tissue to kill it.

An organic coating attracts the cancer cells to the nanoparticles. An external alternating magnetic field then causes the particles to produce friction heat, which is transferred to the cancer cells’ surrounding proteins, lipids and water, creating little hotspots. With enough hotspots the tumor cells are… read more

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