science + technology news

BI and Analytics: A Power Couple

September 19, 2007

The marriage of business intelligence and text analytics is starting to have a profound impact on companies in several industries, including health care, insurance and finance.

Text analytics tools use linguistics, rules-based natural-language processing, specialized algorithms and other methods to impose order on unstructured text scattered throughout the enterprise. More IT executives are using text analytics software to mine disparate document-management applications, e-mail and phone systems, or even blogs… read more

Artificial Spider Silk Could Be Used for Armor, More

January 18, 2005

Scientists have uncovered the genetic formula that spiders use to make silk from proteins and possibly improve on it.

Understanding how spiders do this could someday result in new stronger and lighter materials that could replace plastics. Other uses include extremely thin sutures for eye or nerve surgery, plasters and other wound covers, artificial ligaments and tendons, and textiles for parachutes.

H+ TV show Produced by X-Men Director Bryan Singer

December 21, 2010

Director Bryan Singer has signed on to produce a horror thriller series for Warner Bros. The series is entitled “H+” — a “futuristic survival tale” about a future where technology has gone horrifically wrong.

In 2019, 33% of the world’s population uses an implanted computer system called H+. Everyone has constant access to the Internet through implanted microchips and access to killer viruses.

Synthespians more prevalent in future films

August 19, 2001

Newly developed computer tools are allowing filmmakers to add synthespians (virtual actors) into the action. New technology for digitally modeling hair, cloth, skin and muscles will make digital humans even more prevalent and indistinguishable from the flesh-and-blood kind over the next year.

Putting movies on mobiles

February 27, 2009

Five-minute films produced for mobile phones are the future, bringing them to a wide audience, says actor Kevin Spacey.

Researchers set new record for brightness of quantum dots

September 26, 2007

By placing quantum dots on a specially designed photonic crystal, University of Illinois researchers have demonstrated enhanced fluorescence intensity by a factor of up to 108.

Potential applications include high-brightness light-emitting diodes, optical switches and personalized, high-sensitivity biosensors for detecting DNA and other biomolecules, and detecting cancer cells, spores and viruses.

Laser applications heat up for carbon nanotubes

January 27, 2005

Carbon nanotubes may find one of its quickest applications in the next generation of standards for optical power measurements, which are essential for laser systems used in manufacturing, medicine, communications, lithography, space-based sensors and other technologies.

As described in a forthcoming paper in Applied Optics, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have made prototype pyroelectric detectors coated with carbon… read more

In Pursuit of a Mind Map, Slice by Slice

December 28, 2010

In the field of connectomics, the goal is to find how memories, personality traits and skills are stored in the brain.

A connectome would provide a far more detailed look at the brain’s inner workings than current techniques that measure blood flow in certain regions. The researchers contend that it would literally show how people are wired and illuminate differences in the brains of people with mental illness.… read more

Just Like Ants, Computers Learn From the Bottom Up

September 10, 2001

Emergence — the phenomenon of self-organization, represented by feedback systems and intelligent software that anticipates our needs — is embodied by “bottom-up” systems that use “relatively simple components to build higher-level intelligence,” says Steven Johnson in the new book, EMERGENCE: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software.For example, city residents create distinct neighborhoods and simple pattern recognition software learns to recommend new books or music based on our… read more

Social media and a school death threat

March 5, 2009

A team of Twitter users quickly acted to head off tragedy from a bomb threat in St. Louis Tuesday night.

More Internet users getting a virtual life

October 8, 2007

The online universe is brimming with dozens of virtual worlds vying to build sustainable life in the “avatar age.”

From Gaia, a Japanese anime-inspired site, to vSide, a hip nightclub scene, they represent the latest way people are interacting through the Internet. Users create alter-ego avatars to navigate these online worlds, where they meet and hang out with other people, go shopping, watch movies, even start a business.

The Doctor Will See Your Prototype Now

February 11, 2005

The Physiome Project is assembling digital models of every system and anatomical feature of the human body – from large organs to tiny cellular and molecular functions.

The ssytem would allows physicians to test various scenarios on your digital model – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy – and watch how your system reacts.

Biological joints could replace artificial joints

January 6, 2011

University of Missouri and Columbia University researchers have found a way to create biological joints in animals, and they believe biological joint replacements for humans, using a patient’s own cells, aren’t far away.

James Cook, a researcher in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery participated on a research team that created new cartilage in animals using a biological “scaffold” in the animals’ joints. Cook… read more

Computer Robots Gather Intelligence

October 3, 2001

The U.S. military is testing software robots that can identify targets and present them to commanders much more quickly than a human could.

The software, known as the Control of Agent-Based Systems or CoABS, uses AI agents to sift through troves of images and intelligence data to find viable targets.
“It takes us too long to get the intelligence to a weapons system,” said James Hendler, the U.S. Defense… read more

‘Nanoball’ batteries could recharge car in minutes

March 12, 2009

MIT scientists have designed an experimental battery that charges about 100 times as fast as normal lithium ion batteries.

It contains a cathode made up of 50-nanometer-wide nanoballs of lithium iron phosphate. If cellphone batteries can be made using the material, they could charge in 10 seconds; bigger batteries for plug-in hybrid electric cars could charge in just 5 minutes, vs. 8 for existing batteries.

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