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Genetic ‘Light Switches’ Control Muscle Movement

September 27, 2010

Cross-section of a mouse sciatic nerve genetically engineered to produce a light-sensitive protein (shown in green) to trigger muscle movements (Nature)

Using light-sensitive proteins from a single-celled alga and a tiny LED “cuff” placed on a nerve, Stanford University researchers have triggered the leg muscles of mice to contract in response to millisecond pulses of light (optogenetics) to control muscle movements.

In the near term,  optogenetics technology will improve the studies that the lab and others do on muscle activity in animal models of stroke, palsies, ALS, and… read more

Computers learn common sense

July 12, 2006

BBN Technologies has been awarded $5.5 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the first phase of “Integrated Learner,” which will learn plans or processes after being shown a single example.

The goal is to combine specialised domain knowledge with common sense knowledge to create a reasoning system that learns as well as a person and can be applied to a variety of complex… read more

Fuel-Cell Tech May Be Coming Soon

September 3, 2003

Japanese companies are pushing ahead with prototypes of miniaturized fuel cells they say will dramatically improve the battery life of laptop computers. Yet, some experts insist fuel-cell technology is still several years away.

Nvidia Details ‘Personal Supercomputer` Design Based on Tesla GPU

November 24, 2008

Nvidia has announced a new supercomputer design that will use its Tesla technology as the engine of a new “personal supercomputer” to be build into OEM workstations that contain between two and four of Nvidia’s 933-gigaflops general purpose Tesla GPUs (graphics processing units), allowing researchers to run scientific and other massive workloads at their desks.

Cantilever bends repeatedly under light exposure for continuous energy generation

October 6, 2010

(a) An illustration of the energy-harvesting cantilever device. (b) A photo of the cantilever. (c) An optical micrograph and SEM image of the CNF material. (Venu Kotipalli, et al. ©2010 American Institute of Physics)

With the goal of enabling small electronic devices to harvest their own energy, Louisiana Tech University researchers have designed a device that can convert light and thermal energy into electricity.

When exposed to visible light and/or heat (infrared) radiation, the 20-mm-long carbon-nanotube-film-based cantilever bends back and forth repeatedly, as long as the light and/or heat remains on.

In their experiments, they demonstrated that the device could generate 2.1… read more

Quantum Computer: Laser tweezers sort atoms

July 19, 2006

Physicists of the University of Bonn have succeeded in using “laser tweezers” to sorti up to seven atoms and line them up.

The next aim of the Bonn physicists is to construct a quantum gate. For this purpose they want to “write” quantum information onto two caesium atoms and then place them between two tiny mirrors. The intention is that they should interact there with each other, i.e. exchange… read more

Special polymer gel allows adult-stem-cell differentiation without immune rejection

May 25, 2012


University of Michigan researchers have proven that a special surface, free of biological contaminants, allows adult-derived stem cells to thrive and transform into multiple cell types.

Their success brings stem cell therapies another step closer. To prove the cells’ regenerative powers, bone cells grown on this surface were then transplanted into holes in the skulls of mice, producing four times as much new bone growth… read more

New Theory: Universe Born in a Black Hole

September 19, 2003

The entire universe may have been created in an explosion inside a black hole, says Blake Temple, a mathematician at the University of California, Davis.

The Big Bang is an actual explosion, Temple says, and it occurs within a black hole in an existing space. The shock wave of the explosion is expanding into an infinite space.

Temple also describes the whole scenario as a white hole.

First Light-Driven Nanomachine

December 2, 2008

Yale University researchers have developed a light-driven nanoresonator that uses a modulator driven by light, not electrons.

The technology could be used to develop opto-mechanical switches that can reroute optical signals, achieving far faster performance with simpler systems than by first converting to an electronic router.

Such devices could also be used to create very sensitive chemical sensors.

Converters Signal a New Era for TVs

June 7, 2007

At midnight on Feb. 17, 2009, the rabbit ears and the rooftop antennas that still guide television signals into nearly 1 of every 5 American homes will be rendered useless — unless they are tethered to a new device, including two versions unveiled yesterday, that the government will spend as much as $80 a household to help families buy.

Among the advantages of digital television being promoted by the… read more

The next computer interface: your finger

August 1, 2006

The “Fingertip Digitizer,” which users wear on the tip of the index finger, can transfer to the virtual world the meaning and intent of common hand gestures, such as pointing, wagging the finger, tapping in the air or other movements that can be used to direct the actions of an electronic device, much like a mouse directs the actions of a personal computer, but with greater precision.

What’s more,… read more

Human Genome on Chip Offered by Rivals

October 2, 2003

The genome on a chip has arrived. With pieces of all 30,000 or so known human genes, the new integrated gene chips, or microarrays, will allow scientists to scan all genes in a human tissue sample at once to determine which genes are active (turned on) in an organ compared with those active in a healthy organ. Pharmaceutical companies will use them to predict drug effects.

This previously required… read more

What happens when silicon can shrink no more?

December 8, 2008

Crossbar switching arrays made from self-assembled semiconducting nanowires or rotaxanes and graphene transistor channels are among the emerging innovations that promise to overcome the limitations of silicon as a transitor base material.

Stanford’s New Driverless Car

June 18, 2007

A computer-controlled car named Junior is Stanford University’s official entry in the DARPA Urban Challenge, a race in which an autonomous car must navigate city streets, obey traffic laws, avoid obstructions, and, crucially, drive well among other cars in traffic.

Largest, sturdiest self-assembling DNA cages built

Could be used to create miniscule factories that produce specialty chemicals or high-sensitivity photonic sensors that diagnose disease
March 19, 2014

DNA cage

Scientists at the Harvard’s Wyss Institute have built a set of self-assembling DNA cages that are up to one-tenth as wide as a bacterium. The structures are some of the largest and most complex structures ever constructed solely from DNA, they report in Science.

Moreover, the scientists visualized them using a DNA-based super-resolution microscopy method — and obtained the first sharp 3D optical images of intact synthetic DNA nanostructures… read more

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