science + technology news

Nanoscale light tricks promise huge DVD storage

May 27, 2005

A patent issued to Iomega describes a disc that could store almost a terabyte of data — 40 to 100 times more information than a conventional DVD.

Iomega’s proposed Articulated Optical Digital Versatile Disc (AO-DVD) technology would use sub-wavelength surface bumps that slope at slightly different angles. This could be used to encode up to 100 times more information. The angles would be detected by analyzing light after it… read more

Attaching amino acids to electronic device materials

May 26, 2005

Researchers at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Laboratories has tested the adhesion of amino acids to semiconductors, metals and insulators used in electronic devices. The team used their results to design an inorganic nanostructure that selectively bound to a particular primary peptide sequence.

Their results could have applications ranging from biomolecular detection to biomolecular manipulation and basic biological molecule studies, such as X-ray analysis of proteins or intracellular peptide assays.

Scientists coax gold particles to emit light strong enough to view single nanoparticles

May 25, 2005

Researchers have demonstrated that gold particles comparable in size to a molecule can be induced to emit light so strongly that it is readily possible to observe a single nanoparticle, using a technique called multiphoton absorption induced luminescence.

This could allow for tracking a single molecule of a drug in a cell or other biological sample.

Other advantages of the technique are that the gold particles can be… read more

Future Teller

May 25, 2005

Doctors tell us what’s wrong with our bodies today. Computer scientist Astro Teller says his BodyMedia devices and software will predict what is going wrong tomorrow.

Within a year, Teller expects them to have ten times their current store of data, enough, he says, to write programs that may predict when someone will suffer a cold, epileptic fit or heart attack. “If it’s true for just one case,” he… read more

Hackers Holding Computer Files ‘Hostage’

May 25, 2005

The latest threat to computer users doesn’t destroy data or steal passwords — it encrypts a person’s electronic documents, effectively holding them hostage, and demands $200 over the Internet for the digital keys to unlock the files.

House Approves a Stem Cell Research Bill Opposed by Bush

May 25, 2005

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, defying a veto threat from President Bush.

New planet found in Milky Way

May 25, 2005

Astronomers have found a massive gaseous planet about 1000 times the size of Earth and about halfway to the center of the galaxy, or about 25,000 light years away.

The project used a little-known technique called micro-lensing — using the gravitational pull of a star to act as a giant lens — to help astronomers to look for new planets.

Light gun fires photons one by one

May 25, 2005

The first photon gun capable of firing single particles of light over optical fibers was unveiled on Tuesday.

Since quantum encryption works only if the key is sent using individual photons, the breakthrough may remove one of the final obstacles keeping perfectly secure messages from being sent over standard telephone fibers.

Researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory in the UK have developed a light-emitting diode that produces up… read more

The 2020 vision of robotic assistants unveiled

May 25, 2005

Household companions, android medics and robot entertainers of the future will be showcased at the Prototype Robot Exhibition in Japan.

Earth-to-Virtual Earth

May 25, 2005

Microsoft has previewed a future MSN service called Virtual Earth that’s designed to be a deeply immersive local search experience.

Users will be able to map a particular location and then search local listings for businesses nearby. Eventually, they’ll be able to click on a listing and get more information about the business.

The MSN Virtual Earth announcement followed a preview of Google Earth last Friday. Google Earth… read more

Fuel for the New Millennium

May 24, 2005

A new hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology for portable devices is reportedly safe and longer-lasting than today’s batteries.

The new technology stores fuel in the form of the stable and non-explosive sodium borohydride solution, converting it to hydrogen as needed.

Infineon, IBM collaborate on new memory tech

May 24, 2005

Infineon and IBM have launched a program to research phase-change memory, material that retains data by changing its structure between crystalline and amorphous.

Phase change memory has the advantage that data doesn’t depend on an electrical charge, so, like flash memory it persists when a computer is turned off. On the other hand, phase change memories can wear out mechanically.

Wormhole ‘no use’ for time travel

May 24, 2005

A new study by Stephen Hsu and Roman Buniy of the University of Oregon says the idea of building a traversable wormhole may be fundamentally unstable.

However, they also assert that “semi-classical” wormholes — in which the space-time “tube” shows only weak deviations from the laws of classical physics — are the most desirable type for time travel because they potentially allow travellers to predict where and when they… read more

Kurzweil to grads: ‘Follow your passion’

May 23, 2005

“Follow your passion,” Ray Kurzweil advised graduates at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 21.

“That’s the only way to create knowledge that has value,” he added. “Find a challenge that you can feel passionate about. Then find the ideas that rise to the challenge. They exist, and you can find them.

“Decide to succeed, rather than to fail. It’s entirely in your control.… read more

Portugal to get world’s first commercial wave farm

May 23, 2005

A Scottish company will deploy sausage-shaped tubes off Portugal to create the world’s first commercial wave power plant, providing 2.25 megawatts of electricity to 1,500 homes from 2006.

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