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‘Spin’ Could Be Quantum Boost for Computers

August 21, 2001

Spintronics, based on magnetic properties of electrons, promises to make possible radical advances in computers and other electronic devices.Possible applications of spintronics include:

  • M-RAM, or magneto resistive memory, which will remember data after the power is turned off, eliminating boot-up time and possibly doing processing and storage in the same chip.
  • Quantum computers that can perform multiple computations simultaneously.
  • reprogrammable computer chips
  • Zooming in on Mars in glorious 3D

    March 30, 2009
    View this Mars image with 3D glasses (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

    Hundreds of new red-cyan anaglyph (3D stereo) images of Mars were recently released by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the most powerful camera to ever orbit another planet, with one-meter resolution.

    Nano bridge builds logic

    February 2, 2005

    Japanese researchers have devised a nanoscale mechanical switch that works by rapidly creating and destroying a minuscule metal bridge between a pair of wires positioned just one nanometer apart.

    If each switch were used as a memory element, such a configuration would allow a memory chip made from the switches to store 2.5 gigabits per square centimeter. Today’s state-of-the-art memory chips store about 1 gigabit per square centimeter.… read more

    New Technology Can Be Operated By Thought

    November 9, 2007
    Wadsworth Center scientists have succeeded in developing a BCI that lets the severely disabled use their personal computers

    Neuroscientists have significantly advanced brain-machine interface (BMI) technology.

    Severely handicapped people who cannot contract even one leg or arm muscle now can independently compose and send e-mails and operate a TV in their homes, using only their thoughts.

    Microscope probes living cells at the nanoscale to diagnose cancers

    November 21, 2011

    Living cells at the nanoscale

    Researchers in the U.S. and U.K. say they have invented a new microscopy technique for imaging live tissue with unprecedented speed and resolution.

    The researchers say the technique could have widespread applications in medicine, including watching cancers spreading and finding out how new drugs work.

    The technique involves vibrating the tiny tip of an atomic force microscope at 7 kHz on a living cell and analyzing the resulting… read more

    Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

    September 19, 2001

    Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

    Robotic Scientists Make First Discoveries

    April 3, 2009

    A fully automated robotic laboratory able to design its own molecular biology experiments has made its first discoveries, its team of creators at Aberystwyth University and Cambridge have reported.

    The robot scientist “Adam” was developed to identify genes involved in yeast metabolism. Using algorithms programmed by scientists, Adam formulates hypotheses about the origins of “orphan enzymes”: enzymes for which scientists have been unable to identify the encoding genes.… read more

    Robot wars

    February 15, 2005

    At the 24th Army Science Conference, held in Orlando, Florida last December, Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote address entitled “Warfighting in the 21st Century.” News@nature quizzed this renowned commentator on robotics about his views on future warfare.

    The hormone of darkness: melatonin could hurt memory formation at night

    November 16, 2007

    Gregg W. Roman, assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston, has found that melatonin directly inhibits memory formation at night, based on experiments with zebrafish.

    The experiments also suggest that the use of melatonin receptor antagonists may allow for retaining the beneficial effects of melatonin’s antioxidant properties without the negative cognitive effects. Such benefits include fighting free radical damage to slow some… read more

    Optical DSPs promise tera-ops performance

    October 10, 2001

    An optically based digital signal processing engine (ODSPE) that has the potential to take DSPs from the current giga-operations-per-second (Gops) limit to tera (trillion) operations per second (Tops) by 2005 has been demonstrated by Lenslet Labs of Israel.
    The company has already demonstrated an 8-Tops, 20-watt device. Using conventional DSPs to get that performance would require 40 FPGAs, according to the company.

    The technology uses high-speed optical processing –… read more

    Diatoms could triple solar cell efficiency

    April 13, 2009

    Trapping light inside the nanoscale pores of thin-film solar cells coated with titanium dioxide-spiked diatom shells could help triple the electrical output of experimental, dye-sensitized solar cells, according to researchers at Oregon State University and Portland State University.

    The pattern of intricate nanoscale features on the diatoms boosted the photovoltaic surface area available and also trapped incident light inside the pores.

    Mind Control

    February 28, 2005

    The BrainGate Neural Interface creates a direct link between a person’s brain and a computer, translating neural activity into action. Matthew Nagle, without use of his limbs but fitted with a BrainGate, can now play a videogame or change channels on TV using only his mind.

    After Stem-Cell Breakthrough, the Work Begins

    November 27, 2007

    Two biotechnology companies hope next year to begin the first clinical trials of therapies derived from human embryonic stem cells.

    Geron plans to test a type of neural cell as a treatment for spinal cord injuries, and Advanced Cell Technology wants to plant retinal epithelium cells into the eye to treat retina diseases.

    World’s nuclear facilities vulnerable, warns UN agency

    November 5, 2001

    Nuclear plants are vulnerable to attacks by terrorists, according to a stark new warning by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
    The world’s 1300 nuclear facilities are not hardened to withstand “acts of war” like a deliberate hit by a large, fully-fuelled passenger jet, warns the IAEA’s director general, Mohamed ElBaradei.

    In the US on October 29, following intelligence reports received by the FBI, the air space around all… read more

    Boldly Going Nowhere

    April 20, 2009

    NASA should re-energize its development of nuclear-powered rockets, with the intention of building a craft able to send clusters of micro-bots into deep space at velocities of, say, one-tenth light speed, says SETI astronomer Seth Shostak.

    “By the middle of the following century, on-the-scene data from Epsilon Eridani, the nearest known planetary system, could be in our hands.

    “These microbots would supply the information that, fed to computers,… read more

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