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July 14, 2006, 4:45 AM CT

Bacteria Making Nanowires

Bacteria Making Nanowires
What if you can ask bacteria to create nano-wires and they comply to our request? Scientists say that this is possible. They say that a wide variety of bacteria can be persuaded to produce wire-like appendages that conduct electricity could prove vital to the development of more efficient biological fuel cells.

Scientists are investigating the bacteria that use sugars and sewage as fuel are being investigated as a pollution-free source of electricity. These bacteria feed by plucking electrons from atoms in their fuel and dumping them onto the oxygen or metal atoms in the mixture. The transfer of the electrons creates an electri current, and connecting the bacteria to an electrode in a microbial fuel cell will generate electricity, eventhough not necessarily very efficiently.

A species of bacterium called Geobacter sulfurreducens, which dumps electrons onto metal, has previously been persuaded to grow nanowires to make contact with distant atoms. A deficit of metal atoms in the close vicinity of the bacteria can cause a bottleneck, so the proliferation of nanowires allows the bacteria to consume more fuel, potentially boosting the current produced by a microbial fuel cell.

Now a study by Yuri Gorby of Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington State, US, and his colleagues reveals that several other kinds of bacteria produce similar nanowires.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 10:50 PM CT

Tiny Tremors And Earthquakes

Tiny Tremors And Earthquakes
The elusive science of earthquake prediction has been reinvigorated in recent years with the discovery of "non-volcanic tremors"--faint vibrations that originate deep inside active fault zones.

Since 2002, these mysterious signals have been recorded in seismically active sections of Japan, the Pacific Northwest and California's San Andreas Fault.

Seismologists believe that non-volcanic tremors may eventually prove useful in forecasting major earthquakes. But to accomplish that, they first have to figure out exactly where the signals are located--a daunting task, because the vibrations are not impulsive, and hence their origin is difficult to locate.

Now, for the first time, seismologists from Stanford University and the University of Tokyo say they have finally pinpointed the source and likely cause of at least part of the tremor. Writing in the July 13 edition of the journal Nature, the research team concludes that some of the non-volcanic signals emanating from a Japanese fault zone are probably the by-products of "silent earthquakes"--slow-moving temblors that displace the ground without shaking it.

"Silent earthquakes do not generate seismic waves, so you don't feel them," said Gregory C. Beroza, professor of geophysics at Stanford and co-author of the Nature study. "However, it's possible that they foreshadow powerful seismic temblors of magnitude 8 and larger. Therefore, knowing when a silent event has occurred could contribute to seismic hazard forecasting. We believe that non-volcanic tremor signals may be useful in monitoring silent quakes, which aren't that easy to detect".........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 10:44 PM CT

Semiconductor Outperforms Chips

Semiconductor Outperforms Chips
Scientists from University of Toronto are developing a semiconductor, which is better than today's integrated circuits. These scientists have created a semiconductor device that outperforms today's conventional chips -- and they made it simply by painting a liquid onto a piece of glass.

The finding, which represents the first time a so-called "wet" semiconductor device has bested traditional, more costly grown-crystal semiconductor devices, is published in the July 13 issue of the journal Nature.

"Traditional ways of making computer chips, fibre-optic lasers, digital camera image sensors - the building blocks of the information age - are costly in time, money, and energy," says Professor Ted Sargent of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and leader of the research group. Conventional semiconductors have produced spectacular results -- the personal computer, the Internet, digital photography -- but they rely on growing atomically-perfect crystals at 1,000 degrees Celsius and above, he explains.

The Toronto team instead cooked up semiconductor particles in a flask containing extra-pure oleic acid, the main ingredient in olive oil. The particles are just a few nanometres (one billionth of a metre) across. The team then placed a drop of solution on a glass slide patterned with gold electrodes and forced the drop to spread out into a smooth, continuous semiconductor film using a process called spin-coating. They then gave their film a two-hour bath in methanol. Once the solvent evaporated, it left an 800 nanometre-thick layer of the light-sensitive nanoparticles.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 9:53 PM CT

Computer Helps Paralyzed Patients

Computer Helps Paralyzed Patients
How can we make a paralyzed person perform actions that he or she wants to do? Technology is now coming to aid people who were paralyzed for long time.

People with long-standing, severe paralysis can generate signals in the area of the brain responsible for voluntary movements. These signals can be detected, recorded, routed out of the brain to a computer and converted into actions, enabling a paralyzed patient to perform basic tasks.

The results of the clinical trial evaluating this possibility are reported in the latest issued of Nature. In this study, the first patient, Matthew Nagle, a 25-year-old Massachusetts man with a severe spinal cord injury, has been paralyzed from the neck down since 2001. After having the BrainGate sensor implanted on the surface of his brain at Rhode Island Hospital in June 2004, he learned to control a computer cursor simply by thinking about moving it.

During 57 sessions, from July 2004 to April 2005, at New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Nagle learned to open simulated e-mail, draw circular shapes using a paint program on the computer and play a simple video game, "neural Pong," using only his thoughts. He could change the channel and adjust the volume on a television, even while conversing. He was ultimately able to open and close the fingers of a prosthetic hand and use a robotic limb to grasp and move objects. Despite a decline in neural signals after 6.5 months, Nagle remained an active participant in the trial and continued to aid the clinical team in producing valuable feedback concerning the BrainGate technology.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 11, 2006, 7:56 PM CT

MoGo Mouse Highlights

MoGo Mouse Highlights

See what the MoGo Mouse looks like and get a feeling on how I like it with this Experience Mobility Preview Video.

The limitations of YouTube for video length (maximum of 10 minutes) only give me a few minutes to demonstrate and show you some of the unique characteristics of this device. But I think you will see how cool it is as well as how it will help you to Experience Mobility at a higher level.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 11, 2006, 7:06 PM CT

Boeing 747-8 Family

Boeing  747-8 Family

The Boeing Company has recently launched the new Boeing 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter airplane.

Cargolux, based in Luxembourg, has ordered 10 747-8 Freighters and will take delivery of the first 747-8F in third-quarter 2009. It also holds purchase rights for 10 additional airplanes. Cargolux currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 13 747-400 freighters.

Nippon Cargo Airlines, based in Japan, has ordered eight 747-8 Freighters and will receive its first airplane in fourth-quarter 2009. The airline also acquired options for six additional airplanes. Nippon Cargo currently operates 13 747 freighters and has six more 747-400Fs on order.

Firm orders from the two launch customers are valued at approximately $5 billion at list prices.

"We are thrilled to have Cargolux and Nippon Cargo choose the new 747-8 and become the launch customers for this next generation of the proud and valuable 747 airplane family," said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 747-8 will use the technologies of the 787 Dreamliner to significantly increase the passenger and freighter capabilities of the 747 and offer greater fuel efficiency, improved operating economics, and be more friendly to the environment with reduced noise and emissions".........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 11, 2006, 6:20 PM CT

Creation Of New Gel Nanomaterial

Creation Of New Gel Nanomaterial
In an ever-expanding world of nano-technology scientists have created organic gel nano-materials. This newly created nano-meterial could be used to encapsulate pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic products and to build 3-D biological scaffolds for tissue engineering. Scientists used olive oil and six other liquid solvents, the researchers added a simple enzyme to chemically activate a sugar that changed the liquids to createorganic gels.

"We are using the building blocks provided by nature to create new nanomaterials that are completely reversible and environmentally benign," said Rensselaer's Jonathan Dordick, leader of the research team. "The importance of this finding is the ability to use the same naturally occurring enzyme both to create chemically functional organogels and to reverse the process and break down these gels into their biologically compatible building blocks".

In the experiments, scientists activated a sugar using a simple enzyme, which generated a compound that self-assembles into 3-D fibers measuring approximately 50 nanometers in diameter. As the fibers entangle, a large amount of solvent gets packed together, trapping some 10,000 molecules.

The resulting organogel materials could be used as biocompatible scaffolds for tissue engineering and designing membranes, as per Dordick. Other possible applications include delivery systems for pharmaceuticals and preservatives for food and cosmetics.........

Posted by: John      Permalink


July 7, 2006, 7:18 AM CT

Large Quantum Computers

Large Quantum Computers Credit: Signe Seidelin and John Chiaverini/NIST
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have designed and built a novel electromagnetic trap for ions that could be easily mass produced to potentially make quantum computers large enough for practical use. The new trap, described in the June 30 issue of Physical Review Letters,* may help researchers surmount what is currently the most significant barrier to building a working quantum computer--scaling up components and processes that have been successfully demonstrated individually.

Quantum computers would exploit the unusual behavior of the smallest particles of matter and light. Their theoretical ability to perform vast numbers of operations simultaneously has the potential to solve certain problems, such as breaking data encryption codes or searching large databases, far faster than conventional computers. Ions (electrically charged atoms) are promising candidates for use as quantum bits (qubits) in quantum computers. The NIST team, one of 18 research groups worldwide experimenting with ion qubits, previously has demonstrated at a rudimentary level all the basic building blocks for a quantum computer, including key processes such as error correction, and also has proposed a large-scale architecture.

The new NIST trap is the first functional ion trap in which all electrodes are arranged in one horizontal layer, a "chip-like" geometry that is much easier to manufacture than prior ion traps with two or three layers of electrodes. The new trap, which has gold electrodes that confine ions about 40 micrometers above the electrodes, was constructed using standard microfabrication techniques.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 7, 2006, 6:43 AM CT

Broadband Light Amplifier On A Chip

Broadband Light Amplifier On A Chip
Cornell scientists have created a broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip, a major breakthrough in the quest to create photonic microchips. In such microchips, beams of light traveling through microscopic waveguides will replace electric currents traveling through microscopic wires.

A team of scientists working with Alexander Gaeta, Cornell professor of applied and engineering physics, and Michal Lipson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, used the Cornell NanoScale Facility to make the devices. They reported their results in the June 22 issue of the journal Nature.

The amplifier uses a phenomenon known as four-wave mixing, in which a signal to be amplified is "pumped" by another light source inside a very narrow waveguide. The waveguide is a channel only 300 x 550 nanometers (nm = a billionth of a meter, about the length of three atoms in a row) wide, smaller than the wavelength of the infrared light traveling through it. The photons of light in the pump and signal beams are tightly confined, allowing for transfer of energy between the two beams.

The advantage this scheme offers over prior methods of light amplification is that it works over a fairly broad range of wavelengths. Photonic circuits are expected to find their first applications as repeaters and routers for fiber-optic communications, where several different wavelengths are sent over a single fiber at the same time. The new broadband device makes it possible to amplify the multiplexed traffic all at once.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


June 29, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

I am Mr. Robot, your companion

I am Mr. Robot, your companion
Robots are changing from single function 'dumb' machines to adaptive learning machines thanks to the fast pace in the development of the robotic technology.

The concept of a cognitive robotic companion inspires some of the best science fiction but one day may be science fact following the work of the four-year COGNIRON project funded since January 2004 by the IST's Future and Emerging Technologies initiative. But what could a cognitive robot companion do?

"Well, that's a difficult question. The example that's often used is a robot that's able to fulfil your needs, like passing you a drink or helping in everyday tasks," says Dr Raja Chatila, research director at the Systems Architecture and Analysis Laboratory of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (LAAS-CNRS), and COGNIRON project coordinator.

"That might seem a bit trivial, but let me ask you a question: In the 1970s, what was the use of a personal computer?" he asks.

It's a good point. In fact, it was then impossible to imagine how PCs would change the world's economics, politics and society in just 30 years. The eventual uses, once the technology developed, were far from trivial.

COGNIRON set out on the same principle, given that society is constantly evolving, and the project partners hope to tackle some of the key issues that need to be resolved for the development of a cognitive robot companion, which could be used as assistants for disabled and elderly people or the general population. Who wouldn't like, for instance, their breakfast ready when they awoke, deliveries accepted while they were at work and their apartment cleaned upon their return?........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


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