SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - Week 11 of 2012A very brief selection of some of the more interesting scientific and technological advances that I discovered this week.NanoTech
* Mind = Blown
The tremendous development of molecular graphene (not to be confused with carbon-based graphene) is outlined here http://mota.stanford.edu/molecular_graphene.php
and constitutes the creation of "designer electrons" (completely tunable) that can behave as if they have no mass and appear to travel at the speed of light, that can behave "as if" they are under the influence of the most powerful magnetic field ever observed, creation of "hole" and "electron" p-n-p gate regions, observation of the quantum hall effect, etc. Lots of promise for new materials development, electronics, energy generation, and more esoteric possibilities such as wormholes.
* Graphene in the news again with (1) being made into a powerful supercapacitor for energy storage applications http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-researchers-develop-new-graphene-230478.aspx
? (2) wonderful engineering of graphene into a piezoelectric material for power harvesting and electrical control of micro-mechanical systems http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/nanotechnology/engineering-of-graphene-gives-it-piezoelectric-properties
* Engineering silicon electrodes into novel structures to make high-capacity lithium batteries http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/03/silicon-electrodes-for-high-density.html
* First message sent using neutrinos as the information carriers http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4022
* Microfluidic chips engineered to generate bubbles to aid in cell lysis and analysis http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6464
DNA Origami used to create novel optical materials http://portal.mytum.de/pressestelle/pressemitteilungen/NewsArticle_20120308_093938
self-assembled precisely-nanostructured optical metamaterials; future tech doesn't get much better than that
* Very cool
new metamaterials are able to modify not just light, but magnetism for possible wireless power transfer applications http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/03/artificially-structured-metamaterials.html
* Thinner solar cells to cut the cost of solar panels in half http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39887/?ref=rss
* Transmission of photons from one molecule to another http://www.mpg.de/5189714/quantum_communication?filter_order=L
Greatly improved two-photon lithography for rapid production of 3D structures and designs with micron-scale features http://www.tuwien.ac.at/en/news/news_detail/article/7444/CognoTech
* Letting molecules get past the blood-brain-barrier with MRI and ultrasound http://www.jove.com/video/3555/mri-guided-disruption-of-the-blood-brain-barrier-using-transcranial-focused-ultrasound-in-a-rat-model
* More mainstream coverage highlighting the amazing developments taking place in wireless "bionics", brain computer interfaces, and prosthetic touch sensitive skin http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17183888
* Interesting update on a technology prize for brain preservation http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/03/an-update-from-competitors-for-the-brain-preservation-foundations-technology-prize.php
using either cryonics or plastination RoboTech
* Some cool new robot videos from IEEE with one of the best being a boxing robot that "shadows" its human controller - a la Real Steel, the robot boxing movie with Hugh Jackman http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-skilled-gymnasts-giant-spiders-robot-beatdowns-and-how-to-murder-a-grapefruit
* It is a shame that we are on the cusp of being able to implement autonomous self-driving vehicles, and realise the tremendous efficiency gains outlined here http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/robot-car-intersections-are-terrifyingly-efficient
? but legal concerns and political will continue to hold us back. BioTech
* On the importance of niches (specific local environment) for maintaining and exploiting stem cell populations http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/03/an-introduction-to-the-stem-cell-niche-what-is-it-really.php
* WOW! Amazing!
technique is developed for targeting RNAs from the nucleus to, and inside, the mitochondria. This work imports repair proteins to fix damaged mitochondrial molecules including the 13 resident genes http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/03/a-general-method-of-correcting-mitochondrial-mutations.php
but the end goal is moving all these 13 genes themselves into the nucleus and so significantly slow aging.
* The rise and rise of personalised medicine with one researcher tracking 40,000 molecules and correctly predicting his development of Type 2 Diabetes http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/39924/?ref=rss
* Very cool
implanted biofuel cell produces electricity from molecules in the body http://www.nature.com/news/cyborg-snails-power-up-1.10210
it'll be interesting to see what implanted devices this will run in future and also can't wait to see larger animal trials of this technology.
* Better, cheaper biochips should help bring in the era of personalised medicine http://actu.epfl.ch/news/giving-research-a-boost-with-cheaper-biochips/InfoTech
* HP's design for a 10 teraflop many-core chip would fulfil the needs of exascale computing systems later this decade http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2012-03-15/hp_scientists_envision_10-teraflop_manycore_chip.html?featured=top
* Very cool
biomimicry inspiration leads to the development of a simple algorithm for high-speed flight through cluttered environments - like birds and bats manage http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27651/?ref=rss
- coming to a quadrotor UAV near you?
* The competition in the head mounted display industry seems to be heating up for augmented and virtual reality applications http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2012/03/virtual-reality-that-doesnt-suck-my-time-inside-half-life-2.ars
* I love these examples of games that help to accelerate scientific development by combining the best of human and machine cognition http://www.nature.com/news/gamers-outdo-computers-at-matching-up-disease-genes-1.10203
* New image-processing algorithm slashes CT-scan time from 100 hours to just 1 hour http://freepress.intel.com/community/news/blog/2012/03/12/computing-power-speeds-safer-ct-scans
* Image recognition system is competing with conventional bar-codes for supermarket scanning http://www.diginfo.tv/v/12-0033-r-en.php