make tech materials
engineer the right virus to produce the right
kind of protein, mix it with microscopic particles
of semiconductor material and the result can
be liquid crystals, patterned films or other
high-tech building materials. Mixing biology
and electronics this way makes for cheap,
fast, clean manufacturing.
touch controls rats
For decades now, scientists have used mild jolts
of electricity to stimulate reward centers in rats'
brains. A team of researchers has found an area
of the rat brain where stimulation makes a rat feel
like its whiskers have been touched. The team coordinated
the reward and touch stimulations to control a rat
connected to a remote-control computer chip. The
research could lead to artificial limbs with a sense
of touch, rescue rats, and an ethical can of worms.
bridges infrared-microwave gap
Faster wireless communications, safer medical imaging
and better chemical detection are on the horizon
thanks to a laser that emits radiation at wavelengths
between those of heat radiation and the waves used
by microwave ovens. The laser is made from hundreds
of microscopically thin layers.
mix promises big displays
Video billboard displays and cheaper, lighter handhelds
are a step closer with a technique for making liquid
crystal displays by spreading liquid crystals onto
a glass, plastic or silicon surface.
patterns particles in 3D
Researchers have used interfering laser beams to
trap and move microscopic particles for years. A
Scottish team has taught the old dog some new tricks,
including "roll over." The method promises to give
scientists a better look into the ways molecules