June 15/22, 2005   

   Robot runs like humans
A robot that previously just walked has now learned how to run. By focusing on the mathematics of running, scientists have made a robot that looks remarkably human-like as it trots around a laboratory. In addition to contributing to the design of robots that can stay on their feet, the work promises to help amputees.
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DNA machine links molecules
A DNA nanomachine that stitches together molecules is a key step toward using DNA to make designer materials, encrypt information and carry out computations. The versatile device mimics the protein-building function of biological cells.

Process ups biodiesel efficiency
Turning plant matter into liquid fuel is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels but the process usually takes a lot of energy. A method that cuts out the costly distillation step shows promise.

How It Works
Power sources: fuel cells, solar cells, heat, vibration and fusion

The physics of the energy that drives devices large and small.


Nanowire computer circuits debut
A method of painting nanowire devices onto a surface promises fast, cheap, flexible plastic electronics and displays.

Lens boosts LED efficiency
A lens shaped like an upside-down pyramid is poised to play a key role in energy conservation.

Quantum crypto boosted to 2 GHz
Reducing counting errors boosts a quantum cryptography system to telecommunications speeds.

Single camera measures speed
Giving machines the ability to see is tricky enough using two cameras and stereo vision. Some nifty math gives a single camera the ability to track an object's speed. Speed traps sans radar, anyone?

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