April 24, 2006


DNA sequencer on a chip

A DNA-sequencing biochip that is just 10 centimeters in diameter promises to make it economically feasible to sequence an individual's DNA. DNA sequencers are used study disease and develop drugs, but until now have required bulky and expensive laboratory equipment. (Microfabricated bioprocessor for integrated nanoliter-scale Sanger DNA sequencing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online April 24, 2006)

Digital photo CSI

Like scratches on a bullet, the interference patterns lurking in digital photographs have been used to link an image to the camera that took it. A mathematical analysis technique for connecting cameras to images could extend criminal forensics to the realm of digital photography. (Determining Digital Image Origin Using Sensor Imperfections, Image and Video Communications and Processing 2005, San Jose, January 16-20, 2005)

Liquid disk drive

A photochemical process makes it possible to store images or data in a liquid. The technique could be used to make chemical computers capable of storing large amounts of data. (A Reaction-Diffusion Memory Device, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, published online March 29, 2006)

3D Petrie dish

Suspending cells in a three-dimensional gel makes it possible to study cells in more lifelike conditions. The technique could be used for biological research and for developing methods of growing tissue, including organs. (Probing the Role of Multicellular Organization in Three-dimensional Microenvironments, Nature Methods, May, 2006)

Cellular barcodes

Dyeing cells so that they form fluorescent barcodes makes it possible to sort cells that come from different sources in the same container. The technique promises to lower the cost and time of analyzing cells for medical tests and developing drugs. (Fluorescent Cell Barcoding in Flow Cytometry Allows High-Throughput Drug Screening and Signaling Profiling, Nature Methods, May, 2006)

Superconductor logic

A simple logic circuit made from superconducting material stores data in magnetic flow in the circuit. The prototype flip-flop gate opens the possibility of building very high speed, low-power computer chips and could be used to make quantum computers. (Flip-Flopping Fractional Flux Quanta, Science, published online April 20, 2006)


View from the High Ground: Cornell's Jon Kleinberg
Six degrees of separation, buying gasoline by the molecule, the science of popularity, all just getting along online, intellectual prosthetics, Big Science, making up questions, and telling stories.

How It Works: Quantum computing: qubits
Photons, electrons and atoms, oh my! These particles are the raw materials for qubits, the basic building blocks of quantum computers.

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April 12, 2006
Toward implantable sensors
Highlights from the Body Sensor Networks 2006 workshop at MIT last week:

A computer vision system from the MIT Media Lab uses tiny wearable cameras to read facial expressions in order to determine if someone is paying attention, bored, confused, in disagreement, or concentrating. The researchers are working with an autism center to use the system as a "social-emotional prosthetic" to help people with autism communicate...

April 5, 2006
Kurzweil keynote

March 16, 2006
DNA nanotech made easy

March 12, 2006
Loneliness trumps exercise

"In most areas of science and technology, the origins of new breakthroughs can still be found in the work of a small number of people -- or even a single person -- working at their own pace on their own questions, pursuing things that interest them. "
- Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University

  Thanks to Kevin from
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