Monday, January 29, 2007

Our Technological Future - Mixed Bag #12

First off, something that struck me as really special.

I was just surfing around and stumbled upon a video that demonstrated blind people receiving electrical signals to their tongues, which allowed them to see.

Cameras are used as replacements for their eyes and electrical signals are sent to their tongues. Eventually, or so the video claims, the blind person will start processing this input with their visual cortex.

This means they would actually see, just like you and me.

I looked up an article to go with the video. The article I found is from 2003 so it's already pretty old stuff. The technology is called BrainPort.

[update]I also found a newer article. The video shows the technology in its current state, not the 2003-state.[/update]

BrainGate technology pulled off something similar. BrainGate is responsible for allowing Mathew Nagel to move a mousecursor with his thoughts.

Also in this mixed bag, two lightly digestable, semi-scientific writings:

8 technologies to save the world

The scariest ideas in science

And then there's the rest of last week's breakthroughs:

Meet the world's first 45nm transistors (CPU's are getting so fast these days that it's just not funny anymore)

Scientists build memory chip as small as blood cell

Scientists restore gene to shrink tumors in mice

Biology's next revolution

Test printing a two story house

3D display screens videogaming needs

Liquid metal (no, not the Terminator)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Our Technological Future - Mixed Bag #11

The breakthroughs just keep on coming and I just keep on piling'em up!

I started this blog halfway through 2005 and back then, techno news wasn't coming in as quickly as it is now.

The exponential acceleration in scientific breakthroughs is obvious to me.

By reading this blog, it will become obvious to you as well.


Scientists to attempt sending a signal into the past (yeah I know... it sounds whacked, but it's for real)

First there was RoboDoc, now there is RoboNurse

Neural extension cord developed for brain implants

Battery breakthrough

Putting the brakes on light speed

Bionic cat eyes may help humans

Nano-wheels seen rolling at last

Microbot to swim through arteries and digestive system

Can ageing be stopped?

Japanese scientists cage light

Bacteria turn toxins into plastic

Wind power growing rapidly in US

About the latest cancer cure

White House steps up push for ethanol

Hacking the human lifespan

Military builds robotic insects

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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Future of Cars

The Perfect Electric Car?

The Phoenix Motorcars SUV will be introduced in late 2007, having a range of 130 miles, and can be recharged in less than 10 minutes with an off-board charging unit or trickle-charged overnight when plugged into a 220V power source, similar to the SUT. The estimated cost to recharge the battery pack is a small fraction of equivalent gasoline costs

Microsoft Blue&Me in-car computing coming to US via Ford in 2007
Remember Microsoft's Blue&Me project with Fiat, the one that equipped select models with an in-car computer system with all kinds of connectivity functionality? Well, we've learned from a source close to Microsoft's car-computer project that Microsoft and Ford are planning to announce the US availability of the system in 2007...

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Our Technological Future - Mixed Bag #10

Where can you read about next generation videogames, nanotechnology, stem cell research, cancer breakthroughs and mysterious physics-coolness all at once?

Well, only at Our Technological Future ofcourse!

I have here no less than twenty tech-links for your entertainment. Enjoy!

Tests show 'artificial sun' is reliable

Edge Annual 2007 Optimism Questions - Marvin Minsky on Immortality

Next generation Ghostbusters videogame footage - looks very real

Cheap, safe drug kills almost all cancers

Soundtrack of Spore (upcoming videogame) to be generated in real time

Next generation videogames coming in 2007

Physicists closing in on mysterious missing particle

Cancer deaths drop for second year

Research removes major obstacle from mass production of tiny chips

Mach C? Scientists observe sound travelling faster than light

Intel builds 80-core chip

Intel shows 45-nm processors

Virtual reality spreading in business world

Folic acid sets back brain aging effects by 5 years

Scientist finds MRSA cure

Quantum computer demo dates announced

The rise of stem cell research - Did George Bush inadvertently jumpstart a stem cell revolution?

Desk of the future will power electronic devices

Entire image compressed to a single photon

Scientists find potential off-switch for HIV

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Killing Cancer With Spicy Foods

How spicy foods can kill cancer

Scientists have discovered the key to the ability of spicy foods to kill cancer cells.

They found capsaicin, an ingredient of jalapeno peppers, triggers cancer cell death by attacking mitochondria - the cells' energy-generating boiler rooms.

The research raises the possibility that other cancer drugs could be developed to target mitochondria.


The study showed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, or cell death, without harming surrounding healthy cells.

Capsaicin was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers.


The fact that capsaicin and other vanilloids are already commonly found in the diet proves they are safe to eat.

This could make development of a drug containing them a much quicker and cheaper process.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cancer Cure Breakthrough Thanks to Genetic Technology

British gene team are on the brink of cancer breakthrough

British scientists are on the verge of producing a drug that could revolutionise cancer treatment.

It shuts down the rogue genes that cause cancer and is due to be tested on humans for the first time in the next few months.

If successful, the drug will be used to stop the disease spreading to other parts of the body, at the same time improving quality of life and life expectancy.

The technique, known as RNA interference therapy, is still in its early stages of development but one day it could be extended to treat other conditions ranging from asthma to Aids.

The drug works by preventing genes from making disease-causing proteins. Similar in structure to DNA, it should halt the disease in its tracks.


The first human trials are due to start in the next few months and it could be on the market within three years.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Nanoparticles Destroy Cancer

Remotely Activated Nanoparticles Destroy Cancer.

The first in a new generation of nanotechnology-based cancer treatments will likely begin clinical trials in 2007, and if the promise of animal trials carries through to human trials, these treatments will transform cancer therapy. By replacing surgery and conventional chemotherapy with noninvasive treatments targeted at cancerous tumors, this nanotech approach could reduce or eliminate side effects by avoiding damage to healthy tissue. It could also make it possible to destroy tumors that are inoperable or won't respond to current treatment.

One of these new approaches places gold-coated nanoparticles, called nanoshells, inside tumors and then heats them with infrared light until the cancer cells die. Because the nanoparticles also scatter light, they could be used to image tumors as well. Mauro Ferrari, a leader in the field of nanomedicine and professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center, says this is "very exciting" technology.

"With chemotherapy," Ferrari says, "we carpet bomb the patient, hoping to hit the lesions, the little foci of disease. To be able to shine the light only where you want this thing to heat up is a great advantage."

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Anti Aging Molecule Discovered

Anti-Aging Molecule Discovered

A team of South Korean scientists on Sunday claimed to have created a ``cellular fountain of youth,’’ or a small molecule, which enables human cells to avoid aging and dying.

The team, headed by Prof. Kim Tae-kook at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, argued the newly-synthesized molecule, named CGK733, can even make cells younger.

The findings were featured by the Britain-based Nature Chemical Biology online early today and will be printed as a cover story in the journal’s offline edition early next month.

``All cells face an inevitable death as they age. On this path, cells became lethargic and in the end stop dividing but we witnessed that CGK733 can block the process,’’ Kim said.

``We also found the synthetic compound can reverse aging, by revitalizing already-lethargic cells. Theoretically, this can give youth to the elderly via rejuvenating cells,’’ the 41-year-old said.

Kim expected that the CGK733-empowered drugs that keep cells youthful far beyond their normal life span would be commercialized in less than 10 years.

Reading things like this sometimes gives me the impression that significant life extension is closer than you'd think. I'll bet humanity is going to see a great improvement in public health in the next decade.

And thanks to the recent change of year, the next decade is now only 3 years away. ;)

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Mad Cow Breakthrough

Scientists Announce Mad Cow Breakthrough

Scientists said yesterday that they have used genetic engineering techniques to produce the first cattle that may be biologically incapable of getting mad cow disease.

The animals, which lack a gene that is crucial to the disease's progression, were not designed for use as food. They were created so that human pharmaceuticals can be made in their blood without the danger that those products might get contaminated with the infectious agent that causes mad cow.

That agent, a protein known as a prion (pronounced PREE-on), can cause a fatal human ailment, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, if it gets into the body.

More generally, scientists said, the animals will facilitate studies of prions, which are among the strangest of all known infectious agents because they do not contain any genetic material. Prions also cause scrapie in sheep and fatal wasting diseases in elk and minks.

In the future, experts said, similar techniques might be used to engineer animals with more nutritious meats -- though the Food and Drug Administration has said it will require engineered food animals to pass tests far more stringent than those it recently deemed adequate for clones.

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