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February 24, 2006

Other tech: NTT achieves 2.5 Gbps packet transmission

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's mobile phone giant, has achieved 2.5 gigabits-per-second packet transmission in a fourth-generation radio access field experiment.

This speed is 6,510 times faster than the current third-generation FOMA mobile series, the Sankei Shimbun reported Friday.

Detection Of DNA On Nanotubes Offers New Sensing, Sequencing Technologies

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who recently reported that DNA-wrapped carbon nanotubes could serve as sensors in living cells now say the tiny tubes can be used to target specific DNA sequences. Potential applications for the new sensors range from rapid detection of hazardous biological agents to simpler and more efficient forensic identification.

By wrapping one strand of DNA around the surface of a carbon nanotube, the researchers can create a sensor that is targeted for a particular piece of complementary DNA. When the complementary DNA then binds to the DNA probe, the nanotube's natural near-infrared fluorescence is shifted slightly, and can readily be detected.

Other tech: Living taste cells made outside of the body

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center have succeeded in growing mature taste receptor cells outside the body and for the first time have been able to successfully keep the cells alive for a prolonged period of time (10-14 days). The establishment of a viable long-term model opens a range of new opportunities to increase scientists' understanding of the sense of taste and how it functions in nutrition, health and disease.

other tech: Disposable Catheters, with MEMS sensors

A unique low cost disposable solid-state catheter that can measure swallowing pressure has been developed by a University of South Australia research team using intelligent manufacturing processes that eliminate the infection risks posed by existing catheters.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, the catheter is one of the new products being developed in the emerging field of bio micro-electro-mechanical systems, or BioMEMS, which have applications in the biomedical field.

pre-nano: Mini robotics

Funded under the European Commission’s FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme, MICRON set out to build a total of five to ten micro robots, just cubic centimetres in size. one fully functional robot that the project did achieve could be tested in three different scenarios. “The first was a medical or biological application, in which the robot was handling biological cells, injecting liquid into them,” Seyfried explains. “The second scenario was micro-assembly, in which the robot soldered tiny parts. The final scenario looked at atomic force, with the robot mounting atomic force and doing experiments on it.”

The results were encouraging. “Our experiments showed that the cell injection is entirely feasible, as is the micro soldering,” says Seyfried. Although the MICRON robots are clearly not a mass market product, commercialisation – though still far off – would be perfectly possible, he believes: “Robots with this sort of capability, and mobility, would be perfectly suited to lab work, such as the micro assembly of prototypes. Tasks such as cell injection could be performed on a mass scale.”

Other research is occuring at the University of Berkeley and other institutions

February 21, 2006

New Nanorex atomically precise designs

Nanorex is showing several new atomically precise designs Nanorex Inc. is the leading provider of computational modeling tools made specifically for the design and analysis of productive nanosystems. Nanorex’s first product, nanoENGINEER-1™, is a 3D nanomechanical CAD program. nanoENGINEER-1, the most powerful nanomechanical engineering software on the planet, is an Open Source (GPL) project sponsored by Nanorex, Inc. One of the designs, the SRG-III, is the third parallel-shaft speed reducer gear created by Mark Sims (founder of nanorex). It is the first molecular gear train ever designed. With 15,342 atoms, the SRG-III is the single largest nanomechanical device that has been modeled in atomic detail.