Technology

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] has developed a new computational tool that makes images obtained with cutting-edge microscopes even sharper. The technological advance and its applications are published in this week's online issue of the journal Nature Methods.

Since the Single Plane Illumination Microscope [SPIM] was developed at EMBL in the early 2000s it turned into one of the most powerful tools in cell biology. SPIM allows scientists to study large, living specimen along many different angles, under real conditions and with minimal harm to the specimen.

Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create a new type of technology, which could be used to make super-fast electronic components and speed up the development of drugs.

Physicists at The University of Manchester and The Max-Planck Institute in Germany have created a new kind of a membrane that is only one atom thick.

It's believed this super-small structure can be used to sieve gases, make ultra-fast electronic switches and image individual molecules with unprecedented accuracy.

The findings of the research team is published today (Thursday 1 March 2007) in the journal Nature.

Two years ago, scientists discovered a new class of materials that can be viewed as individual atomic planes pulled out of bulk crystals.

These one-atom-thick materials and in

According to a new study published in the latest issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine and conducted in the Department of Psychology of McGill University, thermography shows great promise as a diagnostic method of measuring sexual arousal. It is less intrusive than currently utilized methods, and is the only available test that requires no physical contact with participants. Thermography is currently the only method that can be used to diagnose sexual health problems in both women and men. In fact, women and men demonstrated similar patterns of temperature change during sexual arousal with no significant differences between genders in the time needed to reach peak temperature.

USC's lego-like autonomous robotic units show off ability to reconfigure into different systems for different tasks.

Wei-Min Shen of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute recently reported to NASA significant progress in developing "SuperBot," identical modular units that plug into each other to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggle and even roll. He illustrated his comments with striking video of the system in action, video now posted on line. 

What role can scientists play in public decisions about the development and deployment of weapons systems? As the United States continues to commit its troops and technology around the world, this question is worrisome to the public and to concerned scientists alike. According to Rebecca Slayton, a lecturer in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford, there's some hope: Science gives experts an important, albeit limited, space for influencing public decisions.

Slayton will make her case Feb.

A robotic therapy device may help people regain strength and normal use of affected hands long after a stroke, according to a University of California, Irvine study.

Stroke patients with impaired hand use reported improved ability to grasp and release objects after therapy sessions using the Hand-Wrist Assisting Robotic Device (HOWARD). Each patient had at least moderate residual weakness and reduced function of the right hand, although the affected hands were neither totally paralyzed nor unable to feel.

Scientists using data from the HRSC experiment onboard ESA's Mars Express spacecraft have produced the first 'hiker's maps' of Mars. Giving detailed height contours and names of geological features in the Iani Chaos region, the maps could become a standard reference for future Martian research. The maps are known as topographic maps because they use contour lines to show the heights of the landscape.


This image of Mars taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA's Mars Express outlines the scales (1:200 000, 1:100 000 and 1:50 000) of the series of topographic maps of the planet's surface that can be realized thanks to HRSC data.

The February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science points to several studies that indicate facial composite systems produce a poor likeness of the intended face. In one particular study, only 2.8 percent of participants correctly named a well-known celebrity that had been created by other participants using the face-composite software.

Dynamic face recognition may be one of the last frontiers for quantifying why some of our simplest brain functions have difficulty being matched by computers.

As a kid, when computers were more basic, it was easy to see the differences between my brain and the power of a computer. When I played baseball I knew the instant the ball was hit whether I had to run back or forward.

Whether in the form of sensors in the refrigerator which automatically order more milk or in the car sounding an alarm when the driver starts to become drowsy, "Ambient Intelligence" is the next computer technology revolution. But networked objects equipped with intelligence will only be able to establish themselves if they take proper consideration of users' misgivings, in particular with regard to data protection.

The mention of facial composites often conjures up images of a sinister criminal, skillfully depicted by a sketch artist using pencil and paper. In reality, the vast majority of law enforcement agencies use mechanized methods, usually computer software, when creating facial composite. By having a vast repertoire of eyes, ears, hair and so on at their disposal, witnesses have the ability to create an image that ideally encompasses all of the features of the perpetrator. So have these technological advances improved our ability to identify and apprehend criminals?