from the not-yet-a-tri-corder dept.
Gina Miller writes "The Chicago Sun Times Nanotech leading to diagnoses by handheld reports that Northwestern University's Institute for Nanotechnology in collaboration with Nanosphere Inc. are in the midst of developing a hand held device based on nanoparticles, that could give instant diagnosis via bodily fluids. The device is based on nanoparticles that exibit color which along with genetic markers of DNA could together turn diagnosis into color coding detection. The chip that will go on the inside of the handheld, is being developed by Nanosphere Inc. The article also discusses another company, NanoInk and how their work with dip-pen nanolithography could pertain to the color coding aspect by allowing the chip to sample specific sequences in the DNA that the gold particles have color-coded."
Archive for July, 2002
from the not-yet-a-tri-corder dept.
The New York Times has an extensive article ("Even for the Last .400 Hitter, Cryonics Is the Longest Shot", by M. Janofsky, 9 July 2002) on the controversy sparked by the cryonic suspension of baseball great Ted Williams at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation facility in Arizona:
Sent here by his son, Williams, the Boston Red Sox slugger who died last week at 83, has become the 50th — and by far the most famous — "patient" at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which preserves bodies in the hope that breakthroughs in medical science will someday make it possible to resuscitate them.
The article notes: "All of this has elevated the profile of Alcor and its president and chief executive, Dr. Jerry B. Lemler. Since the weekend, when reporters indicated that Williams's body was being sent here, the phones have rung incessantly and the Alcor Web site, www.alcor.org, has been clogged with visitors, said Dr. Lemler, a lifelong Yankees fan from New Rochelle, N.Y."
"This has raised public awareness about cryonics and about Alcor," Dr. Lemler said. "We're under scrutiny like never before, and we welcome it. We were anxious for so many years to be able to state our philosophies, our goals, our convictions, as well as our prices and our disclaimers."
Gina Miller writes "AsiaBizTech reports: Singapore Backs Nanotechnology Business . Singapore's government is looking to move forward with nanotechnology promotion that would impliment disk storage and biological fields by cooperating with overseas bodies such as Japan. Although their budget is smaller than the U.S. and Japan, today it stands at S$65 million, larger than all previous nanotech budgets. In January of 2002, the National University of Singapore Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Initiative (NUSNNI) was established. Since that time Singapore has set up the Institute of Bioengineering, began began joint research with a U.S. venture, SurroMed Inc., in nanobiology and expected to announce further venture projects."
Gina Miller writes "The Gainesville Sun.com has an article: UF team thinking small for treatments . The Sun medical staff writer, reports that the University of Florida are developing "nanopharmaceuticals" and believe these drug-binding molecules to have great potential for drug transport to even the tiniest capillaries in the human body. The work is currently focused on drug overdose situations, in which these molecules could easily bind to the invader drug to reduce toxic effects. Dr. Donn Dennis, professor of anesthesiology and medical director of the research project states "Let's say you have a specific type of cancer cell in the bloodstream and want to get a chemotherapeutic agent to attack it. This technology has the potential to deliver that drug only to the inside of the cells that are cancerous. You would avoid all the side effects of the cancer drugs, which can make every organ in the body sick." Dennis says about nanotechnology "It has major implications not only in medicine, but in food production, energy production, and other fundamental problems that we face as the world's population continues to increase.""
JohnFaith writes "High Lift Systems will be sponsoring a conference in Seattle on implementing a carbon tether space elevator: http://www.confcon.com/sp_elev_02/sp_elev_02.html. There's also a story in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/13 4489679_spaceelevator08m.html. This type of application has been mentioned in various nanotech books, so it will be interesting to see if the conference will mention molecular machines as a way to build these structures."
If several of today's leading scientific disciplines can overcome barriers to working cooperatively, within a couple of decades their efforts could produce concepts currently confined to science fiction, such as direct brain-to-brain communication, a National Science Foundation report released Monday predicts.
This article points out that the convergence of nano-, bio-, information technology and cognitive science could usher in a golden age for humanity. The 387 page pre-pub report goes in to much greater detail.
See the full report [a pre-publication on-line version]: Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance"
Gina Miller writes "Tim Harper has written a feature in the July 2002 issue of Business 2.0, Small Wonders, covering the advent of nanotechnology. He writes "What's the real story? Simply this: What is happening in nanotech is indeed revolutionary, but it's happening on a level far removed from products and markets. It's happening on the level of a fundamental understanding of how the universe operates at the scale of atoms and molecules, where Mother Nature does some of her most clever work. Some of the world's top scientists, in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics that are traditionally seen as separate, are focusing on the field. With this will come an explosion of discovery, encouraged by government funding — $2 billion worldwide this year — unseen since the Apollo space program." The article describes current nanotech products and those that will arrive in the coming years."
Gina Miller writes "Guardian Unlimited Observer has a commentary, We should look forward to the future (30 June 2002) by Charles Leadbeater. The author discusses the fears of future technologies, how it is provoked by certain publications, and how with previous advances there was also fear of those things that now seem mundane. In summary he says: "Science may bring new genetic risks but also new energy sources, cures for disease, ways of growing food, opportunities for communication, cultural expression and democratic debate. The future will be messy and complex, disappointing and surprising, but we should not fear it so much that we seek, Canute-like, to keep it forever at bay." "
waynerad writes "Some physicists are proposing using a quantum computer to simulate quantum systems, which are intractable to simulate on a classical computer. This would be huge big breakthrough for figuring out the chemistry involved in assembling large devices atom-by-atom, it seems to me. If, of course, these quantum computers can actually be built. The preprint is here.
'Simulating reality is hard task. The combined computer power of the planet still couldn't run a full simulation of simple quantum systems. However, quantum computers could efficiently simulate other quantum systems. This, in fact, was the original motivation for Richard Feynman to propose such a device as a quantum computer in the 1980s. A quantum device that runs a perfect virtual reality simulation is just a form of a quantum computer but specific things must be taken into account in the design, different from a quantum computer to factor large numbers or run other applications. The authors propose some designs for quantum simulators and point out that such a tool would be invaluable in studying new material designs, especially for new superconductors and magnets. '"
Mr_Farlops writes "In something of a reprise of earlier work involving silica nanotubes, scientists at UC Davis have developed a switchable polycarbonate membrane etched with tiny, evenly-sized pores. The pores, only 10 nanometers across, are lined with a thin layer of gold and then with another layer of oily molecules called thiols. The thiols spontaneously assemble into a switchable membrane that can be opened or closed according to the acidity of the solution on one side or the other of the membrane. The researchers envision the use of these membranes in microscopic "labs-on-a-chip," inexpensive sorting of catalysts and enzymes or in the controlled release of tiny quantities of drugs."
Eucomed Medical Technology, a trade organization based in Brussels, Belgium that ìrepresents the interests of the majority of the non-pharmaceutical European medical technology industryî, has a lengthy article ("Exploring the incredibly small") in its Medical Technology Focus newsletter (Issue 14, July/August 2002) devoted to the implications of nanotechnology in the medical field, particularly advanced nanorobotic devices.
Gina Miller writes "Physical Review Focus has a story: Splitting Up Cooper Pairs July 15, 2002. Smitha Vishveshwara and coworkers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have claimed in the 15 July print issue of PRL to have come up with a solution for separation of the problematic Cooper pairs of joined electrons in superconductors. Using electrons with different ground states to produce quantum entanglement instead of insulation tunneling, which is the usual technique, but doesn't break the pairs, the group is opting for the electronic structure of the carbon nanotube. These new conditions, which produce Luttinger liquid, effectively split the Cooper pairs."
A pair of articles from United Press International by UPI correspondent Scott Burnell describe interesting presentations by NASA officials at the NanoSpace 2002 conference:
- "Federal tech transfer turns to nanotech (27 June 2002) reports that "National laboratories and federal entities such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are paying more attention to nanotechnology as they look to commercialize ongoing research . . . Sandia National Laboratories, in Livermore, Calif., is even creating a Center for Integrated Nanotechnology to focus its efforts, said Mark Allen, a manager in the lab's technology commercialization office. The center would have facilities at both Sandia and at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico, he told a session at the NanoSpace 2002 conference.
"We're trying to create a 'mega user facility' that will be attractive to industry, universities and other potential collaborators," Allen said. "We'll have major projects funded by the Department of Energy, but we will also be seeking partnerships … where we can achieve better results for all parties."
- "Nanotech could turn planes into birds" (29 June 2002) deals with more speculative applications of nanotech to aerospace engineering: "Darrel Tenney, director of the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology Program Office at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., understands how nanotechnology . . . can yield the lightweight, strong materials necessary for next-generation airplanes. He leads $100 million worth of basic investigations into advanced research topics, including advanced vehicle concepts, aeromechanics of highly maneuverable vehicles and noise reduction."
"Because of the tremendous potential for strength and stiffness, far exceeding the best graphite fibers we have today, we're obviously interested in (nanotech) from a structural materials application, to see if we can use that to take weight out (of aircraft designs)," Tenney said. "We know it's in its infancy in terms of mechanical properties, and whether or not we ever get there is a big question. It's a high-risk area and that's why it's legitimate for government to be investing in it."
Earlier UPI articles about presentations given at the NanoSpace 2002 conference were noted in a Nanodot post from 26 June 2002.
Gina Miller writes "U.S., Russian Nanotechnology Finally Come in From the Cold by Jayne Fried on the Small Times web site reports on recent and coming meetings that showcase US-Russian cooperation and the role of Russian scientists and companies in developing nanotechnology. Quoting Mark Modzelewski, founder of the NanoBusiness Alliance, "Russia is definitely one of the five global leaders in nanotech, along with the United States, China, Japan, and Switzerland."
Gina Miller writes "In Patently Absurd on Forbes ASAP, lawyer Gary L. Reback argues for change in the way the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office operates. He says, "The patent as stimulant to invention has long since given way to the patent as blunt instrument for establishing an innovation stranglehold." These abuses of the patent system put "vast sectors of the economy off-limits to competition, without any corresponding benefit to the public." Reback attributes the excesses of the past 20 years in large part to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeing its job as generating revenue for the government through patent fees rather than optimally balancing incentive and competition for the benefit of the economy."