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Robotics

A Robot To Destroy Breast Cancer Cells 81

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Maryland are developing a robot able to detect and destroy breast cancer cells in a single session. After a tumor is located on an MRI, the robot will perform a biopsy of the breast while the patient is inside the scanner. 'If the biopsy displays cancerous cells, the robot will then insert a probe into the breast until it reaches the tumor. The probe will then burn the cancer cells until they are destroyed.' This looks great, but the researchers have only built a prototype. After they refine this robot, they'll need to go through clinical trials and obtain FDA approval. So this is not a robot that will appear on the medical market before several years."
Graphics

Massively Parallel X-Ray Holography 41

Roland Piquepaille writes "An international group of scientists has produced some of the sharpest x-ray holograms of microscopic objects ever made. According to one of them, they improved the efficiency of holography by a factor of 2,500. In order to achieve these spectacular results, they put a uniformly redundant array next to the object to image. And they found that this parallel approach multiplied 'the efficiency of X-ray Fourier transform holography by more than three orders of magnitude, approaching that of a perfect lens.' Besides these impressive achievements, it's worth noting that this technology has been inspired by the pinhole camera, a technique used by ancient Greeks. 'By knowing the precise layout of a pinhole array, including the different sizes of the different pinholes, a computer can recover a bright, high-resolution image numerically.'"
Technology

The First Paper-Based Transistors 177

Roland Piquepaille found news of research out of Portugal that has resulted in the first paper-based transistors (the original article is less informative than Roland's blog). More precisely, they've made the first field effect transistors (FET) with a paper interstrate layer. According to the research team, such transistors offer the same level of performance as 'state-of-the-art, oxide-based thin film transistors produced on glass or crystalline silicon substrates.' Possible applications include disposable electronics devices, such as paper displays, smart labels, bio-applications or RFID tags. The research will be published in IEEE Electron Device Letters in September.
Input Devices

Ready for a CyberWalk? 69

Roland Piquepaille writes "Even with recent improvements in virtual reality technology, it's still almost impossible to physically walk through virtual environments. Now, European researchers have started a project named CyberWalk and they'll demonstrate next week their omni-directional treadmill, named CyberCarpet. According to ICT Results, the researchers 'had to address five key issues: providing a surface to walk on, controlling the surface in a way that minimized forces on the user, developing a non-intrusive tracking system, displaying a high-quality visualization, and ensuring a natural human perception of the virtual environment.' The researchers think that their new virtual environments would be used by architects and the gaming industry." Additional details are also available via the project website.
Power

Interconnecting Wind Farms To Smooth Power Production 112

Roland Piquepaille writes "Wind power is one of the world's fastest growing electric energy sources, but as wind is intermittent, a single wind farm cannot deliver a steady amount of energy. This is why scientists at Stanford University want to connect wind farms to develop a cheaper and more reliable power source. Interconnecting wind farms with a transmission grid should reduce the power swings caused by wind variability and provide a somewhat constant and reliable electric power (or 'baseload' power) provided by other power plants."

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