While the ECG machine, whose steady beep and jagged line TV medical dramas long ago planted into the popular imagination, remains the most common method for monitoring heart activity, a new device promises to bring that same reliability, but with a much higher resolution. And unlike the ECG, this new device doesn't measure the electrical impulses flowing through the heart, but the magnetic field created by it.
The same subtle, random movements, bouncing shadows, and immense complexity that make plants fascinating to observe in life also make them hell to animate. Like water and fire, a rustling tree is one of the hardest things for a computer animator to realistically render. Thankfully, a new computer program can design realistic trees by watching and copying video of real ones, saving animators plenty of time and money.
With the need for a cheap and abundant alternative to fossils fuels more important than ever before, the field of fusion energy is getting hotter. Really, really hot. 6 million degrees hot. Yes, the National Ignition Facility, the Department of Energy's pet fusion project, has finally fired up its 192 lasers and zapped something, moving us one step closer to the day of clean, nearly free, fusion energy.
The World Health Organization estimates that around one sixth of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Since those billion people are also the poorest people in the world, water purification techniques need to be cheap to help those most in need. Since it activates under plain visible light, this new water-purifying photocatalyst may help bring purer water to the world's neediest people.
Not sure what to get your favorite Saudi prince or former FEMA chief for their next birthday? Well, look no further than an affordable genetic test for their prize horse. According to a new paper in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), scientists have identified the gene that allows faster running in horses, along with the different alleles that specialize the horse at short, medium, or long distance racing.
Over the last two weeks, China and the US have engaged in a round of diplomatic sparring over attacks against Google. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that China investigate the attacks, while China accused the US of having a hacking double standard, and of using the Internet to foment revolution in Iran. In the ensuing back and forth, Google pulled its operations out of China, and criticized the Chinese government for censoring search results.
For years, scientists have attempted to construct new bacterial genomes from scratch, in the hope of genetically engineering a microbe that produces biofuels or drugs. Turns out, they've been doing it the hard way. A new study finds that editing existing genomes down to only the desired genes works far better than creating new genomes from the ground up.
Computer intelligence is getting more human every day. They solve problems like humans, they communicate like humans, and now, they're ruining the world's financial markets just like humans. NYSE Euronext, the trans-Atlantic regulatory body that monitors stock trading, has fined Credit Suisse's trading division for failing to monitor a computer trading algorithm that misconducted hundreds of thousands of stock transactions.
This week, scientists from around the globe converge on Cambridge University in England to discuss mankind's relationship with intelligent life from beyond the stars. So far, the news is not promising.
As if having trouble conceiving a child wasn't painful enough, the current method of male fertility testing adds to that misery with multiple trips to the doctor, awkward moments in sterile rooms, and lengthy waits while lab technicians painstakingly count out individual sperm. A newly developed chip may change that, and provide a fast, at-home method for anyone to test their sperm count.
In 2006, Anthony Atala conducted a routine organ transplant. Well, the procedure was ordinary, but the organ being transplanted was anything but. The organ wasn't donated by another person, but grown in the lab by Atala and his colleagues. This feat landed Atala on our Best Of What's New 2006 list. Now, in a new TED talk, Atala goes into detail about his work, explaining how they grow the organs, and what he's working on now.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.