Friday, November 16, 2007

Crazy Science Shit

Molecular 'amplifier' boosts DNA computing

DNA-based computing just got a big boost. A method of amplifying weak chemical signals in a way that can be tailored to specific molecules has brought DNA-based circuits closer to practical applications.

Machine made of electricity and microbes

MECs are modified versions of microbial fuel cells, which are used to harvest electrons produced by metabolising microbes as they feed to generate electricity. The electrochemical reactions are balanced when the used electrons are combined oxygen and hydrogen ions also released by the microbes to form water.

Logan's MECs are like microbial fuel cells in reverse. Instead of charge being drawn out, it is pumped in, and the hydrogen ions combine with electrons alone to form hydrogen gas. Applying roughly 0.5 volts provides enough energy to drive thermodynamically unlikely chemical reactions that break down the dead-end products that limited previous attempts to ferment hydrogen.

Water-gathering machine based on spider webs

A portable dew-harvesting kit inspired by a spider's web is being developed by Israeli architects for use in areas where clean and safe water is scarce.

Reading mind of paralyzed guy

Electrodes have been implanted in the brain of Eric Ramsay, who has been "locked in" - conscious but paralysed - since a car crash eight years ago.

These have been recording pulses in areas of the brain involved in speech.

Now, New Scientist magazine reports, they are to use the signals he generates to drive speech software.

Scientists designing reality wormholes

[They] came up with the idea by building on the mathematical theory that gave us the invisibility cloak - a device that was realized for microwaves last year. Whereas in an invisibility cloak rays of light are guided around a cylindrical or spherical volume like water flowing around a stone, a wormhole would have light guided around a more elaborate, tubular shape.

From I&T