Technology

IBM sees energy, money in motion of the ocean

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 31, 2011   View Article

The computer giant IBM sees a profitable future in high-tech analytical tools that could expedite and enhance the rollout of machines to turn the motion of the ocean into electricity.

Such machines, called wave energy converters, are under development around the world as a means to tap what appears to be a clean, green source of renewable energy — wave power.

Science fair projects with buzz

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 19, 2011   View Article

What do a self-balancing trike, an emergency water filtration system and a virtual cane that senses obstacles such as overhangs and branches have in common?

>They’re all inventions found in the musty halls of high school science fairs, only these projects have some oomph behind them in the form of funding and mentors that could make them a hit in the real world.

Gov’t picks tech to incubate

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 6, 2011   View Article

A web app that will ease the decision-making process and a hand-held device that sniffs out bombs are among the first crop of potential products from a program that aims to turn basic science research into marketplace successes.

A total of 21 awards were handed out today to the inaugural class of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, or I—Corps, a public-private program that was announced this July to help researchers make the leap to entrepreneurship.

Taxicab data helps ease traffic

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 29, 2011   View Article

Traffic blows. It’s unhealthy and a waste of time. It is also a fact of life in almost every major city around the world, especially in fast-developing China whereas many as 20 million rural farmers migrate to the cities each year looking for jobs and a better life.

To help urban planners determine where to build new roads, subways, skyscrapers and shopping malls to absorb their new residents, researchers are turning to data collected by GPS systems in taxicabs.

Glowing bacteria encrypt codes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 28, 2011   View Article

Scientists are tweaking bacteria to send encrypted messages that can be shipped via snail mail on sheets of paper-like material called nitrocellulose.

The recipient grows the bacteria with a select cocktail of nutrients and other chemicals. Once grown, each microbe glows one of seven colors when exposed to the right kind of light. Different colored microbes are arranged to represent different letters and symbols. If you know the nutrient and chemical cocktail as well as the keys to the code, you can decipher the message.

Technologist wins ‘genius’ award for sensor tech

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 20, 2011   View Article

Your credit card bill tells you how much you spent on gas last Tuesday, groceries on Wednesday, and football tickets on Friday night. Wouldn’t it be helpful if your electric bill did something similar?

This isn’t pie in the sky for Shwetak Patel, a 29-year-old technologist who received a $500,000 “genius” grant Tuesday for his work on inexpensive and easy-to-deploy sensors that can make our lives more efficient and enjoyable.

Laser detects roadside bombs

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 19, 2011   View Article

Lab scientists are pitching a new high-tech laser that is able to detect roadside bombs before they explode, potentially thwarting the deadliest weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs, account for 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths, according to NATO figures. Finding a way to improve on — or at least replace — bomb sniffing dogs is therefore a priority abroad and at home.

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