Archive for April, 2014

Nano Robot That Plays Doctor Inside Your Body

In one of Issac Asimov’s short stories there is a tale of a robot that is shrunk to a small size and made to enter the human body. The robot then proceeds to conduct a surgery from the inside of the patient and is eventually expelled into space from the nose, exiting the human body. It made for excellent reading, but today it may just be all coming true.

So far any nanodevice launched in to the blood stream would be not allowed to survive long enough to do anything inside the body. At the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard scientists have created the first cloaked DNA nanodevice that can survive the body’s immune defense system.

This now opens up the doorway to producing smart DNA nanorobots that can play doctor inside your body.These smart creatures will be able to identify cancerous growth and manufacture medicine to cure it. They could examine what the human being eats and drinks and identify any toxins present, then isolate them to dispose off later.

They could find and cripple pathogens instantly and do a lot more. The surgery conducting robot may not be available next year, but with more science projects based on DNA nanodevices it may just be a reality in the not too distant future.




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New Moon for Saturn

The Cassini space craft has been sending back some rather interesting images to NASA scientists. Some believe that it may just have documented the birth of a new moon for the planet Saturn. The images show a small icy object within the rings of the planet which is 20percent brighter than the surrounding area.

The object which is barely half a mile in radius is positioned at the outermost ring and believed to be the cause of an arc of disturbance in the ring measuring 750 miles long and 6 miles wide. The unidentified object has been informally dubbed Peggy and its formation and outward movement aids in our understanding of how Saturn’s icy moons may have formed in more massive rings long ago.

The most famous of  the moons being the cloud-wrapped Titan and ocean-holding Enceladu were probaly formed from the more robust ring structures around the planet in the ancient past. While Peggy may not have enough material in the rings to actually grow to a full sized moon it provided valuable insight in to how the planets formed and moved away from the sun. It really aids in the science project to understand just how the solar system was formed.

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A brand new Earth?

There has been an ongoing search to answer the question, “Are we alone in this huge universe?”. When the first exoplanet was found in 1996 there was considerable excitement amongst the astronomers who hoped to find life on another planet. The recent discovery of Kepler-186f has added to this excitement.

Although not quite Earth 2.0 the planet is rocky and has the right distance from its sun to harbor liquid water. This as we all know, is the first step to potentially generating life. The planet orbits a sun that is half the size of ours and much cooler besides. However it does prove that Earth like planets do exist in the habitable zone in other solar systems.

The habitable zone refers to the distance from the sun of the solar system in which planets can comfortably hold liquid water. The liquid water is what forms the primordial soup from which the first single cellular organisms are formed under drastic chemical reactions.

While we may not be looking at ET as yet in the Kepler system, it is comforting to know that there are other planets that humankind could migrate to in the distant future. Now that would be an exciting science project to undertake.

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The Drone that Hacked Your Phone

Is that drone spying on you? The security hazard of the future is already here! A new quadcopter drone has the ability to connect with smart phones and steal personal personal data. Snoopy, as the drone has been aptly named, is able to exploit smartphone handsets that are looking for available wi-fi signals.

Snoopy was developed by a security company based in UK and South Africa. Essentially it impersonates the previously used networks that a smart phone has connected to. Once the user logs on to the impersonated network, the rogue operator can gain access to all the information stored on the phone.

This includes the entire phone book, saved passwords for Facebook, email, other social networking site and worst of all any banking details still in the history of the phone.  Needless to say the loss of data could cause significant problems for the smart phone owner. The software that steals the data has been available for sometime, however the technology of the drone used to implement it is new.

Snoopy was revealed in the recent Black Hat security conference in Singapore. Needless to say it has given smart phone manufacturers a great deal to think about. Now they will need a massive science project aimed at protecting their smartphones from Snoopy and its ilk.

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Train on a Skycraper?

Imagine a train in your local metro running down he rail tracks and then suddenly instead of going horizontal, the train changes to a vertical track and runs up a skyscraper! Does that sound like a scene out of a science fiction movie? Well it may be reality by the year 2075.

With limited space available in most urban areas there is a lot of pressure on the availability of land. Most city planners find it difficult to carve out the area required for railway stations. This is what led to the radical proposal of a vertical train that will climb up skyscrapers. The station will be located within the building saving space.

The train would work horizontal like a traditional train and as it went vertical the carriages would pivot rather like a Ferris Wheel to keep the passengers on an even keel. The futuristic project called “Hyper Speed Vertical Train Hub” would prove a major blessing for metros in crowded cities of the future.

The proposal was made by London residents Christopher Christophi and Lucas Mazarrasa. It got an honorable mention in the 2014 e Volo Skyscraper competition. The actual building of these trains of the future running up buildings will be a challenging science project to take on.


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