David Kirkpatrick

July 8, 2008

Medical nanotech, picowatt processor and a 400 gig disc

From KurzweilAI.net — nanosensors that constantly monitor patient’s blood markers, here’s a tiny picowatt processor and a 16-layer, 400 gigabyte optical disc from Pioneer.

Nanosensors for Medical Monitoring
Technology Review, July 8, 2008Vista Therapeutics is developing sensitive devices for continuous bedside monitoring of blood biomarkers for detecting organ failure and other problems in seriously injured or ill patients, such as those in the ICU after suffering a heart attack or traumatic injuries from a car accident.The devices use silicon nanowires developed by Harvard University chemist Charles Lieber. When a single protein binds to an antibody along the wire, the current flowing through the wire changes. Arrays of hundreds of nanowires, each designed to detect a different molecule in the same sample, can be arranged on tiny, inexpensive chips. The changes can be monitored continuously as molecules bind and unbind, making it possible to detect subtle trends over time, without requiring multiple blood draws.

Because nanowires are so sensitive and inexpensive, they could also find their way into home tests for cancer.

 
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A Picowatt Processor
Technology Review, July 8, 2008University of Michigan have made a processor (the Phoenix) that measures just one millimeter square with a power consumption so low (2.8 picojoules of energy per computing cycle) that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more.At this scale, it could be feasible to build the chip into a thick contact lens and use it to monitor pressure in the eye, which would be useful for glaucoma detection. It could also be implanted under the skin to sense glucose levels in subcutaneous fluid. It could also be used in environmental sensors that monitor pollution, or structural health sensors, for instance.

 
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Pioneer Develops World’s First 16-Layer Optical Disc
PhysOrg.com, July 7, 2008Pioneer Corporation has developed a 16-layer read-only optical disc with a capacity of 400 gigabytes.
 
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