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Citizen Science: Gamers beat scientists to protein structure

Foresight Update 24.10—October 7, 2011
ISSN 1078-9731

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Nanotechnology using designed peptides to build supramolecular structures on surfaces

The use of proteins to build artificial supramolecular nanostructures has advanced with the development by a team at the University of Pennsylvania of a computational method to design peptides that will self-organize into specific supramolecular structures on a given surface. …

Nanotechnology for heart repair advances

In a major advance for the application of nanotechnology and tissue engineering to repair hearts suffering severe damage from a heart attack or coronary artery disease, gold nanowires added during the preparation of a tissue patch produced better, more functional heart patches. …

Engineered bacteria provide new tool for nanotechnology protein design

Early in the evolution of thinking about protein engineering as a path toward advanced nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing, it was suggested that the road to designing proteins that would fold predictably would be made easier if it were possible to incorporate into proteins amino acids other than the twenty that naturally occur in biological systems. Early efforts were largely limited to chemically synthesized peptides. Efforts to trick biological systems into incorporating unnatural amino acid were limited to an occasional replacement. Now researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have succeeded in creating bacteria that efficiently incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins at multiple sites. …

New electron diffraction method for nanotechnology determines nanostrucutres in days instead of years

An important component of progress in designing and making molecular machines and other nanostructures is a quick way to see the structures that have been produced. With quick feedback, rapid cycles of design-fabricate-test-redesign can be implemented. X-ray crystallography is the gold standard method of obtaining atomically precise structures from materials that can be prepared as micrometer scale crystals and larger. Now an international research collaboration centered in Germany has developed a method of automated electron diffraction tomography to give atomically precise information about nanostructures. …

"Nano Techno" rap song lures kids to learn about nanotech

Over at A New York Hall of Science staffer has made a rap video to introduce kids (and probably quite a few adults) to the basics of nanotech. The refrain will help them remember the definition of a nanometer, and the Foresight message comes through: "But with great power comes great responsibility!" …

Gamers, citizen science, and protein structures (Video link)

From the beginning, protein design has played a key role in proposals for developing advanced nanotechnology, or molecular manufacturing … Designing proteins and predicting protein structure from sequence are both very difficult problems of immense importance to both biotechnologists and nanotechnologists. One novel approach is an online game called Foldit. Foldit players work to predict the structure of protein molecules of unknown structure and have now succeeded where scientists have failed. …

Mechanical force splits molecule that cannot otherwise be split

A major feature of advanced nanotechnology will be precise mechanical control of how molecules and molecular fragments react, thus forming a desired product and eliminating the possible occurrence of unwanted side reactions. … scientists have now demonstrated that mechanical force, in this case pulling caused by ultrasound, can cause unique reactions that cannot be made to occur using non-specific means such as heat and light. …

Report on Fourth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence published

H+ Magazine has a report by Ben Goertzel on the Fourth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence …

Electric motor made from a single molecule (video)

Recent research progress with synthetic molecular machines continues with a news release from Tufts University reporting "World's smallest electric motor made from a single molecule" …

—Nanodot posts by James Lewis and Christine Peterson

Foresight Events – Lectures

Panel: Tour of the Human Condition-Life
January 19, 2012
Palo Alto, California

Christine Peterson will be a panelist for the "Life" panel of "An Interdisciplinary Tour of the Human Condition in Three Stages: Time, Life, and Mind".

Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

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Singularity Summit 2011
October 15-16, 2011
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October 14 2011
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The Open Science Summit brings together researchers, life science industry professionals, students, patients and other stakeholders to discuss the future of collaborative science and innovation.
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IPAS 2012
February 12-15 2012
Chamonix, France

The aim of the Sixth International Precision Assembly Seminar is to discuss the rapidly evolving field of micro-assembly, including the development of microfactories and microsystem fabrication.

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