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     Volume 4 Issue 53 | July 15, 2005 |

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Japanese robotics venture Speecys CEO Tomoaki Kasuga displays the world's first fueled cell battery powered humanoid robot "Speecys-FC", at 50 cm tall and 4.2 kg in weight, equipped with five fuel cell stacks, two on each arms and one on its back for emergency and hydrogen storage alloy on its head in Tokyo. The Speecys will be put on the market next month with a price of 2.62 million yen (24,000 USD). "
A Japanese girl wears a full colour head mount display (HMD) with a built-in CMOS camera as Japan's machinery maker Hitachi Zosen and Shimadzu unveils the new wearable computer, which consists of the HMD and a palm sized Windows XP PC with a pointing device at a virtual reality exhibition in Tokyo.

Microbes' Conductive Side
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered that microbes can produce tiny electrical wires. This breakthrough helps describe how micro-organisms can clean up groundwater and produce electricity from renewable resources. It may also have applications in the emerging field of nano-technology, which develops advanced materials and devices in extremely small dimensions. Researchers found that the conductive structures, known as microbial nano-wires, are produced by a novel micro-organism known as Geobacter. The nano-wires are incredibly fine, 3-5 nano-metres in width -- 20,000 times finer than a human hair but quite durable and more than 1,000 times longer than their width.

What to do during a Chemical Event!
Staying inside one's home may be more appropriate than evacuation for local residents close to chemical air pollution incidents, a British study found. University of Bristol researchers compared the health effects of staying home and evacuating for the local population during a fire at a Devon plastics factory which resulted in hazardous chemicals released into the air. For the first six hours of the event, many of the local residents were evacuated but then officials decided that remaining residents should stay in their homes. The study was based on a health survey involving 1,096 residents in the town, 797 of whom stayed home and 299 evacuated. The evacuated group had almost twice as many cases of respiratory illness as compared with those in the sheltered group -- 19.7 percent compared to 9.5 percent. The authors said the study has several limitations, including a lack of data on whether the level and nature of the smoke exposure could have been different between the groups.

Lost and Found
Pet owners can hope to find their lost animals using a new collar beacon developed by scientists that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals to locate them. The GlobalPetFinder device is about the size of a large wristwatch and weighs 0.15 kg, reports New Scientist.com. It clips discreetly on to a pet's collar and reports GPS satellite signals back to the animal's owner via a cellular phone network. Owners can find out the precise position of their pooch at any time, by sending a cellphone text message containing "F-O-U-N-D" to a special number. The transmitter also lets them create a virtual fence around their beloved pet and will automatically send alerts when the animal strays outside the invisible boundary. It can even be used to monitor a pet's well- being, by tracking the surrounding temperature. GPS receivers calculate their position using signals broadcast from several orbiting satellites, with a precise timestamp.

Alternative to Pot??
Canada has approved a legal spray alternative to medical marijuana for patients of multiple sclerosis (MS) but its use in the United States may be years away. MS patients with constant pain in Canada can get a prescription for Sativex, a drug derived from the marijuana plant. The under-the-tongue spray, approved only in Canada, is one of several emerging alternatives to smoking pot for medical relief. People... who don't want to break the law will use the spray, said Harvard University's Lester Grinspoon, an advocate of legalising merijuana use. They're elevating the debate on medical marijuana. Tom Riley with the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the Bush administration, which opposes medical pot use, would welcome alternatives that are scientifically proved to be safe and effective.

Source: Webindia123, NewScientist and Wired

Compiled by: Imran H. Khan

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