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July 17 2024


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Star Trek Science Comes Closer To Reality

By Michelle
April 19, 2006 - 10:57 PM

Hot on the heels of a recent report of the development of a sort of holodeck for astronomers (story), two other forms of technology made popular by Star Trek are said to be closer to becoming reality.

Newsfactor Magazine Online stated that scientists are using a beam of light with similarities to Star Trek's tractor beam to trap protein molecules, a technique developed to allow the separation and analysis of proteins in DNA, among other things.

The technique, photoelectrophoretic localization and transport, was developed by scientists at Protein Discovery and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "It's kind of like a tractor beam in 'Star Trek,' but this is science, not science fiction," said California Institute of Technology professor Nathan Lewis, who co-authored the study. via Yahoo! reported that scientists are working on developing a form of synthehol - Star Trek: The Next Generation's hangover-free alcohol substitute.

Psychopharmacologist David Nutt of the University of Bristol explained that because alcohol affects the brain mainly by latching onto signalling molecules, it should be possible to develop a form of alcohol that binds only to weak subtypes of the molecules, maintaining the pleasant effects of alcohol without nausea or headaches. Nutt also believes that cirrhosis of the liver could be eliminated if the alcoholic composition is altered.

And The Christian Science Monitor noted the development of a form of microtechnology that tries to mimic the way molecules work in nature. "It's a technological trajectory in which the components become so small that extremely complex devices - say, a Star Trek-like tricorder - may not be too far away."

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