DNA based semiconductor technology developed

Professor Park Hyun Gyu’s research team from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST has successfully implemented all logic gates using DNA, a feat that led the research to be published as the cover paper for the international nanotechnology paper Small.

For this research, the team used the specific binding properties of DNA, which forms its helix-shape, and a circular molecular beacon that has fluorescent signaling properties under structural changes. The research team used input signals to open and close the circular DNA, the same principle that is applied to logic gates in digital circuits. The output signal was measured using the increase and decrease of the fluorescent signal from the molecular beacon due to the opening and closing of the circular DNA respectively.

The team overcame the limited system problems of the existing logic gates and managed to implement all 8 logic gates (AND, OR, XOR, INHIBIT, NAND, NOR, XNOR, IMPlCATION). A multilevel circuit that connects different logic gates was also tested to show its regenerative properties.

For full article see KAIST.


Scientists aim to start stem cell therapy of Alzheimer’s by 2016

A team of Korean scientists are striving to develop a stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease by 2016 based on their latest discovery of how to grapple with the degenerative illness.  The team, led by professor Suh Yoo-hun at Seoul National University and RNL Stem Cell Research Institute head Ra Jeong-chan, said that their findings will open a new door to conquering Alzheimer’s disease.

“When we started experiments of injecting fat-derived human adult stem cells into mice with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago, we were skeptical. But we were surprised to learn that they substantially improved,’’ Suh said in a press conference. “As far as cognitive functions are concerned, the mice nearly recovered to normal. In addition, we discovered that the adult stem cells have preventive effects on potential sufferers of Alzheimer’s.’’

Encouraged by the positive results of the animal tests, Suh’s team applied for an approval on clinical tests on human patients.

For full article see Korea Times.

KT selected as operator of pilot project for setting up EV recharging system

South Korean mobile carrier KT announced Thursday that it has been chosen as an operator of the state-run Korean Environment Corporation’s (KECO’s) pilot project for establishing a comprehensive information system for electric vehicle (EV) recharging infrastructure nationwide.

KT plans to develop the comprehensive information system using such technologies as radio frequency identification (RFID), machine to machine (M2M), wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA), and the credit card payment system, and set up the system at the KECO by the end of this year.

KT was selected as the KECO’s pilot project operator as it has been accumulating extensive experiences and technologies in the EV-related sector. Earlier, KT had participated in Jeju Smart Grid Test-bed project, Seoul City’s EV sharing service enterprise, and the KECO’s project for providing wireless communications circuits and communication terminal equipment for EV rechargers.

For full article see Maeil Business.

Plugging the gap in an emerging market: electric vehicle

Volkswagen will introduce electric vehicles (EV) to Korea from 2014 and has selected it as one of 18 “strategic countries” for the environmentally and wallet-friendly new business along with the United States, China, Japan and Australia, it said earlier this month.

“Seoul is a mega city, so it has the right conditions for driving electric vehicles and will be a strategic market for us,” Andreas Lassota, the head of e-mobility sales and marketing at Volkswagen?Group, said in Seoul recently. “We also know that Korea has competitiveness in battery technology.”

Korea is expected to see a rise of EVs in the next few years from both local and foreign automakers, but it remains to be seen whether the public is ready to embrace them on a mass scale.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Samsung copied OLED patents, says LG Display

LG Display, the world’s No. 2 maker of liquid crystal displays, said yesterday that it has lodged a complaint with the Seoul Central District Court against archrival Samsung Electronics for allegedly infringing upon seven local patents on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technologies.

LG Display claimed five products of Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker, including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2 smartphones, the Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Tab 7.7, violated its patents.

The patents cover LG’s OLED panel design, OLED driver circuitry and OLED device design, it said. The company is asking for 7 billion won ($6.3 million) in damages.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

South Korea and U.S. halt talks on nuclear energy cooperation

South Korea and the United States have called a halt to their sensitive negotiation on future nuclear energy cooperation, an informed source here said Thursday. “Actual talks are deemed difficult this year,” said the source well versed in the issue, requesting anonymity.

South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak government “has decided to pass negotiations to the next administration,” added the source. Lee is to retire in February. Seoul instead plans to focus on efforts to publicize its position on the matter for the time being, the source said.

South Korean officials argue that the current pact with the U.S. is obsolete. The existing pact, signed in 1974 and set to expire in 2014, bans South Korea from enriching uranium even for commercial purposes and reprocessing nuclear waste from about two dozen reactors using U.S.-supplied nuclear materials.

For full article see Yonhap News.

Healing from within

A local research team has succeeded in developing a new method for treating cancer using materials found naturally in the human body.

Advances in the medical sciences over the years have given rise to radiotherapy and to numerous different chemicals for treating cancer. While such methods have dramatically increased the chance of survival for cancer patients, medical professionals have been searching for alternatives due to the severe side effects of chemo and radiotherapy. One such method is immunotherapy which uses a patient’s immune system to treat a condition. In immunotherapy cancer treatments the immune system is stimulated to increase its response to antigens specific to cancer cells.

While the method developed by the team led by professor Lim Yong-taik of Chungnam National University’s Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology is essentially the same as previously developed processes, the method differs in that it addresses two of the main obstacles faced by immunotherapy. 

For full article see Korea Herald.


Korea pushing Web into hyperdrive

Commercial Internet speeds will jump 100-fold next year and Korea is lighting the way for these game-changing technological advances, the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said yesterday. The ETRI demonstrated the speed of its newly developed Internet network, the wavelength division multiplexed-passive optical network (WDM-PON), yesterday in the lobby of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. The research center set up two computers, one connected to its current network and the other to the new WDM-PON, to show how it was already possible to download the same 350-megabyte video at 100 times the speed.

It took 1 second to download on the new network and 28 seconds on the current network, or Optical LAN. This marked the highest Internet speed available anywhere in the world, said Lee Sang-soo, director of ETRI’s optical access research team.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Korea to spend 342.5 trillion won in 2013

The government plans to spend 342.5 trillion won ($305.6 billion) in 2013, an increase of 5.3 percent compared to the previous year, with the aim of boosting the sagging economy while maintaining fiscal health. The Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday the final budget proposal to be presented to the National Assembly for approval. According to the budget plan, the government will designate 10.8 trillion won to create about 600,000 jobs in consideration of a lack of jobs for youth and baby boomers.

The government allocated 97.1 trillion won for health, welfare and labor affairs, up 4.8 percent from this year. In an effort to enhance the nation’s growth potential, the spending plan calls for 16.9 trillion won (5% of its budget) to be used on research and development.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Korean robotics industry poised to leap forward

Mero is capable of lip sync and high-tech english education.

According to Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (KIRIA), the production scale of the Korean robotics industry jumped from USD 600 million in 2007 to USD 2 billion last year, and is expected to reach USD 2.7 billion in 2012. The structure of the industry has also been changing. The industry has traditionally focused on manufacturing robots as the strength of the Korean economy lies in hardware. However, it is now gradually expanding its areas into professional and personal service robots. The manufacturing robots of the annual average percentage change was 21.3%(USD 1.4 billion, 2011), professional service robots 40.6%(USD 61 million) and personal service robots 49.3%(USD 214 million) for the last six years.

“Given the worldwide slowdown in the robotics industry, as well as the global financial crisis over the last decade, the Korean robotics industry has fared quite well. Now the Korean robotics industry has grown to a level where it can compete with, if not exceed, the U.S., or Japanese products, and the technology gap has significantly narrowed. It has also become the benchmark for some nations, and even advanced nations in robotics are paying keen attention to its industry and policies,” said Kam-chan Kang, Director General for Emerging Industries at the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE). Compared to the U.S. (100), the Korean robotics technology remains at 79.2 with 2.1 years of technology gap.

For full article, see Korea IT Times.