Tech Briefs: Virus power, Cingular loves 3G, more

Researchers have altered viruses to collect metal and build wires to make tiny lithium-ion batteries as small as a grain of rice. Researchers attempting to make microscopic machines altered the genes of a laboratory strain of virus called M13, so its outer layer would bind metal ions. Each virus essentially becomes a nanowire 880 nanometers (about 35 millionths of an inch) long and six nanometers in diameter, the same dimensions as the virus.… The U.S. Food and Drug Administration questioned a recently published Swedish study that rekindled concerns about a heightened risk of brain cancer in wireless phone users, saying the findings were "difficult to interpret." The FDA added that the agency would review all related data. It will also continue to monitor studies for possible health problems stemming from exposure to radio frequency energy. … Cingular Wireless plans to invest nearly $70 million in its Oklahoma network this year and enhance its services to include 3G, or third-generation wireless technolgy. The wireless carrier will add new cell sites, high-speed data services, generators, and other enhancements to its "Allover Network."