Casimir force measured precisely

August 12, 2003

The latest in a series of experiments has yielded precise measurement of the Casimir force, which could make nanoscale machines behave erratically.

The Casimir force has to do with the minute pressure that real and virtual photons of light exert when they bump against an object. To manipulate light beams at the nanoscale will likely require tiny mirrors that can pivot to reflect photons down different channels.

Knowledge… read more

The New Diamond Age

August 12, 2003

Diamond microchips could handle higher temperatures than today’s microprocessors, allowing them to run at speeds that would liquefy ordinary silicon.

“If Moore’s law is going to be maintained, processors are going to get hotter and hotter,” says Bernhardt Wuensch, an MIT professor of materials science. “Eventually, silicon is just going to turn into a puddle. Diamond is the solution to that problem.”

Two startups are developing multicarat, gem-quality… read more

Return of the green Luddites

August 12, 2003

Environmental activists want governments to enforce the “precautionary principle,” which states that when there is any risk of a major disaster, scientific progress must halt….

“The folks at Greenpeace must have been watching too many ‘Matrix” and ‘Terminator’ movies, because their report spends a few dozen pages worrying about the threat of ‘predatory machines’ and a ‘robot take-over.’”

IBM Takes Search to New Heights

August 13, 2003

IBM is using a combination of artificial intelligence techniques to create “Google on steroids.”

How to count atoms

August 13, 2003

NIST researchers are developing a diode-laser based interferometer device that can resolve distances smaller than the radius of an atom and that could serve as a reliable method for writing 10-nanometer-sized features on silicon.

They are packaging the new technology into a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) system designed to write patterns with dimensions determined by counting the atoms that make up the patterns’ structural features. Ultimately aiming for an… read more

Program detects tiny differences in images

August 13, 2003

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory have developed a program that detects slight differences between digital images that signal early stages of disease.

The program aligns images, to within a fraction of a pixel, from hand-held or otherwise imprecise cameras. The alignment compensates for differences in camera angle, height, zoom or other distractions that previously confounded comparisons. There are also a variety… read more

Accelerating Change

August 14, 2003

The defining political conflict of the 21st century is shaping up to be the battle over the future of technology. Fortunately, technological progress doesn’t just have opponents; it also has boosters.

The rise of neo-Luddism is calling forth self-conscious defenders of technological progress. Growing numbers of extropians, transhumanists, futurists and others are entering the intellectual fray to do battle against the neo-Luddite activists who oppose biotechnology, nanotechnology, and new… read more

Nanoparticles may be good for you

August 14, 2003

University of Central Florida researchers have found that brain cells exposed to a single dose of ten-nanometer-size oxide particles routinely outlived untreated cells by three- to four-fold and remained functional.

Nanoparticles also have potent anti-inflammatory properties, they discovered. The investigators hope to create a coating from the particles that could be used for vascular and orthopedic implants, stents and other devices prone to inflammatory reactions.

The nanoparticle anti-oxidants… read more

Virtual Soldiers? Dream on, Darpa

August 15, 2003

The Pentagon wants to digitally recreate every element of a soldier’s body, and embed it all on a chip in the soldier’s dog tags. This Virtual Soldier program could help battlefield medics make quicker, more accurate diagnoses of combat trauma and help save lives.

“Every single person in the United States will have an electronic medical record,” said Dr. Richard Satava, manager of the Virtual Soldier program and professor… read more

No More Human Guinea Pigs

August 15, 2003

The Pentagon’s Virtual Soldier project, which seeks to digitally copy the human anatomy, could create an army of digital subjects for trying out new drugs, medical procedures and even weapons.

Electronic ‘Etch A Sketch’ may boost quantum design

August 15, 2003

Erasable electrostatic lithography (EEL), uses an atomic force microscope to draw, modify, or erase a circuit by depositing spots of charge directly on to the surface of a semiconductor. It could significantly speed the design of quantum electronic devices.

Biotech a healthy market for chips

August 15, 2003

Intel is planning to develop medical devices using nanotech chips and sensing technology.

Ideas include constructing hemoglobin molecules that can carry 10 times as much oxygen, a diagnostic lab on a chip, toxin-detecting and analysis-capable bandaids, ulcer-detecting stockings for diabetics, and computer feedback systems for diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Total recall

August 15, 2003

“Tremendous promise exists for the development of hybrid technologies … in which self-assembling materials are integrated into existing manufacturing processes to deliver nanoscale control and meet exacting fabrication constraints,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison Prof. Paul Nealey.

Sandia team develops cognitive machines

August 15, 2003

Sandia National Laboratories is developing cognitive machines that accurately infer user intent, remember experiences with users, and allow users to call upon simulated experts to help them analyze situations and make decisions.

The initial goal of the work was to create a “synthetic human” that could think like a person. Work on cognitive machines took off in 2002 with a contract from DARPA to develop a real-time machine that… read more

Unplugged: Without the Grid, Modern Man Is Totally in the Dark

August 16, 2003

Perhaps this is time for everyone to take stock of their dependence on invisible technologies.

Ray Kurzweil, author of “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” says the Blackout of 2003 shows that the electrical grid is merely a first Industrial Revolution technology. It’s highly centralized. It’s old-fashioned. We are now in the midst of the second Industrial Revolution, which favors decentralized technologies such as the Internet.

“The second is… read more

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