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The Atkinson-Phoenix Nanotech Debate

July 21, 2003

William Atkinson wrote a book, Nanocosm, critical of Eric Drexler’s approach to nanotech and of Drexler himself. Chris Phoenix (CRN) wrote a review of the book, critical of Bill’s understanding of the topic. Bill responded. This touched off an email discussion.

Tesco tests spy chip technology

July 21, 2003

Supermarket chain Tesco has admitted testing controversial technology that tracks customers buying certain products through its stores.

RFID tags in razor blades trigger a CCTV camera when a packet is removed from the shelf. A second camera takes a picture at the checkout and security staff then compare the two images, raising the possibility that they could be used to prevent theft.

Computer program detects author gender

July 21, 2003

A new computer program can tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman, based on a simple scan of key words and syntax.

Female writers use more pronouns. Males prefer words that identify or determine nouns (a, the, that) and words that quantify them (one, two, more).

Planned U.S. sensor network targets terror threats

July 21, 2003

Government researchers are developing a nationwide sensor network that someday could provide a real-time early-warning system for a wide array of chemical, biological and nuclear threats across the United States.

Sensors will use hybrid sensors, MEMS and nanotechnology linked by an Internet-like peer-to-peer network.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers are developing nanosize preconcentrators for nerve agents, botulism and other toxins.

Sandia is developing a sensor that could… read more

University develops dancing robot that can follow lead

July 20, 2003

A team at Tohoku University has developed a robot that can follow a human dancer’s lead.

The robot can predict the dancer’s next move through hand pressure applied to its arms and back, and also judging from dance steps it is making, and can then turn at the appropriate speed. Equipped with a computer, sensors and batteries, it can move in any direction on four wheels and has memory… read more

Little robots in your pants

July 20, 2003

Dockers’ Go Khakis promise to keep your legs stain-free using revolutionary nanotechnology.

“We couldn’t help thinking that Dockers might be using the word ‘nanotechnology’ more for marketing muscle than for true scientific purposes, so we called its customer service line to ask a few pointed questions….”

Ralph Merkle Named Director of Georgia Tech Information Security Center

July 20, 2003

The Georgia Institute of Technology announced today that it has named Ralph Merkle, a co-inventor of public-key cryptography, which allows secure transactions over the Internet, as director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) and as Professor of Computing.

Merkle is known for his seminal contributions to information security and nanotechnology.

He was formerly principal fellow at Zyvex and before that, a research scientist at the Xerox… read more

Chip roadmap to get wireless upgrade

July 18, 2003

Semiconductor industry representatives are considering the addition of wireless communications technologies to the 2003 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

The extension recognizes the need to address the post-CMOS era, when CMOS runs out of gas in the 2010 to 2015 time frame.

Picosecond X-ray Crystallography of a Protein

July 18, 2003

Picosecond x-ray crystallography of a protein has been demonstrated for the first time, making possible picosecond-scale movies, such as one showing a mutant myoglobin molecule getting rid of a toxic carbon monoxide (CO) molecule.

The system uses 150-ps x-ray pulses from the European Synchrotron and Radiation Facility synchrotron.

Electronic Paper

July 18, 2003

Some nanotechnologists say that soon everyone could be reading off electronic paper.

CMU team to develop a software ‘secretary’

July 18, 2003

Researchers are developing “personalized cognitive assistant” software with $7 million DARPA funding.

Users will be able to establish a degree of trust with this software, just as they do with human assistants or secretaries. It will have to learn enough of the nuances of human interaction that it will know, for instance, when the user can be interrupted.

Nano-tool breakthrough enables ‘world’s smallest robots’

July 17, 2003
Controlled by a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or laser, multiple "micro-robots" can "walk" or grip and manipulate nanoscale objects as small as 100 nanometers. The SEM can also monitor their actions.

A new patented electron-beam “micro-robot” technology was announced today by Technology Innovations and Innovation On Demand, which have been issued U.S. Patent No. 6,588,208, “Wireless Technique for Microactivation.”

The breakthrough idea was to use focused beams of electron-beam or laser energy to wirelessly heat shape memory alloy (SMA) material. This bends when heated, causing movement. By eliminating bulky batteries and wires, microactuators can now be… read more

A Quantum Leap in Cryptography

July 17, 2003

BBN network engineer Chip Elliott is building what he hopes will be an unbreakable encryption machine, designed to harness subatomic particles to create a hacker-proof way to communicate over fiber-optic networks.

AIBO robots able to send images to cell phones

July 17, 2003

A system enabling Sony Corp’s AIBO robot pets to transmit images to mobile phones is being demonstrated at “Wireless Japan 2003.” It could be used for security purposes, enabling users to operate “house-sitting” AIBO robots from outside.

Breathing New Life Into Medicine

July 17, 2003

Scientists are developing ways to rapidly deliver medicine such as liquid insulin via the lungs.

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