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I.B.M. Plans a Tiny Transistor

December 9, 2002

IBM researchers have designed the world’s smallest transistor, nine nanometers in length. The development would allow for high-capacity memory and faster processors in the future.

It would also extend today’s rate of progress in scaling down chips (Moore’s law) through at least 2016.

Sony’s Ando: PCs to function like a brain

December 9, 2002

Sony President Kunitake Ando foresees a future personal computer that knows a person’s individual tendencies and tastes, functioning almost like a surrogate brain.

Hybrid PC-television devices will evolve for consumers and people will be able to retrieve their personal information from powerful networks that allow anytime, anywhere across a variety of individual devices.

Research examines robot-assisted therapy

December 6, 2002

Purdue University is running a year-long study that puts an AIBO robot dog for six weeks in the homes of people 65 years and older who live alone to see if robots can provide social stimulation.

One manufacturer is working to include a blood-pressure sensor in its robot. Other possibilities include alerting a nurses’ station if the person does not react to the robot for extended periods.

Broadband wireless Internet access nationwide planned

December 6, 2002

AT&T, Intel and IBM have formed a new company, Cometa Networks, to provide broadband wireless Internet access nationwide using 802.11b (Wi-Fi) technology.

Cometa Networks plans to provide the service to telecommunications companies, Internet service providers, cable operators and wireless carriers, which can then offer it to their customers.

Cometa also plans to install “hot spots” for accessing wireless Internet networks at retail chain stores, hotels, universities, and other… read more

Building a Better Cat

December 5, 2002

Hasbro’s FurReal Friends has become one of the season’s hottest toys, subordinating gadgetry to realistic cat attributes (such as fur) and behaviors.

When the cat is first turned on, it “wakes up,” stretching its neck and arching its back. It meows and then begins to monitor six scattered sensors that can tell if it is being touched on the head, neck, back or tail.

It… read more

Startup debuts ‘nanoimprint’ litho tool for 20-nm designs

December 4, 2002

Molecular Imprints Inc. plans to unveil next week “the world’s first step and flash imprint lithography” tool for use in processing a range of emerging devices at the 100-nm (0.10-micron) node, down to a few nanometers and at about one-tenth the cost of traditional projection systems.

The tool is geared for the emerging nanotechnology field.

The Disappearing Computer

December 4, 2002

“We are in the early years of a truly digital decade, in which the intelligence of the PC is finding its way into all kinds of devices, transforming them from passive appliances into far more significant and indispensable tools for everyday life,” says Bill Gates.

“Computers are becoming smaller, more powerful, less power-hungry and far less expensive, making it easier to build computing power and connectivity into everyday devices.… read more

Infant rat heads grafted onto adults’ thighs

December 4, 2002

Infant rats are being decapitated and their heads grafted onto the thighs of adult rats by researchers in Japan. The purpose is to investigate how the transplanted brain can develop and maintain function after prolonged total brain ischemia (no blood flow). The controversial research may have value in studies of brain injury in newborn babies.

A Few Good Toys

December 4, 2002

The Army’s goal is to come up with a uniform by 2008 with helmet that enhances hearing and protect ears from battle cacaphony and heads-up display built into the visor to display infrared images. A wheeled robot “mule” would follow a soldier around with equipment for purifying water and recharging batteries.

The Army warfighter of 2025 will have lightweight body armor made with nanomaterials to deflect a bullet with… read more

Xerox Says New Material Will Allow Plastic Transistors

December 3, 2002

Xerox researchers are developing an experimental polymer that can be used to make organic transistors on a plastic substrate and could be easier to manufacture at lower cost.

Immobots Take Control

December 3, 2002

Immobots (immobile robots), a new breed of cost-effective intelligent machines, are beginning to crop up in situations where autonomy is important, such as distant space probes, copiers, and cars.

Using “model-based programming,” these systems “have a commonsense model of the physics of their internal components and can reason from that model to determine what is wrong and to know how to act,” said Brian Williams, a professor at MIT’s… read more

Will China Blindside the West?

December 2, 2002

China’s transformation is trickling even into the poor interior, dragging all 1.3 billion people into the world economy. When historians look back on our time, I think they’ll focus on the resurgence of China after 500 years of weakness — and the way America was oblivious as this happened. For most of human history, China was the world’s largest economy and most advanced civilization. Then it stagnated after about 1450,… read more

Solaris movie: slow-paced scifi

December 2, 2002

Solaris, a movie adapted from the brilliant scifi novel by Stanislaw Lem and set on a space station, features shape-shifting reality, a mysterious planet that reads minds, and replicants, but lapses into slow-paced, soporific gloom.

Reviews:

New York Times
Slashdot
Salon
Chicago Sun-Times

Sales of Computer Chips Rise for Third Consecutive Quarter

December 2, 2002

Worldwide semiconductor sales increased to $12.52 billion in October, a 1.8 percent jump from September and a 20 percent rise from 2001.

Major segments: chips for personal computers and wireless devices, flash memory and digital signal processors.

First Baby of 2003 to Be a Clone?

December 2, 2002

Cloning enthusiast Severino Antinori claims the first cloned human will be born in January. The scientific community is skeptical and many researchers warn that a human clone would carry a high risk of death and deformity.

However, Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, the leading private company in human therapeutic cloning, said, “All those stories about cloned animals being abnormal is just silliness.”

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