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Now Playing: Reality Without the Downside

January 10, 2003

“The first online getaway,” called “There,” is an multiplayer online service that features 3-D computer-generated environments, AI-based avatars, real-world physics, natural scenery and sounds, and the ability to interact freely with people and objects.

Robots for the masses

January 10, 2003

Evolution Robotics announced a robot for industrial and consumer uses that can determine its position relative to its environment based on wheel sensors and a Webcam that cost less than $50. The robot uses a “visual simultaneous localization and mapping” system that creates a map of a space from the distance and direction that its wheels travel and from objects it recognizes with its camera and software.

When the Athlete’s Heart Falters, a Monitor Dials for Help

January 9, 2003

Manufacturers are working on wearable heart monitors linked to cellphones that can sound an alert automatically, contacting a doctor, family member or Web site when trouble beckons.

‘Gadget printer’ promises industrial revolution

January 9, 2003

Research at the University of California at Berkeley will allow fully assembled electric and electronic gadgets such as light bulbs, radios, remote controls, mobile phones and toys to be printed in one go. The trick: print layers of conducting and semiconducting polymers in such a way that the circuitry is built up as part of the bodywork.

Virtual bird brain matches nature’s tunes

January 9, 2003

Adding a model of brain circuits to a computer model of a singing bird has allowed scientists to figure out how birds compose their songs. The feat hints that we might one day be able to map some of the complex circuitry in an animal’s brain just by listening to its calls — or map a human’s brain using a computer model tuned to “talk” human-like gibberish.

Researchers improve tabletop EUV laser system

January 9, 2003

Researchers have modified a tabletop EUV (extreme ultraviolet) system, increasing the system’s output power from 100 watts to 1 megawatt and downsizing the wavelength of its laser beam from 30 nanometers to 7 nm, making it applicable to next-generation 13-nm EUV chip lithography.

In the future, the researchers hope to downsize the wavelength to 4 nm — what they call the “water- window” — a region of the spectrum… read more

Sensitive robots taught to gauge human emotion

January 8, 2003

Robotics designers are working with psychologists at Vanderbilt University to improve human-machine interfaces by teaching robots to sense human emotions.

The researchers measured electrocardiogram profiles for specific mental states and performed preliminary analysis of the profiles using signal-processing algorithms and experimental methods like fuzzy logic and wavelet analysis. They have found two EKG frequency bands vary predictably with changes in stress. They are now looking at skin conductance and… read more

First speed of gravity measurement revealed

January 8, 2003

The speed of gravity has been measured for the first time. The landmark experiment shows that it travels at the speed of light, supporting Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The result should help narrow down the possible number of extra dimensions in the universe and their sizes.

Heads and tails: Practical quantum computers are another step closer

January 7, 2003

Researchers have developed a way to increase the number of qubits (quantum bits) that can be entangled (interact) from 10 to nearer 100. Since the power of a quantum computer should rise exponentially with the number of entangled qubits, that would have enormous consequences.

FEASIBLE CHAOTIC ENCRYPTION

January 7, 2003

Researchers in Beijing have demonstrated a way to hide messages in chaotic signals for two-way voice transmission on a computer network.

The researchers claim the scheme is reasonably secure (it would take an intruder armed with a personal computer more than a million times the lifetime of the universe to break the code) as well as being feasible in realistic, commercial settings.

MIT TARGETS HIGH-TECH INNOVATIONS FOR U.S. SOLDIERS

January 7, 2003

American soldiers may wear Kevlar vests that will protect against biological agents as well as stop bullets. With the flick of a switch, the sleeves of their uniform may stiffen into anti-shrapnel armor or a medical splint. They may carry night-vision contacts lenses, while a patch on their shoulder or helmet signals their position to their commander….

Interface gets the point

January 7, 2003

Researchers are trying to get a computer to recognize gestures by correlating speech signals and hand velocity.

The system could eventually enable more natural human-computer interfaces in applications like crisis management, surgery, vvideo games, and biometric authentication.

On the Scent of Terrorists

January 4, 2003

DARPA wants someone to develop a sniffing machine that can detect individuals by their body odor.

Applicants must, within 15 months of research, identify the specific odors produced by the immune system, whether directly or through bacterial action. After another 15 months, any confounding smells produced by stress, diet, health and age must also be catalogued. And then applicants will have two more years to develop a person-sniffer that… read more

Patients Find ‘Gut-Cam’ Technology Easy to Swallow

January 3, 2003

The M2A disposable diagnostic capsule, also called the “gut cam,” is the first of its kind: a self-contained, miniature, disposable color video system designed to travel painlessly through the digestive system, continuously capturing images along the way to spot tumors, internal bleeding and lesions.

Ten technologies to watch in 2003

January 3, 2003

Terabyte holographic storage, ubiquitous radio-frequency identity chips, affordable consumer robots, and larger/cheaper LCD displays are among the new technologies to watch this year.

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