science + technology news

Computer chip noise may betray code

May 12, 2004

The noise emitted by computer chips could help code breakers decipher encrypted messages.

The high-frequency audio produced by CPUs allows for distinguishing between different cryptographic keys being processed by the chip, based on the frequency of the sound emitted, and the length of a string of characters by measuring the duration of certain sounds.

Other code-breaking techniques include power-supply fluctuations exhibited by chips, electromagnetic emanations from a monitor,… read more

Code that kills, for real

May 12, 2004

Future military combat systems will require ever more complicated code, but writing software that is bug free and ready for a firefight is a challenge that gets tougher every day.

The military faces a “software divergence dilemma” today. In the past 50 years, the amount of code in a typical military system has increased a hundredfold. Meanwhile, in that same span of time, the average productivity of programmers has… read more

MIT Aims for the Bottom Line

May 12, 2004

The MIT Media Lab’s new initiative, CELab, or consumer electronics lab, will capitalize on the convergence of new technologies and consumer demand for easy-to-use devices.

CELab will include research of the Media Lab’s Smart Cities group, which is designing a smartcar that warns drivers of upcoming obstacles in the road.

Robot doctor gets thumbs-up from patients

May 12, 2004

Fifteen mobile video robo-docs, manufactured by InTouch Health, have been placed in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide, allowing a doctor to check on patients from another building or another country, via the Internet and wireless links.

Eighty percent of the patients taking part in a Johns Hopkins study thought the robo-doc would increase accessibility to their physician, while 76 percent believed having the robot available would permit physicians to… read more

Robots: Today, Roomba. Tomorrow…

May 11, 2004

Roomba is a first step, but there are many tasks within the home that are ripe for robotic automation, says iRobot CEO Colin Angle.

Genomics: ‘We’re Steadily Marching’

May 11, 2004

Pinpointing key genetic variations in an individual, understanding the biological — and disease — consequences of those variations, and devising personalized treatments will go “from genome to bedside in three years,” says Richard Gibbs, director and founder of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Nanotech: Beyond the Hype — and Fear

May 11, 2004

Biomedical applications such as cancer therapy, nanotube superconductors, and nanostructured water-filtration are likely to be some of the earliest successful nanotech applications, says Rice University’s Kristen Kulinowski.

Conversations from Tech’s Cutting Edge

May 11, 2004

Robotics, nanotech, genomics, and search and information retrieval are featured in a Technology Special Report from BusinessWeek.

Google’s man behind the curtain

May 11, 2004

A future version of Google will have “search pets” that understand emotions and other non-factual information that even a fully intelligent computer may have trouble with, says Google’s technology director Craig Silverstein.

That will happen in 200 to 300 years, he believes.

New Way to Conduct Electricity

May 10, 2004

A team of scientists has developed a way to create a thin film of gold nanoparticles in nanocrystals that that conduct electricity in a way never seen before. “It’s an entirely new electronic device,” said Davidson physics professor Dan Boye. “It’s sort of a hybrid between a resistor and a capacitor.”

The film exhibits a quantum mechanical “tunneling” effect. Electricity traveles through the gold film not in a smooth… read more

Nano Weapons Join the Fight Against Cancer

May 10, 2004

Researchers plan to use “nanoshells” to diagnose and treat cancer.

Nanoshells are microscopic concentric spheres with silica cores and gold shells. In the lab, nanoshells are injected into an animal’s bloodstream, where “targeting” agents applied to them seek out and attach to the surface receptors of cancerous cells.

In one method, illumination with infrared light raises the cells’ temperature to 55 degrees Celsius and burns away the tumor.… read more

Big Brother to Watch Over Island

May 10, 2004

In coming years, a comprehensive network of video cameras, motion detectors and sensors will spy upon visitors to Ayers Island in Maine.
An AI system will decide who can be trusted and who is deserving of greater scrutiny.

esearchers from the University of Maine want to demonstrate that AI may be able to provide civil authorities with comprehensive, real-time intelligence about the whereabouts of individuals and cars, and the… read more

The Sound War

May 10, 2004

Two inventors have staked competing claims to a potential audio revolution in which focused beams of sound could direct music or speech to a single person in a crowd.

Known as directional sound, it uses an ultrasound emitter to shoot a laserlike beam of audible sound so focused that only people inside a narrow path can hear it.

Both inventors say the ultimate goal is to replace a… read more

Expert ‘teleports’ into conference

May 10, 2004

Company directors at a north Queensland conference glimpsed the future when an American artificial intelligence guru appeared before them at the lectern without leaving the United States.

Ray Kurzweil, keynote speaker at the Australian Institute of Company Directors conference in Port Douglas, “teleported” in to appear as a hologram-like image.

Goodbye, Evil Robot; Hello, Kind Android

May 10, 2004

In the coming months, several movies will feature humanoid mechanisms: androids in “I, Robot”; simulacra of suburban homemakers in “The Stepford Wives”; an army of giant robots in “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”; and Dr. Frankenstein’s monster revived in “Van Helsing.”

But artificial entities no longer trouble us. After years of intensive media therapy, our Frankenstein complex seems to have been resolved. A fairly significant segment of… read more

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