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Innovative computer tech for the next boom

December 11, 2001
Kurzweil: exponential growth

Which innovative technologies will spur the next boom? That was a key question on the minds of executives attending the recent BusinessWeek Conference on the Digital Economy in San Francisco.
For consumers, seamless access to information will drive the future of the computer industry, according to Daeje Chin, president and CEO, Digital Media System Business, Samsung Electronics. For businesses, it will require seamless access to devices –-… read more

Jiminy Glick interviews Ray Kurzweil

December 10, 2001

Hollywood celebrity television reporter Jiminy Glick interviewed Ray Kurzweil at BusinessWeek’s Digital Economy conference during a special evening performance featuring Martin Short and the “Second City” Comedy Improv Group Thursday night.
Glick expressed a strong interest in Kurzweil’s research. “Forget AI, I need a Heimlich!” he said, apparently choking from munching nonstop jujus.

He was also fascinated with virtual reality. “Could a computer bring back Robbie Benson?” he asked,… read more

Studying, recreating sound in three dimensions

December 6, 2001

Realistic computer sound, specifically tuned for each listener, could get a little closer using a new, free public database of acoustic measurements developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
“We’ve captured the critical information needed to reproduce actual sounds as each listener perceives them,” said Ralph Algazi, who led the research team at the UC Davis Center for Image Processing and Integrated Computing (CIPIC).

Spatially realistic sound… read more

Quality leap for e-paper developers

December 6, 2001

Five-centimetre-square electronic display represents a leap in quality and brings affordable electronic paper a step closer, say its developers, Philips Research.The tiny display uses active matrix technology, the kind used in good quality laptop computer displays.

But this display is made of parts that use flexible plastic instead of silicon and should be cheap to make in bulk, Philips Research spokesman Koen Joosse told BBC News Online.

“In… read more

Kurzweil to address Business Week conference

December 5, 2001

Ray Kurzweil will give the Special Address — “Accelerating Intelligence: Where Will Technology Lead Us?” — at BusinessWeek’s The Digital Economy New Priorities: Building A Collaborative Enterprise In Uncertain Times conference on December 6 in San Francisco. The address will introduce business CEOs to the Singularity — the moment when distinctions between human and machine intelligence disappear.

Taking Curl for a Whirl

December 5, 2001

A new Web site technology called “Curl” that makes browsing and Web site development faster has been developed by Web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee and other MIT experts.

Curl’s speed acceleration is due to the use of a single application to run diverse content and a downloadable browser plug-in that uses the site visitor’s own CPU to process pages built with Curl for page redraws, graphics processing, database duties and… read more

Number takes prime position

December 5, 2001

The largest prime number yet discovered has just been revealed to the world.
The new number, expressed as 213,466,917-1, contains 4,053,946 digits and would take the best part of three weeks to write out longhand.

The prime number was discovered by Michael Cameron, a 20-year-old Canadian participant in a mass computer project known as the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (Gimps).

Mersenne primes are important for the theory… read more

Advances in Quantum Computing

December 4, 2001

Quantum computing borrows ideas from finance: a balanced portfolio of programs could mean a faster quantum computer.Strategies from the world of finance could help get the best out of quantum computers, say US researchers. The right portfolio of programs could solve a problem many times faster than a single strategem.

Quantum computers – purely hypothetical as yet – would be fast, but you could never be sure whether a… read more

Reinventing the Wheel

December 3, 2001

Dean Kamen wants to change the world by changing how cities are organized. Segways, he believes, are ideal for downtown transportation. Unlike cars, they are cheap, clean, efficient, maneuverable. Unlike bicycles, they are designed specifically to be pedestrian friendly. He imagines them everywhere: in parks and at Disneyland, on battlefields and factory floors, but especially on downtown sidewalks.

How it works

The Sedway has a gyroscope… read more

IBM: New transistor to boost chip speed

December 3, 2001

IBM will describe a new type of Double Gate transistor this week that it says will vastly increase the performance and reduce the power consumption of chips in the coming decade.
Double Gate transistors improve on existing designs, according to IBM, because they effectively double the electrical current that can be sent through a given transistor, or, alternatively, lower the amount of electricity running through a given gate for better… read more

An Inventor Unveils His Mysterious Personal Transportation Device

December 3, 2001
Patent drawing for "Ginger"

Inventor Dean Kamen plans to demonstrate today the much-anticipated Segway Human Transporter (code-named “Ginger” or “It”), a two-wheeled battery-powered device designed for a single standing rider. Its chief novelty lies in the uncanny effect, produced by a finely tuned gyroscopic balancing mechanism, of intuiting where its rider wants to go — and going there.

Segway Web site

Don’t Fear Science You Can’t See

December 3, 2001

Some boosters of nanotechnology worry that fear unleashed by Bill Joy’s warnings of self-replicating nanobots could lead to an anti-nanotech movement that would stunt the growth of this nascent field. To put the public at ease, nanotechnology researchers and startups need to focus on education.

Scientists raise spectre of gene-modified athletes

November 30, 2001

We may be watching genetically-modified (GM) athletes as soon as the Beijing Olympics in 2008, researchers say. Gene doping, in which athletes could genetically modify themselves with performance-enhancing DNA, will be almost impossible to detect, according to Peter Schjerling at the Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre in Denmark.
Schjerling believes cheats will avoid detection by injecting themselves with copies of genes naturally present in the body, such as those encoding growth… read more

Nanoprisms may be used to detect biological threats

November 30, 2001

Scientists at Northwestern University have created a nanoparticle with a new shape that could be a useful tool in the race to detect biological threats. The nanoprism, which resembles a tiny Dorito, exhibits unusual optical properties that could be used to improve biodetectors, allowing them to test for a far greater number of biological warfare agents or diseases at one time.

“Many detection systems are based on small particles… read more

CG idols mean no human is required

November 30, 2001

Virtual Japanese idol Yuki Terai is a well-known example of a growing group of virtual personalities with very rich careers.Like her predecessor Kyoko Date, and her contemporary American counterpart Ramona, the 17-year-old lover of strawberries and jazz is a recording artist with several CDs and videos under her belt.

Mainstream acceptance in Japan began when she appeared in a toothpaste commercial. When it hit the air she not only… read more

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