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Unlocking the Paralysis Riddle

October 25, 2001

Researchers studying spinal cord injuries have observed certain patterns of the human brain that may ultimately enable paraplegics and quadriplegics to regain some motor activity in their paralyzed limbs — or use their brains to control robotic limbs.

Researchers took MRI snapshots of the brains of quadriplegics as they were asked to move their hands, elbows, feet, knees and lips. The images revealed neural activity in all the places… read more

Electron beams could be used to irradiate mail

October 25, 2001

The US Postal Service is installing irradiation equipment in an attempt to destroy biological weapons, such as anthrax, concealed in envelopes and parcels. Electron beam irradiation is a leading candidate technology for this purpose.
A system from Titan called SureBeam uses high-energy electron beams to break down molecules within DNA, either killing a micro-organism or rendering it unable to reproduce. SureBeam bombards its target with energy levels… read more

The Hypermedia Hazard

October 25, 2001

Media and political institutions responsible for providing clarity and coherent information appear to be unraveling under the stress of coping with terrorist attacks, especially the anthrax problems, casualties and resulting hysteria.

Scientists Report Gains in Knowledge of Bacterium

October 24, 2001

Scientists reported two major advances yesterday in their understanding of the anthrax bacterium — discoveries that could lead to the development of drugs custom-designed to interfere with the anthrax toxin at different stages of its operation.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the University of Wisconsin said that after a decade’s search they had found the receptor protein on the surface of cells that was targeted by the anthrax… read more

KurzweilAI.net adds Events listing

October 18, 2001

KurzweilAI.net has added an Events section for forthcoming conferences related to accelerating intelligence. Coverage includes key events focusing on artificial intelligence, robots, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the future of computers and microelectronics.

The listing is accessible on KurzweilAI.net’s home page.

Waging war by remote control

October 18, 2001

The United States is for the first time flying armed, unmanned aircraft into combat and controlling them with operators in the United States via satellite.The use of the armed RQ-1 Predator drone planes is a revolutionary step in the conduct of warfare because they signal that the Air Force is now able to survey and then shoot at ground positions from lower altitudes without putting pilots at risk.

The… read more

Speaking of Voice Recognition

October 17, 2001

Intel, Microsoft, Comverse, Philips and SpeechWorks — the Speech Application Language Tags (SALT) Forum are working together to develop speech-enabled software that will let users call up any website on any device without having to click a button.

Fiber weighed for chip interconnect

October 16, 2001

Semiconductor researchers are eschewing copper interconnect to bring optical fiber directly to the microprocessor for ultrafast data rates over a clean, low-power and low-noise pipe.
The nascent interest in fiber reflects a sense of urgency within the chip industry to bolster processor I/O, which has emerged as a major bottleneck to system performance.

Using Humans as a Computer Model

October 16, 2001
Automated switching allowed AT&T/Bell Labs to keep up with the demand for telephones

The computer industry’s “next grand challenge” is the ever-increasing complexity of computing in the Internet era, with its global networks and proliferation of digital devices, says Paul M. Horn, a senior vice president who oversees the research labs at I.B.M., in a paper, “Autonomic computing.”

“Autonomic computing” is a biological metaphor suggesting a systemic approach to attaining a higher level of automation in computing.… read more

Future chip choice–silicon or plastic?

October 15, 2001

Promising research efforts are under way to combine silicon and plastic, using organic polymers as material for the production of microelectronics, including transistors and displays.
Organic polymers are molecules that contain a long string of carbon atoms and make versatile plastics.

The research team headed by Bertram Batlogg of the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, was recently honored with one of the most… read more

The End of Snail Mail?

October 14, 2001

Is the threat of a deadly disease enough to kill off postal deliveries? Expect a dip in mail volume similar to the one that hit the stock market –without the expectation that the bounce-back will eventually surpass the present status. The reason is simple: when compared to anthrax bacilli, computer viruses don’t seem so threatening.

Citizen to commercialize IBM’s wristwatch computer

October 12, 2001

IBM’s wristwatch PC, a first step in the development of wearable computers, will be available as a product from Citizen Watch Co.IBM’s Watchpad prototype weighs 43 grams and includes a 32-bit microprocessor running Linux version 2.4, backed by 8 Mbytes of DRAM and 16 Mbytes of flash. The Citizen product will include 320 x 240-dot monochrome VGA display, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, an IrDA wireless link, plus speaker, microphone and fingerprint-sensor… read more

Researchers Bring Voice Recognition to Palmtops

October 11, 2001

A new generation of voice recognition and speech engines embedded in handheld computers is coming out.
I.B.M. Research has reconfigured Palm organizers in an attempt to create a speech system small enough to reside on a hand-held computer.

Lernout & Hauspie plans to release software called PDSay that can be downloaded into any Compaq iPaq, models 3630 and later.

SpeechWorks has developed embedded speech systems for handheld computers… read more

New Ideas in the War on Bioterrorism

October 10, 2001

Ideas for better technology to detect, diagnose and treat biological agents are currently being pursued in the nation’s newest medical battle -— the war against bioterrorism.
There are dozens of pathogens that might conceivably be used in an attack, including some unnatural ones made by genetic engineering, and it would be impractical to develop vaccines for all of them. So the new battle will be fought with the tools of… read more

Wristwatch gives remote control of computer

October 10, 2001

A new high-tech watchstrap that gives its wearer remote control over a wearable computer has been demonstrated in Switzerland.The GestureWrist, developed by Jun Rekimoto of Sony’s Computer Science Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan, uses sensors embedded into a normal watch strap. These track a wearer’s arm movements and the opening and closing their hand, relaying this information to a computer kept somewhere on their person.

GestureWrist uses a tilt sensor… read more

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