science + technology news

Sony, Toshiba to push chip technology limits

February 13, 2004

Sony and Toshiba announced today they will pool resources to develop 45-nanometer-process chips. The chips could be significantly smaller, faster and consume less power than today’s cutting-edge 90 nm semiconductors.

Big Blue gives 90-nano boost to PowerPCs

February 13, 2004

IBM plans to announce on Friday that it has started mass production of PowerPCs on the 90-nanometer process.

IBM is combining layers of silicon on insulator (SOI) and strained silicon, which allow manufacturers to improve energy efficiency or performance: They can either make processors that run as fast as current models but consume far less power; or they can produce chips that use the same amount of power but… read more

F.C.C. Begins Rewriting Rules on Delivery of the Internet

February 13, 2004

The Federal Communications Commission began writing new rules today that officials and industry experts said would profoundly alter both the way the Internet is delivered and used in homes and businesses.

Commissioners are writing regulations to enable computer users to gain access to the Internet through electric power lines and to allow for new Internet phone services with fewer regulatory burdens than traditional phone carriers.

Vulcan project aims to build ‘Digital Aristotle’

February 13, 2004

Can a computer be loaded with the world’s textbook-science knowledge, reason through it and then answer questions in plain English like a phenomenal teacher, a “Digital Aristotle”?

Paul Allen’s private investment company, Vulcan, has announced it is willing to bankroll three competing research teams from around the world to answer this question, in what it calls “Project Halo,” a quest over the next 30 months to create a computerized… read more

Noise boosts nanotube antennas

February 12, 2004

Researchers at the University of Southern California have shown that the right amount of noise can enable carbon nanotube transistors to detect weak electrical signals, making nanotubes useful as microscopic antennas in communications devices, including cell phones.

This is the same effect — stochastic resonance — that neurons use to communicate in biological brains.

Possible uses include secure spread-spectrum communications, processing pixel-based image data, sensing chemical and biological… read more


February 12, 2004

Scientists at Scripps research have created a single, clonable strand of DNA that folds into a highly rigid, nanoscale octahedron about 22 nanometers in diameter.

Because all twelve edges of the octahedral structures have unique sequences, they are versatile molecular building blocks that could potentially be used to self-assemble complex higher-order structures.

Possible applications include building nano-scale transistors and using these octahedra as artificial compartments into which proteins… read more

Nanobiotech Pioneers Predict Nanomedicine Impact within Five Years

February 12, 2004

Ground-breaking nanotechnology researcher Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D., and the father of nanomedicine Robert A. Freitas, Jr., JD, are among the industry heavyweights who weighed in with NanoBiotech News on the state of nanomedicine and where it’s headed.

“The evolutionary spectrum in nanomedicine will start at the sensing and diagnostics end and move into therapeutics over time,” predicts Freitas.

“The applications nearest to commercialization are probably the fullerene-related and… read more

For Those Who Can’t Wait for the Future to Arrive

February 12, 2004

A line of concept laptops to be announced at the Intel Developer Forum on Feb. 17-19 will serve as Intel’s vision of how notebook computers might evolve in the next two years.

The “Florence” systems feature Extended Mobile Access technology (E.M.A.), using a small liquid crystal display on the outside of the casing that displays e-mail messages, appointments, and by 2005, MP3 player and instant messages, without wasting a… read more

Intel Says Chip Speed Breakthrough Will Alter Cyberworld

February 12, 2004

Intel scientists say that they have made silicon chips that can switch light like electricity, blurring the line between computing and communications and presenting a vision of the digital future that will allow computers themselves to span cities or even the entire globe.

The invention demonstrates for the first time, Intel researchers said, that ultrahigh-speed fiberoptic equipment can be produced at personal computer industry prices, allowing for machines that… read more

Scientists Claim Cloning Success

February 12, 2004

South Korea scientists report that they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells.

The development is what patients with diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes had been waiting for, the start of so-called therapeutic cloning. The idea is to clone a patients cells to make embryonic stem cells that are an exact genetic match of the patient. Then those cells, patients hope, could be turned into… read more

Talking to bacteria

February 12, 2004

Scientists have genetically engineered bacteria to “talk” to each other in a new language, bringing us one step closer to turning cells into tiny robots that we can control by flooding them with chemicals.

Bacteria already communicate with each other by sending out chemical signals, in response to stress, for example, causing them to switch on genes in neighboring cells that change their behavior.

“You could use this… read more

Benign Viruses Shine on the Silicon Assembly Line

February 12, 2004

MIT professor Angela M. Belcher has altered the DNA in a virus to generate a variety of self-assembling, regular nanowires made of magnetic and semiconducting materials that may one day be part of the extremely small circuitry in the next generation of ever-shrinking high-speed electronic components.

Dr. Belcher has jointly founded a company, Semzyme, with Evelyn L. Hu, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California at… read more

PC drives will reach 600GB by 2007, industry says

February 11, 2004

The standard desktop PC of 2007 will have a hard disk drive with capacity between 500GB and 600GB, according to research company TrendFocus Inc.

The most immediate advance in storage technology is the move to perpendicular storage of data on hard disks, which will begin to appear later this year. It can provide storage capacities of up to 1 terabits per square inch.

Superconductors, Quantum Mechanics and Nanotech to the Rescue

February 11, 2004

A trio of high technologies — superconductors, quantum mechanics and nanotech — may allow cancer specialists to spot tumors so small they elude today’s best imaging methods.

A “Superconducting QUantum Interference Device,” or SQUID, lets oncologists and surgeons locate previously injected tumor-specific nanoparticles that act like submicroscopic cancer-detection beacons.

Tiny scales weigh virus

February 11, 2004

Purdue University scientists have developed a scale that can weigh a 10 femtograms virus.

It uses a laser beam to measure the variation of wobble of a 30 nanometer-thick silicom springboard from the virus. Coating the springboard with antibodies will allow onlyone particular type of virus to stick to the scales. Such detectors could one day be used to monitor air purity in hospital or to assist in security… read more

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