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Trapped In The Future

January 23, 2002

Ramona “embodies the cutting edge of AI,” but despite its overwhelming potential, widespread use of AI is still trapped in the future.

Virtual stunt artists take first tumbles

January 21, 2002

Virtual stunt artists are being developed that respond to the physics of the real world, thanks to the use of a novel array of virtual sensors.
The virtual stunt artist takes the form of a properly jointed skeleton figure that responds to forces produced by gravity, friction and impact with other objects in its virtual environment. Researchers at the University of Toronto developed a program to supervise the individual behavior… read more

Vivid insight provided into workings of the brain

January 21, 2002

Researchers at the Institute of Psychology, King’s College London, have developed Vivid (virtual in-vivo interactive dissection), a system that noninvasively detects patterns of nerve connections inside the brains of living people.By reprogramming MRI scanners, Vivid tracks the random oscillation of water molecules, which can move more easily along a bundle of nerve fibers. A program makes it possible to construct a 3-D representation of the nerve connections.

The group… read more

If we are lucky, our pets may keep us as pets

January 18, 2002

The first super-intelligent beings may not be based on humans at all, but on apes. Since moral and legal considerations will limit experimentation with human brain uploading, scientists may first turn to apes, and they may quickly enhance themselves. Could they become our overlords, à la Planet of the Apes?

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Carbon nanotubes to improve solar cells

January 17, 2002

Researchers from Cambridge University’s engineering department have developed photovoltaic devices that, when doped with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), perform better than undoped devices.The nanotube diodes were made by depositing organic films containing SWNTs on to glass substrates coated with indium-tin oxide (ITO). Aluminium electrodes were then thermally evaporated under a vacuum to form a sandwich configuration, EE Times reports.

The interaction of the carbon nanotubes with the polymer poly(3-octylthiophene)… read more

‘Hard-Wired’ Grammar Rules Found for All Languages

January 16, 2002

In 1981, Noam Chomsky proposed that the grammars of all languages can be described by a set of universal rules or principles, and the differences among those grammars are due to a finite set of options that are also innate. Now Dr. Mark C. Baker, a linguist at Rutgers University, has presented supporting evidence in the book, “The Atoms of Language: The Mind’s Hidden Rules of Grammar.”

Flying robotic insect slated to explore Mars

January 16, 2002

NASA is backing a research project to build toy-sized flying robots, modeled on the entomology of insects, that can hover like helicopters. Patented as “entomopters,” the robots are on the drawing board of University of Missouri professor Kakkattukuzhy Isaac.
NASA is sponsoring a large team of diverse researchers on the project, titled “Planetary Exploration Using Biomimetics.” Isaac’s part is the wing design and aerodynamic analysis to ensure that sufficient lift… read more

Tiny Bots to Scour Big Blue Ocean

January 15, 2002

University of Southern California scientists have received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to test the feasibility of using microscopic robots to ferret out harmful algae that propagate in coastal waters.
Initially, researchers plan to conduct experiments using a scanning probe microscope, a device containing a sharp tip of nanometer-scope proportions that can be used to create images of and interact with organisms at the atomic level.… read more

Biomimicry: Super Fly

January 13, 2002

Researchers are trying to replicate the incredibly accurate hearing mechanism of a rare fly — the Ormia ochracea — and use it to create everything from the world’s most sophisticated hearing aid to tiny microphones that might help catch the future Osama bin Ladens of the world.
The incredibly accurate hearing mechanism of the Ormia ochracea’s ears have evolved the ability to pinpoint the location of chirping crickets, thanks to… read more

Nanotubes could lengthen battery life

January 10, 2002

Experiments suggest carbon nanotubes could store more than twice as much energy as conventional graphite electrodes.
Researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found carbon nanotubes may allow for longer-lasting batteries.

“In our experiments, we used both electrochemistry and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance measurements, which show similar results,” said Dr. Otto Z. Zhou, an associate professor at UNC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “We can… read more

Observatory could detect hidden dimensions

January 9, 2002

Cosmic rays could find proof of extra dimensions by detecting tiny black holes.The Pierre Auger Observatory, currently being constructed in Argentina to study cosmic rays, could examine the structure of spacetime itself, say physicists in the United States.

If, as some suspect, the Universe contains invisible, extra dimensions, then cosmic rays that hit the atmosphere will produce tiny black holes. These black holes should be numerous enough for the… read more

U.S. considers encoding data on driver’s licenses

January 9, 2002

The government is taking its first steps with the states to develop driver’s licenses that can electronically store information — such as fingerprints — for the 184 million Americans who carry the cards.
Privacy experts fear the effort may lead to de facto national identification cards that would allow authorities to track citizens electronically, circumventing the intense debate over federal ID cards.

Supporters said it was predictable after Sept.… read more

‘Alien’ message tests human decoders

January 9, 2002

A message that will be broadcast into space later in 2002 has been released to scientists worldwide, to test that it can be decoded easily. The researchers who devised the message eventually hope to design a system that could automatically decode an alien reply.

The new binary message can be downloaded from the CETI home page. The project leaders hope that it will be transmitted by… read more

As Chips Reach Speed Limit, Makers Tap Into ‘Clockless’ Logic

January 9, 2002

A worldwide community of private and academic researchers are perfecting a kind of lateral-thinking, anarchic method of chipmaking based on asynchronous logic, which does away with the clock altogether. Clockless chips, in addition to being more energy efficient, can also work faster, more quietly and more securely than synchronous chips. All of which makes them perfect for applications such as computer networks, mobile phones, smart cards and embedded medical devices.… read more

Solid stops light

January 8, 2002

A crystal that holds light could facilitate quantum computing.
Researchers in the United States and Korea have brought light to a complete standstill in a crystal. The pulse is effectively held within the solid, ready to be released at a later stage.

This trick could be used to store information in a quantum computer.

Normal computers store information in simple binary form (1′s and 0′s) in electronic and… read more

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