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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

Authorities will use robot to open Leahy letter

November 30, 2001

Government scientists will use a small robot to open a suspicious letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy. Officials said the process is aimed at minimizing the loss of the highly fragile bacteria and preserving any forensic evidence — fingerprints, hair and DNA — on the envelope.

Nanotubes hint at room temperature superconductivity

November 29, 2001

Researchers have noted apparent superconductivity effects when applying magnetic fields to carbon nanotubes at room temperature and above. This could result in faster, lower-power electronics and the ability to carry electricity across long distances with 100 per cent efficiency.
Guo-meng Zhao and Yong Sheng Wang of the University of Houston put a magnetic field across a bundle of carbon nanotubes at temperatures up to 400 kelvin (127°C). The bundle generated… read more

More Ginger details may be coming

November 29, 2001

More details on Ginger, the alleged scooter at the center of controversy and wild speculation for close to a year, may emerge Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” amid a flurry of patent applications from its inventor.

Making the Music Sway to Your Beat

November 29, 2001

Digital instruments are creating imaginative new forms of musical expression.

Some current research projects:

  • A wearable system of sensors that allows users to create and play music while doing routine tasks and share performances with one another over a wireless network. Tapping any of the sensors produces a digital signal corresponding to a note or a musical sequence. This signal is transmitted to a computer, where it
  • read more

    Football shirt with on-board computer

    November 28, 2001

    Football shirts are being developed which have their own on-board computer, which will be able to track the pace and acceleration of the wearer.Researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK, who are specialists in “wearable” computers, are exploring ways of remotely monitoring the performance of people playing sports.

    This will help to tackle the difficulties in analysing aspects of players’ games such as speed–which can usually only be explored… read more

    Neural Prosthetics and Direct Neural Control

    November 28, 2001

    Stanford engineer discovers neural cells that “plan” movement of body parts.Reaching out to touch a dot on a computer screen may seem simple, but it requires a complex chain of signals that link together the eye, brain and arm. Damage to any part of that chain, such as a spinal injury, stroke or neurodegenerative disease, can make even the simplest tasks impossible.

    Stanford engineer Krishna Shenoy and a group… read more

    Boneless, brainy, and ancient

    November 28, 2001

    The Octupus arm could very well be the basis of next-generation robotic arms for undersea, space, as well as terrestrial applications.
    Each arm appears to contain an independent peripheral nervous system and neural circuitry, which carries out the order independent of any further involvement on the part of the brain itself.

    “How the octopus controls each arm so that tasks can be performed without chaos, and without the need… read more

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