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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

20 factors that will change PCs in 2002

January 8, 2002

PC World picked 20 trends and technologies that will have the greatest impact on personal computing for business and home use in the coming year or more.
They include 400GB hard drives, the 1-GHz palmtop, organic-light-emitting diodes to replace LCDs, multimedia instant messaging, high-speed wireless networks in office and home, markup languages for everything, hyper-threading (a more efficient way to use processing power), a third-generation bus that’s ten times… read more

Injectable chip opens door to ‘human bar code’

January 7, 2002

The VeriChip, a controversial radio-frequency identification chip (RFID), injected through a syringe, could be used as a sort of “human bar code” in security and medical applications.

Applied Digital Solutions initially plans to sell the chips in South America and Europe for use with pacemakers and defibrillators. Medical personnel could identify and monitor a patient’s implanted devices merely by running a handheld scanner over the patient’s chest.… read more

Bionic Eyes

January 5, 2002

Using space technology, scientists have developed extraordinary ceramic photocells that could repair malfunctioning human eyes.

Scientists at the NASA-sponsored Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center (SVEC) in Houston are experimenting with thin, photosensitive ceramic films that respond to light much as rods and cones do. Arrays of such films, they believe, could be implanted in human eyes to restore lost vision by serving as substitutes for bad rods and cones.… read more

Scientists build DNA nano-devices

January 4, 2002

New York University researchers claim to have taken a major step in building more controllable machines from DNA. The researchers say that the new device may help build the foundation for the development of sophisticated machines at a molecular scale, ultimately evolving to the development of nano-robots that might some day build new molecules, computer circuits or fight infectious diseases.
The research team was led by NYU chemistry professor Nadrian… read more

Top News of 2001

January 3, 2002

In its first year of operation, has chronicled the notable news stories on accelerating intelligence. And now we’ve selected the most important of these 724 news stories.

These serve to document the key breakthroughs for 2001 in continued exponential growth of computation, communication, and other information-based technologies; comparable acceleration in efforts to reverse-engineer the human brain and other sources of the templates of intelligence; similar growth in… read more

The Brain in Winter

January 2, 2002

Although some neural functioning is lost from aging, the biggest recent surprise in neuroscience is the discovery of neurogenesis: as the brain ages it creates new neurons.

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