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China, AMD team on Opteron supercomputer

July 27, 2003

China plans to create the world’s third most powerful supercomputer, at 10 teraflops, scheduled for June 2004. It will be a cluster using the Opteron processor from AMD and running Linux.

Chatting with Online Characters

July 25, 2003

Oddcast, a company that makes conversational characters, and the ALICE AI Foundation have announced a partnership to create smarter online characters.

One of the first applicationss is an online tutor for teaching English to Chinese people.

Space Elevators Maybe Closer To Reality Than Imagined

July 25, 2003

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) commissioned a study of the construction and operation of a space elevator and Phase I of the report was published in late 2002.

The elevator would start as a 1-micron thick piece of tape made of carbon nanotubes 91,000km long, tapering from 5cm wide at the Earth’s surface to 11.5cm wide near the middle….

Computer, Heal Thyself

July 25, 2003

Researchers from Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems have succeeded in building a computer that can repair itself in space.

The scientists used a combination of smart software and field programmable gate arrays.

In what Australian researchers believe to be a world first, FedSat’s High Performance Computing Experiment has detected a fault caused by stray space radiation, analysed the problem, and restored itself to full capability –-… read more

Engineers discover in nature exotic structures envisioned by mathematicians

July 25, 2003

Attempting to improve on the face-center cubic lattice structure of opals in order to make “photonic crystals,” an engineering professor and his graduate students experimented with ways to pack a small number of tiny spheres.

They discovered that the colloidal particle clusters they made have exotic structures predicted by pure mathematicians in 1995.

The uncanny correspondence between mathematics and physics doubtless prompted “Science” editors to picture the clusters… read more

Brain machine ‘improves musicianship’

July 25, 2003

Scientists have created a technique using biofeedback that dramatically improves the performance of musicians.

The “Neurofeedback” system monitors brain activity through sensors attached to the scalp which filter out the brainwaves. These filtered brainwaves are then fed back to the individual in the form of a video game displayed on a screen.

The participant learns to control the game by altering particular aspects of their brain activity.

Super Soldiers

July 24, 2003

New materials and technologies could boost the mobility and safety of U.S. troops.

Scientists at DuPont are developing ways to manipulate light so soldiers could appear to disappear. EIC Laboratories is working on “electrochromic camouflage” — a chameleon fabric that would change colors instantly to blend in with its surroundings.

The new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT is creating new materials and devices molecule by molecule with… read more

Chemical ‘scissors’ yield short carbon nanotubes

July 24, 2003

Chemists at Rice University have identified a chemical process for cutting carbon nanotubes into short segments. It yields nanotubes that are suitable for a variety of applications, including biomedical sensors small enough to migrate through cells without triggering immune reactions.

The chemical cutting process involves fluorinating the nanotubes, essentially attaching thousands of fluorine atoms to their sides, and then heating the fluoronanotubes to about 1,000 Celsius in an argon… read more

Training molecules to draw chips

July 24, 2003

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed a way to organize molecules through lithography in “top-down meets bottom-up” system.

The team managed to draw two different types of alternating 24 nanometers long lines into silicon wafers through extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, far smaller than transistors manufactured today.

In the future, this technique could be used to grow longer lines that could be used to retain data inside… read more

Wheelchair moves at the speed of thought

July 24, 2003

A system that lets severely disabled people steer a wheelchair using only their thoughts is under development.

Using a skullcap with electrodes, it noninvasively monitors the electrical activity of the wearer’s brain. A neural network can be trained to recognize different mental states, currently: “turn left,” “turn right” and “move forward.”

Poetry website goes from bad to verse

July 24, 2003

David Rea of Greenwich, Connecticut, has written a genetic algorithm-based program that allows a poem to evolve, to see if people with diverse tastes in poetry can work together to create attractive verse.

World’s smallest electric rotor made

July 24, 2003

Scientists have built an electric rotor with a gold blade 300 nanometers long. This sits atop an axle made from a multiwalled carbon nanotube; gold electrodes at either end of the axle lash the device to a silicon chip.

Applying a voltage between the nanotube and one of three more electrodes around it rotates the blade. The nanotube rotor can operate at great speed, over a wide range of… read more

Your Permanent Record

July 24, 2003

By the decade’s end, we’ll have a fully realized digital memory management system, with the storage capacity approaching the largest paper-and-ink archive on earth, says Microsoft CTO David Vaskevitch.

Every picture or video snippet that you shoot be embedded with date and GPS location information. Your OS will include sophisticated face-matching software. Photos will categorize themselves “automagically” and provide us with a second memory system — a backup for… read more

Get Ready for New ‘Nano’ Products

July 24, 2003

Boosters claim that nanotech-derived products may some day cure disease, slow the aging process and eliminate pollution.

But for now, the human race will have to settle for tennis balls that keep their bounce longer, flat-panel displays that shine brighter, and wrinkle-free khaki slacks that resist coffee stains.

New Detector May Test Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

July 23, 2003

Scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara have devised an extremely precise detector able to detect a flexing of the beam of about one one-thousandth of a nanometer.

Using such a device, the researchers hope to determine whether Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle still holds when billions of atoms are assembled as an object.

Comment by Ray Kurzweil: “This is picotechnology, at least a very early example.”

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