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Net ‘brain’ has all the answers

June 21, 2002

Cambridge University researchers have developed an AI-based system to answer Web site questions. The system will be used by Sony to offer technical support to PlayStation users.

TOP500 List of World’s Fastest Supercomputers Released

June 20, 2002

The 19th edition of the TOP500 list of the world’s fastest supercomputers was released today.

The recently installed Earth Simulator supercomputer at the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan is the new number 1, with its performance of 35.86 Tflop/s — almost five times higher than the now #2 IBM ASCI White system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (7.2 Tflop/s).The total combined performance of all 500 computers… read more

Chips’ future cast

June 20, 2002
Image A shows a quartz template used to press ultrasmall patterns into silicon. Image B shows the pattern as it appears in silicon.

A new laser-stamping technique could produce computer chips with 100 times more transistors on a chip, according to Stephen Chou of Princeton University.

The research could lead to patterns imprinted with features only 10 nanometers wide onto a silicon wafer, compared to the lower limit of about 130 nanometers wide with photolithography.

The technique is derived from a similar method used to print compact discs.… read more

Light’s Information-Carrying Capacity Doubles

June 17, 2002

Scottish researchers report that they have succeeded in encoding two bits of information on a single photon by sorting individual photons according to their orbital angular momentum (one of two possible spin states).

The findings represent a step toward exploiting orbital angular momentum for quantum information processing and the possibility of a much greater density of information transfer.

Technology Gives Sight to Machines, Inexpensively

June 17, 2002

Researchers are developing an inexpensive system that produces real-time three-dimensional images.

The 3D-Aware system from Palo Alto-based Tyzx can be used for surveillance of individuals in a crowd, security systems, games. It uses two inexpensive video cameras linked at high speed to a custom processing card in a standard PC.

Los Alamos, Tachyon to develop 3D chips based on wafer-stacking

June 17, 2002

Tachyon Semiconductor Inc. and Los Alamos National Laboratories are planning 3D integrated devices using a new wafer-stacking process that allows different circuitry elements to be stacked, bonded, and interconnected on several separate wafers.

Nanobots in the brain featured on CBS ’48 Hours’

June 17, 2002

On CBS “48 Hours” Friday night, Ray Kurzweil predicted the use of nanobots (nanorobots) to enhance brain power. Billions of nanobots will “take up positions in the brain and communicate with each other,” he said. “They’ll actually expand the human brain, add more memory, more cognitive capabilities. You’ll be able to download skills into the nonbiological portion of your intelligence… [and] do things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do,”… read more

Cloning to revive extinct species

June 17, 2002

Australian scientists say they are on the way to reviving a previously extinct species — the Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) — using cloning technology. The last one died in captivity around 65 years ago. Geneticists working for the Australian Museum said they had successfully replicated Thylacine DNA using a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

This breakthrough allows the scientists to produce millions of pure copies of undamaged DNA fragments… read more

Kurzweil to be featured on CBS ’48 Hours’ Friday night

June 14, 2002

Ray Kurzweil will be featured on CBS 48 Hours: “It’s All In Your Head” on Friday, June 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, discussing nanobots and other future scenarios.

Artificial vision device stimulates the visual cortex

June 14, 2002

A neurosurgeon has become the first U.S. doctor to implant an artificial vision device that allows a blind patient to see using a video camera’s image that stimulates the visual cortex of the brain.

Kenneth R. Smith Jr., M.D., professor of neurosurgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, performed the two- to three-hour surgical procedure in Lisbon, Portugal, in April.

Patients use special sunglasses fitted with a… read more


June 14, 2002

“What if robots could be made to look like us? And what if they could be implanted with false memories so they think they are us? Am I human? Or am I just programmed to believe I am human?”

That’s the premise behind the movie Impostor, adapted from the story by scifi writer Philip K. Dick.

TSMC Details New Type of Transistor

June 11, 2002

Anew type of CMOS transistor as small as 9 nanometers — about 10 times smaller than current production technology — has been announced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The company said this size would allow for the computational power of a supercomputer in a space smaller than a fingernail.

Brain Fingerprinting on CBS ’48 Hours’

June 11, 2002

Dr. Lawrence Farwell and Brain Fingerprinting will be featured on CBS “48 Hours” Friday, June 14 at 10 PM ET/PT, 9 PM CT.

The show will highlight the case of Dan and Brad Harris, two Iowa brothers convicted and imprisoned 17 years ago for the murder of a young woman. Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprinting tests showed that the record stored in the
Harris brothers’ brains does not… read more

What’s Next?

June 11, 2002

Twelve scientists have predicted the next great inventions.
They include:

  • Ray Kurzweil: A three-dimensional molecular computer and a system for sending microscopic intelligent robots into the human bloodstream to fight pathogens, rebuild bodies, provide full-immersion VR and establish direct mental connections to the Internet.
  • Daniel Branagan, Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory: Nanotech alloys to create a new class of highly wear- and
  • read more

    Researchers run molecular machines on light

    June 10, 2002

    Researchers at the Center for Nanoscience, Ludwig-Maximilians Universit├Ąt have demonstrated the feasibility of operating molecular machines with light.

    A polymer made from photoactive chromophores was deposited on a microscope slide. The polymers were seen expanding and contracting under illumination, performing mechanical work.

    Advantages of optical control and energy transfer include picosecond reaction times and simple, massively parallel addressability.

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