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‘We’re building a brain!’

April 5, 2002

Lobal Technologies of London is building a natural language processing system called LAD (Language Acquisition Device) that understands sentences word by word and builds its replies word-by-word, rather than just reading a script.The system is based on a model of the human brain, with emulators for the five brain areas that are most important for language processing, built using neural network technology

Lobal’s roadmap for developing LAD is based… read more

‘Cyborg’ sues airline

April 4, 2002

Professor Steve Mann, from the University of Toronto, is suing Air Canada for negligence and damage to his wearable computer system during a security search.
Mann was delayed for three days and subjected to a humiliating strip search. A computerized heart monitor that he has attached to his skin was removed, leaving him bleeding.

Mann believes that his status as a cyborg should be treated in the same way… read more

Researchers demo secure storage of quantum data

April 4, 2002

Harvard University researchers have succeeded in bringing practical quantum computers one step closer to reality by storing qubits (quantum bits) in a memory and retrieving them later, without having to observe, and therefore invalidate, their values. The first step, demonstrated last year, was the ability to store a laser-encoded signal in the spin states of atoms and then nondestructively read them back out.

The next step: demonstrate that quantum… read more

Pioneers go beyond wires, walls and the World Wide Web

April 4, 2002

The next-generation Internet is being built with high-speed wireless networks, ranging from next-generation cell phones and other mobile devices to free-space optical networks based on laser light.
The hottest trends:

  • A high-speed (6 megabits or more per second) wireless standard known as 802.11b or “Wi-Fi,” which is spawning a huge array of commercial products as well as free-access community networks.
  • Internet2, a national research consortium, which
  • read more

    A glove and mechanical assembly let you feel the unreal

    April 4, 2002

    Haptic interfaces, which add the sense of touch to virtual-reality systems, are becoming commerically available but are still expensive.CyberGrasp from San Jose-based Immersion consists of a lightweight mechanical exoskeleton that fits over a motion capture glove. It lets users manipulate virtual objects in a computer-generated world and creates the illusion of touching and grasping objects.

    Woburn, MA-based SensAble Technologies makes touch-based modeling systems for industrial designers. Its FreeForm system… read more

    FDA approves implantable chip

    April 4, 2002

    The Federal Drug Administration has ruled that the Verichip, an implantable microchip used for ID purposes, is not a regulated device, so it can now be sold in the United States.

    Applied Digital Solutions has been marketing the VeriChip in the U.S. as a device to allow hospital workers to access patients’ health records, by scanning the chip and cross-referencing the device’s ID with a patient database.… read more

    Kurzweil to debate Stock on ‘BioFuture vs. MachineFuture’

    April 2, 2002

    Ray Kurzweil will debate Gregory Stock, Director, UCLA Program on Medicine, Technology and Society, on “BioFuture vs. MachineFuture” at the “Exploring the Edges” Foresight Senior Associate Gathering this month, April 26-28, 2002 in Palo Alto, California.
    Stock foresees “widespread reworking of human biology via genetic engineering: neither governments nor religious groups will be able to stop this” in the next few decades, says Foresight president Christine Peterson. “Greg sees computer… read more

    Nanotubes Self-assemble into Circuit Elements

    March 28, 2002

    Researchers at Purdue University have created Nanotubes measuring just 100 atoms in diameter.Nanotube “parent” molecules were developed. These molecules self-assemble in water to form tiny rings, which then snap together, forming long tubes.

    The outside of these tubes has “hooks” on which to hang other molecules. This allows the resulting nanotube to be used for specific electronic applications — virtually forming angstrom-sized circuit elements.

    Professor Hicham Fenniri’s research… read more

    The Singularity: A Talk With Ray Kurzweil

    March 26, 2002

    “We are entering a new era. I call it ‘the Singularity,’” says Ray Kurzweil in an interview just published on the Edge Web site.

    The interview is available as a video, RealAudio file, and text transcript.

    Excerpts from interview

    Intel Ramps Up R&D: All Time High

    March 20, 2002

    Optimistic about an economy rebound, Intel has ramped up R&D spending to an all time high of $4.1 billion.CEO Craig Barrett says that Intel is focusing on its “core competency” — selling microchips and extending the life of silicon technology. Moore’s Law “is good for another 15 years,” Barrett contends.

    At the February Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, the company announced its newest Pentium 4, code-named Prescott, that… read more

    Online Virtual World Revs Up

    March 20, 2002

    It’s ten past 6 and you’re late. The two full moons are already peeking above the horizon, drenching the marbled purple landscape in an amber twilight.

    The Crystal Pyramid Theater, that you architected and built last week, is just in sight now as you glide over lollipop trees. Above a field of giant cotton balls you glance up at your holographic watch.
    (Click image for high-res version)… read more

    Industry Says Limits on Moore’s Law Far Off

    March 19, 2002

    Limits predicted by Moore’s Law won’t be reached until after 2028, according to a semiconductor industry leader.

    Calvin Chenming Hu, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation’s Chief Technologist, said 9 nanometer devices “can be ready more or less on time, in 2028 according to long-term forecasts or 2024, according to the 2002 (industry roadmap).”If Hu’s view is correct, fundamental limits on current two-dimensional integrated circuit technology are still far off. In… read more

    Soldier of the Future: Army Turns to Nanotechnology

    March 18, 2002

    Backed by a US Army grant of $50 million over five years, MIT has launched a new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

    The institute is tasked with innovating materials and designs that will reinvent soldiers’ uniforms, turning them into high tech gear that rivals the best science fiction.
    Among the capabilities of the futuristic fabrics: morphing to improve camouflage, stiffening to splint broken limbs, and storing energy that can be… read more

    Computer Screen Controlled with Monkeys’ Brain Signals

    March 18, 2002

    Researchers at Brown University have demonstrated that brain patterns can be used to control machines. The development could lead to techniques that allow paraplegics to articulate artificial limbs through thought alone.In the experiment, which resembled a computer game, monkeys initially used a joystick to chase red and purple dots around a screen.

    Then, unknown to the monkeys, the joystick was disconnected — but the animals were still able to… read more

    Unstoppable Trend? Survey Says Online Music Swap Pervasive

    March 18, 2002

    Despite controversy over Web-based downloadable music, recent surveys show that this online trend is gaining momentum.

    American youth, turned off by limited radio song selections and lured by the ease of Internet access, collect thousands of songs online without ever paying a cent.In particular, rising CD costs have turned many US college students into Web music download aficionados. Many have even traded in their stereos, using their PCs as… read more

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