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Analog Over Digital? For a Better Ear Implant, Yes

May 30, 2003

An MIT researcher has devised a processor for cochlear implants that he says consumes only about .5 milliwatt, one-tenth of the processing power of current devices. The trick: using analog instead of digital processing, which requires more power.

How Will We Keep Supercomputing Super?

November 17, 2009

Building an exascale supercomputer that can deliver a billion billion (10^18) calculations per second is going to force designers to change the way they think about putting these supercomputers together.

Graphics processors (GPUs) are the first step in that process, although more esoteric technologies may emerge.

Virus used to make nanoparticles

March 20, 2006

UK scientists have used a plant virus as a scaffold to create nanoparticles that function as capacitors.

The bound ferrocene compounds to amino acids on the virus surface and attached approximately 240 organometallic compounds, each containing an electronically active iron atom.

This could lead to the particles being used in biosensors, nanoelectronic devices, or for electrocatalytic processes.

US researchers have built a proto-prototype nano assembler

April 29, 2008

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an early prototype for a nanoassembler.

The NIST system consists of four Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) devices positioned around a centrally located port on a chip into which the starting materials can be placed. Each nanomanipulator is composed of a positioning mechanism with an attached nanoprobe.

By simultaneously controlling the position of each of these nanoprobes, the… read more

Intel puts Tri-Gate transistor on fast track

June 12, 2003

The Tri-Gate transistor, one of the tools that may let Intel continue to follow Moore’s Law in the second half of the decade, has been placed on the “pathfinder” development path at Intel, meaning it will get incorporated into chips by 2007.

Tri-Gate transistors avoid leakage (leads to poor battery life and excess internal heat) by increasing the surface area of the gate, which leads to a more stable… read more

IBM Cat Brain Simulation Dismissed as ‘Hoax’ by Rival Scientist

November 25, 2009

IBM’s claim that it has designed the first brain simulation to exceed the scale of a cat’s cortex is being dismissed as “a hoax and a PR stunt” by Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project in Switzerland, which is also attempting to reverse-engineer mammalian brains.

Markram said the cat brain simulation involves only “point neurons,” which are “missing missing 99.999% of the brain; no branches; no detailed… read more

Long-term cell use raises brain tumor risk

April 3, 2006

The use of mobile phones over a long period of time can raise the risk for brain tumors, a new Swedish study said.

Heavy users had a 240 percent increased risk of for a malignant tumor on the side of their head that the phone was used on.

New technique for extracting hierarchical structure of networks

May 2, 2008

Santa Fe Institute researchers have demonstrated that many real-world networks can be understood as a hierarchy of modules, where nodes cluster together to form modules, which themselves cluster into larger modules–arrangements similar to the organization of sports players into teams, teams into conferences, and conferences into leagues.

This hierarchical organization can simultaneously explain a number of patterns previously discovered in networks, such as the surprising heterogeneity in the number… read more

Virtual instruments can be played with haptic controllers

June 24, 2003

A virtual musical instrument capable of creating sounds not possible in the physical world has been developed Professor David Howard, Head of the Music Technology Group at York University, according to BBC News.

Cymatic is both a physical modelling sound synthesis environment and a musical instrument. It has a 3D user interface for the construction of virtual instruments that can be played with the aid… read more

The Race to Reverse Engineer the Human Brain

December 3, 2009

IBM’s recent announcement of simulation of a cat’s cortext on a Dawn Blue Gene/P Supercomputer aligns with IBM’s “smarter planet” initiative, a method of integrating sensors into infrastructure and analyzing the data they produce to optimize systems like the electrical grid, water systems, and traffic.

The new breed of soldier: Robots with guns

April 17, 2006

Spurred by the risks from roadside bombs and terrorist ambushes, the military is aggressively seeking to replace troops with battlefield robots, including new versions armed with machine guns.

Superbug genome sequenced

May 8, 2008

University of Bristol and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute researchers have sequenced the genome of a newly emerging superbug commonly known as Steno.

The bacteria has strains that are resistant to all available antibiotics. It flourishes in moist environments, and can form a “biofilm” on hospital catheters or ventilation tubes that protects the bacteria and makes it difficult to sterilize equipment.

Having the genome should help researchers combat these… read more

Quantum ‘Super Molecule’ Created

July 3, 2003

Scientists at NIST have taken an important step toward creating a “super molecule,” a blend of thousands of molecules acting in unison that would provide physicists with an excellent tool for studying molecular quantum mechanics and superconductivity.

The experiment, conducted at 150 nanoKelvin above absolute zero, may lead to creation of fermion superfluids made from gases that would be much easier to study than solid superconductors.

The researchers… read more

How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers

December 10, 2009

The average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day (excluding work information) — 11.8 hours of information — according to a report by the University of California, San Diego.

U.S. information consumption in 2008 totaled 3.6 zettabytes (10^21 bytes) and 10,845 trillion words.

Video sources dominate bytes of information, with 1.3 zettabytes from television and approximately 2 zettabytes… read more

Nanowires and water are a memorable mix

May 1, 2006

Adding water to nanowires could create computer memory devices capable of storing 10 million times more information in the same physical space as existing drives.

Researchers estimate that the wires could theoretically be used to make computer memory drives with a data density of 10,000 terabits per cubic centimeter. By contrast, current flash memory drives store about five gigabits per cubic centimeter.

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