science + technology news

IBM announces data storage breakthrough

May 16, 2006

Researchers at IBM say a new
method for cramming 6.67 billion bits into a square inch of tape and 8 terabytes on a single cartridge.

They contend that would be 15 to 20 times denser than today’s industry-standard tape products.

Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD Arrive

May 16, 2006

High-definition DVD has arrived … in two, incompatible formats — Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

Both formats offer capacities several times that of conventional DVDs. At launch, Blu-ray Disc is available in 25GB single-layer and 50GB dual-layer flavors (for prepackaged media as well as for recordable and rewritable media). By contrast, HD DVD’s capacity comes in at 15GB for a single-layer disc and 30GB for a dual-layer disc (for… read more

The Future Is Now

May 15, 2006

The Tofflers’ new book, “Revolutionary Wealth,” argues convincingly that we are on the verge of a post-scarcity world that will slash poverty and “unlock countless opportunities and new life trajectories,” at least if we avoid the rapidly escalating risks to such progress.

In Tokyo, the New Trend Is ‘Media Immersion Pods’

May 15, 2006

In the world’s most media-saturated city, people take a break by checking themselves into media immersion pods: warrens cluttered with computers, TV’s, video games and every other entertainment of the electronic age.

The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafes are Tokyo’s grand temples of infomania, containing row after row of anonymous cubicles. At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts.

Singularity Summit reports

May 14, 2006

Reports on the lively Singularity Summit on Stanford University Saturday are coming in from several blogs, including Renee Blodgett’s Down The Avenue, ZDNet’s Between The Lines, and Responsible Nanotechnology, filed live by Mike Treder during the event.

Also see “Smarter than thou? Stanford conference ponders a brave new world with machines more powerful than their creators,” San… read more

Lost links to Fantastic Voyage

May 11, 2006

The TV show Lost has begun a web-based game with a link to “Life Extension” that links to Ray Kurzweil’s Fantastic Voyage book, reports Brian Atkins
of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The most realistic virtual reality room in the world

May 11, 2006

More than $4 million in equipment upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University’s six-sided virtual reality room.

That’s twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State’s C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3-D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at… read more

The new incredibles: Enhanced humans

May 11, 2006

People with enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and sharpened minds are already walking among us. Are you ready for your upgrade?

They’re here and walking among us: people with technologically enhanced senses, superhuman bodies and artificially sharpened minds. The first humans to reach a happy, healthy 150th birthday may already have been born. And that’s just the start of it. Are you ready for your upgrade, asks Graham Lawton… read more

Shape-shifting car will brace for impact

May 11, 2006

A car that can anticipate a side-on impact and subtly alter its body shape to absorb the force of the crash is being developed by researchers in Germany.

The car will use hood-mounted cameras and radar to spot a vehicle on course for a side-on collision. Once it realizes an impact is imminent, it will activate a shape-shifting metal in the door. This reinforces the bond between door and… read more

Robotic tentacles get to grips with tricky objects

May 9, 2006

Robotic “tentacles” that can grasp and grapple with a wide variety of objects have been developed by US researchers.

Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible, say the scientists.

The tentacle-like manipulators, known as “Octarms”, resemble an octopus’s limb or an elephant’s trunk.

Mapping a path for the 3D Web

May 9, 2006

With the spread of online games, virtual worlds and services like Google Earth and MySpace.com, people may soon be spending more time, communicating more and shopping more in complex 3D Web environments.

Korea Unveils World’s Second Android

May 9, 2006

Korea has developed its own android capable of facial expressions on its humanoid face.

The 15 monitors in the robotic face allow it to interpret the face of an interlocutor and look back at whoever stands near it. Ever-1 also recognizes 400 words and can hold a basic verbal exchange.

A Question of Resilience

May 8, 2006

“Resilience” — springing back from serious adversity — can best be understood as an interplay between particular genes and environment — GxE, in the lingo of the field.

Researchers are discovering that a particular variation of a gene can help promote resilience in the people who have it, acting as a buffer against the ruinous effects of adversity. In the absence of an adverse environment, however, the gene doesn’t… read more

‘Cyclic universe’ can explain cosmological constant

May 5, 2006

A cyclic universe, which bounces through a series of big bangs and “big crunches,” could solve the puzzle of our cosmological constant, physicists suggest.

At every big bang, the amount of matter and radiation in the universe is reset, but the cosmological constant is not, Paul Steinhardt at Princeton University and Neil Turok at Cambridge University believe. Instead, the cosmological constant gradually diminishes over many cycles to the small… read more

Now you see it, now you don’t: cloaking device is not just sci-fi

May 4, 2006

Mathematicians claim to have worked out how to make a cloaking device to render objects invisible at certain frequencies of light.

The cloaking device relies on recently discovered materials that have a negative refractive index, which effectively makes light travel backwards.

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