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Secret Speech Aid

November 23, 2004

NASA engineers are developing technology that picks up and translates throat signals into words before they’re even spoken, using subvocal speech.

Electrodes picks up electromyographic signals near the chin and larnyx, which are amplified and processed with neural network software to decipher word patterns.

Applications could include speech ailments, covert communication in military operations, private speech between individuals, situations where you can’t speak normally (underwater or in fire… read more

New Process Could Lead to Carbon Nanotube Price Cut

November 23, 2004

Researchers have described an improved method of manufacturing carbon nanotubes.

Many current production schemes for single-walled carbon nanotubes use catalyst particles to speed up the reaction, but they can become incorporated into the tubes. By adding water during the manufacturing process, the resulting nanotubes were more than 99.98 percent pure without requiring additional refinement.

New Tools to Help Patients Reclaim Damaged Senses

November 23, 2004

New technology allows one set of sensory information to substitute for another in the brain.

Using novel electronic aids, vision can be represented on the skin, tongue or through the ears. If the sense of touch is gone from one part of the body, it can be routed to an area where touch sensations are intact. Pilots confused by foggy conditions, in which the horizon disappears, can right their… read more

Nanomechanical memory demoed

November 22, 2004

A team at Boston University has made a minuscule mechanical memory cell from silicon. The device is a bistable compressed beam clamped at both ends.

The memory cell beam is 8,000 nanometers long by 300 nanometers wide by 200 nanometers high. It can be switched at 23.5 MHz. The cell’s size allows more than 100 gigabytes to be stored per square inch and uses several orders of magnitude less… read more

Nanotechnology and Risk

November 22, 2004

As molecular manufacturing develops, it will become a source of risk for a wide range of institutions, including those not involved in developing it. The effects of a manufacturing revolution could be extremely widespread, disrupting even geopolitical and macroeconomic stability.

No commercial or governmental organization has taken serious steps to study molecular manufacturing and lay the foundations for sensible policy. To begin filling the void, the Center for Responsible… read more

Computers as Authors? Literary Luddites Unite!

November 22, 2004

A computer program known as Brutus.1 is generating brief outbursts of fiction that are probably superior to what many humans could turn out.

Clear Pictures of How We Think

November 22, 2004

Psychologists are using fMRI to analyze human decision-making, such as moral judgment, evolutionary development, and love.

Scientists debate blending of human, animal forms

November 22, 2004

How human must a chimera (hybrid animal) be before more stringent research rules should kick in?

During one recent meeting, scientists disagreed on such basic issues as whether it would be unethical for a human embryo to begin its development in an animal’s womb, and whether a mouse would be better or worse off with a brain made of human neurons.

2-D Holograms Make 3-D Color Display

November 19, 2004

Researchers from Seoul National University have developed a three-dimensional color display that uses a set of six holograms and is made from relatively compact and inexpensive components.

With a parallel processing computer system and a specialized chip, the method could be used for real-time three-dimensional broadcasting, according to the researchers.

New Vehicles Will Make Own Decisions Based on Commands

November 19, 2004

The next war could be fought partly by unmanned aircraft that respond to spoken commands in plain English and then figure out on their own how to get the job done.

Software sorts out subjectivity

November 19, 2004

Cornell University rearchers have devised a way to improve sentiment (author attitude) classification that sidesteps having to deal with meaning by instead concentrating on context. Their method weeds out neutral sentences.

The method could be used to automate the maintenance of review-aggregation sites (to extract ratings for movie reviews, for example), by search engines to sort or filter results by viewpoint, to track changes in attitudes toward a given… read more

Nano Fabric May Make Computers Thinner

November 19, 2004

Researchers in Russia and England claim they have discovered the world’s first single-atom-thick fabric.

The fabric may represent a new class of materials — so thin they are only two-dimensional — and may lead to computers made from a single molecule.

The graphene fabric is the first two-dimensional fullerene. The research team demonstrated an “ambipolar field-effect” that makes graphene a transistor under ambient temperature and pressure conditions.… read more

Shape-shifting robot shows off its moves

November 18, 2004

A shape-shifting robot comprised of many independently moving components, has been demonstrated walking, rolling and slithering for the first time.

The coordinated movement of numerous cells enables the robot to change its overall shape and also move itself along. The cells each have a computer and communicate with each other via an infrared link.

Seagate Ships 400-GB Drive

November 18, 2004

Setting a new record, Seagate Technology began shipping its first 400-Gbyte drive, the Barracuda 7200.8, this week.

Google Plans New Service for Scientists and Scholars

November 18, 2004

Google Inc. has launched Google Scholar, providing access to scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, books, abstracts and technical reports.

Google Scholar will make the world’s scientific literature universally accessible, says Anurag Acharya, who led the project.

It includes the number of scientific citations for each listing as well as ways to find materials at libraries that are not online.

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