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Multimedia Scrapbooks to Share

July 19, 2004

Web users are programming their own virtual TV newscasts and eclectic collections of video clips using a free media-sharing tool called Webjay (www.webjay.org).

The site makes it easy to build, share and watch playlists of audio and video links culled from around the Internet.

Movie tests Asimov’s moral code for robots

July 19, 2004

Even if researchers are ever able to build robots with enough intelligence to comprehend Asimov’s laws, they are unlikely to be implemented.

Although they attracted some interest in the early stages of AI research, the rules were quickly abandoned as too prescriptive and simplistic.

“They stem from an innocent bygone age, when people seriously thought that intelligence was something that could be ‘programmed in’ as a series of… read more

Using Carbon Nanotubes For Quantum Computing

July 16, 2004

Academics at the University of Oxford have developed a design protocol for inserting filled molecules of Buckminsterfullerene (“Buckyballs”) into carbon, and other types of nanotubes.

The Buckyballs are themselves filled with molecules that have either an electronic or structural property that can be used to represent a quantum bit (Qubit) of information and can be associated with other adjacent Qubits. The improved stability of the system now allows several… read more

Deposit Your Stem-Cell Hopes Here

July 15, 2004

The government plans to open a “national bank” to better grow the only embryonic stem cells eligible for government-funded research, holding firm against critics who want Bush administration restrictions on the controversial cells lifted.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health plans to spend $18 million over four years to establish three “centers of excellence” to speed research on the currently available cell lines.

The proposals don’t satisfy… read more

MRI used to detect lone electron

July 15, 2004

Magnetic resonance imaging has been used to pinpoint the position of a single, unpaired electron for the first time.

The achievement, by a team at IBM’s Almaden Research Laboratory in San Jose, California, paves the way for scientists to map the shape of molecules and peer inside transistors to examine atomic-scale features.

“This is an impressive milestone and an essential step towards imaging biomolecules in three dimensions,” says… read more

Hawking cracks black hole paradox

July 15, 2004

After nearly 30 years of arguing that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, Stephen Hawking is saying he was wrong. It seems that black holes may after all allow information within them to escape.

It might solve one of the long-standing puzzles in modern physics, known as the black hole information paradox. In 1976, he calculated that once a black hole forms, it starts losing mass… read more

‘High-rise’ chips sneak on market

July 15, 2004

“High-rise” three-dimensional semiconductors have quietly started making their way into consumer products.

Matrix Semiconductor is now selling its 3D memory/data storage chips, initially for use in storing pre-recorded content like games or songs.

In the company’s memory chips, planes of transistors can be stacked, which reduces the surface area of the chip and allows more chips to be produced from a single wafer. Ideally, manufacturers get the cost… read more

The rise of ‘Digital People’

July 15, 2004

Tales about artificial beings have sparked fascination and fear for centuries; now the tales are turning into reality.

Intel: Moore’s Law Here to Stay

July 14, 2004

“We see that for at least the next 15 to 20 years, we can continue staying on Moore’s Law,” said Paolo Gargini, Intel Fellow and director of technology strategy as well as chairman of the ITRS.

He predicted the convergence of emerging technologies such as quantum, optical, plastic, NEMS and SiCMOS with traditional CMOS.

Specifically, the “heterogeneous integration of alternative technologies is the way of the future,” Gargini… read more

The Coming Robot Revolution

July 14, 2004

“In the future, robots could help determine the outcome of wars and identify problems in data centers. Office buildings may come to life as they use Wi-Fi to dispatch robots to control human access, test heating and cooling systems, and fetch tools for workers.”

We, Robots

July 14, 2004

“In 2035, sleek humanoid robots that walk, talk and think will be as common as iPods. At least they are in ‘I, Robot.’

“When the big-budget thriller hits movie screens Friday, it will be hard not to notice the gap between the clunky robots of today and those doing battle with Will Smith’s Detective Del Spooner.”

“Yet the future is arriving, one bot at a time. Robots today… read more

Computer, heal thyself

July 14, 2004

Why should humans have to do all the work? It’s high time machines learned how to take care of themselves.

“For at least three decades now, programmers have joked of ‘heisenbugs’ — software errors that surface at seemingly random intervals and whose root causes consistently evade detection.

“The name is a takeoff on Werner Heisenberg, the German physicist whose famous uncertainty principle posited that no amount of observation… read more

Study: Chip-Tools Spending To Double

July 13, 2004

The semiconductor-tools industry is poised for dramatic growth in 2004, according to a new report from research firm Gartner. Demand is being driven by a seemingly insatiable consumer appetite for electronics devices, such as cell phones.

Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is on pace to reach US$44.8 billion this year, growing 50.9 percent from 2003, according to Gartner. Capital equipment spending is forecast to grow 63.5 percent in 2004.… read more

Body movement to create music

July 13, 2004

Scientists are developing ways of capturing human movement in three dimensions which would allow music to be created or web pages browsed with the gesture of an arm.

The system captures 3D movements using infrared light projected onto tiny reflective balls attached to clothing and monitored by 12 cameras.

The computer tracks the changing positions of the balls and turns different gestures into instructions for music software.

A nickel investment for future’s grid will pay off

July 12, 2004

“Energy is the single most important challenge facing humanity today,” says Richard Smalley, director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice University.

“We will need revolutionary breakthroughs to find the clean, low-cost energy necessary for advanced civilization of the 10 billion souls we expect to be living on this planet before this century is out.”

Nanotechnology will play a key role, he says. For example, single-wall carbon nanotubes… read more

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