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Robotic wheels that just keep rolling

July 6, 2004

Robots made from elastic polymer and shape memory alloys propel themselves along by continuously altering their shape.

The researchers’ main aim was to show that you do not need rigid bodied crawler robots or wheeled vehicles to move over rough ground.

Evolution could speed net downloads

July 6, 2004

Internet download speeds could be improved dramatically by mimicking Darwin’s evolution to “breed” the best networking strategies, say computer scientists.

They used “genetic algorithms,” which mimic Darwinian evolution, to develop strategies for Internet servers to use when caching data.

The algorithms take known variables, such as the number of times a piece of data is requested, the number of points it has to pass through and its overall… read more

Universe Collapses: Well, TV’s, Anyway

July 6, 2004

The number of channels receivable by the average U.S. household declined last year, and appears to have stalled out at about 100.

If the decline is a genuine development, it seems to defy the TV industry’s claims of ultimately delivering a virtually unlimited channel universe via digital cable and satellite TV, and other new technologies such as video-on-demand.

The next big thing is actually ultrawide

July 2, 2004

The Freescale Semiconductor division of Motorola has developed ultrawideband (UWB) technology for sending data wirelessly at 110Mbps and plans for 1Gbps transmission in 2005.

UWB technology is currently hobbled by regulatory challenges and a long-running clash between two incompatible systems.

Ultrawideband works by broadcasting over a much larger chunk of the radio spectrum, so even a low-powered ultrawideband radio signal can carry huge amounts of data.

The… read more

Camero develops radar system to see thru walls

July 2, 2004

Israeli company Camero has developed a revolutionary technology that allows the user to see through walls and can be effectively used for both military and rescue services.

The UWB (ultra wideband) technology can produce real-time, three-dimensional pictures of what lies behind a wall, from a distance of up to 20 meters.

Chip protects single atoms

July 2, 2004

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Physics and Ludwig Maximilians University have found a way to closely control the quantum states of single atoms trapped in a microchip.

The method is a step toward building devices that depend on traits of single atoms, like miniature atomic clocks that are an order of magnitude more accurate than those that exist today, and quantum computers.

The researchers’ chip… read more

Holograms enable pocket projectors

July 2, 2004

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Light Blue Optics Ltd. have used holographic technology to produce a small laser-driven video projector.

The method could lead to pocket-sized, battery-powered video projectors that produce images whose quality matches that of today’s full-sized projectors,

The (Nano) Arms Race Has Begun

July 2, 2004

India’s new President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam called today for India to develop nanotechnology — including nanobots — because it will revolutionize warfare.

He called for scientists to develop “super strong, smart and intelligent structures in the field of material science and this in turn could lead new production of nano robots with new types of explosives and sensors for air, land and space systems.”

“This is… read more

Nanotech Arms Races

July 1, 2004

An advanced, general-purpose molecular manufacturing technology could have a significant destabilizing effect and lead to an international arms race; even a nuclear power might not be able to deter a nano power, concludes a preliminary study by the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.

Net Attack Aimed at Banking Data

July 1, 2004

Computer security experts warned yesterday of another new Internet threat that can steal the passwords and account information of people who bank online — the second such discovery in a week.

Robots get sensitive

July 1, 2004

An electronic skin as sensitive to touch as our own is being developed for robots by scientists in Japan.

It consists of a sheet of rubbery polymer, impregnated with flakes of electrically conducting graphite. The electrical resistance of the sheet changes when it is squeezed, and this change is detected by an array of transistors beneath the rubber.

The skin could also find applications in sport, security and… read more

Hybrid nano-wires provide link to silicon

July 1, 2004

Nanowires that could be plugged into conventional computer circuits have been developed by Charles Lieber and colleagues at Harvard University.

The nanowires were made highly conductive by blending silicon and nickel together.

The researchers have also shown that the method can be used to create simple nanoscale electronic components, e.g., field-effect transistors. “By extending our approach to crossed nanowires it should become possible to assemble large and dense… read more

Speed of light may have changed recently

July 1, 2004

The speed of light may have been lower as recently as two billion years ago on Earth, based on measurements of the fine structure constant, or alpha, which dictates the strength of the electromagnetic force.

I, Robocop

June 30, 2004

In the forthcoming film “I, Robot,” Actor Will Smith plays a police detective investigating a murder allegedly committed by a robot.

Q: I understand Proyas asked the entire cast to read Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines. What did you think of the book?

A: Actually, the Wachowski brothers turned me onto it first. Kurzweil has an interesting, kind of twisted look at the potentiality of the… read more

Fractals show machine intentions

June 29, 2004

Some day machines could build themselves, which means they might not necessarily be designed to communicate with people. This could make interacting with machines difficult.

One solution is to give people a means of interpreting machines that’s similar to the way we read each other’s body language. A team of researchers has proposed a way to do so that combines fractals with algorithms that automatically cluster data.

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