July 1, 2003
The two leading robovac manufacturers — iRobot and Electrolux –- report that owners treat their robovacs (robot vacuum cleaners) somewhat like pets. Scientists believe that robot pets trigger a hard-wired nurturing response in humans.
Three music professors have developed a method called “geometrical music theory” that translates the language of musical theory into that of contemporary geometry.
They categorize sequences of notes, like chords, rhythms and scales into “families” that can be represented by points in complex geometrical spaces.
An international team of researchers recently published evidence that sleep may have evolved to protect animals from disease: animals that sleep the longest had six times as many immune cells as those that sleep the shortest.
Sleep also allows the brain to reorganize connections between neurons, consolidate memories, and synthesize proteins and cholesterols that are important in tissue repair,
Imperial College London scientists say improving “crystallization,” an industrial process for making plastics, could revolutionize the way we produce electronic products, reducing the cost and improving the design of solar cells and other electronic devices.
The process of making many well-known products from plastics involves controlling the way that microscopic crystals are formed within the material.
That allows engineers to determine the exact properties they want,… read more
Pharmacogenomics, or “personalized medicine,” which involves using genomic knowledge to tailor treatments that best suit the individual patient’s needs, could significantly improve treatments for cancer and other major killers.
Intel Corp. is accelerating efforts to boost computing performance without increasing power consumption, in a new generation of microprocessors code-named Nehalem.
A new “turbo” feature powers down unused processor cores to hold down the total power consumed by a chip.
An initial model for desktop computers, Core i7, will offer four processors, going into production in fourth quarter 2008. The Nehalem-EP is targeted at low-end server systems. An… read more
Hewlett-Packard and Arizona State University have announced a prototype computer display made of plastic, but is paper-like, allowing images to appear on the displays without distortion despite rolling and bending.
It may allow electronic displays to become easily portable and more energy-efficient.
PC World predicts that in the next 25 years, technology will become firmly embedded in advanced devices that deliver information and entertainment to our homes and our hip pockets, in sensors that monitor our environment from within the walls and floors of our homes, and in chips that deliver medicine and augment reality inside our bodies.
Technologies and the dates they are forecast to become mainstream:
Project LifeLike aims to to create avatars that are as realistic as possible, including 3-D measurements of a person’s form and of movements, natural language, and automated knowledge update and refinement.
The project is a collaboration between the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Central Florida and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Research on multiple fronts in digital technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology may, over the next half century, alter the way we think about computers and information, and our relationship to them. With these changes, bionic body parts won’t seem so far-fetched as we increasingly develop ways to integrate high-tech materials into our mortal flesh.
And the reverse is true as well. Researchers are now looking to biological materials such as… read more
Nanoparticles now turn up in everyday products from tennis balls to sunscreen but some activists are calling for regulation and even a moratorium on some types of nanoscale research.
WiMax is seven times faster than Wi-Fi and has a range up to as 30 miles vs. about 100 feet, so it could be used as an alternative to copper wire and coaxial cable for connecting homes and businesses to the Internet. Intel also plans to embed it in a chip so it can be built directly into PCs and laptops.
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
The “Fingertip Digitizer,” which users wear on the tip of the index finger, can transfer to the virtual world the meaning and intent of common hand gestures, such as pointing, wagging the finger, tapping in the air or other movements that can be used to direct the actions of an electronic device, much like a mouse directs the actions of a personal computer, but with greater precision.
What’s more,… read more