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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

Schoolchildren to be RFID-chipped

July 12, 2004

School children in Osaka, Japan will be required to wear or carry RFID chips to track their movements.

NPR’s ‘OnPoint’ interviews Ray Kurzweil on Radical Life Extension

July 9, 2004

Futurist Ray Kurzweil was interviewed by NPR “On Point” host Tom Ashbrook on radical life extension, Monday, July 12th, 8-9 p.m. EST.

On “Living Forever,” Kurzweil discussed how to dramatically slow down the aging process, even stop and reverse it, and the social and cultural ramifications. He also described his forthcoming book, “Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever,” co-authored with Terry Grossman, M.D.

“The… read more

University Develops 12Tbyte Nano Memory

July 9, 2004

A memory technology that could squeeze almost 12Tbyte onto a CD-sized surface is under development, using 10nm crytals deposited on a substrate and switched by electron beam energy pulses.

Raver Wearable Displays

July 9, 2004

France Telecom has done some fun R&D to display pixelated images from your cellphone on your shirt or sleeve.

These raver garments can even be used as a standalone device that can animate based on sounds and gestures. The technology uses a flexible circuit board with LEDs and other electronic bits like sensors layered in a fabric layered sandwich.

Controllable nano-diode created

July 9, 2004

A more efficient nano-diode (linking together two carbon nanotubes) has been created by GE, marking another step towards practical atomic electronics.

The new process uses electric fields rather than doping to modify the diode properties. This allows for more adaptable types of nano-circuitry, since the electric fields can be varied to alter the properties of the diode, while doping is a fixed process.

Numerous obstacles must still be… read more

Brain implants ‘read’ monkey minds

July 9, 2004

Brain implants have been used to “read the minds” of monkeys to predict what they are about to do and even how enthusiastic they are about doing it, California Institute of Technology researchers have found.

By decoding the signals from 96 electrodes in a region of the brain just above the ear, called the parietal cortex, the researchers were able to predict 67 per cent of the time where… read more

Digital Image Sensor

July 8, 2004

In North America, digital cameras may nearly replace film cameras by 2008, according to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. The trend is being fueled partly by improvements in the digital sensors that capture images in lieu of film.

The latest: the X3 from Santa Clara, CA-based Foveon. It has three layers of silicon, as opposed to one in conventional sensors, which produce sharper, truer-colored photos.

Foveon partnered with Polaroid and this… read more

Meet the Eye Cam

July 7, 2004
This corneal reflection shows that the person is facing two people but only looking at the one on the right

Columbia University researchers have devised a “corneal imaging system” that captures and analyzes images reflected from the cornea of the eye.

It uses a high-resolution digital camera to photograph the eye and software to calculate the viewer’s “gaze direction” to identify what they are actually looking at in a scene.

Possible uses include security, studies of human reactions, responsive computer interfaces (eye gaze replacing the mouse),… read more

‘Magic ink’ that makes metal grow

July 7, 2004

An eco-friendly way of “growing” metal for circuitry or antennas has been developed by UK firm QinetiQ.

The metal printing technique replaces conventional copper etching by using a special ink that attracts metals.

It means antennas for tiny mobiles or RFID tags could be made cheaply, quickly, and environmentally friendly, unlike traditional acid etching procedures.

The metal printing technique could also be used to help miniaturize devices.… read more

Brain Cells: Alzheimer’s Clues

July 7, 2004

The genetic mutations that lie behind most cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be found in mitochondrial DNA.

Several mutations have been linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s, but it has been difficult to pin down a cause of the most common form, known as late-onset, sporadic Alzheimer’s.

The mutations are associated with reductions in the total amount of mitochondrial DNA. It could be that they impair energy production in the… read more

Wikipedia Hits 300,000 Articles

July 7, 2004

Wikipedia reached the 300,000 article mark today. The Wikipedia.org project goal is to create a “complete and accurate free content encyclopedia.”

The English Wikipedia has 90.1 million words across 300,000 articles, compared to Britannica’s 55 million words across 85,000 articles. All the languages combined together reach 790,000 articles.

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