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New Computer Interface Goes Beyond Just Touch

April 13, 2010

A new interface from Microsoft Research, called Manual Deskterity, attempts to combine the strengths of touch interaction with the precision of a pen.

Scientists Take Step Toward Single-Molecule Switches

June 22, 2001
Single molecule in ON and OFF states

Computers of the future may have components that function based on the action of single molecules, according to a paper by researchers at Penn State and Rice University published in the June 22 edition of Science.

Conformational changes — which happen when molecules alter their arrangement by rotation of their atoms around a single bond, effectively changing shape by moving or turning — determine how and when… read more

Six-legged robot spider does the limbo

August 11, 2008

A six-legged autonomous robotic spider jointly developed by Nanyang Polytechnic of Singapore, Schmid Engineering AG and Analog Devices has been designed to support rescue operations.

The robot’s highly mobile walking scheme design consists of six independent legs that move the robot, even across rough terrain. Walking and rotating are among the basic motions adopted from six-legged insects. With three legs moving and three lifted, the robot can reach the… read more

US underwrites Internet detour around censors

June 13, 2011

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

Some projects, such as the Palisades project in Afghanistan, involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a “liberation-technology” movement sweeping the… read more

The BlackBerry Brain Trust

January 5, 2005

The futuristic new Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is a think tank where some of the smartest people in the world are contemplating the foundations of quantum physics.

Participants include Lee Smolin, who propounds a “fecund universe” theory holding that every black hole leads to another universe; Raymond Laflamme, the information theorist who changed Stephen Hawking’s mind on the direction of time in a contracting universe; and Fotini Markopoulou… read more

Fatal Flaw Discovered In Invisibility Carpet Cloaks

April 21, 2010

Isotropic invisibility carpets cloaks turns out to have a flaw that makes the objects they hide detectable: the carpet cloaking effect has a limited angle of view, MIT scientists have shown.

The Next Small Thing

July 15, 2001

Scientists are re-creating our world in the realm of the intensely tiny. The potential payoff: denser hard drives, smaller chips, better medicine.
Top research organizations within large companies and renowned universities are inventing the future: electronics as cheap and plentiful as bar codes on packaging; lightweight vests enmeshed with sensors could measure a person’s vital signs; analysis of a patient’s DNA could be done so quickly and precisely that designer… read more

Turning Waste Material into Ethanol

August 15, 2008
Transmission electron micrograph of mesoporous nanospheres (catalyst particles show up as the dark spots).

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University are combining gasification with high-tech nanoscale porous catalysts to create ethanol from a wide range of biomass, including distiller’s grain left over from ethanol production, corn stover from the field, grass, wood pulp, animal waste, and garbage.

To increase the surface area, they used nanoscale catalyst particles dispersed widely within the structure of mesoporous… read more

Why the Sun seems to be ‘dimming’

January 17, 2005

Scientists have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface has been gradually falling due to air pollution. By, 2100, there could be a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius, rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

Augmented-Reality Floor Tiling

April 29, 2010


McGill University researchers have developed floor tiles that can simulate the look, sound and feel of snow, grass or pebbles underfoot, for augmented reality applications, telepresence, training, rehabilitation, or virtual foot controllers.

Still Waiting on Neural Nets

August 13, 2001

Neural network technology needs to connect with current research about how the human brain works, said researchers gathered at a session of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Washington, DC in July.
Jim Olds, director of George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in Fairfax, VA, remarked that the information about brain function that computer scientists have been relying on is about 30 years old.

Neuroinformatics… read more

Scientists Move Optical Computing Closer to Reality

August 20, 2008

University of Pennsylvania scientists have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light traveling in nanoparticle chains (acting as miniature waveguides) to 2.5 times the speed of light by altering the particle shape.

As the velocity of the light pulse increases, so too does the operating bandwidth of a waveguide, thus increasing the number of information channels and allowing more information to flow simultaneously through a… read more

Asteroid to buzz Earth Monday, June 27th

June 26, 2011

Asteroid Buzz

Asteroid 2011 MD, a chunk of rock estimated to be 25 to 55 feet across, is estimated to pass less than 8,000 miles above the Earth’s surface around 4:30 p.m. EDT (20:30 UT) on Monday, June 27th.

The actual event will be observable only from South Africa and parts of Antarctica, but the approach will be visible across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific.… read more

Information Wants to be Liquid

January 26, 2005

The Liquid Information project wants to tear down the web and rebuild it in the image of Wikipedia: a free-for-all where readers are writers and no word is sacrosanct.

New Stanford-led program aims to produce insights into brain injury, recovery

May 5, 2010

Researchers at four institutions, led by Stanford University and Brown University, have begun the REPAIR project (Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery), an effort with more than $14 million of DARPA funding to learn both how the brain and its microcircuitry react to sudden physiological changes and what can be done to encourage recovery from injury.

The project will yield new brain implant technologies that can both sense… read more

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