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‘Spin’ Could Be Quantum Boost for Computers

August 21, 2001

Spintronics, based on magnetic properties of electrons, promises to make possible radical advances in computers and other electronic devices.Possible applications of spintronics include:

  • M-RAM, or magneto resistive memory, which will remember data after the power is turned off, eliminating boot-up time and possibly doing processing and storage in the same chip.
  • Quantum computers that can perform multiple computations simultaneously.
  • reprogrammable computer chips
  • Researchers fashion copper for high-speed computing

    February 13, 2008

    Georgia Tech researchers have replaced solder with all-copper connections between computer chips and external circuitry, boosting the speed and amount of data that can be sent throughout a computer.

    Nano bridge builds logic

    February 2, 2005

    Japanese researchers have devised a nanoscale mechanical switch that works by rapidly creating and destroying a minuscule metal bridge between a pair of wires positioned just one nanometer apart.

    If each switch were used as a memory element, such a configuration would allow a memory chip made from the switches to store 2.5 gigabits per square centimeter. Today’s state-of-the-art memory chips store about 1 gigabit per square centimeter.… read more

    Provoking Our Inner Stem Cells

    July 17, 2009

    Fate Therapeutics aims to harness the body’s ability to heal itself by developing drugs that stimulate resident stem cells.

    The company began its first clinical trial in May of a novel molecule that could make cord-blood transplants more effective by enhancing the activity of the stem cells that create the blood and the immune system.

    Asteroid served up ‘custom orders’ of life’s ingredients

    June 10, 2011

    Tagish Meteorite

    Some asteroids may have been like “molecular factories,” generating life’s ingredients and shipping them to Earth via meteorite impacts, scientists at the University of Alberta have determined.

    In January 2000, a large meteoroid exploded in the atmosphere over northern British Columbia, Canada, and rained fragments across the frozen surface of Tagish Lake. Pieces were collected within days and kept preserved in their frozen state. This… read more

    Robots Scour WTC Wreckage

    September 19, 2001

    Dozens of experimental search-and-rescue robots are scouring the wreckage of the World Trade Center’s collapsed twin towers. A team of four robot researchers from the University of South Florida are assisting the salvage operation with about seven robots, including various marsupial designs, which combine a large “mother” robot with a smaller “daughter” machine that is small enough to maneuver deep into crevices in the rubble. Some of the daughter machines… read more

    Artificial Playmates for Autistic Children

    February 18, 2008

    Northwestern University researchers show that interacting with virtual playmates helps autistic children unlock social aptitudes and skills.

    During unsupervised play with typical children, autistic children don’t fill in pauses in conversation, nor do they ask or answer questions in a natural flow. But with a virtual playmate, autistic children begin to do all these things after as little as 20 minutes.

    Robot wars

    February 15, 2005

    At the 24th Army Science Conference, held in Orlando, Florida last December, Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote address entitled “Warfighting in the 21st Century.” News@nature quizzed this renowned commentator on robotics about his views on future warfare.

    Innovation: Is the future of healthcare online?

    July 27, 2009

    Healthcare is moving online, encouraged by an international coalition of medical and technology companies.

    Medical devices from weighing scales to asthma inhalers could soon carry the technology to connect directly to the web, shuttling data between doctors and their patients.

    After an apocalypse, what’s left of digital stores of knowledge?

    June 20, 2011

    The editor of the Gawker media sci-fi blog io9, Annalee Newitz, is working on a book about how humans will regroup after the apocalypse. That such a book could be considered non-fiction is a remarkable commentary on the world we live in, with gold at a record high, the U.S. government on the verge of default, supplies of cheap oil running out and the environment crashing down on the heads… read more

    Optical DSPs promise tera-ops performance

    October 10, 2001

    An optically based digital signal processing engine (ODSPE) that has the potential to take DSPs from the current giga-operations-per-second (Gops) limit to tera (trillion) operations per second (Tops) by 2005 has been demonstrated by Lenslet Labs of Israel.
    The company has already demonstrated an 8-Tops, 20-watt device. Using conventional DSPs to get that performance would require 40 FPGAs, according to the company.

    The technology uses high-speed optical processing –… read more

    No Directions Required–Software Smartens Mobile Robots

    February 25, 2008

    DARPA has completed its three-year Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR) initiative, which awarded each of eight teams of scientists $2 million to $3 million to develop software that would give unmanned vehicles the ability to autonomously learn and navigate irregular off-road terrain.

    LAGR has expanded the capacity of a mobile robot to quickly analyze and travel through new environments.

    Mind Control

    February 28, 2005

    The BrainGate Neural Interface creates a direct link between a person’s brain and a computer, translating neural activity into action. Matthew Nagle, without use of his limbs but fitted with a BrainGate, can now play a videogame or change channels on TV using only his mind.

    Nikon’s Digital Camera is the First with a Projector

    August 5, 2009

    The Nikon COOLPIX S1000pj is the world’s first camera to feature a built-in projector.

    World’s nuclear facilities vulnerable, warns UN agency

    November 5, 2001

    Nuclear plants are vulnerable to attacks by terrorists, according to a stark new warning by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
    The world’s 1300 nuclear facilities are not hardened to withstand “acts of war” like a deliberate hit by a large, fully-fuelled passenger jet, warns the IAEA’s director general, Mohamed ElBaradei.

    In the US on October 29, following intelligence reports received by the FBI, the air space around all… read more

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