May 21, 2001
Coming PDA user-interface enhancements include pocket-sized foldable screens, fabric keyboards, retinal displays, and voice recognition/navigation.
See also: A Chip Fights Blindness
Microsoft presented its WorldWide Telescope (WWT) program today at the TED conference.
WorldWide Telescope, which is similar to the sky feature in Google Earth but much more expansive, is a virtual map of space that features tens of millions of digital images from sources like the Hubble telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
From the desktop, the technology lets people pan and zoom across the night sky,… read more
California Institute of Technology computer scientists have succeeded in building a DNA crystal that computes as it grows.
This is the first time that a computation has been embedded in the growth of any crystal, and the first time that computation has been used to create a complex microscopic pattern.
The scientists showed that DNA “tiles” can be programmed to self-assemble into a crystal, using DNA “sticky ends”… read more
The Robot Operating System or ROS, an open-source set of programs meant to serve as a common platform for a wide range of robotics research, is being developed and used by teams at Stanford University, MIT, and the Technical University of Munich, among others.
Dramatic improvements in speech discernment using signal processing have been developed by Stanford University professor of electrical engineering Bernard Widrow and his students.
Dr. Widrow reported the breakhrough in a keynote speech at the recent annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.
The Directional Hearing ARray (D-HEAR) uses six tiny microphones and signal-processing electronics (worn as a necklace) to enable people with profound… read more
University of Pennsylvania professor Nader Engheta hopes to create electronic components and circuits in an entirely new regime–one where “current” is no longer defined as the movement of electrons and holes, but instead as an electromagnetic wave, leading to a new kind of optical information processing and perhaps a new form of nanoscale computational unit that would outperform conventional silicon electronics.
His building blocks are metananocircuitry–composite nanomaterials that exhibit… read more
Roboticist Hans Moravec has founded Seegrid Corporation to develop vision-enabled robotic carts that can be loaded and then walked through various routes to teach them how to navigate on their own and move supplies around warehouses without human direction.
A statistical method that picks out the
“information value” of words in a book that could help scholars decode ancient texts like the Voynich manuscript — or even messages from aliens — has been developed by University of Manchester researchers and colleagues.
A system for bar-coding DNA using brilliant crystals called quantum dots could revolutionize our ability to identify genes in the human genome.
A group at Indiana University in Bloomington has developed a way to embed quantum dots in tiny Styrofoam-like beads attached to DNA to create unique labels. The paper
appears in Nature Biotechnology.
The dots are semiconductor crystals of cadmium selenide wrapped in shells of… read more
A new kind of immersive visual and auditory experience on the Web is emerging, fueled by hardware innovations (Wii, iPhone, multitouch displays, etc.) and more powerful programming tools, like PicLens, which offers a small icon cue inset in each Web photo that lets users know they are on a site that can be browsed with the software.
Clicking on the icon transports the user away from the… read more
A voicemail system that labels messages according to the caller’s tone of voice could soon be helping people identify which messages are the most urgent.
The software, called Emotive Alert, works by extracting the distribution of volume, pitch and speech rate – the ratio of words to pauses – in the first 10 seconds of each message, and then comparing them with eight stored “acoustical fingerprints” that roughly represent… read more
NewScientist explores dimensions from zero to 10D string theory in a special feature.
The researchers are developing a polymer gel that they hope to start testing in a small clinical trial next year. The gel, which mimics key traits of human vocal cords, could help millions of people with voice disorders. They chose polyethylene glycol (PEG) as its starting material, in… read more
For the first time, nearly all the proteins from a single organism have been produced, purified and biochemically tested in an area the size of a postage stamp. Experts say such “proteome chips” will revolutionize medicine and biology.
The US researchers who created the chip have already used it to study the biochemistry of 93 per cent of the proteins of brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a total of 5800 molecules.… read more
Intel is close to unveiling a new line of solid-state drives for laptop and notebook PCs that will feature a storage capacity up to 160GB, putting solid-state drives in direct competition with hard drives.