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Robobug goes to war

May 5, 2008

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield.

As in minority report, the robots will be released in a swarm into the building to relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside, or equipped with sensors to detect chemical, biological or… read more

Layered ’2D nanocrystals’ could replace CMOS transistors

April 18, 2013

Researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology, pictured here, for future computers and electronics based on "two-dimensional nanocrystals." The material is layered in sheets less than a nanometer thick that could replace today's silicon transistors. (Credit: Birck Nanotechnology Center/Purdue University)

Purdue University researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology for future computers and electronics that could replace today’s CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) transistors.

It’s based on “two-dimensional nanocrystals” layered in sheets less than one nanometer thick.

The layered structure is made of a material called molybdenum disulfide, which belongs to a new class of semiconductors — metal di-chalogenides.

The nanocrystals are… read more

Super Water Kills Bugs Dead

May 17, 2005

A California company has figured out how to use two simple materials — water and salt — to create a solution that wipes out single-celled organisms, and which appears to speed healing of burns, wounds and diabetic ulcers.

A Window That Washes Itself? New Nano-Material May Revolutionize Solar Panels and Batteries, Too

December 4, 2009


A novel way to control the atoms and molecules of peptides so that they “grow” to resemble small forests of grass that repel dust and water — a perfect self-cleaning coating for windows or solar panels — and more efficient batteries has been developed by Tel Aviv University researchers.

Man gets smartphone dock built into prosthetic arm

October 27, 2011

Trevor Prideaux has become the world’s first patient to have a smartphone (a Nokia C7) docking system built into his prosthetic arm. He was born without his left arm, and had to balance the smartphone on his prosthetic arm or put it on a flat surface to use it.

I wonder if it has an ARM processor? — Ed.

Crunching for Dollars

April 19, 2002

JJX Capital plans to bring a supercomputer that is “the most powerful ever built for commercial use” online in June that can predict “the future price movements of every stock, bond and commodity traded in the United States.”

The 2 teraflops machine will use AI software that incorporates fuzzy logic, neural networks and genetic algorithm optimization to help predict the performance of an investment.

Lots of Animals Learn, but Smarter Isn’t Better

May 8, 2008

In trying to understand why some animals have evolved to be better at learning than others, Dr. Tadeusz Kawecki, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Fribourg, finds that
one reason for the difference is that being smart can be bad for an animal’s health.

His studies found that the very act of learning takes a toll: forming neuron connections may cause harmful side effects. It is also possible… read more

Proving the Pollock

May 30, 2005

The claim that 32 of Jackson Pollock’s paintings – mostly from his spectacularly inventive “drip” period – have been discovered is a major event. The trouble is that Pollock experts cannot yet agree whether they are genuine.

Perhaps a test equivalent to the Turing Test should apply to paintings. This could matter, in the unlikely event that some of the canvasses turn out to have been produced by animals.… read more

Apple’s Next Media Frontier Will Be Streaming Video

December 11, 2009

Building a data center, putting a video camera on the iPhone and iPod Nano, and now, approving iPhone apps with live video-streaming functionality will allow Apple to build for an always-connected, share-everything future, with personal broadcasting.

Chinese spacecraft dock in orbit

November 3, 2011

Shenzhou 8 craft made contact with Tiangong-1

The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, has made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab.

Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the decade’s end.

No astronauts were in the Shenzhou craft this time, but future missions will carry people.

Agency signs on digital star Lara Croft

May 21, 2002

Beverly Hills talent agency Creative Artists Agency announced they will represent digitally animated Lara Croft for new products and promotional tie-ins.The Lara Croft character has been featured in six video games and the “Tomb Raider” movie. Eidos plans to release the new “Lara Croft: The Angel of Darkness” video game this coming winter.

Carpet bombing in cyberspace

May 13, 2008

“America needs a network that can project power by building an robot network (botnet) that can direct such massive amounts of traffic to target computers that they can no longer communicate and become no more useful to our adversaries than hunks of metal and plastic,” says Col. Charles W. Williamson III, judge advocate, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

Proposals he cites include:

  • Mount botnet
  • read more

    The People vs. Pixel

    June 13, 2005

    Can actors be replaced with digital replicas?

    “We’ve never been able to teach a computer to act,” George Lucas says. “It’s a talent, it’s a skill, it’s something you learn, it’s something you’re born with, and I don’t see in the foreseeable future that computers can become human enough in their artificial intelligence to have the same crazed psychology you need in order to relate to other people, so… read more

    Diet high in methionine could increase risk of Alzheimers

    December 17, 2009

    A diet rich in methionine, an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study by Temple University researchers.

    Artificial vision device stimulates the visual cortex

    June 14, 2002

    A neurosurgeon has become the first U.S. doctor to implant an artificial vision device that allows a blind patient to see using a video camera’s image that stimulates the visual cortex of the brain.

    Kenneth R. Smith Jr., M.D., professor of neurosurgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, performed the two- to three-hour surgical procedure in Lisbon, Portugal, in April.

    Patients use special sunglasses fitted with a… read more

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