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Lithography Unmasked

August 28, 2001

Researchers are pursuing a cheaper way of designing and fabricating computer chips, using mirrors instead of masks.

Photolithography —- the standard chip manufacturing technique — requires expensive masks costing up to $1 million to create the patterns.

Researchers are using an array of tiny mirrors under computer control to turn individual beams on and off as the whole setup scans across the wafer.

Maskless technologies could allow… read more

The Problem with Atheism

October 3, 2007

“I think that ‘atheist’ is a term that we do not need, in the same way that we don’t need a word for someone who rejects astrology. We simply do not call people ‘non-astrologers,’” says author Sam Haris in a talk given at the Atheist Alliance conference in Washington D.C. on September 28th.

“All we need are words like ‘reason’ and ‘evidence’ and ‘common sense’ and ‘bullshit’ to put… read more

Augmented-reality machine works in real time

February 4, 2005

Computer-generated scenery can be realistically added to live video footage, using a machine vision system developed at Oxford University.

Previously, it has only been possible to add special effects to a scene in the studio afterwards. The Oxford team’s system can automatically rework a scene at up to 30 frames per second. The key is to efficiently search for visual markers.

The system could be important step towards… read more

Transcending the Human, DIY Style

December 31, 2010

Anonym, a biohacker, has spent the last several years doing “DIY transhumanism,” learning how to extend her own senses.

“The existing transhumanist movement is lame. It’s nano everything. It’s just ideas,” she says.

She inserted small metal discs of neodymium metal, coated in gold and silicon, which give off mild electric current when in a electromagnetic field. When inserted under the fingertips, this current stimulates the fingers’ nerve endings,… read more

Doug Lenat — I was positively impressed with Wolfram Alpha

March 9, 2009

here are a large range of queries it can’t parse, and a large range of parsable queries it can’t answer even when it can answer the constituents out of which they should be answerable, but it handles a huge range of numeric and scientific queries correctly even in its current state. And Dr. Wolfram and his team are chipping away at the natural language blocks, at the holes in the… read more

ID cards ‘high priority’ for UK government

September 24, 2001

The UK government is considering making identity cards compulsory as part of a crackdown on terrorism.

‘Transparent’ gadget could trump iPhone interface

October 12, 2007

LucidTouch, a multi-touch gadget with the sensing panel on its back, instead of the screen, is being developed by Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs researchers.

Using your fingers behind the device allows a firmer grip and more accurate performance without obscuring your view of the screen, they say.

Rambling robots show human efficiency

February 17, 2005

The three mechanical bipeds androids that amble along with exceptional power efficiency and “instinctive” co-ordination were unveiled for the first time on Thursday.

Two of the three robots, those developed at Cornell and Delft, are relatively simple, yet exhibit remarkable power efficiency. Whereas Asimo consumes about 10 times as much power as a walking human, these robots use about the same amount of energy as the average person.

Android Google Goggles adds barcode scanning, Sudoku cheats

January 11, 2011

Google Goggles 1.3

Google has announced Goggles 1.3 for Android, featuring instant barcode scanning and print ad recognition, and powerful enough to beat a Sudoku champ. The barcode scanner lets shoppers research products offline with a couple of taps.

Innovation: What next after the megapixel wars?

March 17, 2009
(Microsoft)

Powerful new software tools such as Photosynth and Gigapan are making megapixel photos into seamless 3D environments and creating new movie post-production techniques.

‘Nanojuice’ could help diagnose gastrointestinal illnesses

August 20, 2014

The combination of "nanojuice" and photoacoustic tomography illuminates the intestine of a mouse (credit: Jonathan Lovell)

University at Buffalo researchers are developing a new imaging technique using nanoparticles suspended in liquid to form “nanojuice” that patients would drink to help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal illnesses.

Doctors would strike the nanoparticles, once they reach the small intestine, with a harmless laser light, providing an unparalleled, non-invasive, real-time view of the organ.

Described July 6 in the… read more

Fiber weighed for chip interconnect

October 16, 2001

Semiconductor researchers are eschewing copper interconnect to bring optical fiber directly to the microprocessor for ultrafast data rates over a clean, low-power and low-noise pipe.
The nascent interest in fiber reflects a sense of urgency within the chip industry to bolster processor I/O, which has emerged as a major bottleneck to system performance.

WiMax Gets Nod As Wireless Standard

October 22, 2007

The broadband technology WiMax has been added to a global standard for mobile devices, boosting its chances of becoming the preferred system for the next generation of high-speed wireless Internet access.

WiMax is capable of speeds of 70 megabits per second or more across an area of up to 40 miles. It’s faster than many fixed-line broadband connections today, which typically offer speeds of around 2 megabits per second.… read more

Brain reconstruction hints at ‘hobbit’ intelligence

March 4, 2005

Analysis of the diminutive cranium of Homo floresiensis – a one-meter-tall hobbit-like human that lived in Indonesia just 13,000 years ago – confirms it as a unique species and that it has advanced morphological features, including ones associated with complex brain processes in living humans.

The Robot in the Next Cubicle

January 17, 2011

(Anybots)

More and more robots are being designed to handle the jobs now done by white-collar office workers. For instance, the HRP-4 humanoid robot ($350,000), developed by Kawada Industries, is designed to pour coffee, deliver mail, and recognize its co-workers’ faces.

The QB, another office robot, is a “remote presence robot” designed to reduce the need for business travel. The QB is controlled through a Web browser and keyboard, and… read more

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