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Quantum amnesia gives time its arrow

September 2, 2009

The forward-only direction of time is the result of quantum-mechanical amnesia that erases any trace that time has moved backwards, says Lorenzo Maccone of MIT.

Ten times more energy-efficient microchip recharges itself

March 18, 2008

Researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments have designed a new lower-voltage chip that they claim could be up to 10 times more energy-efficient than the current generation.

The power consumption in the new chip is so low that devices using them may even be able to be recharged by human body heat from implantable medical devices such as pacemakers and health monitors, and it could lead to cell phones,… read more

What Is Your Dangerous Idea?

January 4, 2006

The “third culture thinkers” in the Edge community of scientists and science-minded thinkers have written 117 original essays in response to the 2006 Edge Question: “What is your dangerous idea?”.

The answers include “The self is a conceptual chimera” (John Allen Paulos),”We are all virtual” (Clifford Pickover), and “The near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion” (Ray Kurzweil).

Acoustic ‘cloaking device’ shields objects from sound

June 28, 2011

Acoustic Cloak

Scientists at Duke University have developed a cloaking device using metamaterials that makes objects invisible to sound waves.

The device uses stacked sheets of plastic with regular arrays of holes through them. The exact size and placement of the holes on each sheet, and the spacing between the sheets, has a predictable effect on incoming sound waves.

When placed on a flat surface, the stack redirects the waves such… read more

Spider silk delivers finest optical fibers

March 24, 2003

Delicate threads of spider’s silk are about to solve a major problem in photonics: how to make hollow optical fibres narrow enough — just two nanometers wide — to carry light beams around the fastest nanoscale optical circuits.

They will also make for a new breed of sensors that can detect single molecules of a particular chemical.

A Turing Test for Computer Game Bots

September 10, 2009

A screenshot from Unreal Tournament 2004, the computer game used in the BotPrize competition (Epic Games)

“Can a computer fool expert gamers into believing it’s one of them?” was the question posed at the second annual BotPrize challenge, a variant of the Turing test.

To win the big prize, worth $6,000, a bot had to fool at least 80% of the judges; none of the participants was able to pull off this feat.

An experimental ultrafast optical transistor based on a silicon nanoparticle

September 9, 2015

An illustration of a silicon nanoparticle switching between modes depending on the intensity of incoming laser pulse. (credit: Nano Letters)

Russian physicists have invented an optical version of a transistor, based on a silicon nanoparticle. The research could lead to optical computers in the future.

Current computers are limited by the time needed to trigger a transistor — usually around 0.1 to 1 nanosecond (10−9 of a second). An optical transistor could work up to 1000 times faster — at picoseconds (10−12 of a second),… read more

Researchers’ push: reinvent computing

March 24, 2008

Intel and Microsoft plan to fund researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois $20 million to start over and design a new generation of computing systems.

The move was motivated in part by an increasing sense that the industry is in a crisis of a sort because advanced parallel software has failed to emerge quickly, threatening to end decades of performance increases in computers.… read more

Nanoscale magnets promise more-shrinkable chips

January 13, 2006

University of Notre Dame researchers have produced an experimental universal logic gate, using nanomagnets, that could replace transistors.

Simulations show processing speeds of at least 100 megahertz should be possible using magnets 110 nanometers wide, with smaller ones expected to do much better.

Control your home with thought alone

July 6, 2011

Brain-control interface (credit: G.Tec Medical Engineering GMBH)

More than 50 severely disabled people in Second Life have been trying out a sophisticated new brain-computer interface (BCI) that lets users freely explore Second Life’s virtual world and control their real-world environment.

The system was developed by medical engineering company G.Tec of Schiedlberg, Austria as part of a pan-European project called Smart Homes for All. It’s the first time the latest BCI technology has been combined with… read more

The Doctrine of Digital War

April 6, 2003

“Rumsfeld’s new-wavers think massing huge numbers of land troops isn’t always needed in an era when powerful networked-computing systems and unerringly accurate munitions can do much of the dirty work.”

Scientists Cure Color Blindness In Monkeys

September 17, 2009

Gene therapy was used to cure two squirrel monkeys of color blindness, opening up the potential for gene therapy to treat adult vision disorders involving cone cells, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Florida have found.

“What I want is to see is gene therapy that will turn human beings from trichromats (seeing one million colors) into pentachromats… read more

How to catch a molecule

Single molecules imprisoned by laser light in a doughnut-shaped metal cage could unlock the key to advanced storage devices, quantum computers, and high-resolution instruments
September 21, 2015

With a nano-ring-based toroidal trap, cold polar molecules near the gray shaded surface approaching the central region may be trapped within a nanometer scale volume. (credit: ORNL)

In a paper published in Physical Review AOak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee physicists describe conceptually how they may be able to trap and exploit a molecule’s energy to advance a number of fields.

“A single molecule has many degrees of freedom, or ways of expressing its energy and dynamics, including vibrations, rotations and translations,” said Ali Passian of Oak Ridge National… read more

Space elevators face wobble problem

March 31, 2008

A Czech Academy of Sciences study suggests that building and maintaining a space elevator would be an bigger challenge than previously thought, because it would need to include built-in thrusters to stabilize itself against dangerous vibrations.

Researchers concoct self-propelled nano motor

January 25, 2006

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Bologna have come up with a nano-size vehicle with a motor powered by a rotaxane mechanically interlocked molecule. The vehicle can inch its way forward on sunlight and one day could be used to shuttle medicines or other small particles around.

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