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Cycorp: The Cost of Common Sense

February 28, 2005

The time may come, Cycorp CEO Doug Lenat says, when a greatly expanded Cyc will underlie countless software applications. But reaching that goal could easily take another two decades.

Self-assembling structures open door to new class of materials

January 14, 2011

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres.

The helical “supermolecules” are made of tiny colloid balls instead of atoms or molecules. Similar methods could be used to make new materials with the functionality of complex colloidal molecules. The team will publish its findings in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Science.

“We can now make… read more

’2001: HAL’s Legacy’ to air on PBS Nov. 27

November 6, 2001

Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Kurzweil, and other leading scholars in artificial intelligence and computer science will be featured in the forthcoming television documentary “2001: HAL’s Legacy,” to air nationwide on PBS stations starting Tuesday, November 27, according to Dr. David G. Stork, creator of the documentary.

The experts reflect upon the state of the art, how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go… read more

Robots could flex muscles that are stronger than steel

March 20, 2009

University of Texas, Dallas scientists have developed a new type of artificial muscle based on nanotube ribbons that is stronger than steel, stiffer than diamond, and weighs little more than its volume in air.

The nanotubes expand in width by 220% in milliseconds when a voltage is applied and then return to their normal size once it is removed. Collections of those ribbons could act as artificial muscle fibers… read more

Researchers show evidence of ‘memory’ in cells and molecules

October 30, 2007

Researchers have found evidence that some molecular interactions on cell surfaces may have a “memory: that affects their future interactions. The report could lead to a re-examination of results from certain single-molecule research.

DNA with three base pairs may expand genetic code

March 15, 2005

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have reported progress toward the creation of a system for replicating a modified form of DNA containing an unnatural base pair.

According to the scientists, this finding is a significant step towards expanding the genetic code and the ability of DNA to act as an information storage and retrieval system in the test tube and in simple, engineered organisms, such as yeast or bacteria.… read more

An Inventor Unveils His Mysterious Personal Transportation Device

December 3, 2001
Patent drawing for "Ginger"

Inventor Dean Kamen plans to demonstrate today the much-anticipated Segway Human Transporter (code-named “Ginger” or “It”), a two-wheeled battery-powered device designed for a single standing rider. Its chief novelty lies in the uncanny effect, produced by a finely tuned gyroscopic balancing mechanism, of intuiting where its rider wants to go — and going there.

Segway Web site

Artificial cartilage performs better than the real thing

March 27, 2009

Researchers used lubricating layers of “molecular brushes” to build artificial cartilage that outperforms natural cartilage under the highest pressures encountered within bone joints.

Currently the synthetic cartilage used in artificial joints matches cartilage’s slippery properties at low pressures, but it can seize up at higher pressures.

Automated Custom Manufacturing

November 8, 2007

A company called Ponoko intends to help bring an end to the era of mass production and opens up the way to mass individualization–the creation of one-of-a-kind products by way of user-driven design and manufacturing.

A visitor to Ponoko’s website can either upload a digital design for a product or select another user’s design, and within five to ten days, the company has manufactured the components of the product… read more

Cheap material makes speedy memory

March 24, 2005

A low-cost, high-speed nonvolatile memory made from polystyrene and gold nanoparticles is being developed by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and the Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials Company.

The memory can be easily manufactured from inexpensive materials, making it potentially much cheaper than today’s flash memory chips; it can be read to and written electronically, making it potentially much faster than today’s CDs and DVDs.… read more

As Chips Reach Speed Limit, Makers Tap Into ‘Clockless’ Logic

January 9, 2002

A worldwide community of private and academic researchers are perfecting a kind of lateral-thinking, anarchic method of chipmaking based on asynchronous logic, which does away with the clock altogether. Clockless chips, in addition to being more energy efficient, can also work faster, more quietly and more securely than synchronous chips. All of which makes them perfect for applications such as computer networks, mobile phones, smart cards and embedded medical devices.… read more

Humanoid robot helps scientists to understand intelligence

April 1, 2009

Imperial College London researchers believe their iCub humanoid robot will help them learn more about how humans use cognition to interact with their world.

The team will link a computer simulation of a human brain to iCub so that it can process information about its environment and activate its motors to allow it to move its arms, head, eyes and fingers to carry out simple tasks.

Line Between Quantum And Classical Worlds Is At Scale Of Hydrogen Molecule

November 14, 2007

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their collaborators at the University of Frankfurt, Germany; Kansas State University; and Auburn University have now established that quantum particles start behaving in a classical way on a scale as small as a single hydrogen molecule.

They reached this conclusion after performing a double slit experiment, using as their two “slits” the two proton nuclei of a hydrogen… read more

Gordon Moore on 40 years of his processor law

April 7, 2005

Gordon Moore is skeptical about quantum dots, nanotechnology, an other new technologies replacing mainstream digital silicon in the future.

“You can clearly make a tiny little transistor by these techniques with potentially great high frequency, but can you connect a billion of them together? That’s really the problem; it’s not making a small transistor.”

Augmented reality, machine learning and the cleric

February 9, 2011

Machine-learning software built on Bayes’ theorem on probabilistic relationships will underpin the next major shift in computing — the move to augmented reality (AR), says Mike Lynch, CEO of Europe’s second largest software company, Autonomy.

Smartphone apps already exist that do things such as lay historic photos over images of London landmarks, but Lynch said AR will eventually permeate our lives — putting the digital world at the heart of everyday… read more

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