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The world’s first photonic router

A step toward building quantum computers
July 17, 2014

Illustration of the photonic router the Weizmann Institute scientists created. At the center is the single atom (orange) that routes photons (yellow) in different directions. (Credit: Weizmann Institute)

Weizmann Institute scientists have demonstrated the first photonic router — a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single photons, a step toward overcoming the difficulties in building quantum computers.

A photonic switch

At the core of the device is an atom that can switch between two states. The state is set just by sending a single particle of light — or… read more

The World’s First Powered Ankle

May 11, 2007

Hugh Herr, director of the biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab, unveiled his latest design at an MIT conference on Wednesday: a novel prosthesis modeled on the human ankle.

The world’s largest domed city

Will include a 3 million sq. ft. wellness zone with rejuvenation services
July 15, 2014

Image from the planned Mall of the World. (credit: Dubai Holding)

Dubai Holding plans to build the world’s largest domed city: Mall of the World, in Dubai. The temperature-controlled city (also a first) will occupy a total area of 48 million square feet — the largest indoor theme park in the world. It will be covered by a glass dome that will be open during the winter months.

The project will also house the largest shopping mall in the world,… read more

The world’s largest solar thermal power plant

May 28, 2012

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The outlines of a massive solar thermal power plant — the largest ever — are starting to appear in the wilderness outside of Las Vegas. The $2.2 billion project, being built by Oakland, California-based Brightsource, stretches over 3,600 acres near Ivanpah, California. When it’s finished, it will generate 370 megawatts of electricity on sunny days.

But the future of solar thermal power plants is in doubt. That’s in large… read more

The world’s lowest noise laser

January 27, 2008

Max Planck Institute researchers have set a new record for photon noise control in a laser beam, creating a laser that has the precision to be used as a gravitational wave detector.

The world’s smallest 3-D full HD display

May 24, 2011

Ortus Tech

A prototype of the “world’s smallest 3-D full HD display” using thin film transistor (TFT) has been developed by Ortus Technology, a Japanese firm.

At 4.8 inches, the screen features glasses-free 3-D effects. It’s so dense at 546 pixels per inch (229 pixels per inch in 3-D mode) that the human eye can’t actually discern one pixel from another, creating a seamless, realistic image, claims Ortus.… read more

The World’s Smallest Crime Lab

March 4, 2008

George Mason University researchers have built a microwave smaller than an ant that can heat pinhead-size drops of liquid to precise temperatures–critical for the kind of lab-on-a-chip devices investigators could someday use in the field.

One big potential payoff: a portable DNA-analysis kit that could use crime-scene evidence, such as a drop of blood, to produce the genetic fingerprint of the culprit.

The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information

February 11, 2011

A study appearing Feb. 10 in Science Express calculates the world’s total technological capacity to store, communicate and compute information, part of a Special Online Collection: Dealing with Data.

The study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism estimates that in 2007, humankind was able to store 2.9 × 1020 optimally compressed bytes, communicate almost 2 × 1021 bytes, and carry out 6.4 ×… read more

The world’s first 3D-printed gun is a terrifying thing

July 26, 2012

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Gun enthusiast “HaveBlue” has documented in a blog post (via the AR15 forums) the process of what appears to be the first test firing of a firearm made with a 3D printer, The Next Web reports.

Actually,. the only printed part of the gun was the lower receiver. But, according to the American Gun Control Act, the receiver is what counts as the firearm.

HaveBlue reportedly… read more

The X-Mice

March 30, 2007

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Santa Barbara genetically engineered mice to express a third, humanlike photoreceptor, giving them human color vision.

Can they do the same for humans? Turns out some people may actually have a fourth photoreceptor that detects light within the visible range at a slightly different wavelength range than the other three.

The Year in Biomedicine

December 26, 2008

Brain trauma among soldiers, a $5,000 genome, cellular switches, and insight into the brain’s beauty.

The Year in Biomedicine

December 23, 2009

Advances in antiaging drugs, acoustic brain surgery, flu vaccines–and the secret to IQ.

The Year in Biomedicine

December 29, 2010

Two steps forward and one step back for stem cells, genome sequencing to diagnose disease, and the creation of artificial life.

The Year in Biotech

December 27, 2006

Brain chips, gene Chips, life-extending pills, and stem-cell cures and among the biotech developments on 2006.

The Year in Biotech

December 28, 2007

Stem cells from skin, myriad microbes, and a $350,000 personal genome are among Technology Review’s list of top biotech stories in 2007.

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