Archive | March, 2013

Domestic drones and their unique dangers

AR Drone 2.0 (credit: Parrot) The use of drones by domestic U.S. law enforcement agencies is growing rapidly, both in terms of numbers and types of usage, blogger Glenn Greenwald writes in The Guardian. A short summary of Greenwald’s comprehensive article: The belief that weaponized drones won’t be used on U.S. soil is patently irrational. Police […]

A new way to freeze molecules for quantum computing

Eric Hudson’s UCLA physics laboratory (Credit: UCLA) Chilling molecules to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the temperature at which they can be manipulated to store and transmit data in quantum computers, has proven to be a difficult challenge for scientists. At higher temperatures, molecules rocket around, bouncing into each other and exchanging […]

Biological transistor enables computing within living cells

Three-terminal transcriptor-based gates use integrase (Int) control signals to modulate RNA polymerase flow between a separate gate input and output (credit: Bonnet et al./Science) Stanford University bioengineers have taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology by creating the “transcriptor” — a biological transistor made from DNA and RNA. In electronics, a transistor controls […]

Wireless device powers implanted blood-pressure sensor, eliminating batteries

A handheld reader (top right) wirelessly powers and interrogates a tiny blood-pressure sensor embedded inside a prosthetic graft, inserted in this case as a conduit for hemodialysis in a patient with kidney failure (credit: A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics) Researchers at A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore are developing a prototype wireless device that powers an implanted blood-pressure sensor, eliminating […]

Using carbon nanotubes as qubits for quantum computers

Like a guitar string, nanotubes (black) can be clamped and excited to vibrate. An electric field (electrodes: blue) ensures that two of the many possible states can be selectively addressed. (Credit: M.J. Hartmann, TUM) A study by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has shown how nanotubes can store information in the form of vibrations. Using quantum […]

Iron Man meets HULC as Lockheed enters exoskeletons race

Ekso is the bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk (credit: Ekso Bionics) Wearable machines that enhance human muscle power are poised to leave the realm of science fiction and help factory workers hoist heavier tools, lighten soldiers’ loads and enable spinal patients to walk, The Daily Item reports. Lockheed Martin and Parker Hannifin […]

A strange computer promises great speed

D-Wave One computers (credit: D-Wave) Academic researchers and scientists at companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard have been working to develop quantum computers. Now, Lockheed Martin — which bought an early version of such a computer from the Canadian company D-Wave Systems two years ago — is confident enough in the technology to upgrade it to commercial scale, becoming the first […]

HP invents glasses-free 3D

Glasses-free 3D display (credit: HP Labs) HP researchers have developed a glasses-free, multi-directional diffractive backlight technology that allows for rendering of high-resolution, full-parallax 3D images in a zone up to 180° and up to one meter away, HP Innovation blog reports. In other words: glasses-free 3D for your mobile device. The display technology forms 3D images by […]

New cosmic background radiation map challenges some foundations of cosmology

Cosmic microwave background seen by Planck space telescope (credit: ESA) The most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background — the relic radiation from the Big Bang — acquired by ESA’s Planck space telescope, has been released, revealing features that challenge the foundations of our current understanding of the Universe and may require new physics. The […]