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Giga-year storage medium could outlive human race

October 17, 2013 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Although the amount of data that can be stored has increased immensely during the past few decades, it is still difficult to actually store data for a long period of time. A researcher has recently demonstrated a way to store data for extremely long periods, even millions of years, using an etched wafer made of tungsten encapsulated by silicon nitride. The material is resistant to both time and elevated temperatures.

Scientists achieve Internet access through lightbulbs

October 17, 2013 9:01 am | News | Comments

Successful experiments by Chinese scientists have indicated the possibility of the country's netizens getting online through signals sent by lightbulbs (LiFi), instead of WiFi. In a recent experiment at Shanghai's Fudan Univ., four computers under a 1-W LED lightbulb connected to the Internet under the principle that light can be used as a carrier instead of traditional radio frequencies, as in WiFi.

IBM unveils two new Watson-related projects with Cleveland Clinic

October 15, 2013 9:40 am | News | Comments

Details have been released by IBM Research on Watson-related cognitive technologies that are expected to help physicians make more informed and accurate decisions faster and to cull new insights from electronic medical records (EMR). The new computing capabilities allow for a more natural interaction between physicians, data and EMRs.

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World record: Wireless data transmission at 100 gigabits per second

October 14, 2013 12:50 pm | News | Comments

In a record-setting experiment, researchers with the Millilink project in Germany transmitted 100 Gbits/sec of data at a frequency of 237.5 GHz over a distance of 20 m in the laboratory. The scientists applied a photonic method to generate the radio signals at the transmitter. After radio transmission, fully integrated electronic circuits were used in the receiver.

Jupiter-bound craft running normally again

October 14, 2013 9:22 am | News | Comments

NASA's Jupiter-bound spacecraft hit a snag last week after it flew past Earth to increase its speed to barrel beyond the asteroid belt to Jupiter. The Southwest Research Institute, which leads the mission's science operations, now reports that Juno is out of "safe mode."

New technology can prevent cellular overload, dropped calls

October 14, 2013 9:02 am | News | Comments

When a natural disaster strikes and too many people take to their mobile phones at once, cellular networks easily overload. But a graduate student in Canada has found a way to opportunistically use television and radio channels to transmit cellular signals when systems are pushed beyond capacity.

Building disaster-relief phone apps on the fly

September 30, 2013 9:24 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed new tools that allow people with minimal programming skill to rapidly build cellphone applications that can help with disaster relief.

Researchers demonstrate “accelerator on a chip”

September 30, 2013 8:45 am | News | Comments

In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.

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SpaceX launches Canadian satellite from California

September 29, 2013 1:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A SpaceX rocket launched from the California coast Sunday carrying a Canadian satellite intended to track space weather in what was billed as a test flight. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, shortly after 9 a.m. under clear skies.

Spirals of light may lead to better electronics

September 26, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

A group of researchers at Caltech has created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork: a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers. The work marks the first time that such a device has been miniaturized to fit on a chip and may pave the way to improvements in high-speed communications, navigation and remote sensing.

Researchers make headway in quantum information transfer

September 24, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

Fiber optics has made communication faster than ever, but the next step involves a quantum leap. In order to improve the security of the transfer of information, scientists are working on how to translate electrical quantum states to optical quantum states in a way that would enable ultrafast, quantum-encrypted communications. A research team has demonstrated the first and arguably most challenging step in the process.

Tiny antennas let long light waves see in infrared

September 24, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nanoantennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared (IR) spectrum. Other nanoscale antenna systems can't be tuned to a longer light wavelength due to limitations of traditional nanoantenna materials. The team used highly doped semiconductors, grown by molecular beam epitaxy.

Scientists create twisted light

September 19, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light—light that spirals around a central axis as it travels. It has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities and a much wider range of wavelengths, including x-rays, than is currently possible.

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Human activity affects vertical structure of atmospheric temperature

September 18, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

Human influences have directly impacted the latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature. That is the conclusion of a new report by scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and six other scientific institutions. The research compares multiple satellite records of atmospheric temperature change with results from a large, multimodel archive of simulations.

Space weather’s effects on satellites

September 18, 2013 7:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Is your cable television on the fritz? One explanation, scientists suspect, may be the weather. The weather in space, that is. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are investigating the effects of space weather on geostationary satellites, which provide much of the world’s access to cable television, Internet services and global communications.

Graphene photodetector integrated into computer chip

September 16, 2013 12:34 pm | News | Comments

A recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describing how graphene can be used to convert signals from optical to electrical has also been explored by engineers in Austria, who have also constructed a graphene light detector on a semiconductor chip. According to the researchers, graphene can convert all light wavelengths which are used in telecommunications.

Data: a resource more valuable than gold?

September 13, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.

New aquifers found in desert-dry region of Kenya

September 12, 2013 3:58 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A remote region of Kenya that suffers from frequent droughts may soon be flush with water after the discovery of huge underground aquifers. Two aquifers have been identified in the Turkana region of Kenya by using satellite exploration technology. Three other aquifers have been detected but need to be confirmed through drilling.

NIST, five journals find way to manage data errors in research

September 10, 2013 9:09 am | News | Comments

Poor research data can lead to mistakes in equipment selection, over-design of industrial plant components, difficulty simulating and discovering new processes, and poor regulatory decisions. However, traditional peer review is not enough to ensure data quality amid the recent boom in scientific research findings, according to results of a 10-year collaboration between NIST and five technical journals.

Satellite cameras saving endangered species

September 6, 2013 3:47 pm | Videos | Comments

Product development firm Cambridge Consultants is helping conservationists protect some of the world’s most rare and endangered species. As part of the Instant Wild project, new satellite-connected and motion-triggered cameras are beaming near-real-time images of animals from the remotest areas of Africa. A mobile app allows users anywhere in the world to view the photos, providing early warning of illegal poaching activity.

Inflatable antennae could give CubeSats greater reach

September 6, 2013 7:53 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The future of satellite technology is getting small. CubeSats, and other small satellites, are making space exploration cheaper and more accessible. But with such small packages come big limitations: namely, a satellite’s communication range. Now researchers have developed a design that may significantly increase the communication range of small satellites.

Video: First microdrone crosses the Alps

September 5, 2013 10:17 am | News | Comments

Earlier this summer, a small drone managed something that even larger flying robots had not yet been able to do. Equipped with an HD camera, and in adverse conditions, it set off from Switzerland and crossed the Saint-Gotthard Massif towards Italy. The company behind this experiment has just released video of the record flight.

Microsoft buying Nokia's devices and services unit

September 3, 2013 12:54 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Microsoft Corp. is buying Nokia Corp.'s devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of $7.2 billion in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market, the companies announced. Microsoft will pay $5 billion for the Nokia unit that makes mobile phones, including its line of Lumia smartphones that run Windows Phone software.

Skype eye contact finally possible

August 29, 2013 4:27 pm | by Angelika Jacobs, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the laboratories ETH Zurich may be able to help by leveraging the color and depth information made available by XBox Kinect cameras.

Space laser to prove increased broadband possible

August 29, 2013 12:07 pm | by Dewayne Washington, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

When NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), it will attempt to show two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, expanding the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data. This new ability could one day allow for 3-D high-definition video transmissions in deep space to become routine.

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