Even without certification by Guinness World Records, it would be easy to believe a short, 250-frame film recently created by an IBM Research team is the world’s smallest. Named “A Boy and His Atom,” the movie was created by precisely placing thousands of atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope. This type of atomic-level control is the result of years of efforts by IBM to determine the lower limits for storing data.
By using light, researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have manipulated the quantum state of a single atomic-sized defect in diamond—the nitrogen-vacancy center—in a method that not only allows for more unified control than conventional processes, but is more versatile, and opens up the possibility of exploring new solid-state quantum systems.
According to researchers from Penn State University, who presented their findings at the 2013 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris today, people who have embraced computers and smart phones are likely to give their blessing other smart objects, like talking tissue boxes or tweeting refrigerators. Their tests involved the use of actual talking, interacting objects.
At a conference this week in Europe on human-machine interfaces, a research team from the U.K. will introduce the concept of “shape resolution”, which it has used to compare the resolution of six prototypes built using new technologies in shape-changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer. One example is the Morphees, a self-actuated flexible mobile device that can change shape on-demand.
You are walking down the street with a friend. A shot is fired. The two of you duck behind the nearest cover and you pull out your smartphone. A map of the neighborhood pops up on its screen with a large red arrow pointing in the direction the shot came from. A team has made such a scenario possible by developing a system that transforms a smartphone into a shooter location system.
Using bundles of vertical zinc oxide nanowires, researchers have fabricated arrays of piezotronic transistors capable of converting mechanical motion directly into electronic controlling signals. The arrays could help give robots a more adaptive sense of touch, provide better security in handwritten signatures, and offer new ways for humans to interact with electronic devices.
When not properly controlled or monitored, a scientific instrument is of little practical use. Developers of scientific instrumentation are aware of this, and invest considerable time and money ensuring that users can properly achieve the results promised by the instrument’s design parameters.
A Harvard University-led team of researchers has created a new type of nanoscale device that converts an optical signal into waves that travel along a metal surface. Significantly, the device can recognize specific kinds of polarized light and accordingly send the signal in one direction or another.
A research team in Europe has created a new keyboard called KALQ that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. They used computational optimization techniques in conjunction with a model of thumb movement to search among millions of potential layouts to find the best one. A study confirmed that users could type 34% faster than they could with a QWERTY layout.
Taiwanese companies have long viewed tech giant Samsung as a major threat and the battle has recently appeared to tilt in favor of the South Korean rival as Taiwan's smartphone, memory chip, and display panel makers suffered sagging exports.
Researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology for future computers and electronics based on "2D nanocrystals" layered in sheets less than a nanometer thick that could replace today's transistors. The layered structure is made of a material called molybdenum disulfide, which belongs to a new class of semiconductors—metal di-chalogenides—emerging as potential candidates to replace today's CMOS technology.
Nanotechnologists at the University of Twente have developed a tiny chip that makes it easy to create micrometer-scale gradients. Gradients are gradual transitions in specific properties, such as acidity. This newly developed system can be used to efficiently measure the reaction kinetics of various chemical or biological reactions.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, and the University of Crete in Greece have found a new way to switch magnetism that is at least 1000 times faster than currently used in magnetic memory technologies. Magnetic switching is used to encode information in hard drives, magnetic random access memory, and other computing devices.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have won a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract to develop 3D chip-cooling technology able to handle heat loads as much as ten times greater than systems commonly used today. In addition to higher overall chip heat dissipation demands, the new approach will also have to handle on-chip hot-spots that dissipate considerably more power per unit area than the remainder of the device. Such cooling demands may be needed for future generations of high-performance integrated circuits embedded in a wide range of military equipment.
Radar systems today depend increasingly on phased-array antennas, an advanced design in which extensive grids of solid-state components direct signal beams electronically. Phased-array technology is replacing traditional electromechanical radar antennas because stationary solid-state electronics are faster, more precise, and more reliable than moving mechanical parts. Yet phased-array antennas, which require bulky supporting electronics, can be as large as older systems. To address this issue, a research team from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a novel device.
To increase the neutron detection efficiency of bulk-micromegas (MICRO-MEsh GAseous Structure) neutron detectors, researchers from China and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville have proposed three new types of thin-film converters: micro-channel, parallel micro-pillar, and oblique micro-pillar 2D array. When validated using Monte Carlo simulations, the latter design showed a threefold increase in neutron detection efficiencies.
As a possible method for accelerating transmission of large data, researchers are studying the adoption of gigabits per second (Gbps) wireless communications operating over the 60 GHz radio frequency (RF) band. But mobile applications have not been developed yet because the 60 GHz RF circuit consumes hundreds of milliwatts of DC power. A new chip developed at KAIST in Korea, however, consumes as little 67 mW of power thanks to newly developed components.
A specially-adapted “tactile helmet”, developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield, could provide fire-fighters operating in challenging conditions with vital clues about their surroundings. The helmet is fitted with a number of ultrasound sensors that are used to detect the distances between the helmet and nearby walls or other obstacles. These signals are transmitted to vibration pads that are attached to the inside of the helmet, touching the wearer's forehead.
Semiconducting polymers are an unruly bunch, but University of Michigan engineers have developed a new method for getting them in line that could pave the way for cheaper, greener, "paint-on" plastic electronics.
Tessera Technologies Inc. said Thursday that it is restructuring its DigitalOptics business, which makes camera parts for smartphones, to cut costs. Tessera, which also provides chip technology for small electronic devices, said it expects the moves to reduce DigitalOptics' yearly costs by $78 million, or 45%, compared with 2012.
Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Co. have developed a way to put glasses-free 3D video on mobile devices with a viewing angle so wide that viewers can see an object more fully just by tilting the screen. Glasses-free 3D is not unique. Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s 3DS handheld allows video game play in 3D without glasses, but it requires players to look straight into the screen with their noses centered.
Singapore company Hoestar PD Technology is working with that country’s leading research organization, A*STAR, to deploy wireless piezoelectric sensors that will track vibrations and stresses that affect the health of machinery such as motors, pumps and generators. The size of a coin, the sensors increase productivity by saving time, reducing manual checking, and offering precision at detecting defects.
A compact, self-contained sensor recorded and transmitted brain activity data wirelessly for more than a year in early stage animal tests, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to allowing for more natural studies of brain activity in moving subjects, this implantable device represents a potential major step toward cord-free control of advanced prosthetics that move with the power of thought
Phototransistors are a kind of transistors in which the incident light intensity can modulate the charge-carrier density in the channel. To date, research on organic phototransistors (OPT) has mostly focused on thin-film variants. Now, researchers in South Korea have developed high-performance OPTs that are engineered with nanoscale single-crystalline wires. The breakthrough could enable other types of device miniaturization.
NIST is changing the way it broadcasts time signals that synchronize radio-controlled "atomic" clocks and watches to official U.S. time. This new time broadcast protocol will not only improve the performance of new radio-controlled clocks and watches, but will encourage the development of new timekeeping products that were not practical with the old broadcast system because of local interference.