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Feb 20, 2016

Infographic: Combining Electronics and Photonics Opens Way for Next-Generation Microprocessors

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, engineering

Integrated circuits traditionally have been a domain reserved for electrons, which course through exquisitely tiny transistors, wires and other microscopic structures where the digital calculations and data processing that underlie so much of modern technology unfold. Increasingly, however, chip designers have been acting on a long-ripening vision of enlisting photons instead of, or in tandem with, electrons in the operation of microprocessors. Photons, for one, can serve as fast-as-light carriers of information between chips, overcoming digital traffic jams that at times put the brakes on electrons. Recently, DARPA-funded scientists designed and crafted a breakthrough microprocessor that combines many of the best traits of electrons and photons on a single chip. The result is a remarkable and elegant hybrid microtechnology that boggles the mind for the intricate complexity of its sub-Lilliputian architecture. To appreciate the engineering acumen involved in the development of this chip and its tens of millions of resident electronic and photonic components, DARPA has produced an annotated, graphical tour of the new chip’s innards. Check it out, and lose yourself in a world of highways, toll gates and traffic circles populated by some of the physical world’s smallest commuters.

Infographic

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Feb 20, 2016

Volvo wants your phone to be the only car key you ever need

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, security, transportation

By next year, Volvo wants to become the first manufacturer to sell cars without keys. Instead of a physical key or even a Bluetooth key fob, Volvo customers will use a “digital key” in a smartphone app to access (and share that access) to their cars.

Drivers will be able to use the app (and a Bluetooth connection) to start their car, open the trunk, mess with the security system, or — like with a key fob — simply have the car unlock as you approach it. But the biggest implications of this change could be for ride-sharing. Customers (and manufacturers) have begun entertaining new ideas about how to use cars to get around without owning them outright, and something like a digital key makes it easier for multiple people to have control over one particular vehicle. That could mean something as simple as just sharing access with your family, but Volvo will also make it work on the cars it provides to Sunfleet, a Swedish car-sharing service.

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Feb 19, 2016

Scientists say all the world’s data can fit on a DNA hard drive the size of a teaspoon

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, genetics

Even though it’s looking increasingly likely that humanity will find a way to wipe itself off the face of the Earth, there’s a chance that our creative output may live on. Servers, hard drives, flash drives, and disks will degrade (as will our libraries of paper books, of course), but a group of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have found a way to encode data onto DNA—the very same stuff that all living beings’ genetic information is stored on—that could survive for millennia.

One gram of DNA can potentially hold up to 455 exabytes of data, according to the New Scientist. For reference: There are one billion gigabytes in an exabyte, and 1,000 exabytes in a zettabyte. The cloud computing company EMC estimated that there were 1.8 zettabytes of data in the world in 2011, which means we would need only about 4 grams (about a teaspoon) of DNA to hold everything from Plato through the complete works of Shakespeare to Beyonce’s latest album (not to mention every brunch photo ever posted on Instagram).

There are four types of molecules that make up DNA, which form pairs. To encode information on DNA, scientists program the pairs into 1s and os—the same binary language that encodes digital data. This is not a new concept—scientists at Harvard University encoded a book onto DNA in 2012—but up to now, it had been difficult to retrieve the information stored on the DNA.

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Feb 19, 2016

Google’s Upcoming Virtual Reality Headset Will Be Wireless, No Need For Smartphone Or PC

Posted by in categories: entertainment, mobile phones, virtual reality

Google’s forthcoming wireless virtual reality headset is purportedly in the works. With this new VR headset, users will no longer need a smartphone, PC or gaming console for it to provide a VR experience. (Photo : Justin Sullivan | Getty Images)

Google is reportedly developing a wireless virtual reality headset. The more advanced form of the company’s cardboard viewer will soon not rely on a smartphone, PC or gaming console to make it work – this makes it the first of its kind in the VR field.

The Wall Street Journal, citing its unnamed sources familiar with this matter, says that the company is currently working on an all-in-one VR headset which could likely come out before the year ends.

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Feb 19, 2016

Awesome device to collect blood samples

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Here is a revolutionary needle-free device that can collect blood sample.

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Feb 19, 2016

Artificial Kidney Made of Nanofilters and Living Cells to Replace Dialysis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, health, nanotechnology

At Vanderbilt University scientists are building an artificial kidney that they envision will one day will be a standard of care over dialysis. The device consists of a silicon nanotechnology filter chip and embedded living kidney cells that would work together to mimic the functionality of a healthy kidney. The end result is expected to be about the size of a natural kidney, small enough to be implantable and powered by the body’s own blood flow.

The filter component has tiny pores that can be individually shaped to perform a specific task. These filters would sit in a series, each one performing a different filtration step. Between the filter slices there would be living kidney cells that perform tasks that the man made components are not very good at, including reabsorption of nutrients and getting rid of accumulated waste.

Here’s video with Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Dr. William Fissell, the lead scientist on the research:

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Feb 19, 2016

Google Preparing A New Smartphone With Virtual Reality Support

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, mobile phones, virtual reality

This time, there is a very serious news about virtual reality as Google Inc. is said to be getting ready to unveil a new-fangled smartphone headset.

According to The Financial Times, the new headset will succeed Cardboard, and would be featuring much better sensors, lenses, and a more solid plastic skin.

It’s said the product is the like of Samsung’s Gear VR since it will use a smartphone to display as well as most of its processing power. The only difference is that the current Cardboard VR headset is just a cardboard headset like its name with an inserted smartphone, while the new one will be coming with an extra motion sensor for adding whatever the phone places out.

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Feb 19, 2016

SolarCity will use Tesla’s Powerpack to deliver solar power even when it’s dark

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, solar power, sustainability, transportation

No source of energy is perfect and one of the traditional drawbacks of solar energy has been that it’s tough to generate new power when it’s dark outside. However, SolarCity announced this week that it’s taken a big step toward fixing this problem by agreeing to use Tesla’s 52 MWh Powerpack lithium-ion battery storage system for its massive solar power project that it’s building in Hawaii for the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). SolarCity, of course, is chaired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk so the decision to go with the Powerpack is pretty convenient for both companies.

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SolarCity says it believes that its collaboration with Tesla will produce “the first utility-scale system in the U.S. to provide dispatchable solar energy, meaning that the utility can count on electricity being available when it’s needed, even hours after the sun goes down.” To be clear, using the Powerpack won’t completely eliminate the need for non-solar resources at night since it’s projected to feed up to 13 megawatts of electricity onto the grid, which will only reduce the amount of power used by non-renewable sources.

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Feb 19, 2016

This flexible smartphone reacts to the way you bend it

Posted by in category: mobile phones

It won’t break.

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Feb 19, 2016

Japan Is Trying To Make Ghost in the Shell Real

Posted by in category: futurism

Forget that Hollywood live-action adaptation nonsense, scientists and researchers in Japan are trying to turn the world of Ghost in the Shell into reality.

The Ghost in the Shell Realize Project, which launched in 2014, fosters projects and ideas inspired by the famed sci-fi manga and anime.

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