Friday, May 26, 2006 

Invisibility cloak

EETimes.com writes about a substance which can bend light waves and cause them to flow around it, producing an invisibility effect:

"It may seem like something out of a "Harry Potter" novel, but the schoolboy wizard in this tale is nowhere to be found. Rather, physicists at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering and Imperial College London are responsible for the illusion.

Three physicists say they have developed the blueprint for an "invisibility cloak," or fabric, to make physical objects appear as though they have disappeared when they are covered.

The key to making the cloak work comes from an exotic artificial composite called "metamaterials," which could have numerous uses, from defense applications to wireless communications, according to David R. Smith, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School.

Smith, along with Duke's Pratt School doctorial candidate David Schurig, and Imperial College London's John Pendry, presented the theoretical papers, on Thursday. It appeared in Science Express, an online science journal. The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) supported the work.

"The ability to hide or conceal things electromagnetically is a method used to design electromagnetic structures," Smith said. "We've been working on the project for about one year, and would have only been considered practical recently. It's been made possible by metamaterials because it can literally transform space, which is difficult to do with conventional material."

The cloak works on the principal of light as an electromagnetic wave, with a longer wavelength than X-rays and ultraviolet and shorter wavelength than infrared, microwaves and radio waves. The electromagnetic waves follow four mathematical formulas established nearly 150 years ago by James Clerk Maxwell.

Light that transmits through the fabric is made indistinguishable from light that passes through free space. "Using Negative dialectic constant materials is likely in principle, as we are discovering things in small scale that are possible in laborites," said B. Sriram Shastry, physics professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Shastry didn't take part in the project, but said "the things we see in 'Star Trek' are still far beyond what's available to reproduce in the laboratory, but they don't violate any laws of physics as we know it today." In theory, electromagnetic waves would flow around the object covered by the metamaterials similar to water in a river flowing around a smooth rock. The material would act as though a hole opened in space, and light or other electromagnetic waves were swept around the physical object to emerge on the other side as if materials had passed through empty space, Smith said.

The applications for this technology vary. Cloaking could improve wireless communications by eliminating effects from obstructions. An acoustic cloak could serve as a protective shield, preventing the penetration of vibrations, sound or seismic waves, Schurig said. "For the cloak to be effective it would have to completely encompass the object," he said. Schurig has written a computer program to validate the theories. The team's next goal is to physically verify the "invisibility cloak" works. "

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 

LG KG320 Ultra-Slim Phone

LG KG320 Ultra-Slim Phone: "With a thickness of only 9.9mm, compared to the 11.5mm of a Motorola SLVR L7, this LG is thinner than Nicole Richie after a three-day hobo-killing, dog-strangling, Herbie-the-Love-Bug-stealing coke binge.

LG doesn't skimp on the features either, with a 1.3-megapixel camera, 128 megs of flash memory, MP3/MPEG/AAC support and USB connectivity. No doubt this will be available only in Korea, but with any luck you can find a Korean exchange student and bribe him with some fajitas to import one for you.

AVing [via TechEBlog]
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"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 

Hydrogen to boost mileage by 30%


Mobile Mag writes, "With gas prices as high as they are, would anyone complain about getting 20 to 30% better mileage? I didn’t think so. It may soon be possible thanks to hydrogen. The problem with hydrogen as an alternative fuel source up to this point has been availability. You can’t just go down to the gas station and fill your tank up with hydrogen.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new technology that creates its own hydrogen. It uses a fast response on-board reformer to generate a small amount of hydrogen from gasoline. That hydrogen is then added to the air/fuel mixture of a normal engine. The improvement comes without an increase in the NOx emissions that are a problem for diesel engines.

That mileage improvement comes from a device that is, in prototype form, just 18 inches long and 4 inches wide and just bolts onto the engine. Auto industry supplier ArvinMeritor is working with MIT to perfect the technology. The first production application may still be four years away.
"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006 

XCute: a 6 Megapixel sleek camera phone



This 9mm, tri-band phone is equiped with a 16.7 million color screen, the ability to play back AVI, ASF and MOV files, and... *drumroll* a 6 Megapixel camera!!!!!

Source = CNetAsia

 

The world’s first 50-inch 1080p plasma display

Pioneer introduces the “world’s first 50-inch 1080p plasma display”. The PDP-5000EX has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and will capable of displaying the entire range of High Definition sources, including 720p, 1080i and 1080p. The PUREBLACK Crystal Layer sandwiched between the plasma glass and the individual light cells improve brightness and contrast while consuming less power. The new PURE Drive 2 HD Signal Processing delivers low noise, high contrast and natural colour images. The High Precision Video Scaler receives and displays 1080p HD native resolution.

The Pioneer PDP-5000EX will be available from June 2006, pricing is not known yet.
Pioneer Europe - New Launches

Monday, April 03, 2006 

Laser DLP Rear-Projection HDTV

Gizmodo writes, "Mitsubishi tipped its hand to the New York Times, talking about a rear-projection HDTV that works with red, green and blue lasers using DLP technology. The company said it will reveal a prototype of the rear projector this Friday, and said it will be in stores late next year.

Conspicuously missing was the price of such a display, whose images were said to surpass those seen on film."



Mitsubishi Harnesses Colored Lasers to Produce New-Generation Lightweight HDTV [New York Times]

 


Scientists in Portugal have perfected a device that helps blind people see. It's a series of computer signals that bypass the "dead" eyes of people who are totally or legally blind, going directly to the brain. A person who has had special electrodes implanted in the brain will then wear a special pair of glasses that have a camera that captures video images and then sends them to the electrodes.

It's not 100 percent images by any means; rather, what the person sees can best be described as the results of a flashbulb going off. The person sees flashes and an outline of what is there. But for someone who would otherwise see nothing at all, it is a vast improvement.

A total of 16 people have received the treatment so far, and all have reported seeing exactly what researchers expected them to see. The one caveat is that the patient must have had sight at one time; those blind from birth don't have the necessary optic nerve capacity. The procedure's cost runs about US$120,000; for those who now enjoy the benefits, it was worth it.

Availability in countries other than Portugal remains to be seen.

Source = news14.com

Thursday, March 30, 2006 

64GB flash drive


Yes, that's right. A 64GB jump drive. Swap that with the 4GB one in the iPod nano and you'll be good to go. That is, if you can come up with the $5000 Buslink is asking for it.

If not, try any of the other sizes: 32/16/8/4/2 or 1 gigabyte devices.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 

Brain Cells Fused with Computer Chip



This is what gets me so excited I pee my pants!!! Source: LiveScience.com

[QUOTE from LiveScience.com]

The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.

The achievement could one day enable the creation of sophisticated neural prostheses to treat neurological disorders or the development of organic computers that crunch numbers using living neurons.

To create the neuro-chip, researchers squeezed more than 16,000 electronic transistors and hundreds of capacitors onto a silicon chip just 1 millimeter square in size.

They used special proteins found in the brain to glue brain cells, called neurons, onto the chip. However, the proteins acted as more than just a simple adhesive.

"They also provided the link between ionic channels of the neurons and semiconductor material in a way that neural electrical signals could be passed to the silicon chip," said study team member Stefano Vassanelli from the University of Padua in Italy.

The proteins allowed the neuro-chip's electronic components and its living cells to communicate with each other. Electrical signals from neurons were recorded using the chip's transistors, while the chip's capacitors were used to stimulate the neurons.

It could still be decades before the technology is advanced enough to treat neurological disorders or create living computers, the researchers say, but in the nearer term, the chips could provide an advanced method of screening drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.

"Pharmaceutical companies could use the chip to test the effect of drugs on neurons, to quickly discover promising avenues of research," Vassanelli said.

The researchers are now working on ways to avoid damaging the neurons during stimulation. The team is also exploring the possibility of using a neuron's genetic instructions to control the neuro-chip.

[/QUOTE]

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