1366 Technologies, founded in part by Sachs, claims that it has improved the efficiency of its new multicrystalline silicon solar cells by 27 percent, putting them on par with today’s standard cells made from single-crystal silicon. Read more »
Archive for March, 2008
It features a small, flexible, washable screen with a dock. The Kitchen Sync allows you to view recipes online and follow links to buy whatever products you may need to concoct your favorite dishes. It eliminates the need to print out recipes or bring your expensive laptop into the kitchen only to get it covered with food.
Kitchen Sync takes full advantage of its wireless internet connection -besides downloading recipes, you can also chat with other users cooking the same dishes for a richer cooking experience.
Balmer received an International Housewares Association design award for his concept. We hope to see the Kitchen Sync make it to production as it would be an instant favorite of cooks worldwide. More pictures after the jump. Read more »
The system can alert drivers behind you in different ways to show them if you are slowing down, about to stop, and how hard you’re pressing the pedal. It uses a horizontal array of LED lights to create the light show behind your car.
When you begin to slow down, the lights glow orange. After a certain threshold, when you’re about to stop, the side lights glow red. If you’re slamming on the brakes and the cars behind you need to be alerted, the lights will all flash red.
The team behind the project hopes to see their system on commercial vehicles in the future, and we couldn’t agree more. It would take a lot of the guesswork away when driving behind bad drivers. [via Engadget]
Researchers at Big Blue have created a silicon switch that can direct trillions of bits of data each second within an optical network. This switch would make it possible to put a network with the speed and bandwidth of a fiber-optic telecommunications network inside of a computer.
Within the next decade, engineers expect to build computers with tens, if not hundreds, of processing cores. They have not, however, found a way to get the cores to efficiently communicate with each other, as traditional metal wires are simply not capable of transmitting information at the speeds required. The new silicon switch could be the solution to allowing the cores to communicate with each other in a multicore system.
However, the researchers don’t expect the switch to find its way into commercial computers until five or ten years from now. Hopefully they can find a way to integrate it before we get stuck with slow (well, slow for the time) computers. [via Technology Review]
You know all those movies where space travelers are asleep and don’t age a bit while they fly around the galaxy? They’re in suspended animation, and it turns out that this state may actually be possible.
We don’t know how, but scientists discovered that small doses of hydrogen sulfide (found in sewer gas) put lab mice into a state of metabolic suppression within minutes. The mice were able to return to normal within 30 minutes of being able to breathe regular air again.
The scientists don’t know if this will work on humans, although we doubt any human testing will be performed for a while as this is a dangerous thing to toy with. It would be great to see this finding give humans the ability to enter suspended animation and make long space voyages possible. [via Gizmodo]
Physicists at the University of Maryland have shown that graphene, a sheet of graphite a single atom thick, can conduct electricity at room temperature better than any other known material, including silicon.
Electrons can travel up to 100 times faster through graphene than silicon, making it perfect for the next generation of computer chips and sensors.
But it doesn’t end at that. Graphene also has a smaller resistivity than copper, providing 35% less opposition to the flow of electric current. That would make it the lowest resistivity material as well. However, impurities in graphene make copper better at transferring electrons at the moment. With some refinement, though, we could see graphene overtake copper.
It looks like graphene is just about set to replace silicon in computer chips. The only question left is: where will Graphene Valley be? [via Gizmodo]
Beijing’s Weather Modification Office will be using supercomputers, airplanes, and artillery (and probably a bit of voodoo) in an effort to keep it from raining over the roofless 91,000-seat Olympic stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, in the city this summer.
The process involves three stages. First, the region’s weather will be tracked using satellites, planes, radar, and an IBM p575 supercomputer. This massive computing power will be able to model an area of 44,000 square kilometers accurately enough to generate hourly forecasts for each square kilometer.
Then, two aircraft and twenty artillery and rocket-launch sites around the city will shoot and spray silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush out their rain before they reach the stadium.
Finally, any rebel clouds that manage to survive this bombardment will be seeded with chemicals to shrink droplets so that the rain won’t fall until the clouds have passed over the stadium.
It looks as if we’ll see whether humans have finally conquered Mother Nature this summer. We do wonder, though, if this rain-preventing business is bad for the environment. [Technology Review]
Sure, touchscreen phones look great, but when it comes to typing on the touchscreen most of the phones are lacking. Without having the feedback that a keypad provides, users often have to type slowly and frequently make errors on devices such as the iPhone.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow are trying to solve those problems by using actuators (the things that make your phone vibrate when a call comes in) to replicate the feel of a keypad.
Using existing haptic feedback software, the scientists are trying to squeeze more out of the actuators already present in cell phones. Their modifications provide a single pulse for the feeling of a button being clicked, a longer buzz to provide a “rough” feeling when the user has moved to a different key, and a buzz that ramps up and down when sliding a finger across a button to give that button a rounded feel.
The researchers found that users’ typing speed and accuracy were much closer to a standard keypad when using their haptic feedback software. The team will present their findings at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Italy next month, and hopefully we’ll see cell phone manufacturers picking up this software to make their touchscreen phones that much more usable. [via New Scientist]