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Tech-news archive: May-June 2007





Blue Gene
Supercomputer steps up the pace
(Jun 28, 2007)


The world's fastest commercial supercomputer has been launched by computer giant IBM. Blue Gene/P is three times more potent than the current fastest machine, BlueGene/L, also built by IBM. The latest number cruncher is capable of operating at so called "petaflop" speeds – the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

Read more. Source: BBC

Blue Gene
Scientists battle to build biggest supercomputer
(Jun 27, 2007)


Scientists yesterday unveiled a new generation of supercomputers, including a 30m machine with the memory of 200,000 home computers and a hard disk hefty enough to hold the entire Google index of the internet. The huge devices, each costing tens of millions of pounds, will compete against each other this year for the title of the planet's biggest electronic brains.

Read more. Source: Guardian


Image quality improves significantly as the number of computer processing iterations increases from 0 (left) to 500 (right). Image: The American Physical Society
Molecular holograms are coming into focus
(Jun 9, 2007)


3D images of individual molecules may soon be possible thanks to a breakthrough in holography by Swiss scientists. The technique would be useful to biologists interested in how the shapes of proteins and other components of life relate to their function.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Craig Venter
Patent sought on 'synthetic life'
(Jun 9, 2007)


Scientists working to build a life form from scratch have applied to patent the broad method they plan to use to create their "synthetic organism". Dr Craig Venter, the man who led the private sector effort to sequence the human genome, has been working for years to create a man-made organism.

Read more. Source: BBC

A light bulb glows whilst receiving power from 2m away
Wireless energy promise powers up
(Jun 8, 2007)


A clean-cut vision of a future freed from the rat's nest of cables needed to power today's electronic gadgets has come one step closer to reality. US researchers have successfully tested an experimental system to deliver power to devices without the need for wires. The setup, reported in the journal Science, made a 60W light bulb glow from a distance of 2m (7ft).

Read more. Source: BBC

X-ray diffraction from a nanostructure
Green light for flash fantastic
(Jun 6, 2007)


A major new particle accelerator is to be built at Hamburg, Germany, that is capable of producing super-brilliant, ultra-short flashes of X-ray light. The intense beam made in the 3.4km-long (2.1 miles) machine will probe how matter is pieced together atom by atom. The properties of the X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) should make it possible, for example, to film the very moment a chemical reaction occurs.

Read more. Source: BBC

iPhone
Launch date for iPhone revealed
(Jun 4, 2007)


Apple has confirmed that its much-anticipated iPhone product will launch on 29 June in the US. The date was given in a series of TV adverts broadcast on Sunday, and was later confirmed by a spokesman for the California-based company. The device, which combines the features of a mobile phone and personal digital assistant, will sell for $499 (251) and $599, depending on configuration.

Read more. Source: BBC

Star Trek teleportation
Breakthrough brings 'Star Trek' teleport a step closer
(Jun 4, 2007)


Scientists have set a new record in sending information through thin air using the revolutionary technology of quantum teleportation – although Mr Spock may have to wait a little longer for a Scotty to beam him up with it. A team of physicists has teleported data over a distance of 89 miles from the Canary Island of La Palma to the neighbouring island of Tenerife, which is 10 times further than the previous attempt at teleportation through free space.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Holographic images or data stored in a new liquid crystal device (left) can be temporarily erased by applying voltage (right), which may provide a way to integrate them with electronics (Image: AIP/NTU)
Switchable hologram promises memory boost
(Jun 1, 2007)


A device that stores holograms using a liquid crystal film controlled electronically has been created by researchers in Singapore. They hope that future versions could be used to store large amounts of digital data in small areas, or to manipulate living cells with light.

A device that stores holograms using a liquid crystal film controlled electronically has been created by researchers in Singapore. They hope that future versions could be used to store large amounts of digital data in small areas, or to manipulate living cells with light."

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Microsoft Surface
Microsoft unveils table computer
(May 30, 2007)


Microsoft has unveiled a new touch-sensitive coffee table-shaped computer called "Surface". Designed to do away with the need for a traditional mouse and keyboard, users can instead use their fingers to operate the computer. Also designed to interact with mobile phones placed on the surface, Microsoft says it will initially sell the unit to corporate customers. These will include hotels, casinos, phone stores and restaurants.

Read more. Source: BBC

sensory chip that uses slime mold
Bio-sensor puts slime mould at its heart
(May 18, 2007)


A sensor chip controlled not by wires and transistors, but by a living slime mould marks an important step towards more widespread use of biologically-driven components and devices, researchers say. The unusual chip was created by graduate student Ferran Revilla, working with Hywel Morgan and Peter Zauner at the University of Southampton in the UK.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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