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Tech-news archive: September-October 2007

graphene sheet
Victorian chemistry boosts atom-scale electronics
(Oct 23, 2007)

Ultra-modern electronic components could be made more easily using a chemical process that was last in vogue in the late 1800s. Research shows that a chemical compound discovered in 1860 can make good quality graphene – sheets of carbon a single atom thick with novel electronic properties. Graphene, which was first isolated in 2004, consists of carbon atoms arranged in a flat honeycomb structure.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Samsung flash chip
Tiny chips flash memory advance
(Oct 23, 2007)

Electronics giant Samsung has shown off what it claims is the world's most powerful chip for use in memory cards. The 64 gigabit (Gb) chips could be used to make flash memory, commonly used in MP3 players, capable of holding the equivalent of 80 DVDs, the firm said. The chips are built using circuits with a minimum feature size of just 30 billionths of a metre (nanometre).

Read more. Source: BBC

Light-harvesting nanowire could drive tiny devices
(Oct 18, 2007)

A nanowire that harvests enough electricity from light to power a nanoscale circuit has been demonstrated by US researchers. The nanowire, which resembles a miniscule coaxial cable, is made of layers of silicon and is the first example of a self-contained nanoscale solar cell.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

hard disk
Drive advance fuels terabyte era
(Oct 15, 2007)

A single hard drive with four terabytes of storage (4TB) could be a reality by 2011, thanks to a nanotechnology breakthrough by Japanese firm Hitachi. The company has successfully managed to shrink the read-write head of a hard drive to two thousands times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Read more. Source: BBC

Google 'dominates world search'
(Oct 13, 2007)

Google powered more than half of all search requests carried out around the world in August, according to a report. A global study by analysts comScore revealed that more than 61 billion searches were performed by more than 750 million users in the month. Users performed more than 37 billion searches via Google, more than all the other major search engines combined.

Read more. Source: BBC

Second Life screenshot
Universal avatars bestride worlds
(Oct 12, 2007)

A virtual character, or avatar, for all the virtual worlds in which people play is the goal of a joint project between IBM and Linden Lab. The computer giant and the creator of Second Life are working on universal avatars that can travel between worlds. The project aims to open up virtual worlds by introducing open tools that work with any online environment.

Read more. Source: BBC

Captain Kirk and crew beaming up
Beam me up: Just how close are we to teleportation?
(Oct 11, 2007)

Admit it – at one point or another we've all dreamed of being able to teleport. How much easier and less stressful life would be if, at the flick of a switch, we could whisk ourselves direct from home to work without the intervening two hours crushed onto public transport, face wedged into the armpit of an overweight man with a sweat gland problem. Now teleportation, long a staple of the world of science fiction – what episode of Star Trek would be complete without Captain Kirk et al "beaming" off the Enterprise onto the surface of some distant planet? – is being talked of as a serious scientific possibility.

Read more. Source: CNN

Paul Otellini of Intel
Big future beckons for tiny chips
(Sep 24, 2007)

The next step in the silicon industry's steadfast pursuit of ever smaller and faster chips has been unveiled. Intel has shown off what it says are the world's first working chips which contain transistors with features just 32 billionths of a metre wide. Their production means the industry axiom that has underpinned all chip development for the last 40 years, known as Moore's Law, remains intact.

Read more. Source: BBC

image of the sun consisting of 20,000 gold nanoparticles
Miniature golden artwork unveiled
(Sep 13, 2007)

One of the tiniest artworks ever made has been unveiled by researchers. The image of the Sun is just 80 microns (millionths of a metre) wide, less than a tenth of the size of a pinhead. It was made using a novel nanoprinting technique and is composed of 20,000 gold particles, each 60 nanometres (billionths of a metre) in diameter.

Read more. Source: BBC

Zephyr solar plane
Solar plane flies into the night
(Sep 10, 2007)

A lightweight solar-powered plane has smashed the official world record for the longest-duration unmanned flight. UK defence firm Qinetiq, which built the Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle, said it flew for 54 hours during tests. The researchers believe it is the first time a solar-powered craft has flown under its own power through two nights.

Read more. Source: BBC

iPod Touch
Apple overhauls entire iPod line
(Sep 6, 2007)

A touch-screen iPod has been added to Apple's popular line of portable music players. The gadget also has wi-fi and a web browser on-board so people can buy music when they are out and about. The device was unveiled by Apple boss Steve Jobs during a press conference that also showed off revamped versions of the other models of music players.

Read more. Source: BBC


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