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Tech-news archive: January-February 2008

self-repairing material
Self-healing rubber bounces back
(Feb 21, 2008)

A material that is able to self-repair even when it is sliced in two has been invented by French researchers. The as-yet-unnamed material – a form of artificial rubber – is made from vegetable oil and a component of urine. The substance, described in the journal Nature, produces surfaces when cut that retain a strong chemical attraction to each other.

Read more. Source: BBC

Tan Le
Brain control headset for gamers
(Feb 20, 2008)

Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone. A neuro-headset which interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain will go on sale later this year. "It picks up electrical activity from the brain and sends wireless signals to a computer," said Tan Le, president of US/Australian firm Emotiv.

Read more. Source: BBC

Nanowires allow 'power dressing'
(Feb 14, 2008)

Scientists in the US have developed novel brush-like fibres that generate electrical energy from movement. Weaving them into a material could allow designers to create "smart" clothes which harness body movement to power portable electronic gadgets. Writing in the journal Nature, the team say that the materials could also be used in tents or other structures to harness wind energy.

Read more. Source: BBC

still from a holographic film of a skull
Holographic displays step closer
(Feb 7, 2008)

Holograms could soon be helping monitor surgical procedures after a faster way to make the 3D images is discovered. The journal Nature reports the breakthrough by US researchers who developed a novel material in which holographs can be created in minutes. The images that the material can capture are almost as sharp as those broadcast on US television.

Read more. Source: BBC

A2 hypersonic plane
Hypersonic passenger jet designed
(Feb 6, 2008)

A British firm claims to have designed a hypersonic passenger plane that could one day fly between Europe and Australia in less than five hours. The A2 aeroplane, designed by Reaction Engines in Oxfordshire, would carry 300 passengers at a top speed of 4,000 mph. The company said the aircraft, which is still at the concept stage, could be operating within 25 years.

Read more. Source: BBC

carbon nanotube
'Darkest ever' material created
(Jan 17, 2008)

The "darkest ever" substance known to science has been made in a US laboratory. The material was created from carbon nanotubes – sheets of carbon just one atom thick rolled up into cylinders. Researchers say it is the closest thing yet to the ideal black material, which absorbs light perfectly at all angles and over all wavelengths.

Read more. Source: BBC

MacBook Air
Apple announces ultra-thin laptop
(Jan 16, 2008)

Apple boss Steve Jobs has unveiled the world's thinnest laptop, called the MacBook Air. The computer, which is 0.76 inches (1.93cm) at its thickest point, was unveiled at an event in San Francisco. The Apple head also launched online film rentals for iTunes users in the US from almost every major film studio, including Disney and Fox.

Read more. Source: BBC

touch interface
Gates hails age of digital senses
(Jan 8, 2008)

The way people interact with computers is going to dramatically change in the next five years, Microsoft chief Bill Gates has told BBC News. He predicted that the keyboard and mouse would gradually give way to more intuitive and natural technologies. In particular, he said, touch, vision and speech interfaces would become increasingly important.

Read more. Source: BBC


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