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Tech-news archive: September-October 2009

electronic chips
Crystals hold super computer key
(Oct 21, 2009)

Tiny crystals could hold the key to creating computers with massive storage capacity, scientists believe. The crystals could be used as storage devices for desktop computers capable of holding 100-times more data than current systems. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have been using low-energy lasers to make salt crystals in gel.

Read more. Source: BBC

miniature nuclear battery
Tiny 'nuclear batteries' unveiled
(Oct 15, 2009)

Researchers have demonstrated a penny-sized "nuclear battery" that produces energy from the decay of radioisotopes. As radioactive substances decay, they release charged particles that when properly harvested can create an electrical current. Nuclear batteries have been in use for military and aerospace applications, but are typically far larger.

Read more. Source: BBC

US submarine. Image: Michael D. Kennedy/US Navy
Neutrinos could encode messages to submarines
(Oct 6, 2009)

Earth-penetrating neutrinos might one day be used to send messages to lurking submarines. The scheme could provide one-way communication with subs without requiring them to surface. Neutrinos are particles that interact so weakly with matter that they can pass through the planet like light through glass. In 1977, physicists proposed that they might be used to send messages around, or through, the globe.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

A magnified image of a 1-cm silicon waveguide, part of a 'time telescope'
'Time telescope' could boost web
(Oct 2, 2009)

Researchers have demonstrated a "time telescope" that could squeeze much more information into the data packets sent around the internet. Rather than focusing information-carrying light pulses in space, like a normal lens, it focuses them in time. The telescope comprises laser beams that combine in a tiny silicon structure to compress the pulses.

Read more. Source: BBC

Google Wave screenshot
Google invites users to join Wave
(Sep 30, 2009)

Google Wave, which combines email, instant messaging and wiki-style editing will go on public trial today. The search giant hopes the tool, described as "how e-mail would look if it were invented today", will transform how people communicate online. It will be open to 100,000 invitees from 1600BST, each of whom can nominate five further people to "join the Wave".

Read more. Source: BBC

silicon chip on which quantum calculation was carried out
Code-breaking quantum algorithm run on a silicon chip
(Sep 4, 2009)

A quantum calculation able to crack one of the most common forms of data encryption has been performed on a silicon chip for the first time. The study demonstrates that complex quantum circuits can be built relatively easily out of silicon and silica – a significant milestone on the road to full-blown quantum computing.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Harwell computer
Reboot for UK's 'oldest' computer
(Sep 4, 2009)

Britain's oldest original computer, the Harwell, is being sent to the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley where it is to be restored to working order. The computer, which was designed in 1949, first ran in 1951 and was designed to perform mathematical calculations; it lasted until 1973. When first built the 2.4m × 5m computer was state-of-the-art, although it was superseded by transistor-based systems.

Read more. Source: BBC


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