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D-Wave quantum processor
The D-Wave phenomenon
(Jun 26, 2013)

D-Wave is the only company in the world that sells quantum computers – for around $10 million each. But are they really quantum computers? And how could D-Wave suddenly burst on the scene with a device so powerful?

Read more. Nature

Solar Impulse
Record-breaking solar plane prepares to lift off
(Jun 3, 2013)

A solar-powered plane aiming to cross the US from the West Coast to the East Coast has begun its third leg. This will take the Solar Impulse vehicle from Dallas to St Louis in a flight expected to last 21 hours. The HB-SIA craft, which has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but weighs just 1.6t, took off from Dallas Fort Worth at 04:06 local time.

Read more. BBC

Apple patents point to slimmer battery tech
(May 31, 2013)

Graphene, the wonder material whose glittering array of electrical and thermal properties won its discoverers a Nobel prize in 2010, could soon be helping Apple's iPhones and iPads pack more power. The company has filed a US patent application on a graphene-based heat sink for the lithium batteries and circuit boards in its tablets and smartphones.

Read more. New Scientist

A flat region about 5cm wide at the cloak's centre was invisible to heat's passage
An invisibility cloak that works with heat
(May 11, 2013)

Researchers have built and tested a form of invisibility cloak that can hide objects from heat. Similar cloaking efforts are underway to make objects invisible to light and even sound waves, but this is the first device to work with heat. The prototype, to be outlined in Physical Review Letters, contained a 5cm-wide flat region impervious to heat flowing around it.

Read more. BBC

D-Wave Two
Here come the quantum computers ...
(May 10, 2013)

For the first time, a commercially available quantum computer has been pitted against an ordinary PC – and the quantum device left the regular machine in the dust. The machine in question is a D-Wave Two computer, which has 439 "qubits" formed from superconducting niobium loops.

Read more. New Scientist

graphene sheet
Graphene's semiconductor credentials geta boost
(Jul 19, 2012)

It's hard to keep graphene out of the news these days. One of the big hopes for this amazing substances is that it will have a major part to play in the semiconductor industry, given that electrons can travel through much faster than through silicon. Now that goal has come a step nearer thanks to a new way of manufacturing graphene – starting with silicon carbide.

Read more. BBC

nanohole in graphene
Graphene has the ability to heal itself
(Jul 13, 2012)

One of the most extraordinary materials known – graphene – which consists of a chicken-wire-like lattice of carbon atoms just a a single atom thick,has a new property to add to its list of amazing talents: it can repair itself. If a tiny opening, or nanohole, is created in a monoatomic layer of graphene, then merely exposing the material to loose carbon atoms is all it takes for the minor 'wound' to be 'healed'.

Read more. BBC

The IBM team behind the world's fastest computer
IBM supercomputer overtakes Fujitsu as world's fastest
(Jun 18, 2012)

IBM's Sequoia has taken the top spot on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers for the US. The newly installed system trumped Japan's K Computer made by Fujitsu which fell to second place. It is the first time the US can claim pole position since it was beaten by China two years ago.

Read more. BBC

Teleportation record
Teleportation record heralds secure global network
(May 16, 2012)

The distance record for quantum teleportation has been smashed. Juan Yin and colleagues at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui, teleported a quantum state 97 kilometers, 81 km further than the previous record. Yin's team entangle photons – which links their properties even when the photons are separated. Then they beam one photon from each entangled pair to a point A and the other to B.

Read more. New Scientist

beryllium ion crystal
Quantum computers are leaping ahead
(May 6, 2011)

It's probably too soon to speculate on when the first full-scale quantum computer will be built but recent progress indicates that there is every reason to be optimistic. And the potential of these devices is extraordinary. A computer operating on a mere 250 qubits (which could be encoded using 250 atoms) would require a classical computer built from all the atoms in the visible universe to encode the same information

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Dr Who and his sonic screwdriver
Dr Who's sonic screwdriver 'invented' at Dundee University
(Apr 19, 2011)

Scientists claim to have invented their own version of Doctor Who's famous sonic screwdriver. The Dundee University researchers have created a machine which uses ultrasound to lift and rotate a rubber disk floating in a cylinder of water. It is said to be the first time ultrasound waves have been used to turn objects rather than simply push them.

Read more. Source: BBC

quantum computer chip
Quantum computing: Is it possible, and should you care?
(Apr 14, 2011)

What is a quantum computer and when can I have one? It makes use of all that "spooky" quantum stuff and vastly increases computing power, right? And they'll be under every desk when scientists finally tame the spooky stuff, right? And computing will undergo a revolution no less profound than the one that brought us the microchip, right?

Read more. Source: BBC

Cray Jaguar
Faster than 50 million laptops – the race to go exascale
(Apr 4, 2011)

A new era in computing that will see machines perform at least 1,000 times faster than today's most powerful supercomputers is almost upon us. By the end of the decade, exaFLOP computers are predicted to go online heralding a new chapter in scientific discovery. The US, China, Japan, the European Union and Russia are all investing millions of dollars in supercomputer research. In February, the EU announced it was doubling investment in research to $1.6 billion.

Read more. Source: CNN

Google goggles graphic
Behind the Google goggles, virtual reality
(Feb 25, 2011)

Later this year, Google is expected to start selling eyeglasses that will project information, entertainment and, this being a Google product, advertisements onto the lenses. The glasses are not being designed to be worn constantly although Google engineers expect some users will wear them a lot – but will be more like smartphones, used when needed, with the lenses serving as a kind of see-through computer monitor.

Read more. Source: The New York Times

nerve cells
Quantum dots control brain cells for the first time
(Feb 15, 2011)

In an unlikely marriage of quantum physics and neuroscience, tiny particles called quantum dots have been used to control brain cells for the first time. Having such control over the brain could one day provide a non-invasive treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, depression and epilepsy. In the nearer term, quantum dots could be used to treat blindness by reactivating damaged retinal cells.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

smallest laser
Threshold broken for tiny lasers
(Feb 9, 2011)

Scientists have shown off the smallest-ever laser that works at the colors of light used in telecommunications and at room temperature. The tiny light sources switch on with no "threshold", meaning they operate much more efficiently than earlier, small laser attempts. They are just one-fifteenth the size of the light waves that they produce.

Read more. Source: BBC

simple quantum computer
Quantum computing could head to 'the cloud', study says
(Jan 20, 2011)

A novel high-speed, high-security computing technology will be compatible with the "cloud computing" approach popular on the web, a study suggests. Quantum computing will use the inherent uncertainties in quantum physics to carry out fast, complex computations. A report in Science shows the trick can extend to "cloud" services such as Google Docs without loss of security.

Read more. Source: BBC

optical lattice
Ultracold science finds new method to get even colder
(Dec 22, 2011)

Researchers have developed a clever way to achieve the lowest temperatures ever recorded on Earth. Achieving such temperatures is necessary to study fundamental properties of matter and the strange effects caused by quantum mechanics. The new method relies on "optical lattices" of atoms from which only the hottest atoms are selectively removed.

Read more. Source: BBC

A pulse of light can be seen as it reaches the top of a soft drink bottle
MIT's trillion frames per second light-tracking camera
(Dec 15, 2011)

A camera capable of visualizing the movement of light has been unveiled by a team of scientists in the US. The equipment captures images at a rate of roughly a trillion frames per second – or about 40 billion times faster than a UK television camera. Direct recording of light is impossible at that speed, so the camera takes millions of repeated scans to recreate each image.

Read more. Source: BBC

silicon-alternative chip
Silicon rival MoS2 promises small, low-energy chips
(Nov 18, 2011)

The first computer chip made out of a substance described as a "promising" alternative to silicon has been tested by researchers. The Switzerland-based team used molybdenite (MoS2) – a dark-colored, naturally occurring mineral. The group said the substance could be used in thinner layers than silicon, which is currently the most commonly used component in electronics.

Read more. Source: BBC

toward the electronic brain
Scientists at MIT replicate brain activity with chip
(Nov 18, 2011)

Scientists are getting closer to the dream of creating computer systems that can replicate the brain. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a computer chip that mimics how the brain's neurons adapt in response to new information. Such chips could eventually enable communication between artificially created body parts and the brain.

Read more. Source: BBC

Kinect gaming system
Apple and Microsoft file patents for touchless controls
(Oct 30, 2011)

Apple and Microsoft are involved in a new patent race over touchless gesture-controls. Recently released patent filings reveal new ways to control devices that do not involve physical contact. Microsoft describes waving one's hands to "draw" three-dimensional objects on a computer, while Apple's designs involve allowing users to "throw" content from one device to another.

Read more. Source: BBC

present-day silicon chip
Future computers could rewire themselves
(Oct 25, 2011)

Future microchips may have only one type of component, capable of rewiring itself to do different jobs. Researchers from Northwestern University in the US have developed a material that can radically change its electronic properties. A resistor made from it could become a transistor or a diode, according to the report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Read more. Source: BBC

A brain implant allowed monkeys not only to move a virtual arm but also to experience tactile sensations. Photograph: Katie Zhuang
Monkeys use mind control to move a virtual arm and experience touch
(Oct 6, 2011)

A brain implant that allows monkeys to move an avatar's arm and feel objects in a virtual world has been demonstrated for the first time. The animals used the device to control the arm by thought alone, and feel the texture of the objects it touched through electrical signals sent directly to their brains.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

electronic chips
The future of the silicon chip
(Sep 27, 2011)

For more than 40 years, the processing power of the silicon chip has grown in line with a prediction made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. Moore's Law states that the number of transistors that can be placed on a chip for the same cost will double roughly every two years. But researchers know that, at some point, Moore's Law will halt because transistors can get no smaller, so they are looking to nanotechnology to go far beyond the tiny dimensions in current chips.

Read more. Source: BBC

Butyl methyl sulfide molecule
Electric motor made from a single molecule
(Sep 5, 2011)

Researchers have created the smallest electric motor ever devised. The motor, made from a single molecule just a billionth of a metre across, is reported in Nature Nanotechnology. The minuscule motor could have applications in both nanotechnology and in medicine, where tiny amounts of work can be put to efficient use.

Read more. Source: BBC

IBM's processors replicate the system of synaptic connections found in the human brain
IBM produces first 'brain chips'
(Aug 17, 2011)

IBM has developed a microprocessor which it claims comes closer than ever to replicating the human brain. The system is capable of "rewiring" its connections as it encounters new information, similar to the way biological synapses work. Researchers believe that that by replicating that feature, the technology could start to learn.

Read more. Source: BBC

Eve looks like a pile of components in a suitcase but has challenged the cryptography industry
Tricking the perfect code machine
(Aug 15, 2011)

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore have used a device called Eve, made from electronic and optical components, to crack a type of coded communication thought to have been impossible to break – quantum key distribution (QKD). QKD is not an encryption algorithm itself, but a means of securely sharing the cryptographic keys used by sender and recipient to encode and decode messages.

Read more. Source: BBC

graphene sheet
Graphene discovery may lead to faster computers
(Jul 25, 2011)

Electronic devices, from mobile phones to computers, could work much faster if they were made from the thinnest substance in the world, scientists from Manchester University have discovered. Studies on graphene, a revolutionary material made of a single layer of carbon atoms, have revealed that electrons – subatomic particles that result in electricity – travel many times faster than in silicon.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Internet user
Internet's memory effects quantified in computer study
(Jul 21, 2011)

Computers and the internet are changing the nature of our memory, research in the journal Science suggests. Psychology experiments showed that people presented with difficult questions began to think of computers. When participants knew that facts would be available on a computer later, they had poor recall of answers but enhanced recall of where they were stored.

Read more. Source: BBC


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