Friday, August 30, 2013

#SENSORS: "Sixense to Kickstart its 1st Wireless Controller"

Kickstarter is not just enlisting consumer investors, but is now helping established companies attract new original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) into using their subsystems. Enter Sixense, whose Kickstarter project will be the only way to get advance access to its first wireless motion sensing technology. Sixense hopes that OEMs will sign-up to get their system development kit which allows them to embed the motion sensing module into their own controllers, such as head-mounted displays for virtual reality, or into sports equipment like a golf club for gaming: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Sixense's first wireless controller houses the oblong Sixense Tracking Embedded Module (STEM, left), which OEMs can embed to track motion in their own devices.

The STEM magnetic beacon and base station recharges two Sixense controllers and up to three power packs for OEMs embedded the motion sensing module in their own devices, like head mounted displays for virtual reality, or say a golf club for gaming.
Further Reading

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "Xeon/Xeon Phi to Get 512-bit Advanced Vector Instructions"

The next generation of Xeon and Xeon Phi processors from Intel will feature 512-bit versions of its advanced vector extensions (AVX-512), which will level the playing field between its multi-core and many-integrated core (MIC) processors, opening the door to massively parallel CPUs--instead of just co-processors--in the future: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The next generation of the Xeon Phi massively parallel processor--Knights Landing--will include the new AVX-512 instructions.

mprovement in performance over today's the Xeon, but by the next generation both execute AVX-512 instructions.
Further Reading

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "IBM Backs OpenStack SDEs "

What's an SDE? Software defined environments of course, also called software defined data centers. The idea is to make everything programmable, from the bare metal all the way up to the applications. OpenStack does that by virtualizing all compute, storage and networking resources. And just as IBM put Linux on the map as a first-class professional solution to operating systems, likewise its support of OpenStack will also put it on the fast-track to dominating the future of SDEs: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

SDEs cast the data center architecture into reusable software patterns that can be realized as an infrastructure pattern using open-source APIs.
Further Reading

#CHIPS: "High Density Xeon Phi Clusters for Servers"

Massively parallel high-performance computers (HPCs) are seeping into more and more organizations by virtue of the ease with which servers can bulk up with 60-core Xeon Phi coprocessors, with Supermicro currently claiming the crown in affordable high-density clusters: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Supermicro's SuperBlade is capable of packing 20 Xeon Phi coprocessors and 20 Xeon E5 main processors in a foot tall (7U) chassis.

Further Reading

Monday, August 26, 2013

#ENERGY: "3D Graphene for Cheaper Solar Cells"

Graphene is by definition flat and planar, but researchers at Michigan Tech have discovered a manner of fabricating 3-D graphene--a honeycomb structure that can replace the expensive precious metals in solar cells and potentially other energy applications such as batteries and even superconductors: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

3D honeycomb-structure of 3D graphene increases its conductivity to rival precious metals.
Further Reading

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#ENERGY: "Flow Batteries Go Mainstream"

MIT has designed an ultra-low cost "flow" battery that it claims will store 10-times as much energy as lithium-ion while consuming 10,000 times less power, making it a candidate to meet the Department of Energy's target of less than $100 per kilowatt-hour for grid-scale deployment: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

MIT's flow battery simplifies rechargeable technology by eliminating the ion-exchange membranes. The lower solid graphite electrode reduces liquid bromine to hydrobromic acid, while hydrogen is oxidized at the upper porous electrode.
Further Reading

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

#CHIPS: "DARPA Aims for Neural Image Processor"

Processing images 1000-times faster than today is the aspiration of the University of Michigan's neural network chip set funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). By using memristors as artificial synapses in a brain-like architecture the image processor will uses 10,000 less power than today: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Neural network image processor connects artificial neurons using a crossbar (lower left) of memristors with migrating oxygen vacancies (upper right)that adaptively change its synaptic connection strengths.
Further Reading

Monday, August 19, 2013

#QUANTUM: "Simulators Harness Atomic Clocks"

Atomic clocks have become so common that scientists are coming up with new ways to use them, such as for quantum simulators that may crack such difficult problems as designing high-temperature superconductors, according to the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA)--a joint venture between the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

JILA's strontium atomic clock set-up as used in its quantum simulation experiments.
Further Reading

#MEMS: "Epson Downsizes Inertial Measurement Units"

Epson has combined the reliability of quartz crystals with the tiny dimensions of MEMS devices to create a tiny high-resolution six degree-of-freedom inertial measurement unit that can track motion for everything from aerospace to oil-well drilling: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

#MEMS: "Nixing Quantum Light Fluctuations"

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) resonators can nix the tiniest quantum fluctuations in laser light, according to these Caltech researchers, which could usher in a new generation of ultra-precise measurement instruments: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

MEMS resonator (a) used to generate ultra-pure "squeezed" light by canceling out quantum fluctuations, as shown in Caltech's numerical model showing differential in-plane motion of its nanobeams (b). Photo: Caltech / Amir Safavi-Naeini, Simon Gröblacher, and Jeff Hill)
Further Reading

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#ROBOTICS: "Piezo-Phototronic 'Skin' Enables Robots to Feel"

Robots that can feel as well as humans may soon be able to perform tasks impossible today, such as feel the thread engage when putting in a screw, was demonstrated by piezo-electric materials experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) who claim that all sorts of touch-enabled applications should be enabled by their new 'electronic skin': R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Professor Zhong Lin Wang at Georgia Tech shows his sensor material that converts mechanical pressure directly into an optical image.

Pressure activates arrays nanowire-LED sensors (A) to enable any touch (B) to turn on zinc-oxide LEDs (bottom) that can be sensed with photodiodes to recognize drawn characters.
Further Reading

Monday, August 12, 2013

#CHIPS: "Silicon Retina Does Pattern Recognition"

A silicon retina that can recognize motion patterns has been demonstrated by the Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI, Zurich) opening the door to smart sensor applications ranging from robotic eyes and ears to prosthetic retinas and cochleas: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The Institute of Neuroinformatics at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH, Zurich) is developing computational models for hybrid analog/digital semiconductors that implement Neuromorphic Cognitive Systems.
Further Reading

Thursday, August 08, 2013

#CHIPS: "IBM's 'Corelets' Program its Cognitive Computers"

IBM unveiled the "Fortran of cognitive computers" at the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2013). IBM's "Corelet" architecture allows programmers to craft software for its future cognitive computers--cognizers. "Corlets" perform the three basic functions of a sensory-motor feedback loop--perception, cognition then actuation. Programmers simulate a corelet on IBM's Compass simulator, then transfer it into an array of neurosynaptic chips that run the sensory-motor feedback loop in real time--such as, sense an intruder, find his face in a database, then alert security of his whereabouts (or just zap him with a laser--only kidding:) R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

IBM's Corelet Laboratory supports the complete development cycle for cognitive computers, from choosing an algorithm from the Corelet Library to running it on the Compass Simulator to connecting sensory inputs, processing them to generate outputs for pattern classification, visualizations and to drive actuators. Source: IBM
Further Reading

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"QUANTUM: Q-Tech Attracting Russian Capital"

Serial entrepreneur, Serguei Beloussav, told me how Russian capital is going to emulate the way Bell Labs created the future--from basic research to consumer applications. Beloussav unveiled the Russian's plans at the International Conference on Quantum Technologies in Moscow: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Monday, August 05, 2013

#ROBOTICS: "Autonomous Unmanned Helicopters Compete"

The International Aerial Robots Competition (IARC) is advancing the state-of-the-art in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by setting impossible goals that take several years of competition to achieve. Sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) the last-year winners entry from the University of Michigan is an autonomous quad-copter that can navigate human corridors indoors to covertly retrieve objects while avoiding security systems: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

University of Michigan's flying robot took first place last year at the International Aerial Robotics Competition, now they're back with this new model.

Further Reading

Friday, August 02, 2013

#MEMS: "ST Hawks Smallest Digital Compass"

Location based services won't work unless your device knows where you are and ST Microelectronics new two-by-two millimeter digital compass is small and inexpensive enough to inform even the smallest connected device--even watches--of their location: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading