Thursday, May 31, 2007

"ALGORITHMS: Fast TCP accelerates Web"

Network congestion, like vehicular traffic jams, is getting worse. No matter how fat the pipe, the antiquated Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) never fully utilizes the available bandwidth. FastSoft Inc. (Monrovia , Calif.) claims to have redesigned network protocols—dubbed Fast TCP—so networks make maximum use of available bandwidth with existing routers and without new equipment.

Friday, May 25, 2007

"ENERGY: Researchers: starch, enzymes release hydrogen from water for fuel"

University and government researchers are investigating whether a blend of starch, enzymes and water could produce hydrogen fuel for future cars. The Energy Department has mandated that ethanol from plant sources should power 30 percent of vehicles by 2012, and that a "hydrogen economy" based on fuel-cells should power vehicles by 2020. Teams from Virginia Tech, University of Georgia and Oak Ridge National Laboratory claim their technology exceeds DoE's goals with a biomass/fuel cell conversion process they claim is cheaper, more compact and organic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"ENERGY: Water-fueled engine appears on the horizon"

An EE professor at Purdue University has found a way to produce hydrogen that replaces the need for gasoline by mixing water with beads of an aluminum-gallium alloy. The discovery could lead to engines that essentially burn water, instead of gasoline, since the gallium is not consumed in the reaction and the aluminum can be recycled. Purdue has patented the process and has issued an exclusive license for it to an Indiana startup company, AlGalCo LLC.

"MEMS: High-def digital mics to debut"

Akustica Inc. will announce a CMOS MEMS microphone family for high-definition applications including voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) at Computex next month (June 5-9) in Taipei, Taiwan. The new family of CMOS microphones uses a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) diaphragm that conforms to the Telecommunications Industries Association's TIA-920 specification for wideband digital transmission telephony. Separately, Akustica has landed two more design wins for its existing AKU2004 digital microphone arrays at Gateway Inc. The personal computer maker's new Thin & Light Convertible Notebooks, models C-120X and E-155C, use Akustica's CMOS MEMS digital microphones.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"NANOTECH: Nanomaterials show promise as energy boosters"

Lithium-ion batteries could get a twofold boost in charge storage capacity from a nanotechnology developed at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and announced May 8 at the 211th Meeting of The Electrochemical Society (Chicago). Separately, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, working with their counterparts at Xiamen University in China, have devised a tetrahexahedral (24-facet) nanocrystal that they claim can increase the catalytic activity per unit area in fuel cells as much as fourfold. In April, another group at Georgia Tech announced a nanomaterial to enable three-dimensional solar cells that would capture nearly all the energy from sunlight, rather than reflect part of it. That could boost the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) systems while simultaneously reducing the systems' size and weight, according to Georgia Tech.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"CHIPS: Xuuk's eye-counting technology mimics Google"

Xuuk Inc. has unveiled an eye-counting video camera that could enable the highly successful Google business model to be extended online to brick-and-mortar advertisers. With Eyebox, brick-and-mortar advertisers can determine which billboards or products people are looking at in mall corridors or on store shelves, and count them in the same manner that Google counts clicks for online ads. The Eyebox consists of a palm-sized video camera surrounded by infrared light-emitting diodes and a Universal Serial Bus interface. Software running on an attached computer can determine whether someone is looking at the camera by recognizing the "red eye" spot, which only appears when a viewer is looking directly at the camera.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"CHIPS: IBM commits to ultimate dielectric: air gaps"

The road map to advanced semiconductor nodes calls for ultralow-k dielectrics to reduce parasitic capacitance between adjacent metal lines, especially on interconnection layers, at the 32-nanometer node and beyond. Now IBM Corp. has vowed to commercialize the ultimate dielectric--a pure vacuum--between metal lines of its 32-nm chips, thereby reducing parasitic capacitance on interconnection layers by 36 percent.

"MEMS: Microelectromechanical systems made EDA-capable"

Why does every company making microelectromechanical systems chips seem to have a MEMS guru? The answer, according to SoftMEMS LLC, is that the current crop of electronic design automation tools don't have built-in MEMS capabilities. SoftMEMS is looking to change that. It is in the business of adding MEMS capabilities to EDA software, thus mitigating the need for MEMS experts.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"NANOTECH: HP licenses imprint litho tech to Nanolithosolutions"

Nanolithosolutions Inc. will develop a tool module that fits into a mask aligner to perform imprint lithography, the company said Thursday (May 3). The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company becomes Hewlett-Packard Co.'s first licensee for its nanoimprint lithography technology. Imprint lithography is based on the ancient art of embossing, adapted to nanoscale patterning of semiconductor wafers. A circuit pattern is embossed into a silicon dioxide "stamp," which is then stepped and pressed into a prepared layer on a silicon substrate. After that, illumination by an ultraviolet flash hardens the layer into the nanoscale circuit pattern, which then can be fabricated into devices using conventional CMOS etching and deposition. Nanolithosolutions' tool for nanoimprint lithography will fit into a standard mask aligner, permitting a stamp to be stepped across a wafer to reproduce the fine-line geometries of circuits too small to be created with traditional photolithographic techniques. In essence, the tool transforms commonly used mask aligners into a maskless nanoscale imprint lithography production tool.

"NANOTECH: Green nanotechnology is easy, says study"

A new study details how nanomaterials can be created that are not only safe, but also cost less and perform better than conventional materials. "Green Nanotechnology: It's Easier Than You Think," was written by the Washington D.C. think tank, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The new study, which is free online, is based on a series of dialogues with scientists, policymakers and industry representatives about green nanotechnology.