Thursday, December 31, 2009

"ENERGY: 5 Green Energy Technologies Slated to Blossom in 2010"

Of the thousands of green energy efforts worldwide, these five technologies are passing make-or-break milestones in 2010. R.C.J.

How to Build a Green Data Center
In 2009, Syracuse University, in cooperation with IBM, opened the Green Data Center (GDC)...
How to Green an Existing Data Center
For existing data centers, in 2009 Sentilla (Redwood City, Calif.) began beta-testing its Sentilla Energy Manager software that can retrofit existing data centers to reap up to 40 percent savings in energy...
Stirling Engine Powers SunCatcher
In 2009, a spin-off of the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories--Stirling Energy Systems--proved the concept behind concentrating the suns' rays into the combustion chamber of a Stirling engine driving an electricity generato...
Osmosis Harnesses Ocean Power
In 2009, the world's first osmotic power plant went online at Statkraft (Oslo, Norway) enabled by Energy Recovery (San Leandro, Calif.) which re-engineered its desalination pressure exchangers to run in revers...
Tree Power Harnessing Nature's Battery
In 2009, MIT proved the concept behind "tree power"--namely that trees act like living batteries..
Read all the details by clicking below:
Full Text:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"WIRELESS: Chinese startup to show e-book entry at CES"

Yet another e-reader, this one from a Chinese startup, will grace the booths next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES, Las Vegas, Jan. 7-10, 2009). Look for e-readers from every major consumer electronics maker, and many new startups, in 2010. R.C.J.

A new e-reader called Boox 60 from startup Onyx International (Guangdong, China) will debut next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The Boox 60 uses the same 6-inch E-Ink Corp. electrophoretic touchscreen display as most of the other e-books, including Amazon's Kindle, and will retail for $349. The 800-by-600 pixel screen supports 16 levels of gray. Users can write letters and notes using a supplied stylus as well as annotate and highlight text in the books they are reading.
Full Text:

"WIRELESS: Google preps launch of 'Nexus One' phone"

Google will reportedly launch its Nexus One smartphone next week, just two days before the Consumer Electronics Show (Las Vegas, Jan. 7-14, 2009) preempting the Android announcements made there. If the reports are correct, Google will be cashing in big on its brand-name by charging premium prices. Look for Google to capture 10 percent of the smart phone market in 2010. R.C.J.

Google has not divulged details about the new phone, but has sent out invitations to an "Android Press Gathering." According to a T-Mobile internal memo leaked to the press by TmoNews, Nexus One will use T-Mobile as its service provider. The phone will go on sale next Tuesday (Jan. 5, 2010) on a Google Web site. The Nexus One prototype is currently being tested by Google employees, and is reported to use Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor running the Android operating system version 2.1. The phone will sell for $529 as an unlocked phone purchased directly from Google without a service contract, according to documents leaked by Gizmodo, which also reported that the Nexus One will also be offered for $179 when purchased with a two-year service contract from T-Mobile.
Full Text:

"MEMS: Five Apps That Will Make 2010 the Year of the Gyroscope"

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) gyroscopes will lead to improvements in picture taking, gesture-based user interfaces, accident avoidance, GPS navigation, and human motion analysis, making 2010 a big year for the technology. R.C.J.

Gyroscopes have already proved themselves in the inertial guidance systems for aircraft, ships, spacecraft and ballistic missiles, but their use in consumer devices in 2010 will make gyroscopes a part of the common vernacular. Unlike the gimbaled, spinning-top version of gyroscopes invented in the 1800s, a modern gyroscope uses a micrometer-sized vibrating bar inside a microchip against which to measure rotational motion by virtue of the Coriolis effect. By tracking subtle rotational motions—called pitch, roll and yaw—such a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) gyroscope provides sub-millimeter-resolution tracking of the most subtle motions. Check out the five apps that will make 2010 the year of the gyroscope by clicking the link below.
Full Text:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"GADGET: Give a Child a WikiReader at No Extra Cost"

The $99 handheld WikiReader holds the complete Wikipedia without an Internet connection—and if you buy one now, one will be donated to library and resource centers in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Help out others and get a cool gadget that might even turn out to be useful! R.C.J.

WikiReader is a compact handheld device with a 3.5-inch touch screen that houses a text-only version of the complete Wikipedia on a removable microSD card that can be updated manually over the Internet. For remote users without Internet access, a $29-a-year subscription will get newly updated microSD cards mailed to them every six months. The WikiReader uses a reflective monochrome LCD with relatively low contrast, but which can be read even in bright sunlight. The ultra-low-power device will run for up to 12 months (90 hours) on two AAA batteries. Measuring just under 4 inches square and weighing just 4.5 ounces, the 0.8-inch thick device can easily fit in most pockets.
Full Text:

"GADGET: Dual screen e-reader combines e-book, Web access"

The first e-book based on Google's Android operating system will be unveiled in January during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Look for a half dozen or so more Android-based eBooks in 2010. R.C.J.

Dubbed "Alex," the e-book was designed by Spring Design Inc. (Fremont, Calif.) The display combines an ultra-low power, six-inch monochrome electrophoretic display for reading with a 3.5-inch color backlit LCD that allows users to click on e-book Web links. The secondary screen is touch sensitive and can display embedded videos, audio, photos and notes associated with book titles. Based on what the developer calls "Duet Navigator" technology, Alex can surf the Web using Wi-Fi or 3G, EVDO/CDMA or GSM connections. Spring Design sued Barnes & Noble last month alleging that its Duet Navigator technology was misappropriated by the retailer.
Full Text:

Monday, December 28, 2009

"LIST: 5 Technologies That Could Change Your Life in 2010"

Even early adopters may be surprised by some of the technologies that become commonplace in 2010. From e-Books to lighting panels that replace the venerable light bulb, your world will never be the same again. R.C.J.

Check out the five technologies that may make a difference in your life in 2010 by clicking the link below.
Full Text:

"ENERGY: Edison Project Marries Wind Power to Electric Vehicles"

The Danes already generate 20 percent of their power with wind, but plan to boost that to 40 percent by 2020 when they want to have 200,000 all electric cars on the road being charged by wind power. Wind power could be the key to a zero-carbon footprint future. R.C.J.

The Danish pilot project is called EDISON, which stands for "Electric vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated market using Sustainable energy and Open Networks." The EDISON project, just getting underway this fall, is aimed at demonstrating that wind power can be used to keep a nationwide fleet of electric vehicles recharged. The international project runs through 2012 with $9 million in funding.
Full Text:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"MEMS: Gyroscope and accelerometer share MEMS package"

STMicroelectronics has combined in one micro-electro-mechanical system a 3-axis digital accelerometer with a 2-axis gyro. Look for every major user of accelerometers today, from game controllers to smart phones, to incorporate gyroscopes during 2010. R.C.J.

Movea S.A., a specialist in motion sensing for consumer electronics, healthcare, and sports applications, is the first customer. Movea's SmartMotion software simplifies the job of "fusing" linear-motion detection with angular-rotation detection. The company claims that an accelerometer together with a gyro improves performance, boosts reliability, and enables higher-precision gesture and motion recognition in the medical and sports markets. Three axis-accelerometers work against gravity to detect coarse linear motions in any direction, but track poorly slow steady rotational movement. By adding a two-axis gyroscope which generates its own internal motion reference, rather than depend on gravity, fine rotational motion up-and-down (pitch) and back-and-forth (yaw) can be detected too, making user interfaces more accurate and responsive.
Full Text:

"WIRELESS: Avnera chip provides multi-point HD audio connections"

Eliminating that tangle of wires behind your stereo system and home theater will get a lot easier in 2010, when several new wireless technologies will compete to cut-the-cable, starting with Avnera's new wireless HD audio system (being sold at Best Buy). Look for wireless everything in 2010. R.C.J.

Avnera Corp. has unveiled what it touts is the world's first multi-point to multi-point wireless audio chip. AudioMagic is a second-generation mixed-signal technology that enables up to 10 devices to send and receive wireless HD audio. By comparison, Broadcom and Kleer offer single-stream CD quality wireless (44.1 kHz, 16-bit) audio chips for wireless headphones using Bluetooth or with proprietary wireless protocols, but Avnera's chip is the first to connect multiple audio sources to multiple audio speakers with HD quality (96kHz, 24-bit) audio.
Full Text:

Monday, December 21, 2009

"AlGORITHMS: Smarter Social Media Distinguishes Push from Pull"

Consumer groups recently complained to the Federal Communicatoins
Commission that Facebook reset its privacy settings to let people who are "not-friends" access previously "friend-only" information, but Intel claims that people want a new type of privacy setting that distinguishes between the "push" and "pull" of social media instead of "friend" versus "not-friend." Look for new approaches to privacy on social networks in 2010. R.C.J.

An Intel study finds that privacy settings at current social media sites are inadequate—that what people want most is for non-friends to see a more filtered view of them, one that pushes a carefully crafted image of them, while friends have unfettered access to the pull of more intimate details. Today, people have to take on different identities to maintain a range of privacy online, but smarter social media circumvents that need by offering a range of privacy settings—from push to pull—rather than just "friend" or "not friend." People perceive "friendship" on a spectrum from push to pull, according to Intel Labs' People and Practices Research Group (Beaverton, Ore.), which recently studied whether people could agree on what types of items were "worth posting" on social media sites.
Full Text:

Friday, December 18, 2009

"AlGORITHMS: In-Air Gestures Recognized by Smarter Touch Screens"

MIT's hand gesture recognition technology will enable any device with an LCD to integrate gesture control. Look for LCDs that incorporate gesture recognition within two years. R.C.J.

By adding a sensor layer to the backside of touch screens, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposes that hand gestures can be recognized in the air in front of the display. Smartphones such as Apple's iPhone can recognize multitouch gestures today, such as pinching to zoom, but only if your fingers are touching the screen. Now MIT researchers claim to have enabled gestures to be recognized in the air in front of a display by adding a sensor array on the backside.
Full Text:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"CHIPS: Intel tweaks high-k stack to get GaAs on silicon"

Intel demonstration silicon's successor--gallium arsenide on silicon compound semiconductor--but the technology still faces scaling hurdles. Look for Intel to start producing GaAs on Si chips by 2015. R.C.J.

Intel Labs says it has successfully fabricated an indium-gallium-arsenide field-effect transistor (FET) atop a silicon substrate by integrating a high-k gate stack. As in Intel's advanced silicon transistors, the high-k dielectric allowed the necessary thinning of the gate oxide without increasing gate leakage. The resultant compound semiconductor quantum-well FET demonstrated the high carrier velocity and high drive current that make InGaAs-on-Si attractive, but it must be scaled down in size before the technology can be commercialized.
Full Text:

"WIRELESS: Smarter Phones Offering Media Capabilities Users Want"

Intel research finds smartphones are being used less to make phone calls and more to text and browse the Internet, as well as to use rich media—and manufacturers are working hard to keep up with these needs. Look for smart-phones, -books and -tablets with richer media capabilities in 2010. R.C.J.

The smarter phones today are seldom used to make old-fashioned phone calls, challenging manufacturers to keep up with what users want. The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that mobile phone users spend more time texting than talking—sending an average of 407 text messages per month, more than doubling last year's statistics, with teens averaging 2,000 text messages per month, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. The fact that media usage has surpassed voice calls did not surprise the People and Practices Research Group (PaPR) at Intel Labs (Beaverton, Ore.), which for more than a decade has been anticipating computer users' needs.
Full Text:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"AlGORITHMS: MIT gives LCDs a hand in recognizing gestures"

A new technique promises in-air gesture control of everything from mobile phones to flat-panel TVs, according to the MIT researchers, who will demonstrate their work in Yokohama, Japan, this weekend at Siggraph Asia (Dec. 16-19). Look for gesture control on consumer products by 2011. R.C.J.

Gesture recognition today requires a 3-D image sensor that can detect depth. But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim that the addition of a layer of photodiodes to the backside of a liquid-crystal display lets the LCD recognize hand gestures made in front of the screen. The system is called a bidirectional screen, because light goes into it as well as comes out of it. Most of the time the LCD operates as usual, coloring light that passes through it from the backlight. But periodically, and too quickly for humans to perceive, the LCD switches to become an array of tiny apertures, allowing light to enter and form images on the photodiodes from slightly different angles. That information can then be used to calculate the 3-D depth and enable gesture recognition.
Full Text:

"AlGORITHMS: Intel's 'people sciences' bringing human touch to tech platforms"

Intel Labs' People and Practices Research group (PaPR) revealed its vision of a more human-centered technology future at a recent open house here. Look for Intel-powered smart phones using its Atom processor in 2010. R.C.J.

The lab explained the "why" behind such developments as the turbo boost feature in Intel's forthcoming Core i7 processor, algorithms for "pocket" supercomputers and concept designs for Atom-based smartphones.
Full Text:

"AlGORITHMS: How to Harness Future Personal Supercomputers"

In anticipation of mobile devices reaching supercomputer speeds by 2018, Intel is crafting pattern-recognition algorithms for use today that can be scaled up to take advantage of such future speeds. Look for smarter computer-aided everything as speed ramp up to take advantage of pattern recognition algorithms that can automatically sort, sift and organize our digital lives. R.C.J.

At Intel, its People and Practices Research Group is crafting pattern-recognition algorithms that it hopes will gracefully scale-up, as more and more consumer electronic devices approach supercomputer speeds. According to Intel, by the year 2018 mobile phones will have somewhere between 4 and 10 teraflops of processing power, surpassing the speeds of room-filling supercomputers of not so very long ago. In anticipation of these advances, Intel's "Everyday Sensing and Perception" study aims to answer the simple yet relevant question: "What are people going to do with these systems when they achieve supercomputer speeds?"
Full Text:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"WIRELESS: Will Smartphones Merge with Netbooks?"

Smartphones could soon merge with netbooks, as Intel and other manufacturers look for ways to combine the two form factors into new kinds of mobile Internet devices and handhelds. Will these new wireless devices catch on with road warriors and other mobile workers? Look for a new echelon of mobile internet device in the next few years. R.C.J.

Intel recently unveiled a concept design for a new echelon of mobile Internet device that merges the functionality of a smartphone and a netbook in a tablet-style device. Many netbooks today use Intel's Atom processor, but no smartphones do. So far, the smallest mobile Internet device that uses the Atom is Fujitsu's Lifebook Mini, which still has the netbook form factor and no phone. By proposing a new echelon of MIDs between smartphones and netbooks, Intel's People and Practices group hopes to stimulate OEMs worldwide to implement their vision of future Atom-based mobile devices.
Full Text:

Monday, December 14, 2009

"ROBOTICS: Smarter Robotic Surgeon Operates on Beating Heart"

Today heart operations must be performed after the heart has been intentionally stopped by the surgeon, but with the assistance of a robot, future heart surgery will be performed on beating hearts. Look for robotic surgeons to be operating on beating hearts within five years. R.C.J.

A 3D computer model predicts the movements of the heart as it beats so that a robot can move its tools in perfect synchronization with each beat, enabling surgeons to perform surgery without having to stop the heart. The technique has yet to be tried on real patients, but French researchers report in the International Journal of Robotics Research that they have developed a three-dimensional computer model that will allow surgeons to direct a robot in performing surgery on a beating heart.
Full Text:

Friday, December 11, 2009

"ENERGY: Paper battery said to outperform lithium ion"

Batteries could soon be a part of the device itself, or even the box is came in, when these paper batteries based on nanotechnology hit the market. Look for paper batteries wrapping up your electronic devices within three years. R.C.J.

A paper battery based on carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires could store an electric charge in a mobile device. Researchers also claim the new battery is disposable and that its shape could conform to the shape of different devices. A Stanford University researcher said his team has demonstrated conductive coatings for battery components ranging from supercapacitors to inexpensive electrodes. The process could be commercially available in several years, according to Yi Cui, a Stanford assistant professor of materials science and engineering.
Full Text:

"NANOTECH: Smarter Nano-Tattoo to Monitor Blood Sugar Levels"

The finger pricks may soon be a thing of the past for diabetics: Scientists at Draper Lab are working on nano-inks with embedded sensors that would be injected into the skin and would fluoresce under infrared light in the presence of glucose. Look for medical tattoos within five years. R.C.J.

Instead of pricking your finger over and over to draw enough blood to test your blood sugar level after every meal, scientists at Draper Laboratory (Cambridge, Mass.) suggest that diabetics instead use a nanoscale sensor that can be injected into the skin like a tattoo. By shining an infrared light on the tattoo, blood sugar levels could be read at any time.
Full Text:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"SPACE: Passenger Flights to Space Booked on Space Ship Two"

The first of a fleet of aircraft capable of flying to space were unveiled this week by Virgin Galactic. Look for the first commercial spaceflights by 2011. R.C.J.

The first of a fleet of aircraft capable of flying to space were unveiled this week by Virgin Galactic. Besides suborbital commercial flights, the fleet will also fly space-science missions and launch small satellites. Space Ship Two was christened in the Mojave desert this week by the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico where the world's first commercial space port is located. The first Virgin Galactic commercial passenger vehicle was dubbed the "VSS Enterprise" after the flagship of the popular Star Trek franchise. The Virgin Galactic fleet, which is being built by The Spaceship Company (TSC, Mojave, Calif.) will eventually consist of five Space Ships and two White Knight jet-powered carrier aircraft made by Scaled Composites, which will carry the Space Ship Two vehicle to 52,000 feet where its rocket fires to take it the rest of the way to space.
Full Text:

"ENERGY: World's Greenest Data Center Serves as Smarter Technology Test Bed"

The Green Data Center at Syracuse University will now serve as a living test bed for perfecting even better energy-saving technologies. Look for other data centers following the GDC's lead starting next year. R.C.J.

Seemingly every advanced energy-efficient information technology has already been employed at the recently christened Green Data Center at Syracuse University. Built in partnership with IBM and New York state, the GDC will also serve as a living test bed for perfecting even better energy-saving technologies in the future. Typical data centers use 30 times as much power as an equivalently sized office building, but Syracuse University's new "green" data center requires only about half the power of conventional designs. What's more, besides the advanced electricity generation, heating and cooling systems, everything has a sensor on it and everything can be metered under computer control, making the entire facility available for experimentation in optimization algorithms for even better energy efficiency.
Full Text:

"AlGORITHMS: Tracking social nets could help find terrorists"

Proxy servers can often shield terror groups from detection on the Internet. Now, increased use of social networks may provide a way to track them down. Look for algorithms that troll social networks searching for illegal activity within two years. R.C.J.

Though still in its formative stages, algorithms could identify communities within social networks to target terrorist cells as easily as customers are tracked by advertising campaigns. By graphing the relationships (black lines) among people (red dots) using sophisticated algorithms, graph theory could trace terrorists back to their lair based on their online interactions. The model could be used to trace Web posts on social networks back to their source by understanding the structure of how the information propagates across the Internet. The model would then work back from current conditions to prior causes. In the process, the technique could uncover entire networks of users of particular products, or even to detect and track terrorist cells.
Full Text:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"WIRELESS: MIT Invents Clamlike Robot for Smarter Anchors"

MIT borrows techniques from one of nature's best diggers—the razor clam—to build a robotic anchor that can burrow down into the seabed to securely hold position, then dig itself back out when it's time to move. Look for smart anchors to begin appearing on submersibles for environmental monitoring as early as next year. R.C.J.

A smarter robotic anchor that can dig in was recently invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by borrowing techniques from one of nature's best diggers—the razor clam. MIT's smart anchors will be able to burrow down into the seabed like a clam to securely hold position, then dig themselves back out when it's time to move, according to MIT engineering professor Anette "Peko" Hosoi. Together with doctoral candidate Amos Winter and engineers at Bluefin Robotics (Cambridge, Mass.), MIT is mimicking the razor clam to build its robotic anchors.
Full Text:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"NANOTECH: Santa's Sleigh Propelled by Smart Technologies"

Recent revelations from Santa's North Pole Lab (NPL) reveal that smart technologies indistinguishable from magic propel his sleigh. Look for Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, not to mention Rudolph, on your roof soon. R.C.J.

Aerospace and mechanical engineer, professor Larry Silverberg at North Carolina State University, just completed a visiting-scholar program at Santa’s Workshop-North Pole Labs (SW-NPL) where he learned about the technologies used to deliver presents worldwide in one night.
Full Text:

Monday, December 07, 2009

"AlGORITHMS: Google Realtime Up and Running at Secret URL"

Type in any query you have about current events and Google Realtime gives you a ticker tape view of news reports, blogs, tweets, wall posts and more. Try it out NOW at this secret URL:

Google Realtime aggregates the realtime posts of bloggers, tweeters and wall posters with deals that merge Internet, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace posts. All you do is type in the name of the topic that is most important in your mind and up pops a realtime feed with everybody in the world contributing. By clicking the link below you can see what the ordinary Google search page is going to become once realtime search is up and running there. The difference with this demo is that the whole page is realtime, whereas Google only plans on adding a scrolling realtime panel to its current search-results page.
Google Realtime:

Friday, December 04, 2009

"ENERGY: Plug Pulled on Six Myths About Hybrid Electric Vehicles"

The Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory dispels myths about plug-in hybrids' availability, fuel economy, pricing and batteries. Look for plug-in hybrid vehicles in the U.S. within two years. R.C.J.

Weaning the United States off foreign oil motivated the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory to research the remaining engineering hurtles to the commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicles. As a result of that research, Argonne's Center for Transportation Research recently pulled the plug on six myths about hybrid electric vehicles.
Full Text:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"WIRELESS: iPhone in Concert as a Musical Instrument"

The world's first concert performed completely on an orchestra of iPhones will debut by the "Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble." Look for the free concert to be open to the public on Dec. 9th. R.C.J.

The "Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble" is based on a new course at the University of Michigan about electronics and musical instruments. The students who have designed and built their own iPhone apps, play the instruments together in an orchestra. The touch-screen, microphone, GPS, compass, wireless sensor and accelerometer have all been transformed into musical performance inputs that allow musicians to make different sounds by using their fingers on the touchscreen, voice in the mic, or gestures such as tilt or shake.

"MEMS: Qualcomm's Mirasol MEMS Display Reflects Iridescent Colors"

The iridescent colors on butterfly wings are mimicked by this Qualcomm low-power reflective display technology that requires no backlight. Mirasol displays should begin appearing in consumer electronics devices by Christmas 2010. R.C.J.

Iridescence in nature is caused by a physical phenomenon whereby submicron cavities reflect ambient light off a surface spaced at the wavelength of the color of light being accentuated. Cavities tuned to, say, blue will interfere positively with incoming light of only that wavelength, reinforcing the reflected light—called constructive interference—thereby making the colors bright and shimmering as, for example, on a butterfly wing. Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) enable Qualcomm MEMS Technologies (San Diego) to mimic a butterfly wing with a micron-sized optical cavity housing an interferometer modulator (IMod)...
Free Full Text:

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"SPACE: Observatory detects first water in distant galaxy"

The Herschel Space Observatory, launched earlier this year by the European Space Agency, has the largest mirror ever launched into space. Look for many discoveries about the origin of the universe over the next four years. R.C.J.

Water vapor has been detected for the first time in a distant galaxy by the new Herschel Space Observatory, launched earlier this year by the European Space Agency. The far-infrared spectral lines detected the unmistakable pattern of water in a galaxy called Arp 220.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"ENERGY: Piezioelectric scheme seeks to reap the wind while driving"

Piezoelectric wind harvesters mounted on vehicles could generate electricity to charge batteries or power on-board electronics while simultaneously decreasing drag caused by vibrations, according to these researchers. Look for piezoelectric energy harvesters in many applications in the coming years. R.C.J.

Piezoelectric modules developed by City College of New York professor Yiannis Andreopoulos alone would generate only milliwatts today. But since current output is proportional to velocity, the wind harvesters could potentially generate thousands of watts of power if mounted on vehicles or even airplanes.

"ENERGY: MIT Harvests Heat with Quantum Dots to Double Battery Lifetimes"

Instead of designing electronic devices to wastefully dissipate their excess heat, a new quantum-dot based thermo-electric effect aims to harvest that heat to generate enough electricity to double battery lifetimes. Look for thermophotovoltaic devices to hit the market as early as next year. R.C.J.

Instead of designing electronic devices to wastefully dissipate their excess heat, a new quantum-dot based thermo-electric effect aims to harvest that heat to generate enough electricity to double battery lifetimes.
Every electronic device wastes energy dissipating heat that it could be using to extend battery life, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). By combining micro-gap thermal effects with nanoscale quantum dots, MIT researchers recently demonstrated thermophotovoltaic materials that recover lost heat by generating electricity with it.

"AlGORITHMS: Gordon Bell Awards the Most Innovative, Fastest and Lowest-Cost Supercomputers"

Computer pioneer Gordon Bell sponsored four awards made recently for the fastest, cheapest and most cleverly programmed supercomputers. Look for recipients to be touting their wins throughout the 2009-2010 season. R.C.J.

IBM and D.E. Shaw Research were among the winners for their cognitive computing and molecular dynamics work, respectively, in the annual Gordon Bell Prize awards for 2009. Awarsd were made by the Association for Computing Machinery at the recent Supercomputer 2009 conference for the most innovative, highest performance and most performance per dollar in a supercomputer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"NANOTECH: Nanotube Memories Enable Smarter Electronics in Space"

NASA demonstrates that nanotube memory chips are impervious to the extreme environment and lethal hazards of space during a recent shuttle mission. Look for commercial versions of rad-hard Nantero memory chips within three years. R.C.J.

NASA demonstrates that nanotube memory chips--NRAMS--are impervious to the extreme environment and lethal hazards of space during a recent shuttle mission. Lockheed Martin and NASA reported this month that they successfully tested Nantero's nanotube-based memory chips on the Space Shuttle Atlantis while it serviced the Hubble Space Telescope earlier this year. Nanotube memory chips--NRAMs--store information by virtue of tiny mechanical switches that are immune to the heat, cold, cosmic rays, hard radiation and every other hazard from which conventional semiconductors must be protected in space, according to their inventors, Nantero.

"AlGORITHMS: IBM achieves accurate brain simulation"

Neural networks were once heralded as the future of computers, because of their ability to learn rather than require manual programming. However it was quickly discovered that application-specific designs would not yield general purpose solutions. Now IBM is aiming to solve that problem by emulating widely available magnetic resonance diffusion weighted imaging data (shown by colors in photo). Look for brain-accurate simulations to spawn a new era of cognitive computers within 10 years. R.C.J.

IBM claims to have succeeded in creating a supercomputer simulation of the human brain capable of sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition. So far it can only emulate the number of neurons and synapses in a cat's brain—1 billion spiking neurons and 10 trillion individual learning synapses— but then again the project has only been underway for one year.
IBM's paper on the project, called "The Cat is Out of the Bag" was awarded the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Gordon Bell Prize at the recent Supercomputer 2009 conference.

"ENERGY: Osmotic power generators harvest energy from sea"

Running desalination plants in reverse in order to produce electricity, rather than cleanse salt from water, was made possible by the invention of the pressure exchanger by Energy Recovery Inc. Look for osmotic energy generating plant to begin popping up on coastlines worldwide over the next few years. R.C.J.

Energy Recovery Inc. has re-engineered its pressure exchangers, which enable fresh water to be derived from salt water worldwide in desalination plants, to run in reverse systems that generated power from mixing fresh- with salt-water. The first pilot plant, constructed by Norwegian-government owned renewable-energy company Statkraft is up and running. If successful, Statkraft plans to replicate its plants across the globe potentially generating enough energy to satisfy up to 50 percent of Europe's needs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"ENERGY: Osmotic Power Plants Could Be Installed on Every Stream Dumping into Ocean"

Osmotic power plants could be installed on every rive flowing into the ocean, according to the Norwegian government renewable energy company Statkraft. Energy Recovery (makers of the pressure exchanger that makes osmotic power economical) claims that existing desalination plants could retrofit osmotic power generators to greatly lower the cost of making fresh water from salt water, by recovering power from its output stream to the sea (which is twice as salty as sea water since the potable water had been removed). But using osmotic power on regular rivers, where they dump into the ocean, could cover half of Europe's electricity needs if all the available streams were included. I'm not sure of the cost of building these plants, but it sounds promising. What do you think? Join the conversation by clicking the link below to leave a comment.

"ENERGY: World's First Osmotic Power Plant Yields 24/7 Renewable Energy"

Unlike solar, wind, wave and other sources of renewable energy, osmotic power plants harness a source of energy that is constantly available--fresh water streams running into the sea--thereby enabling sustainable, renewable power plants that produce constant, uniform electricity, all day, every day. Look for osmotic power plant to begin popping up along shorelines worldwide over the next decade. R.C.J.

The world's first osmotic power plant officially opened today in Tofte, Norway, providing sustainable, renewable electricity generation 24/7. Unlike solar, wind, wave and other sources of renewable energy, osmotic power plants harness a source of energy that is constantly available--fresh water streams running into the sea--thereby enabling sustainable, renewable power plants that produce constant, uniform electricity, all day, every day.
Osmotic power generation harnesses the chemical energy locked in the gradient between salt water and fresh water by using an osmosis process. This pilot plant was designed by Statkraft (Oslo) to produce 10 kWatts of energy, but the Norwegian renewable energy company plans to expand that to a full-scale osmotic power plant capable of producing continuous 25 megawatts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"GREEN: Global Warming is Irreversible?"

Global warming is irreversible, unless the world economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day, according to Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah who will publish a new study later this week in Climate Change magazine. Now we have Al Gore saying we still have time to reverse global warming. The hackers who revealed scientists' private emails (see above) say there is no problem to begin with. And now the University of Utah says all is lost, climate change is inevitable. Who is right? Click the link below to add your voice to the commentary.

"GREEN: Hackers Break into Climate Change Center"

Hackers recently broke into a British climate change research center and posted hundreds of emails from scientists claiming that global warming is real, according to an AP report. One email referred to a "trick" used in Nature magazine to make the data more damaging. Over the week end, authors of the stolen emails responded that their comments were taken out of context--and that "trick" just meant "a clever thing to do." Look for a lively debate on the subject next month at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Dec. 7-18, 2009).
What do you think? Do these emails damage Gore's claim that global warming has been proven "unequivocally"? Click the link to add you thoughts to the commentary.

"ALGORITHMS: Hybrid Systems Offer Smarter Machine Translation Among Languages"

The White House earmarked $1 billion in economic stimulus funds for American innovation programs, and issued a "Grand Challenge" in seven areas, one of which was to improve machine translation algorithms that automatically translate between languages. Look for machine translation to start using speech input and output, rather than just written text like today, within five years. R.C.J.

Traditional rule-based machine translation among languages has been merged with newer statistical learning methods to create hybrid machine translation algorithms that are more accurate than either method alone.

"ALGORITHMS: Supercomputers Could Reverse Global Warming: Gore"

Supercomputer simulations can make the effects of global warming more tangible to the population, thereby instilling in people "the political will to change," claims Al Gore. Look for a lively debate at next month's United Nations conference

Al Gore claims that supercomputer simulations could mobilize popular support for cutting the greenhouse-gas emissions that could reverse global warming. Global warming has been proven "unequivocally," according to former vice president and environmental evangelist Al Gore, who claimed that supercomputers could help reverse the trend in his keynote address to the Supercomputer 2009 conference (SC 2009, Nov. 14-19).Text:

Friday, November 20, 2009

"ALGORITHMS: Cray Wins World's Fastest Supercomputer Award"

Cray, once synonymous with "supercomputer," has finally edged out the competition and for the first time won the world's fastest supercomputer award from Look for Cray to increase its market share in the next few years. R.C.J.

Cray's XT5 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has claimed the "world's fastest supercomputer" crown from IBM's Roadrunner, according to the Top500 list announced at Supercomputer 2009 (Nov. 14-19, 2009, Portland, Ore.) For the last two years, IBM's Roadrunner supercomputer has edged out Cray on the Top500 list, but this year Cray's XT5 finally beat Roadrunner with a 1.75 petaflop/second performance speed running the Linpack benchmark (compared to 1.1 petaflop for Roadrunner). The Top500 list reported that Jaguar has a theoretical peak capability to 2.3 petaflop/second.

"ALGORITHMS: 3D Virtual Worlds Becoming 'Killer App' for Supercomputers"

Virtual worlds like Second Life are becoming the killer app for supercomputers. Look for 3D Web applications to reinvigorate the supercomputer industry over the next decade. R.C.J.

The future of high-performance computing is the 3D Web, claims Intel CTO Justin Rattner, since it exploits the three reasons supercomputers are faster than normal computers. The "killer app" for supercomputers is the 3D Web, according to Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner, who gave the keynote address at Supercomputer 2009 this week.
At SC 2009 (Nov. 14-20 in Portland, Ore.), nearly 9,000 computer scientists visited 318 booths exhibiting high-performance computing (HPC) solutions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"MEMS: Startup propels MEMS oscillators into mainstream"

Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have so far been limited to low-precision applications, leaving the lion's share of the mass markets for the precise frequencies to temperature compensated quartz crystals. Now a startup claims to have cracked that nut with the world's first high-precision MEMS oscillators. Look for mainstream applications to start adopting MEMS oscillators as early as next year. R.C.J.

Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have for the first time matched the performance of their high-end rivals, temperature compensated quartz crystals (TCXO), allowing them to compete in mainstream markets for 3G/4G handsets, GPS navigators and WiFi, according to startup Sand 9 Inc., which unveiled the new company today at the Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. Sand 9 spun off from Boston University to develop a novel MEMS oscillator structure into what has become the worlds' most precise silicon oscillator--capable of competing with the high-precision quartz crystal oscillators used by mainstream original equipment manufacturers in 3G/4G cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS), WiFi and other high-precision applications.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"AlGORITHMS: Supercomputer market growth hinges on 3D Web"

Supercomputer market growth is dependent on extending into mass markets for 3D online applications, rather than continuing to depend on government handouts, according to this report. Look for supercomputers extending their reach into mass markets or continue to suffer slow growth. R.C.J.

Supercomputer developers were issued a "call to action" to address the needs of the "3D Web" at the SC09 conference here. Keynote speaker Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at Intel Corp., said that high-performance computing (HPC) was currently only growing at rate of 3.8 percent per year, and needed to boost growth by addressing the needs of the 3D Web. What Rattner calls the 3D Web includes massive multiplayer role-playing games like World of Warcraft. But while virtual worlds are still growing markets, Rattner said that to invigorate supercomputing, it needs established revenue bases like the multi-trillion dollar fashion industry.

"MEMS: IBM Lab-on-a-Chip Performs Instant Tests for Flu, Cancer, Poison, Toxins"

IBM technology will allow anyone to perform instant, inexpensive tests for medical conditions with just a pin prick of blood. Look for instant diagnostic kits for widespread maladies within two years. R.C.J.

IBM Research has demonstrated a lab-on-a-chip technology that can perform instant point-of-care tests for avian flu, swine flu, breast cancer, prostate cancer, bacterial infections, poison, toxins and more—even whether you have just experienced a heart attack. Within two years, IBM claims its lab-on-a-chip technology could become as commonplace as off-the-shelf pregnancy tests, allowing anyone to perform instant, inexpensive tests for medical conditions that today take skilled personnel hours to perform. The IBM lab-on-a-chip test returns "yes" or "no" results from a pin prick of blood in just a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"ENERGY: Smarter Green Buildings to Include Eco-Positive Landscaping"

Green building certification pays scant attention to landscaping, but it should, according to the Sustainable Sites Initiative. Look for green landscaping efforts in your neighborhood in the coming years. R.C.J.

Today, green building certification pays scant attention to landscaping, but it should, according to the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which has just released the world's first rating system for the design, construction and maintenance of sustainable landscapes (with or without buildings).
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was created by the U.S. Green Building Council to provide a standard for environmentally sustainable buildings, but only gives a few points of credit for green landscaping. The Sustainable Sites Initiative plans to change that by incorporating state-of-the-art green landscaping principles into next version of LEED in 2012.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"CHIPS: MRAMs go serial in smart meters"

Magnetic solid-state memories have been sought for over a decade for their nonvolatility and 20 year lifespans, but only recently have they become commercially successful. They are still 1000-times smaller than rivals like flash, but their combination of high-speed and longevity make them ideal for high-reliability applications. Look for MRAMs to be incorporated into applications like smart meters over the next few years. R.C.J.

Serial magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) could find wider use in the emerging smart meter market. Everspin Technologies Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.), the spinoff of Freescale Semiconductor Inc., said its new serial peripheral interface also could make its MRAMs popular in industrial control, automotive and printer applications. Other memory technologies, such as flash, EEPROM and FRAM, offer nonvolatility, but Everspin claims MRAM offers a higher degree of security due to its simpler programming method, which works like fast SRAM. Other nonvolatile memory technologies, Everspin claims, require extra steps to insure that data is not lost if power is interrupted during read/write cycles. MRAMs are already used for critical program and data storage requirements in extreme environments. Everspin recently won a contract from Airbus to supply 4- and 16-Mbit MRAMs for the flight control computer on the next-generation Airbus A350.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"ALGORITHMS: Smartphone E-Stadium Application Enhances Thrill of the Game"

Take your smartphone with you to the Purdue versus Michigan State game this weekend and watch instant replays in the palm of your hand. The e-Stadium application enables sports fans to not only view instant replays, but also play-by-play statistics and more on their smartphones at college football stadiums. Look for the eStadium application at a sports event you attend in the next three years. R.C.J.

The eStadium application enables sports fans to view instant replays, play-by-play statistics and more on their smartphones at college football stadiums. If you happen to be going to the Purdue college football game against Michigan State this Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Ross-Ade Stadium in West Laffayette, Ind., or the upcoming University of Georgia at Georgia Tech game on Thanksgiving weekend at the Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field in Atlanta, be sure to take along your smartphone. Both those stadiums are supporting the e-Stadium application that allows audience members with smartphones to access instant replays, player statistics, play-by-play descriptions and graphical applications such as the "drive tracker" during game-day play.

"MEMS: Japan's DoCoMo tries to simplify handsets with RF MEMS"

DoCoMo revealed its work on simplifying mobile handsets with micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) at the recent MEMS Executive Congress. MEMS technology is critical to the success of future of wireless handsets, according to an executive with the wireless subsidiary of Japanese carrier NTT.

In a presentation during the MEMS Executive Congress (Sonoma, Calif.), Shoichi Narahashi, an executive with DoCoMo Research Laboratories, made the case for using MEMS RF switches to simplify the bill-of-materials for future mobile handsets. Narahashi said a single, reconfigurable power amplifier chip could replace the four separate amplifier chips required today. DoCoMo showed its prototype design for a quad-band mobile handset that uses two sets of MEMS RF switches: one set to reconfigure a power amplifier to transmit at one of four different frequencies and another that switched in different filters to reconfigure the RF front-end to receive at one of four different frequencies.

"MEMS: ST touts accuracy, stability of 3-axis MEMS gyro"

Gyroscopes will be the next big thing in smart sensors for video game controllers, smart phones and even you TV's remote control. Look for gyroscopes to be incorporated into devices alongside MEMS accelerometers starting in 2010. R.C.J.

STMicroelectronics has expanded its MEMS gyro product line with an analog three-axis device that will compete against recent entries into the expanding market. ST (Geneva), which according to market researcher iSuppli is the top supplier of MEMS chips for consumer and mobile applications, claims its new gyro differs from competitors' in that its the first high-precision model. Its LYPR540AH gyro is said to combine fast response, high resolution and wide-ranging temperature stability for applications like gesture and motion recognition for smart phones, video game controllers and personal navigation systems.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"ENERGY: Artificial Photosynthesis Offers Smarter Path to Renewable Energy"

MIT is working on a personal energy system that stores energy in liquid fuels during the day at their point of use, the way a plant does using photosynthesis, and then providing electricity to homes and hybrid cars when sunlight is not available. Look for artificial photosynthesis to be incorporated in to first adopters homes within five years. R.C.J.

Photosynthesis-like technologies offer a sustainable future even as world populations grow by generating and storing the energy to run homes and cars on-site, according to the inventor of a new renewable personal energy system at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Personal energy (PE) is the goal of professor Daniel Nocera, director of both the Solar Revolutions Project and the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT. According to Nocera, PE systems emulate the way a plant transforms solar energy into a fuel that can be used at night and on cloudy days. PE aims to enable a renewable, sustainable future, even as the world's energy needs double by 2050.

"WIRELESS: Brewmobile OS to debut on handsets in 2010"

The BrewMobile platform from Qualcomm will integrate a wide variety of third-party multimedia applications across a variety of mobile handsets. Look for BrewMobile OS handsets to be introduced preloaded with a full set of third-part apps in 2010. R.C.J.

Qualcomm today announced that key mobile software providers are currently optimizing applications of its next-generation Brew Mobile Platform (Brew MP) operating system that the company claims streamlines commercializing apps across a variey of new devices. Key software features include a Java virtual machine, browser, multimedia access, instant messaging, calendar and smart-assistance apps pre-integrated. Brew MP developers are already distributing applications to mobile device manufacturers so that they will be available next year when the first devices using the new OS begin to appear.

"WIRELESS: Gigahertz smartphone chips set debuts from Qualcomm"

The gigahertz barrier has been broken by Qualcomm's new flagship chipset for next generation smartbooks. Look for a new wave of even smarter smartbooks in 2010. R.C.J.

Qualcomm today announced a new smartphone chipset family that breaks the gigahertz barrier--its MSM7x30 family which features multimedia high-definition video recordin at 720p HD and 30 frames per second, 2D + 3D graphics, Dolby 5.1 surround, sound, 12-megapixel camera, integrated GPS for location-based service, support for multiple mobile operating systems, including Android, Windows Mobile, Brew Mobile Platform and Symbian. Smartbooks based on the MSM7x30 chipset are expected to launch commercially before the end of 2010.