Well, there's the specter of plasmonic transistors
As far as applications for this discovery go, we’re really treading along the bleeding edge. Most plasmonic applications are purely theoretical at the moment. Plasmons could be used as an interconnect on computer chips, as they support frequencies up to hundreds of terahertz, while copper wires max out in the gigahertz range. You’ll be happy to hear that some scientists have created a plasmonic transistor called a plasmonster, too.
Also along the same lines, plasmons have been used — in a lab setting — to perform very high resolution lithography and microscopy.
So, how about a CPU that runs in the dozens of terahertz? :P (Interconnects are always much faster than the resulting chip). Might also be able to create some light-based CPUs, since it's the interchange of electricity and light that's been largely missing. Could improve fiber-optic switching as well.
The University of Hasselt (Belgium) announced today that Belgian and Dutch scientists have successfully replacing a lower jaw with a 3D printed model for a 83 year-old woman. According to the researchers, It is the first custom-made implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw.
The lower jaw of the elderly woman was badly infected and needed to be removed. Considering the age of the patient, a “classical” microsurgical reconstructive surgery takes too long time and can be risky. Therefore a tailor-made implant is the best choice.
Normally it takes a few days to produce a custom implant, but with 3D printing technology it takes only a few hours.
(note: Pictured above a prototype from 2008, not the actual implant! You can bet the actual is more sophisticated!)
An international team of scientists has demonstrated a revolutionary new way of magnetic recording which will allow information to be processed hundreds of times faster than by current hard drive technology.
The researchers found they could record information using only heat -- a previously unimaginable scenario. They believe this discovery will not only make future magnetic recording devices faster, but more energy-efficient too...
Modern magnetic recording technology employs the principle that the North pole of a magnet is attracted to the South pole of another and two like poles repulse. Until now it has been believed that in order to record one bit of information -- by inverting the poles of a magnet -- there was a need to apply an external magnetic field. The stronger the applied field, the faster the recording of a magnetic bit of information.
However, the team of scientists has demonstrated that the positions of both the North and South poles of a magnet can be inverted by an ultrashort heat pulse, harnessing the power of much stronger internal forces of magnetic media.
So basically we're now using (femtosecond?) laser pulses to record magnetic hard-disks. I never would've called that one >_>
Aaaand this probably means that HDD performance will start to match the speed of SSDs.
When printing your future house, there's no need to stick with flat walls and box shapes--those are anachronisms of our building materials. What shapes would people choose to live in if any shape were equally efficient and cost-effective? I think we'd choose lithe curves, hobbit-hole-style rounded dwellings.
The D-Shape is potentially capable of printing a two story building - complete with stairs, partition walls, columns, domes, and piping cavities - using only ordinary sand and an inorganic binder. The resulting material is said to be indistinguishable from marble, and exhibits the same physical properties, with durability highly superior to that of masonry and reinforced concrete.
The building process is very close to what we'd expect of a huge 3D printer. A nozzle moves along a pre-programmed path, extruding a liquid adhesive compound on a bed of sand with a solid catalyst mixed in. The binding agent reacts with the catalyst, and the solidifying process begins. Meanwhile, the remaining sand serves to support the structure. Then, another layer of sand is added and the whole process is repeated. Since it's computer assisted, no specialist knowledge is required to use the printer. All that's needed is a CAD design file... Reportedly, the building process takes a quarter of the time required to build an equivalent structure with traditional means.
After four years of incredulity and not-so-gentle mocking, Bo Thide of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and a team in Italy have finally proven that it’s possible to simultaneously transmit multiple radio channels over exactly the same wireless frequency. In theory, according to Thide, we could potentially transmit an “infinite number” of TV, radio, WiFi, and cellular channels at the same time over the same frequency, blasting apart our highly congested wireless spectrum.
The transmitter, sliced on one edge and offset to produce the corskcrew-wave shape!:
I, for one, would like to welcome our new micro-machine overlords.
Are 3D printers not amazing enough already? Apparently some scientists at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) didn't think so, as they have now built one that can create intricate objects as small as a grain of sand. While the ability to 3D-print such tiny items is actually not unique to the TU Vienna device, the speed at which it can do so is. According to the researchers, this makes the commercial production of things such as medical implants much more viable.
Isn't that one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen?
Last Thursday at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference in Los Angeles, a team from IBM presented research on their wonderfully-named "Holey Optochip." The prototype chipset is the first parallel optical transceiver that is able to transfer one trillion bits (or one terabit) of information per second.
To put that in perspective, IBM states that 500 high-def movies could be downloaded in one second at that speed, while the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive could be downloaded in an hour. Stated another way, the Optochip is eight times faster than any other parallel optical components currently available, with a speed that's equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users, if they were using regular 10 Mb/s high-speed internet.
One of the unique features of parallel optic chips is the fact that they can simultaneously send and receive data. The Holey Optochip capitalizes on that feature, for its record-setting performance.
WHILE many believed it to be an April Fool's Day joke, Vladimir Putin has confirmed Russia has been testing mind-bending psychotronic guns that can effectively turn people into zombies.
The futuristic weapons - which attack their victims' central nervous system - are being developed by scientists and could be used against Russia's enemies and even its own dissidents by the end of the decade.
Mr Putin has described the guns, which use electromagnetic radiation like that found in microwave ovens, as entirely new instruments for achieving political and strategic goals.
Russia always talks big, but this would be nasty if true!
If you’re a fan of things retro and an electronics do-it-youselfer, this might might be just the thing for you – it’s a kit that lets you built your own clock, that displays the time using wonderfully outdated nixie tubes.
Sounds like the micro-wave radiation weapon the US has already deployed to military and domestic police. Penetrats about a millimeter, creates an intense feeling of heat because it basically heats the nerves directly but actually doesn't do any real damage.
A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television's Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.
A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially brining the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
"There is hope," Harold "Sonny" White of NASA's Johnson Space Center said here Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.
Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters (PRL).
To exceed scientific break-even is the most hotly sought-after goal of fusion research, in which the energy released by a fusion reaction is greater than the energy put into it — an achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications.
That the liners survived their electromagnetic drubbing is a key step in stimulating further Sandia testing of a concept called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion), which will use magnetic fields and laser pre-heating in the quest for energetic fusion.
In the dry-run experiments just completed, cylindrical beryllium liners remained reasonably intact as they were imploded by huge magnetic field of Sandia’s Z machine, the world’s most powerful pulsed-power accelerator. Had they overly distorted, they would have proved themselves incapable of shoveling together nuclear fuel — deuterium and possibly tritium — to the point of fusing them. Sandia researchers expect to add deuterium fuel in experiments scheduled for 2013.
So, what changes if we discover fusion?
Fusion is completely clean energy. There's enough deuterium on the planet to fuel the energy needs of mankind for a very long time, at least thousands of years. Beyond that, space (and other planets) is full of water, meaning the supply of deuterium is virtually unlimited.
Power will be virtually free.
Since faster-than-light concepts require large energy concentrations, an actual warp drive might then be possible.
Beyond that, we can abandon buying oil from the middle-east, meaning terrorism and the like may drop off as terrorists have to get real jobs at last :P
And we'll enter a new era of economic development driven by cheap energy. With dirt-cheap energy every sector of the economy benefits, meaning everyone's wealthier than before, possible by a great deal.
Wow, consumer-grade 3D printers are down to 25 microns resolution, already!
Formlabs, a start-up led by MIT researchers, has created a desktop 3D printer that uses stereolithography (SLA) technology normally reserved for costly high-end printers. While other at-home 3D printers use a process where ABS plastic is melted and extruded in thin strips, SLA uses lasers to cure liquid resin in microscopic layers. The Form 1 3D printer, which is described as the first "prosumer" 3D printer, accomplishes this using the same type of laser found in your Blu-ray player.
The Form 1 3D printer produces layers of just 25 microns, about ten microns thicker than some of the most advanced (and expensive) printers on the market today. And it will do this in your home for less than US$3,000. For comparison, the Makerbot Replicator 2 prints parts with a layer resolution of 100 microns.