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May 26, 2006, 0:13 AM CT

Blueprint For Invisibility Cloak

Blueprint For Invisibility Cloak David R. Smith of Duke's Pratt School of Engineering is one of the invisibility cloak's technological tailors | Duke Photography
Using a new design theory, scientists at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering and Imperial College London have developed the blueprint for an invisibility cloak. Once devised, the cloak could have numerous uses, from defense applications to wireless communications, the scientists said.

Such a cloak could hide any object so well that observers would be totally unaware of its presence, as per the researchers. In principle, their invisibility cloak could be realized with exotic artificial composite materials called "metamaterials," they said.

"The cloak would act like you've opened up a hole in space," said David R. Smith, Augustine Scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School. "All light or other electromagnetic waves are swept around the area, guided by the metamaterial to emerge on the other side as if they had passed through an empty volume of space".

Electromagnetic waves would flow around an object hidden inside the metamaterial cloak just as water in a river flows virtually undisturbed around a smooth rock, Smith said.

The research team, which also includes David Schurig of Duke's Pratt School and John Pendry of Imperial College London, reported its findings on May 25, 2006, in Science Express, the online advance publication of the journal Science. The work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.........

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May 26, 2006, 0:09 AM CT

Detector Sees The Invisible

Detector Sees The Invisible
An inexpensive detector developed by a NASA-led team can now see invisible infrared light in a range of "colors," or wavelengths.

The detector, called a Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) array, was the world's largest (one million-pixel) infrared array when the project was announced in March 2003. It was a low-cost alternative to conventional infrared detector technology for a wide range of scientific and commercial applications. However, at the time it could only detect a narrow range of infrared colors, equivalent to making a conventional photograph in just black and white. The new QWIP array is the same size but can now sense infrared over a broad range.

"The ability to see a range of infrared wavelengths is an important advance that will greatly increase the potential uses of the QWIP technology," said Dr. Murzy Jhabvala of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., Principal Investigator for the project.

Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, but some types are generated by and perceived as heat. A conventional infrared detector has a number of cells (pixels) that interact with an incoming particle of infrared light (an infrared photon) and convert it to an electric current that can be measured and recorded. They are similar in principle to the detectors that convert visible light in a digital camera. The more pixels that can be placed on a detector of a given size, the greater the resolution, and NASA's QWIP arrays are a significant advance over earlier 300,000-pixel QWIP arrays, previously the largest available.........

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May 24, 2006, 6:55 PM CT

Software Defuses Demographic Time-bomb

Software Defuses Demographic Time-bomb
As a number of baby boomers look forward to their retirement, manufacturing industry bosses fear the wealth of knowledge that will be lost with their departure.

To stem this drain of information, University of Cambridge researcher Dr Tony Holden has developed a software program which captures employees' experience as they work.

Dr Holden, Department of Engineering, designed the new program, entitled 'Lifetrack', being marketed by the US company The Works Software. The software was developed from the results of a two-year industrial research program sponsored by BP, Honeywell Control and Cambridge University to model the social, communication and information dimensions of how staff work in industrial manufacturing plants. The aim was to significantly improve plant safety, integrity and efficiency.

Serious problems at plants have been traced back to inconsistent views of the same operation. With Lifetrack, everyone has the same consistent view of operations to reduce the chance of misunderstandings and reduce the learning curve of new staff.

"Today, knowledge retention programs don't provide anything for capturing tacit knowledge where it really exists in an organization - with operational staff at the ground level", says Dinesh Vadhia, CEO of The Works Software. "The trick is to capture, retain and share knowledge while operational staff are doing their job".........

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May 24, 2006, 0:18 AM CT

Hope For The Blind

Hope For The Blind

An MIT poet has developed a small, relatively inexpensive "seeing machine" that can allow people who are blind, or visually challenged like her, to access the Internet, view the face of a friend, "previsit" unfamiliar buildings and more.

Recently the machine received positive feedback from 10 visually challenged people with a range of causes for their vision loss who tested it in a pilot clinical trial. The work was reported in Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association, earlier this year.

The work is led by Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She developed the machine over the last 10 years, in collaboration with more than 30 MIT students and some of her personal eye doctors. The new device costs about $4,000, low compared to the $100,000 price tag of its inspiration, a machine Goldring discovered through her eye doctor.

Goldring's adventures at the intersection of art and high technology began with a visit to her doctor, Lloyd Aiello, head of the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. At the time, Goldring was blind. (Surgeries have since restored vision in one eye).

To better examine her eyes, Aiello asked her to go to the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard, where technicians peered into her eyes with a diagnostic device known as a scanning laser opthalmoscope, or SLO. With the machine they projected a simple image directly onto the retina of one eye, past the hemorrhages within the eye that contributed to her blindness. The idea was to determine whether she had any healthy retina left.........

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May 24, 2006, 0:01 AM CT

Cleaner Technologies

Cleaner Technologies Researchers pose on the roof of the Georgia Tech Student Athletic Center, which is covered with photovoltaic cells as part of a long-term research project.
Volatile weather, summer smog alerts, soaring fuel prices and rising greenhouse-gas levels have focused increased attention on cleaner, more-sustainable technologies.

That concern can be clearly seen among the startup companies formed in Georgia Tech's VentureLab program, which is assisting more than a half-dozen early-stage companies that are pursuing clean-technology products and services. These new technologies range from renewable fuels and high-efficiency solar cells to hurricane forecasting and tiny jet-like devices that could reduce aircraft-fuel consumption.

Georgia Tech is well positioned to pursue clean technology and renewable energy. Among its a number of interdisciplinary research centers are the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics Research and Education, the Center for Innovative Fuel Cell and Battery Technology, the Strategic Energy Initiative, the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development, and the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics.

"Our clean-tech companies have one aim in common - to use Georgia Tech discoveries to make many things happen in a more environmentally sensitive and economically viable way," said Stephen Fleming, Georgia Tech's chief commercialization officer.

Commercialization Services, a unit of Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, identifies, evaluates and promotes Georgia Tech innovations with potential commercial value. Most such discoveries fall into two categories: the majority are licensed to established corporations, while a few - about one in 10- have the right stuff to form the basis for new companies.........

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May 17, 2006, 10:27 PM CT

New Supercomputing Center

New Supercomputing Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in collaboration with IBM and New York state, has announced a $100 million partnership to create the world's most powerful university-based supercomputing center, and a top 10 supercomputing center of any kind in the world.

The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI), based on the Rensselaer campus and at its Rensselaer Technology Park in Troy, N.Y., is designed both to help continue the impressive advances in shrinking device dimensions seen by electronics manufacturers, and to extend this model to a wide array of industries that could benefit from nanotechnology, as per the partners.

Cadence Design Systems, a leader in electronic design automation (EDA) software, and AMD, a leader in advanced microprocessor technology and products, will collaborate with Rensselaer and IBM at the Supercomputing Center in advanced simulation and modeling of nanoelectronic devices and circuitry. This activity complements the ongoing joint R&D activity between IBM and AMD in East Fishkill and Albany developing advanced high performance Silicon on Insulator (SOI) semiconductor devices and manufacturing processes.

The CCNI will focus on reducing the time and costs associated with designing and manufacturing nanoscale materials, devices, and systems.........

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May 14, 2006, 10:45 AM CT

Forget Blockbuster and Netflix

Forget Blockbuster and Netflix
Have movies delivered directly to your TV. All you need is the $199 setbox by Moviebeam, which comes loaded with 100 movies in HDTV or DVD quality with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, perfect for your home theatre setup. After that you can get up to 10 movies a week at prices ranging from $1.99 to $3.99 per movie.

Moviebeam totes the product as "brilliant new way to rent and watch movies at home. Get movies delivered directly to your TV - no cable, satellite, or computer is required".

This should have you wondering by now, how the movies are actually delivered to your Moviebeam box. The company has patented a digital wireless service that "beams" the movies into your home.

There are no subscription fees, no late fees, nothing to return ever!!! The only downside, you have 24 hours to watch each movie you rent, but you can watch it as many times as you want to during the rental period, and Moviebeam while avalable throughout the US is not yet available in all areas. Check availability for your area before you run out to get a set @ Moviebeam.

Blockbuster & Netflix watch out!!!........

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May 14, 2006, 9:36 AM CT

World's Thinnest Samsung SGH-X820 Mobile Phone

World's Thinnest Samsung SGH-X820 Mobile Phone
It's simply aesthetic, just can't wait anymore to grab this world's thinnest cell phone, isn't it? You can feed on more detailed pictures of the 6.9mm Samsung SGH-X820 cell phone, rolled out at the Expo Comm Korea 2006, at AVing.

Each and every cell of this skinny beast is carved for the kill. The skinny Samsung SGH-X820 lures with its 2 inch TFT screen, a 2MP camera and a TV-Out port. Weighing just 66g the 113×50x6.9mm GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone will, most probably, hit Europe in June.........

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May 14, 2006, 9:33 AM CT

Cars That Anticipate Crash

Cars That Anticipate Crash
Cameras and radar work together, pinpointing the position and velocity of potential impactors (Image: Siemens)
What if the car you're pumping to the limits changes its shape before a collision? Nothing can be better then this; and no, we're not building castles in the sky, rather German scientists have already hit the accelerator with their latest innovative technology that anticipates any collision and allows the car to change its shape.

Equipped with cameras and radar, the car senses the impact and changes its shape with the help of shape-shifting metal in the door. Designed to absorb mainly the side impacts, which too sometimes are fatal, the material in fact distributes the force at the right time with the help of the so-called the impact-sensing system.........

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May 14, 2006, 9:20 AM CT

Magnetic Message Board With Movement Sensor

Magnetic Message Board With Movement Sensor
Leaving messages on the fridge to make sure your partner or roommate doesn't forget to put the food-stuff inside will never go unnoticed with Lumipad. The battery-powered magnetic message board has a movement sensor in it, so when you walk past it, it flashes at you. Lumipad comes with a special pen and it sells for $79.95. Paper messages are passe, Lumipad is the geeky way to ensure your small note doesn't end-up unnoticed!!.

Cool Factor: Cool Concept.........

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