set to go ballistic
the past few years magnetic disks that store
computer information have become giant. Now
some are ready to go ballistic, in an attempt
to store 450 DVD's worth of information in
a disk the size of a CD. The trick is keeping
electrons on the straight and narrow rather
than bouncing off the walls.
queries bridge search and speech
Speech recognition software, because of its limited
vocabulary, can be at a loss for words when it's
used for database queries. Starting with the words
it does know makes it considerably quicker in figuring
out those it doesn't.
links nerve cells to electronics
The Borg of science fiction's Star Trek are so tightly
connected to their electronic implants that they
can't survive if the devices are removed from their
otherwise human bodies. In reality, it's hard getting
electronics and living tissue to connect at all.
A fuzzy electrode that makes nerve cells feel at
home could improve the situation.
chips set to go atomic
Prototype quantum computers tend to look like something
from a mad scientist's laboratory -- labyrinths
of lasers and mirrors, or test tubes and magnets,
depending on the type. Although computers that use
the states of atoms to store and manipulate information
are barely more than theoretical, some researchers
are thinking ahead to practical considerations.
Wringing atomic weirdness out of tried-and-true
silicon technology could smooth the way for manufacturing
fantastically powerful machines.
switch promises powerful computers
Using one light beam to switch off another opens
the door for optical circuits that work like electrical
circuits, only much faster. It boils down to a sub-atomic
version of the game red light, green light.