May 8 , 2006


Camouflaged messages

An optical version of the spread spectrum technology used for cell phone transmissions promises secure messaging over standard fiber-optic telecommunications networks. The technology, originally used for secure military radio communications, makes messages sound like background noise to eavesdroppers. (A Method for Secure Communications over a Public Fiber-Optical Network, Optics Express, May 1, 2006)

Pneumatic logic

Logic gates formed by a set of tiny pneumatic valves control the flow of liquids on a biochip, allowing for complex control of samples and chemicals used in medical testing and biological research. The system enables a small number of pneumatic inputs to control a large number of valves -- for example ten inputs for up to 512 valves. (Development and Multiplexed Control of Latching Pneumatic Valves Using Microfluidic Logical Structures, Lab on a Chip, May 2006)

Cell phone traffic tracks weather

Rainfall impairs radio signals, and the degree of impairment turns out to be an accurate measure of rainfall. This discovery opens the possibility of using existing cell phone networks as worldwide weather stations. (Environmental Monitoring by Wireless Communication Networks, Science, May 5, 2006)

Flexible circuits get speedy

A method of applying traditional computer chip materials to flexible plastic surfaces produces transistors that operate in the gigahertz range, which is the speed of today's computer and communications devices. The technique could be used to produce high-performance electronic paper and flexible displays. (Gigahertz operation in flexible transistors on plastic substrates, Applied Physics Letters, May 1, 2006)

Metal-like plastic

A plastic that conducts like a metal could significantly improve the performance of conducting polymers. The specially prepared form of polyailine could lead to flexible and/or disposable plastic electronic devices. (Metallic transport in polyaniline, Nature, May 4, 2006)

Molecular electronics get stable

The idea of making electronic devices from single layers of molecules has been around for years, but prototypes tend to be fragile and inconsistent. A method of making self-assembled monolayers yields stable electronics, advancing efforts to use molecular layers to make small, flexible and/or high-speed computer circuits. (Towards molecular electronics with large-area molecular junctions, Nature, May 4, 2006)


View from the High Ground: Cornell's Jon Kleinberg
Six degrees of separation, buying gasoline by the molecule, the science of popularity, all just getting along online, intellectual prosthetics, Big Science, making up questions, and telling stories.

How It Works: Quantum computing: qubits
Photons, electrons and atoms, oh my! These particles are the raw materials for qubits, the basic building blocks of quantum computers.

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May 10, 2006
Sense-able network
Physicists have come up with an answer to the mystery of how human senses can span a wide range of inputs, from very subtle to very powerful, when sensory nerve cells have a small dynamic range

April 12, 2006
Toward implantable sensors

April 5, 2006
Kurzweil keynote

March 16, 2006
DNA nanotech made easy

"In most areas of science and technology, the origins of new breakthroughs can still be found in the work of a small number of people -- or even a single person -- working at their own pace on their own questions, pursuing things that interest them. "
- Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University

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