April 25, 2001   

   Shaped waves promise speed
A trick physicists use to make the crest of a wave leave a container before it enters sounds impossible but doesn't actually violate the laws of physics. The technique of reshaping electromagnetic waves could help computer chips live up to their potential. Picture walking forward on a moving train...
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Touch improves VR collaboration
Shared virtual environments will be more productive places to work if you can literally feel your way around them.

Manners matter for the circuit-minded
A team of researchers is sending mobile robots rushing headlong at people. Their goal is to ensure that the personal servants of the future come off the assembly line knowing how to behave themselves.

Network tools handle hefty science files
Scientists often generate mountains of data that they need to share with colleagues around the world, but sending bulky research results in email attachments is out of the question. A super network taking shape at research centers promises to do the heavy lifting.

Linked liquid crystals move matter
Liquid crystals are nearly shapeless creatures, as their name suggests. But tie them to a backbone of plastic molecules, and they become downright muscular.

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