December 5, 2001   

   Nerve-chip link closer
It's going to be a long time before cyborgs walk the Earth -- joining electrical circuits to biological nervous systems is far beyond today's technology. Soldering bits of semiconductor to a nerve cell, however, is a step toward the dawn of a new age in human-computer relations.
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Inside-out gem channels light
Make a fake opal, turn it inside out, and you're on your way to building an optical version of a computer chip. But there's little room for defects in the crystal. A manufacturing process hits the sweet spot of telecommunications wavelengths.

Computer follows video action
Imagine trying to watch television if you couldn't tell people or cars from background scenery. That's the problem computers face. A computer vision system that aims to keep track of objects on video even when they momentarily disappear could help.

Environment may dictate intelligence
Would you be as smart as you are if you lived in isolation and had no unmet needs? One study using software agents suggests that intelligence is inseparable from the challenges of living in the real world.

Physics methods may spot intruders
Researchers are working on applying a technique for observing subtle details in nuclear experiments to tracking the faint traces left by Internet ne'er-do-wells.

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