TRN Story Tour

TRN Headlines and Teasers Service

Headlines and Teasers from July 29 through August 25, 2003

Quantum computer keeps it simple
Quantum computing is a great idea, but it's too soon to tell whether manipulating the quantum world to the necessary degree will ever be a manageable undertaking. Controlling fleeting quantum particles usually requires making extraordinarily precise devices. A proposal that calls for chaperoning pairs of particles and getting all of the particles in a quantum computer to sing the same tune could ease this burden.

Video keys off human heat
Putting people in impossible places is an old trick in TV land. A twist on the technique uses heat to expand the video magician's repertoire.

Motion sensor nears quantum limit
An ultrasensitive motion sensor approaches the limits of the laws of physics.

Skulls gain virtual faces
For decades, forensic experts have identified the dead by using clay to sculpt faces on skulls. The effort to a computerize the process has taken a big step forward with a tool that builds virtual muscles and skin on a three-dimensional skull scan. The models can even be animated to show different facial expressions.

Molecule makes ring rotor
Chemistry yields a new nanotech tool -- a rotor that turns only one way.

Viewer explodes virtual buildings
Being immersed might be a good way to play Doom, but isn't necessarily the best way to watch the action unfold. Software that takes the tops off digital buildings could turn computer games into a spectator sport. It could also make it easier to evaluate trainees as they go through their paces in simulators.

Device simulates food
The average virtual reality experience is full of eye candy. It might soon include the kind you can smell, chew and taste.

Interference boosts biochip
Where biochip sensors are concerned, a little interference can give a clearer picture.

Tool blazes virtual trails
Navigating through large computer models like ships and manufacturing facilities is often a frustrating experience that leaves you drifting along, dream-like, with little sense of moving through a real space. Software that keeps your virtual feet on the ground could bolster the realism of three-dimensional environments.

Carbon wires expand nano toolkit
Filling carbon nanotubes with chains of carbon atoms yields the smallest carbon wires.

Software speeds modeling
A prototype design tool generates computer models of buildings in seconds -- just add basic shapes, and presto, instant architecture. The software automates the laborious task of generating realistic, varied models, which should give a big boost to architecture modeling, urban planning, game design and movie making.

DNA plays tic-tac-toe
In addition to its natural role as the blueprint of life, DNA has been tapped to compute and to form nanoscale machines. A new type of DNA logic is aimed at marrying these artificial functions to make control circuits for nano machines. The first result is an unbeatable tic-tac-toe player.

Email updates six degrees theory
The venerable six-degrees-of-separation theory has been the key concept of many studies of networks like the Internet. An email-based update of the original experiment shows that one conclusion is off the mark. It turns out that the most well-connected people are not always the best contacts.

Cellophane turns LCDs 3D
The same plastic wrap that makes your leftovers last longer turns out to be efficient at rotating the polarization of light by 90 degrees. This property is half of what it takes to make a three-dimensional display. Place a piece of cellophane over one side of a laptop screen that is showing two copies of an image, don a pair of crossed polarizer glasses, and enjoy the 3D view.

Detector senses single DNA
A microscopic ball and chain makes for the ultimate in sensitive DNA detection.

Crystal shortens infrared waves
A crystal that shortens infrared waves could efficiently turn heat to electricity.

Tool sketches quantum circuits
A microscopic Etch-a-sketch could boost efforts to build quantum computers.

Nanotubes spark gas detector
Nanotubes can produce tiny but intense electric fields -- just the thing for portable gas detectors.

Metal process makesheat chips
Using electricity to make tiny metal parts opens the wafer chip-size heating and cooling devices, and thermoelectric generators.

Light makes molecule shine
A single molecule that acts like a beacon points the way to massive data storage.

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