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Showing posts from February 6, 2010

Intel, Micron Cram 8 Gigs of Chip Into 4-Gig Bag

Intel, Micron Cram 8 Gigs of Chip Into 4-Gig Bag

Intel and Micron have jointly announced what may be the world's smallest, densest NAND flash memory device yet.

Their 25-nanometer (25nm) NAND flash semiconductor offers 8 GB of memory in a single NAND processor. This could pave the way for higher-capacity storage for consumer devices.

The 25nm NAND semiconductor is sampling now; it will be in production in the second quarter of 2010.
Chip Sandwich
For consumer electronics manufacturers, the 25nn NAND processor provides the highest density in a single two bits-per-cell multi-level cell die that will fit an industry-standard, thin small-outline package, Intel said. Multiple 8 GB processors can be stacked in a package to increase storage capacity.

The processor measures 167 square millimeters. Put another way, it will fit through the hole in the middle of a CD. However, it has more than 10 times the 700 MB capacity of a CD.

Google shows off Chrome OS tablet ideas

Google shows off Chrome OS tablet ideas
Who could resist the months of hype that paved the way for Apple's iPad debut last week? Apparently not Google, which has shown its interest in tablet computing with its browser-based Chrome OS.

On Monday, Glen Murphy, a user interface designer for Google's Chrome browser and the Chrome operating system based on it, pointed to image and video concepts of a Chrome OS-based tablet that went live two days before the iPad launch. Apparently nobody noticed initially, because only now did Murphy tweet, "Apparently our tablet mocks have been unearthed."
The site also shows the array of devices Google envisions for Chrome OS.

"While its primary focus is Netbooks, Chrome OS could eventually scale to a wide variety of devices. Each would have vastly different input methods, available screen space, and processing power," according to the Chromium form factors site. Chromium is the name of the open-source developer project that under…

iPad unites Apple's media and mobile ambitions

iPad unites Apple's media and mobile ambitions
While it's still too soon to tell if it can live up to the insane amount of hype that preceded its introduction, the iPad is, more than any other product the company has made, the quintessential Apple device.

From the almost entirely homegrown technology, to the addition of the books counterpart to its iTunes media hub, to taking a risk on the middle category between smartphones and laptops, the iPad completes the picture for Apple in a lot of ways.
From the almost entirely homegrown technology, to the addition of the books counterpart to its iTunes media hub, to taking a risk on the middle category between smartphones and laptops, the iPad completes the picture for Apple in a lot of ways.

Steve Jobs used "revolutionary" to describe his company's newest device Wednesday, and while that's more than a bit over-the-top, the iPad does epitomize Apple's evolution. Before he even introduced the tablet Wednesday, Jobs b…

Energy-harvesting rubber could power phones

Energy-harvesting rubber could power phones
Talk about the rubber hitting the road. Researchers from Princeton and Caltech have come up with a power-generating rubber material that could harness walking and other movement to charge electronic devices.
The material is made from nanoribbons composed of lead zirconate titanate, or PZT, a ceramic substance that's "piezoelectric," meaning it generates an electrical voltage when pressure is applied. The "piezo-rubber chips" are embedded in clear silicone rubber sheets that produce electricity when flexed.

The scientists--who detail their findings in the new issue of Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society--say the rubber sheets could one day appear in shoes that power cell phones and other mobile electronic devices as the user walks or runs.

Lithium batteries tapped for community storage

Lithium batteries tapped for community storage
A smart-grid project in Ohio will test whether the electricity business will follow the history of computing, with storage moving from center to the edge of the network.

Start-up International Battery on Monday said that it has been chosen to supply lithium ion batteries for a community energy storage pilot project run by utility AEP set to go online by the middle of this year.

The storage units will be about the size of pad-mounted transformers, the roughly refrigerator-size boxes that step down high-voltage current from transmission lines for local service, said Ake Almgren, the CEO of International Battery.

The community energy storage will be part of a smart-grid project, where AEP is installing smart meters and other technologies in an effort to reduce power consumption in a 150 square-mile region in northeast Ohio. Installation of the storage units, one of several Department of Energy-sponsored grid storage projects, is scheduled to sta…

MS Office 2010 hits the release candidate stage

Office 2010 hits the release candidate stage
Microsoft has provided some early testers with a near-final "release candidate" version of Office 2010 as the software maker works to make the suite broadly available in June.

"Microsoft made a release candidate available to members in the technology adoption program (TAP)," a Microsoft representative told CNET. "This is one of Microsoft's planned milestones in the engineering process; however (we) do not have plans to make this new code set available broadly."
A beta version of Office 2010 was released in November and had been downloaded 2 million times, as of last month.

The company officially started public testing of the product with a Technology Preview version that was released in July, although an earlier version of that code leaked out in May.

Office 2010 features a variety of improvements to each of the core programs, but maintains the XML file formats and ribbon interface introduced with Office 2007. P…

Abu Dhabi to plug in solar air conditioner

Abu Dhabi to plug in solar air conditioner
Start-up Chromasun plans to install a solar-driven air conditioner--a technology with the potential to cut peak-time electricity use--at a commercial building in Abu Dhabi this year.

The company is showcasing the Chromasun solar collector, which concentrates sunlight 25 times, at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this week, CEO Peter Le Lievre said Thursday.
Chromasun's collectors use a Fresnel lens made from aluminum to concentrate light and then heat a liquid used in an absorption chiller, an air conditioning system used in some commercial buildings. It's the same basic concentrating-solar technology used by solar thermal company Ausra, of which Le Lievre was a co-founder. But the "micro-concentrator" is designed specifically for existing air conditioners.

A micro-concentrator will not be sufficient to cool an entire building, but its maximum output coincides with the hottest times of the day when air conditioning sy…

Windows Azure finally ready for customers

Windows Azure finally ready for customers
Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing service became generally available on Monday with very little flourish. And that might be because this first wave of Azure offerings is frankly a bit odd.

I am sure Microsoft will eventually figure out how to give its users options that are more obviously appealing (perhaps using Amazon Web Services as the model?), but in the near-term the options are not as clear as they could be.
It's still a positive for cloud enthusiasts that Azure has finally reached a place where Microsoft is comfortable offering it commercially. And if you're part of the Azure team, you have to be glad to have any solidification of just what the offerings are.

In many ways, Microsoft is applying the same enterprise architecture principles to the cloud--with pricing variables for consumption, storage, and even integration with other applications. This may not actually be wrong over time, but it forces developers and users…

NTT DoCoMo to show off 4G handset

NTT DoCoMo to show off 4G handset
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo is set to demonstrate a prototype handset based on high-speed wireless data technology LTE later this month, according to its handset partner, NEC.

NEC said on Monday that NTT will demonstrate the handset receiving streaming high-resolution video across an LTE network at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off February 15 in Barcelona. According to NEC, the handset uses an LTE chipset that was developed by Fujitsu, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, and Panasonic, and first sampled in October.
LTE, the "long-term evolution" of 3G, is the successor to HSDPA and is roughly 10 times faster, providing theoretical downlink speeds of at least 100Mbps and a theoretical uplink of at least 50Mbps.

Fisker taps A123 Systems for electric car batteries

Fisker taps A123 Systems for electric car batteriesFisker Automotive has contracted with Boston-based A123 Systems to supply battery packs for the forthcoming Fisker Karma plug-in electric car.

A123 Systems on Thursday said that it will supply lithium ion-based systems to Fisker for use in the Karma luxury sedan, which is due in late 2010. The intent is to also supply batteries for Project Nina, a lower-end model from Fisker due in 2012.

As part of the deal, A123 Systems is investing up to $23 million in Fisker, which would be up to $13 million in cash and the rest in stock. The battery cells and systems are expected to be manufactured at A123 Systems' Michigan facility, which is supposed to open this year.

The $88,000 Fisker Karma is a high-end electric vehicle designed to go about 50 miles on its battery and then, like the Chevy Volt, use a gasoline engine to run a generator to charge batteries for longer rides. It's meant to be sporty, with over 400 horsepower, quick accelerat…

Acer debuts green, biodegradable notebooks

Acer debuts green, biodegradable notebooksAcer is getting greener, at least according to Greenpeace.The computer maker unveiled two new notebooks on Friday that have already received kudos from the international environmental group. The Acer Aspire 3811TZ and Aspire 3811TZG are designed to be energy efficient, recyclable, and biodegradable, thereby winning high marks from Greenpeace, which rates PCs and other electronics for their environmental friendliness.
As part of its green initiatives, Acer said it built the two new Aspires to be free of PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants).

PVC is a cheap but durable plastic that has been criticized by Greenpeace for not being biodegradable and for emitting toxic substances into the environment. BFRs are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flame resistance, but these have also been accused of leeching into the environment. Their use in products for babies and children has especially concerned many groups. Wit…

Magnetic nanoparticles target human cancer cells

Magnetic nanoparticles target human cancer cellsIn 2008, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Ovarian Cancer Institute developed a potential treatment to fight cancer using magnetic nanoparticles designed to attach themselves to cancer cells. They found in their groundbreaking tests on mice that the particles not only attached to cancer cells, but they also moved those cells.

In what may well prove to be some of the most exciting health news in the year to come, the group announced in the journal Nanomedicine in December and further publicized on Tuesday that it has replicated the study on human cancer cells, with the nanoparticles appearing to be every bit as effective.

Lead Georgia Tech researcher Ken Scarberry explains how it works:

Often, the lethality of cancers is not attributed to the original tumor but to the establishment of distant tumors by cancer cells that exfoliate from the primary tumor. Circulating tumor cells can implant at distant sites and give ris…

FEATURED TECHNOLOGY TALK-Generator maker sees used motor oil potential

Generator maker sees used motor oil potential
An inventor and a generator manufacturer have come up with a new use for used motor oil.

Cyclone Power Technologies signed a deal with Phoenix Power Group on Thursday to develop an external combustion engine that runs on waste oil. The deal signs over waste-oil-related rights to Cyclone's Mark V external combustion engine to the Phoenix Power, which plans to use the engine in its new Phoenix 5-Series Generator.

"Cyclone still retains rights for the Mark V with other fuels," a Cyclone representative noted in an e-mail. "Phoenix Power only holds exclusive rights for generators running on waste oil." The representative noted that the Mark V "runs on all fuels--including biofuels like algae and orange peels."

Cyclone Power Technologies is the company founded by Harry Schoell, an inventor of an improved version of the steam engine that Popular Science named an "Invention of the Year" in 2008 and also garn…

By 2012, half the firms to tweet: Gartner

By 2012, half the firms to tweet: Gartner

Bangalore: Gartner analysts have predicted that by 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use Twitter, and by 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.

Greater availability of social networking services both inside and outside the firewall, coupled with changing demographics and work styles will lead 20 percent of users to make a social network the hub of their business communications. During the next several years, most companies will be building out internal social networks and/or allowing business use of personal social network accounts. According to Gartner, social networking will prove to be more effective than e-mail for certain business activities such as status updates and expertise location.

"The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode. E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering w…

FloDesign speeds quest for midsize wind turbine

FloDesign Wind, a company developing a wind turbine that borrows technology from jet engines, has raised a second round of venture capital and hired a new CEO.

The Wilbraham, Mass.-based company on Tuesday said initial investor Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers led a $34.5 million series B round, which included money from a Goldman Sachs managed investment fund, Technology Partners, and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

The new CEO is Lars Andersen, who was last the president of wind turbine maker Vestas in China.

With the second round of investment and new CEO, the company is seeking to shift from research and development to manufacturing. The company has been testing a prototype wind turbine for the past several months.

Although FloDesign has not yet released a product, its 150-kilowatt turbine design has gotten attention from investors, potential customers, and researchers.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu highlighted FloDesign Wind during his presentation at the Cop15 international climat…

Scientists create world's first light-powered circuit

Scientists create world's first light-powered circuit
Bangalore: For the first time, scientists have created a circuit that can power itself, as long as it's left in a beam of sunshine. The world's first photovoltaic circuit could eventually power a new line of consumer devices or even model the human brain, reports Discovery News.

"This as the potential to create a new generation of optical and electronic devices," said Dawn Bonnell, a Scientist from the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored a recent ACS Nano paper describing the research. "The touchscreen of your computer could act as both the electrical charger and the computer chip."

Right now Bonnell and her colleagues can only coax minuscule amounts of electricity from their photovoltaic circuits, which is too little to power consumer electrical devices. Those amounts could quickly skyrocket. "We would have one amp with one volt in a sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long,&quo…

NASA and GM to build robotic astronauts

NASA and GM to build robotic astronauts
Bangalore: NASA and General Motors are working together to develop and build humanoid robots that can work side-by-side with humans. The aim is to build robots that can help astronauts during dangerous mission and help GM build cars and automotive plants, reports Computer World.

"This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only for NASA, but also for the nation," said Doug Cooke, Associate Administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. "I'm very excited about the new opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile robots provide across a wide range of applications."
Earlier this week NASA had announced that the White House's proposed budget for the agency includes $3 billion for developing robotics, with a focus on preparing for robotic precursor missions. NASA is planning to land robots on the moon, for example, so they can gather information and send back data a…

Apple designs its own chip for iPad

Apple designs its own chip for iPad
San Francisco: Usually device maker buy their primary chips from specialized microprocessor companies, but Apple has defied the normal procedure by designing an A4 fingernail-sized chip for iPad. By designing its own processors burdens Apple with additional engineering costs and potential product delays, reports New York Times.

The hype surrounding Apple's tablet did not help Apple as many expert felt disappointment for the end product. "I don't see anything that looks that compelling," said Linley Gwennap, a Chip Analyst at the Linley Group. "It doesn't seem like something all that new, and, if it is, they are not getting far with it."

Steven P. Jobs, Apple's Chief Executive Officer, says that the A4 chip is "the most advanced chip" Apple had ever used and said it was crucial to the iPad's speed, reliability and 10-hour battery life. Apple had entered the chip business in 2008 by acquiring the 150-empl…