Monthly Archives: June 2008

World’s smallest NAND memory device created by Intel and Micron

IM Flash Technologies LLC, a joint venture between Intel and Micron has made world’s first sub-40nm Nand memory device.This 34nm 32Gb multi-level chip which is due this year is the smallest Nand process geometry on the market.

NAND Flash architecture is one of two flash technologies (the other being NOR) used in memory cards such as the CompactFlash cards. It is also used in USB Flash drives, MP3 players, and provides the image storage for digital cameras.

According to the statement released by Intel and Micron the chip is the only monolithic device at this density that fits into a standard 48-lead thin small-outline package, providing a cost-effective path to higher densities in existing applications.

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Brain Implants May Let ‘Locked-In’ Patients Speak

Imagine being trapped in your own body, aware of what’s going on around you but unable to move or even speak.Thanks to a modern technological innovation known as a neural interface — a direct link between the human brain and a computer — there may be hope for sufferers of what’s commonly known as “locked-in syndrome.”

As portrayed in the 2007 movie “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” locked-in patients are conscious, but fully paralyzed except for their eyes.

Thanks to advances in life-support technology and rising survival rates following brain-stem strokes, there may now be as many as 50,000 locked-in patients in the United States, the National Institutes of Health estimates.

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Robobug goes to war

It may have seemed like just another improbable scene from a Hollywood sci-fi flick ? Tom Cruise battling against an army of robotic spiders intent on hunting him down.But the storyline from Minority Report may not be quite as far fetched as it sounds.

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield, helping to save thousands of lives.

Prototypes could be on the front line by the end of the year, scuttling into potential danger areas such as booby-trapped buildings or enemy hideouts to relay images back to troops safely positioned nearby.

Soldiers will carry the robots into combat and use a small tracked vehicle to transport them closer to their targets.

Then they would swarm into the building and relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside.

BAE Systems has just signed a £19million contract to develop the robots for the US Army.

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RiSE: The Amazing Climbing Robot

RiSE is a small six-legged robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences. RiSE’s feet have claws, micro-claws or sticky material, depending on the climbing surface. RiSE changes posture to conform to the curvature of the climbing surface and a fixed tail helps RiSE balance on steep ascents. RiSE is about 0.25 m long, weighs 2 kg, and travels 0.3 m/s.Each of RiSE’s six legs is powered by two electric motors. An onboard computer controls leg motion, manages communications, and services a variety of sensors. The sensors include an inertial measurement unit, joint position sensors for each leg, leg strain sensors and foot contact sensors.

Future versions of RiSE will use dry adhesion to climb sheer vertical surfaces such as glass and metal. Boston Dynamics is developing RiSE in conjunction with researchers at University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, Stanford, and Lewis and Clark University. RiSE is funded by the DARPA Defense Sciences Office.

You can view a movie of RiSE in action at the source, or you can directly download it by clicking here.

The Car of the Future Will Know You Can’t Drive

Someday soon your car may be able tell you about an oncoming vehicle in your lane on a blind curve or even calm you down on a harried commute. But it may also tell your insurance company how often you drive over the speed limit or alert Starbucks when you drive by so that you can be offered a discount on a latte.Stanford professor Clifford Nass and his colleagues at the university’s CarLab are figuring how to make vehicles collect information on where you drive, how fast you go, your preferences and how you react when some jerk cuts you off. The technology could make you a better driver and even save you time and money – but it also could let insurers keep tabs on you and help advertisers reach right into your car.

Nass, who’s being funded in part by automakers, is not the only guy working on this. Microsoft wants to bring Google-style advertising to your dashboard.

“From the point of view of advertisers, the driver is a great captive audience,” Nass says. “You have the ability of knowing where the person is, so you can have very location-specific advertising.”

But if advertisers know where you are, your insurance company will too. And that’s where things get problematic.

“The insurance company could say, ‘Look, you’ve been parking in high-risk areas. I’m going to raise your collision insurance,’ or ‘We’ve detected that you’ve been driving at 80 miles per hour; that will affect your liability rates.’ So there are huge social issues about the car,” he says.

Still, Nass stresses there’s more to the technology than being spied on or pitched products. Your car could recommend a someplace to get a decent pizza, for example, and your insurance company would know you obey the speed limit and don’t speed up for yellow lights and so cut you a break on your premium.

“Insurance rates are a sensitive topic, but you could have a much more efficient insurance market with better data,” Nass says.

A thinking car also could make you a safer, happier driver. A large part of his research focuses on how a car’s voice can influence your emotional state. He believes that as the car of the future studies the driver’s voice, facial expressions and emotional state using a camera and even blood pressure monitors in the steering wheel, it could change its tone to match your mood. In other words, it’ll know when you’re about to blow your top because someone cut you off, and soothe your nerves with a friendly voice.

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Calgary woman recovering after robotic arm removes brain tumour

A surgical team in Calgary on Friday extolled the virtues of using a robotic arm to perform groundbreaking surgery to remove a woman’s brain tumour.Paige Nickason, 21, was discharged from the Foothills Medical Centre after surgery Monday by Dr. Garnette Sutherland of the University of Calgary.

“Paige’s brain surgery represents a technical achievement in the use of image-guided robotic technology to remove a relatively complex brain tumour,” Sutherland told a press conference.

“This is wonderful and represents the beginning of something new in surgical care,” he said.

“I had to have the tumour removed anyway, so I was happy to help by being a part of this historical surgery,” Nickason said in a press release on Friday.

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