Tag Archives: gadget

Morphing programmable matter gadgets could soon be a reality


Imagine a bracelet or a watch that morphs into something else when you take it off. Perhaps it becomes a phone, or perhaps a small computer screen and keyboard.

Researchers are just a few years away from bringing to life revolutionary morphing devices known as programmable matter which can change size, shape and function.

Programmable matter, or “claytronics”, involves creating devices made of millions of microscopic robots that are to 3D objects what pixels are to a screen.

These devices sound like pure science fiction, but they might be closer than anyone would have dreamed. And that includes Jason Campbell, one of the key members of the research team developing the technology at the Intel Research Centre.

“It’s a really challenging research vision, but we are making steady progress and we’re now more convinced that we are actually going to do it,” says Mr Campbell.

“My estimates of how long it is going to take have gone from 50 years down to just a couple more years. That has changed over the four years I’ve been working on the project.”


An artificial heart for Rs 1 lakh

It’ll be to coronary care what Nano is to cars, say scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, who have devised an artificial heart that could save lives for just Rs 1 lakh.

The research team says trials of the prototype lab—constructed heart have been successful on small animals and the gadget is being perfected on goats. The institute has applied for permission to conduct human trials.

The Total Artificial Heart (TAH) — said to be the first such in the country — has been developed by a team of scientists at IIT-Kgp’s school of medical science and technology.

After four years of painstaking research, the scientists say their creation is better and far more affordable than the first artificial heart developed in the US, which showed a “high rate failure” and at Rs 30 lakh, beyond the reach of the common man.

The inventors hope to fit the heart into an ailing patient

within a few months, once permissions from the Indian Council of Medical Research come through. The unique 13—chamber heart is working fine in small animals, said a member of the team. Human tests are to be conducted at Medical College and Hospital (MCH), Kolkata.
Senior cardiac surgeons — Madhusudan Pal, Bhaskar Ukil, Tarun Saha and Kalishankar Das from MCH and Rajiv Narang of AIIMS, Delhi — will conduct the human trials.


MIT scientists charged up

MIT scientists have developed a battery technology that might one day allow people to charge their cellphones in 10 seconds or a drained plug-in car battery in mere minutes – reshaping the way such gadgets are integrated into our lives.

Scientists tweaked a lithium-ion battery by, in essence, creating access to the equivalent of on-ramps so that ions can easily enter an energy highway within the material. The advance allows the batteries to charge in seconds and discharge about 100 times faster than current lithium-ion batteries, according to Gerbrand Ceder, a materials science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who led the work published in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

“If we made a cellphone battery that could charge in 30 seconds, I think people would change their lifestyles. . . . You might settle for a smaller battery, and you could almost stand by and sip your coffee and it’s done,” Ceder said. “That becomes a behavior modifier, and that’s why I’m excited about it.”

Ceder began the research to solve a mystery: Lithium-ion batteries store lots of energy, but charge and discharge relatively slowly, as positively charged ions slowly migrate across the battery material to create a current. In earlier research, Ceder’s laboratory found that lithium ions can actually move quickly through the battery material, suggesting that something else was slowing their commute across the battery to a crawl.


Can a machine read your mind?

I’m sitting in a Sussex cottage, wearing a rubber swimming cap dotted with wires and electrodes. On a laptop in front of me, a constantly shifting wash of coloured graphics portrays the activity in my brain. It’s a neat party trick, but it is also a Pandora’s box: across the world, scientists are using this kind of technology to prise open our minds, to fathom our voting preferences, our guilty thoughts, our shopping desires, even the words we are thinking. Already their activities are stealthily changing our world.

I’m the guest of Dr David Lewis, a British neuropsychologist who uses electronic brain-scanning to help brands see which of their marketing strategies best snare our interest. His Sussex University-based company, the Mind Lab, uses equipment that monitors electrical activity in the brain, and is currently investigating how to refine people’s enjoyment of video games. This is definitely the least contentious end of the market.

Amid all the scientific gadgetry and research, sceptics argue that brain-reading systems are not yet sufficiently developed to be of real use in any field. But in fact, that doesn’t matter: the prospects are far too tantalising. Companies are already marketing the technology as a way to penetrate the last frontier of exploration – the space between our ears. Lawyers, military chiefs, advertisers and politicians are eagerly buying. Welcome to the world of brainjacking, where science fiction is happening now.


The End Of 2008 Is Near – Here’s My Take On The Year

I’ve been running this website since July 2005 now. Ofcourse, back in those days I was still doing it on my old Blogger domain.

I set up my technology website all those years ago because I was under the impression that technology was indeed accelerating exponentially and I felt I was one of few who seemed to understand that.

I started writing posts on the best technology breakthroughs I could find. Especially in the beginning, I would often comment on them to point out where I thought things were headed.

Nowadays, I don’t comment on breakthroughs anymore. I feel I’ve already said everything I wanted to say. So if you’re a relative new fan of this blog and you’d like to see my personal writings, feel free to browse through the older archives in the side column of this website.

When it comes to technological breakthroughs, 2008 has been a good year. I’m not even going to make an effort in summing them up. Someone else has already made a compilation of the top technology breakthroughs for 2008.

But what I will say is this…

This website is being fed with technology articles manually by yours truly. This requires me to constantly and tirelessly scavenge the web for the very best technology breakthroughs so that I can post them here for the Technut fans to read.

And let me tell you… I find more and more breakthroughs every single year. And the breakthroughs individually are starting to become more impressive.

Our technological progress is accelerating exponentially and I can see it clearly with my very own eyes.

I am drowning in links to fantastic techno breakthroughs and I’m posting them all. Rarely was there a day in 2008 where I did not post a new article on Technut News. At this time, I already have one and a half months worth of content to post. So look out for a good start of 2009!

Once again, we are talking about nothing less but the very best, nay, dare I say… most gruesomely awesomest technological breakthroughs that were made only recently.

So I’m hoping that all of you Technut fans out there will stick with me in 2009 and the many years after. This website is only going to get groovier with every passing year.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a fantastic New Year!

(Oh and eh… if you’d ever like to leave me a comment saying how great or sucky this site is or whatever… now would be the time!)


See ya next year!

20 megapixel cellphones shooting Full HD video in 4 years

It’s tough to predict the future, especially with cutbacks to R&D budgets in the face of a global economic slowdown. Still, it’s always nice to see a forward-looking corporate-slide related to mobile handsets from the taller, blonder half of that Sony Ericsson partnership. LTE and fast CPUs are certainly no surprise, nor is that 1,024 x 768 XGA screen resolution that Japan’s superphones are already bumping up against. The most compelling vision is that of the embedded camera sensors: 12-20 megapixels capable of recording Full HD video by 2012. Adding more fuel to firey speculation that handsets are about to find themselves embroiled in a megapixel war.


3D Hologram Technology Allows Images to be Rewritten in Under a Minute

Rewritable holograms have become a reality, with this new technology developed by University of Arizona researchers. Using modified optical communications film, images can be rewritten in under a minute by changing the distribution of electrical charges rather than the entire laser-based structure itself.


Check out the source and watch the video.

Dean Kamen’s Robot Arm Grabs More Publicity

Dean Kamen showed some video of the impressive, mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm he’s invented today at D6 in Carlsbad. Kamen has been showing the arm off since early 2007, usually via video clips like what he showed today. But today’s demonstration at D6 was impressive enough that it’s got the gadget blogs and the Twitterverse all aflutter today.

Deservedly so: Kamen’s arm, dubbed “Luke” (after Skywalker, I assume), is an incredibly sophisticated bit of engineering that’s lightyears ahead of the clamping “claws” that many amputees are forced to use today. The arm is fully articulated, giving the user the same degrees of movement as a natural arm, and is sensitive enough to pick up a piece of paper, a wineglass or even a grape without mishap.


World’s Most Compact Neurosurgical Microscope with Horizontal Optics

World’s Most Compact Neurosurgical Microscope with Horizontal Optics


Leica Microsystems has made a significant appearance in the history of optics design by the introduction of horizontal optics technology. The optics carrier is so compact that the surgeon naturally adopts a healthy working posture, this allows hours of fatigue-free work. The Leica M720 OH5 supports the surgeon as he works; he can see more and see better, work even more safely and generally benefit from the perfect ergonomics. Neurosurgeons will love this gadget.