Tech

You could hardly find greater contrasts in one and the same team. Plastic is light and inexpensive, but insulates electric current. Metal is resilient and conducts electricity, but it is also expensive and heavy. Up to now, it has not been possible to combine the properties of these two materials. The IFAM in Bremen has devised a solution that combines the best of both worlds without requiring new machinery to process the components.

The fast pace of growing computing power could be sustained for many years to come thanks to new research from the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) that is applying advanced techniques to magnetic semiconductors.

Moore's Law observed that the density of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years. Components have shrunk over time to achieve this, but experts believed that when the characteristic transistor size reduces below ~ 20 nm, heating and quantum effects will become so severe that they will not be of practical use.

The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration.

The 'Jollbot' has been created by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It's hoped his creation, which can jump over obstacles and roll over smoother terrain, could be used for space exploration or land survey work in the future.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Radar — the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes — is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing.

In a high-tech twist on the remote devices that allow parents to listen to or watch their baby from afar, University of Florida engineering researchers have built a prototype baby monitor that focuses on a baby's breathing. If his or her chest stops moving, the crib-mounted monitor detects the problem and sends an alarm to a portable unit kept by the parents.

The technology of government surveillance has changed dramatically, and the rules governing surveillance should be changed accordingly. Chris Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, makes that argument in a paper published in First Monday, a free, openly accessible, peer–reviewed journal devoted to the Internet.

Sometimes physicists resort to tried and trusted model-making tricks. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, the University of Stuttgart and the Colorado School of Mines have constructed micromachines using the same trick that model makers use to get ships into a bottle where the masts and rigging of the sailing ship are not erected until it is in the bottle. In the same way, the scientists link the valves, pumps and stirrers of a microlaboratory to create a micro device on a chip.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 1, 2008 – Imagine a self-powering cell phone that never needs to be charged because it converts sound waves produced by the user into the energy it needs to keep running. It's not as far-fetched as it may seem thanks to the recent work of Tahir Cagin, a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

A super-efficient system that has the potential to power, heat and cool homes across the UK is being developed at Newcastle University.

It works by burning vegetable oil to power a generator and provide electricity for the home. The waste heat from this process is then used to provide heating and hot water and is also converted to cool a fridge.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated their ability to measure relatively low levels of stress or strain in regions of a semiconductor device as small as 10 nanometers across. Their recent results* not only will impact the design of future generations of integrated circuits but also lay to rest a long-standing disagreement in results between two different methods for measuring stress in semiconductors.

The lack of common measurement methods among light-emitting diode (LED) and lighting manufacturers has affected the commercialization of solid-state lighting products. In a recent paper,* researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposed a new, economical method to allow LED and lighting manufacturers to obtain accurate, reproducible, and comparable measurements of LED brightness and color.