Researchers at an Australian University have created a working transistor out of a single atom of phosphorus, placed on a silicon crystal. The microscopic device even has tiny visible markers etched onto its surface so researchers can connect metal contacts and apply a voltage.
The result - published here - is a huge step towards future quantum computers able to process complex equations which are so far beyond the reach of even the fastest supercomputers. The research will also enable the continuation of ever smaller transistors in accordance with (or even exceeding) Moores Law, which would mean that all transistors reach single-atom level by 2020.
Google HUD Glasses to be released this year?
Earlier this month rumours started spreading about a pair of glasses, built by Google, with built-in technology ‘similar to a low end smartphone’, which would feature a head up display - more about that here. They were said to look like a pair of Oakley Thumps (pictured above).
Now a New York Times report says the glasses will go on sale by the end of the year, at a price “around the price of current smartphones”.
Everyone I spoke with who was familiar with the project repeatedly said that Google was not thinking about potential business models with the new glasses. Instead, they said, Google sees the project as an experiment that anyone will be able to join. If consumers take to the glasses when they are released later this year, then Google will explore possible revenue streams.
Company hopes to transform your smartphone into a desktop computer.
Software company Canonical is working to develop a system that allows your smartphone to be docked with a keyboard and monitor, allowing your phone to act as the computer.
Because the Android OS is based on the open-source Linux system, Canonical’s “Ubuntu for Android” is able to tap into that underlying software, and run an Ubuntu Linux system straight from your phone. Rather than operating as an App, the system will sit dormant in a phone until it is docked, when it will spring into life. The company says that because it is based on the software already running your phone, it should be unnoticeable in terms of speed and memory usage when you are normally using your phone.
The best part is that all data and services can be shared between the two operating systems, so all of the contacts, files, and photos etc can be accessed and updated either on the phone, or through the Ubuntu interface.
“The desktop is the killer app for quad-core phones in 2012,” said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in the Canonical announcement. “Ubuntu for Android transforms your high-end phone into your productive desktop, whenever you need it.”
The company is now working with manufacturers to have the system built in to new phones, and will be showing it off at the Mobile World Congress next week. MWC is sure to see the announcement of many other new handsets and innovations, so be sure to bookmark 8 Bit Future for the updates next week.
Disruptors: OnLive Desktop
Cloud computing and virtualization. This will be a real disruptor. And I don’t mean that running Windows on your iPad is the future. It isn’t. I’m talking about the underlying technologies and the endless possibilities they open up. Cheap, thin clients with extreme battery life and with instant access to extreme computing power. I’m not sure exactly how, but it will be huge. And as for now, OnLive seems to have taken the steering wheel.
Does it work?
After we attached a Bluetooth keyboard and started watching Hulu shows and playing Flash games, the iPad seemed to melt away, as we forgot the limitations of mobile browsers like the one Apple provides by default.
Since it’s OnLive we’re talking about, there are also visible compression artifacts sometimes when you scroll, and you’ll still need a decent, stable internet connection to begin with in order to use the service without stuttering and connection drops.
Space elevator project announced.
A Tokyo company has announced a project to develop an elevator which would take 7.5 days to take passengers and cargo to a station 36,000km above Earth.
Obayashi Corp says it hopes to use carbon nanotubes to produce cables for the elevator, which would have one end anchored at a ground-based spaceport, and the other end fitted with a counterweight which would be 96,000km above the Earth - one quarter of the distance to the Moon. Solar power generation facilities would also be set up around the terminal station to transmit power to the ground.
The idea of a space elevator has been around for a while, first being suggested in science-fiction novels, and more recently with NASA giving it more serious consideration, although they admit it is definitely a long term project, with many small goals to achieve before it can be built. In 2009 they awarded a US$900,000 prize to company LaserMotive for demonstrating a laser powered robot able to climb a 900m cable - that technology will later be put towards the space elevator project.
It’s not the first time a Japanese company has announced a huge project like this: last year Shimizu Corp unveiled their ‘Master Plan’ to build a belt of solar panels around the Moon and beam the power back to Earth. Check out that story, here.
Meanwhile there seems to be no other details from Obayashi Corp on the space elevator, with an official saying “At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project. However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream”.
The headline from the Verge above says it all I’m afraid.
You’re in serious trouble if the most noteworthy features of your latest and greatest OS version are native email and support for apps made for another OS.
Making solar power competitive with coal
This 25-micrometer-thick peel-off film of silicon, used to make solar cells, has a metal backing that keeps it from breaking
By the end of the decade, U.S. manufacturers could make solar panels that are less than half as expensive as the ones they make now.
At 52 cents per watt, that would be cheap enough for solar power to compete with electricity from fossil fuels, according to a new study by MIT researchers in Energy & Environmental Science.
Assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S. — less than the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour average cost of electricity in the U.S. today.
Improvements would include an alternative to the wasteful process now used to make silicon wafers, methods of handling thin wafers to avoid breaking, installation cost-reduction, and improved light absorption, such as using nanostructured layers.
More details on Huawei’s new quad-core mobile chip.
Huawei came out with an early surprise announcement at MWC this week, unveiling a new quad-core chip which will be used in their new smartphones (earlier story here). The K3V2 chip was an unexpected announcement, and along with being used in new Huawei phones it will also be offered for sale to other handset makers, which will provide competition from the quad-core Tegra 3 chip from NVIDIA.
In fact, Huawei officials claim their chip is 30-50% faster than the Tegra 3 across a range of benchmarks. Along with 1.2-1.5Ghz speeds, it features a 64 bit memory bus - twice that of Tegra 3.
The graphics block handles 2-D and 3-D work and helps a handset deliver 35 frames/second video compared to 13 fps for Tegra 3 and 8.4 for a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon, according to Huawei’s tests.
While the K3V2 uses a 40nm manufacturing process, the company already has plans to release a new design in 12 months based on 28nm technology.
Superconductor breaks ‘high temperature’ record.
Beijing scientists have found a way to allow superconductivity in iron-based crystals at increased temperatures, by placing them under pressure.
Normal superconductors only work at temperatures at or very close to absolute zero (Zero kelvin), but the new technique allows the material to conduct electricity without resistance at up to 70 kelvin.
The team hopes to push the iron-selenide material to superconductivity above 77 K - higher than the temperature at which liquid nitrogen boils.
Video: Concept iPad 3 looks awesome.
Aatma Studio Animation came up with this concept iPad 3 video.
I like the bit around 0:20 where you can connect two of them together, would be a great feature if we ever get tablets that are all screen and no bezel.