Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
The Wolverines may have concocted the “most intense” laser in the universe back in ’08, but it’s a group of grinners at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California that can now lay claim to firing the planet’s first two-megajoule ultraviolet laser. Earlier this week, a 1.875-megajoule shot was fired into the target chamber, but it broke the two-dot-oh barrier after passing through the final focusing lens. Reportedly, this matters for more than just bragging rights, as scientists have long since sought to get past ‘ignition’ in order to “coax fusion energy from a tiny frozen fuel pellet.” If we had to guess, we’d say both Nerf and Mattel are somehow trying to commercialize this thing prior to the holidays.
SOURCE via Nature
Intel was granted a patent described as “extended thermal management” that is based on the idea that the reduction of the temperature of one component can also reduce the temperature of other devices.
The document specifically refers to hardware that is used in both desktop and mobile computer systems, but runs into heat dissipation limitations on notebooks. Depending on user preference, the patent outlines a “thermal zone” consisting of multiple components whose temperature can be controlled and as well as devices that cannot be controlled.
Since the temperature of individual devices can be significantly affected by the temperature of nearby devices, Intel says that “the cooling of a hot controllable component may indirectly help cool a nearby non-controllable component.” A thermal zone would be defined by the characteristics of the individual devices that would allow the system to create a “thermal relationship table”, which provides the necessary data to achieve indirect cooling of components that cannot be directly controlled to reduce their heat dissipation.
According to Intel, the table would include information “how much change [for] one component [is necessary] in order for that change to have an effect on another component” and “how long it takes for a change in one component to affect another component.”
SOURCE via USPTO
As it turns out, 33 years after the theatrical release of Alien, there is a device that fits like a glove, literally, and uses robotics to help workers push harder (or less, in this case) and potentially avoid work-related hand injuries. GM and NASA said they have developed the “K-glove” or “Robo-Glove”, which was created over the past five years to be used at the International Space Station as well as inside GM’s manufacturing plants.
“When fully developed, the Robo-Glove has the potential to reduce the amount of force that an auto worker would need to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions,” said Dana Komin, GM’s manufacturing engineering director, Global Automation Strategy and Execution. “In so doing, it is expected to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury.” For example, the 5-20 pounds of force to hold a tool during an operation would be reduced to “only 5-to-10 pounds of force”, GM said. So far, the Robo Glove exists as a prototype with 46 patent applications pending.
While the glove does not look very special from the outside, it features actuators that are designed to support human fingers. There are pressure sensors built into the fingertips of the glove to detect when a worker is holding a tool. Synthetics tendons automatically contract when a tool is held and support the hand and fingers in a “gripping position” until the sensor detects that the tool is going to be released.
However, researchers at the University of Cambridge now claim that ultrafast and long-pulsed lasers can be used to save printed paper from the trash bin and prepare it for reuse.
According to a paper published in Proceedings Of The Royal Society A, a 532 nm green laser light with a pulse length of 4 nanoseconds can evaporate printed toner from paper without significantly damaging it. The process works two to three times before damage would become apparent via a slight yellow tint of the paper, the scientists said. They do not claim that the process is perfect, but they believe that they are on a promising path to enable an un-printer at some point.
According to a press release released by the University of Cambridge, the print removal would be much more environmentally friendly than recycling and producing new paper. Compared to recycling, the un-printing process would save an estimated 50 to 80 percent of carbon emissions.
SOURCE via Proceedings Of The Royal Society A
Intel has been awarded a patent that provides basic information about the company’s thread scheduling approach in multi-processor computers. Filed on March 26, 2007 the USPTO confirmed the rights to it earlier this week.
The patent include the idea to leverage stored instructions in a computer system to “assign two threads to processors based on bandwidth utilization of the two threads in combination; determine whether the bandwidth utilization of the two combined threads exceeds a threshold value; use a cache simulator to construct a coupling degree matrix; use a software library to develop said coupling degree matrix; and use the coupling degree matrix to allocate threads to processors when the bandwidth utilization does not exceed said threshold.”
Also claimed are instructions that provide information on whether the bandwidth utilization exceeds a threshold of 15 percent, as well as a capability to store “the coupling degree matrix by rating two threads in terms of the total amount of accesses to cache lines shared between two threads,” as well as a “scheduler to determine the coupling degree matrix by rating the threads in terms of the total amount of accesses to cache lines.”
In the scheduling process, idle threads and idle process pairs are first identified and a loop to check for more pairs is launched, after which threads to idle processors are assigned. This process repeats until all process pairs have been covered. As soon as no more pairs are available, the loop may identify an individual thread that is assigned to a process.
The patented scheduler uses information about the location of data between threads and bandwidth demand to evaluate thread allocation for performance purposes. According to the patent, bandwidth utilization is considered the highest priority in determining the thread schedule, followed by data location. The document concludes that, if a bandwidth threshold of co-scheduled threads on one cluster exceeds a certain level, “for example 15 percent”, the system would schedule the threads on different clusters. If the utilization is below the defined level, the system assumes that closely coupled threads on one cluster would achieve higher performance.
IBM has a prototype chip that features enough bandwidth to download 500 HD movies in just one second, or all content held by the Library of Congress in just about one hour.
This claim boils down to a parallel optical transceiver that is first to boast the capability of transferring one trillion bits (1 Tbps or about 116.4 GBps). According to IBM, the chip is about eight times faster than any parallel optical component that is available today and delivers a 100,000 times the “raw” speed that is equivalent to the bandwidth that is typically consumed by end users today (10 Mbps).
IBM said that key to improving the speed of the chip was adding 48 holes (optical vias) to a standard 90 nm CMOS, which provides access to 24 receiver and 24 transmitter channels. The fact that it is based on optical communication features gave the chip its name – the Holey Optochip. IBM says the 5.2 mm x 5.8 mm chip can be fabricated using today’s silicon manufacturing techniques, which gives the technology instant scale. Apparently the chip is also very power-efficient at a power consumption of just 5 watts.
The idea is to remove the bottleneck between fiber optics and electronic circuits and create a light-speed version of today’s DRAM architecture for high-speed data center applications.
According to a research paper published in Nature Photonics, the prototype has a capacity of 4 bits and transfers data at 40 Gbps. It features extremely low power consumption at just 30 nW. While it is far from a commercial product, the researchers believe that it is a foundation for the development of far more capable o-RAM devices with a storage capacity in the range of Kb or Mb. The NTT researchers believe that a 100 Kb o-Ram for all optical network routers device could be built by 2020. A 1 Mb o-RAM chip could be available by 2025.
Each memory cell of the new technology is a nano-photonic crystal that ismade from indium phosphide that integrates a small strip of gallium arsenide phosphide. The flow of laser light is controlled via tiny holes on the outer portion of the cell, while a path in the middle of the crystal was created to allow light to enter and exit the device. Each cell can represent the values 1 or 0 by either transmitting light or blocking it by changing the refraction index of the material. Once a value is set, background light sourced from a laser maintains the refraction index.
The approach apparently enabled the scientists to store data for up to 10 seconds, which is up from 250 nanoseconds in previous similar devices.
SOURCE via Nature
If you thought Google’s Kansan stab at blistering gigabit speeds was lust-worthy, then this latest fiber feat out of Germany should have you flooding the room with drool. Part of Deutsche Telekom’s OSIRIS (Optically Supported UP Router Interfaces) project, the telco’s T-Labs team managed to successfully transfer data “over a single optical fiber wavelength channel” from Berlin to Hanover and back at speeds of up to 512Gbps — that’s over half a terabit. It’s hard to imagine just what exactly you’d be able to do with all that bandwidth (upload your entire music and video library, perhaps?), but this real-world experiment should go a long way towards helping operators shore up increasing network demands, going so far as doubling their backhaul capacity. As for any actual implementation of the next-gen tech, well, the good news is that a costly and lengthy cable deployment won’t be necessary; all that’s required to get these state-of-the-art dumb pipes up and running is some newfangled terminal equipment. Don’t hold your breath, though, as with all things bleeding edge, this tech is still light years away from your mitts.
SOURCE via Deutsche Telekom Innovation Laboratories
With Toshiba’s toes having already crossed the 560Mbps wireless transfer speed barrier, Sony is instead forced to emphasize that its new TransferJet chip has “industry-leading short-range sensitivity.” Crucially though, the miniaturised 6mm x 6mm device also boasts lower consumption compared to Sony’s previous offerings, making it suitable for smartphones and tablets rather than just cameras or laptops. The product should start appearing in devices some time after August and will sell to OEMs for ¥500 ($6) — which means it doesn’t beat Toshiba on price either.
SOURCE via Sony (Japanese)
ARM has begun offering a Processor Optimization Pack (POP) specifically for Cortex-A9-based SoCs that are manufactured in 28 nm at Globalfoundries fabs. The POP enables chips that run at a minimum of 1 to 1.6 GHz and 2 GHz in a “typical” scenario.
“As consumer demand for high-performance, energy-efficient mobile devices increases, Globalfoundries and ARM are lowering the risk for customers by delivering optimized Cortex-A9 cores on a proven 28 nm SoC process,” said Kevin Meyer, vice president at Globalfoundries, in a prepared statement. “This latest ARM physical IP solution for our 28nm-SLP process delivers industry-leading performance and energy-efficiency, while also decreasing time to market for customers’ latest mobile products.”
ARM is offering the POP as an upgrade for single- and dual-core Cortex-A9 designs to achieve higher clock speeds and enable Smartphone vendors to maintain a “competitive edge”. The package comes with ARM’s Artisan Physical IP logic libraries and memory instances, a benchmark report that describes the exact conditions and results ARM achieved for its core implementation, as well as an implementation guide that offers detail about the methodology that was used to achieve the improved result.