IBM Racetrack Memory

Super Memory Breakthrough: Store Every Movie Made This Year on Your Phone (With Room to Spare)

Racetrack memory works by storing data as magnetic regions (also called domains), which would be transported along nanowire "racetracks." Instead of forcing a computer to seek out the data it needs, as traditional computing systems do, the information would automatically slide along the racetrack to where it could be used. The result: powerful and efficient computing.

The concept of storing bits of data in the region between two magnetic domains (the domain wall) has been around for nearly a half century. However, manipulating domain walls was an expensive and power-needy endeavor. The new finding published in the current issue of the journal Science shows how engineers at IBM's Racetrack Memory Project were able to precisely and efficiently control the placement of these magnetic domains within a racetrack system. By controlling electrical pulses along the track, researchers were able to move these domains at hundreds of miles per hour and then stop them precisely at the position needed, allowing massive amounts of stored data to be accessed in a billionth of a second.

IBM’s Racetrack Storage Under Starter’s Order

IBM has been working on a new storage technology that could allow a mobile device to store the annual output of the worldwide movie industry with room to spare, running on a single battery for weeks at time. IBM’s Almeda Lab reckons that these devices could appear on the market in two to five years time.

The system is known as Racetrack memory because the data moves along a nanowire like cars parading at high speed along a road. The best way to visualise the process is to imagine a magnetic tape recorder where the tape is motionless and the data moves along it to cross the record/playback head.

Racetrack memory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Racetrack memory is an experimental non-volatile memory device under development at IBM's Almaden Research Center by a team led by Stuart Parkin.[1] In early 2008, a 3-bit version was successfully demonstrated.[2] If it is developed successfully, racetrack would offer storage density higher than comparable solid-state memory devices like flash memory and similar to conventional disk drives, and also have much higher read/write performance. It is one of a number of new technologies trying to become a universal memory in the future.


IBM Research

Spintronics Devices Research

Racetrack Memory, Spin Injectors, Magnetic Tunnel Transistors, and a host of more exotic spintronic designs take us beyond the realm of the simple GMR spinvalve.

Collected from: Racetrack


Macroscopic Invisibility Cloak Hides Objects in Visible Light

An invisibility cloak hides objects in visible light - SmartPlanet

For the first time, physicists from two separate groups have created rugs that can hide objects in visible light. The scientists made carpet cloaks from calcite crystals. The calcite crystal cloaks are more affordable than traditional cloaks. Calcite crystal is naturally occurring and is a cheap optical material.

Baile Zhang, an engineer at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre, created a cloaking rug that can hide objects that can be seen by the naked eye. The object looks hidden because light reflects off the surface. The carpet-cloaking device can hide things in the millimeter range and do so in visible light.

But don’t get too excited, the cloak isn’t perfect. It only works if you’re looking at it at the right angle.

The cloak was designed to work under water.

Macroscopic Invisible Cloak for Visible Light

[...]  A transparent cloak made of two pieces of calcite is created. This cloak is able to conceal a macroscopic object with a maximum height of 2 mm, larger than 3500 free-space-wavelength, inside a transparent liquid environment. Its working bandwidth encompassing red, green and blue light is also demonstrated.


A light ray is incident on a flat ground plane and reflected back with the same angle.
(b) When an object is sitting on the ground plane, the reflected ray changes its angle. (c) When another flat ground plane is put on top of the object, the reflected ray restores its angle but suffers a lateral shift. (d) When a transformation-based anisotropic cloak is covering the object, the reflected ray restores both its angle and position. The anisotropic medium has two principal refractive indexes n1 and n2 along two orthogonal directions. The observer in all cases is assumed to have a fixed height of h. In (b) and (c), the original position of the observer is indicated with a dotted eye.

A transformation-based anisotropic cloak compared to a steel wedge on top of a mirror.
The cloak is made of two pieces of calcite crystal with specific orientations of the optical axis indicated by the yellow dotted arrows. For green light, with its magnetic field perpendicular to the optical axis, n1 = 1.48 perpendicular to the optical axis and n2 = 1.66 along the optical axis [...]

Invisibility rug hides 'large' objects : Nature News

By contrast, an independent group led by physicists Shuang Zhang at the University of Birmingham, UK, and John Pendry from Imperial College London has built a calcite cloak that can work in air, hiding objects a few centimetres high.

Macroscopic Invisibility Cloaking of Visible Light

[...] Here we report realisation of a macroscopic volumetric invisibility cloak constructed from natural birefringent crystals. The cloak operates at visible frequencies and is capable of hiding three-dimensional objects of the scale of centimetres and millimetres. Our work opens avenues for future applications with macroscopic cloaking devices.


Dr Shuang Zhang discusses his work into Metamaterials within The School of Physics at The University of Birmingham.


The YikeBike Electric Folding Bike

YikeBike - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The YikeBike mini-farthing is a type of folding bicycle released on 2 September 2009 at EUROBIKE. It weighs 9.8 kilograms (22 lb) and when folded, it is small enough to fit in a backpack. The YikeBike was invented by Grant Ryan and designed by a team in New Zealand over 5 years. It is the smallest and lightest electric folding bicycle in the world.[1]

YikeBike Electric 'mini-farthing' Goes On Sale For $3,600 - Born Rich

The super-light electric folding bike takes around 20 minutes for an 80 percent charge. A full charge takes 40 minutes. The YikeBike comes with one charger, one charger cord, a carrying strap and a toolkit with tire inflation adapter and allen keys.

YikeBike - The world's first super light electric folding bike. | Urban Freedom

Awards and Guinness record for YikeBike

YikeBike, the compact electric bike named by Time Magazine as one of the top inventions of 2009, has won the Supreme Award for Product Design and Gold Award for Consumer Product at the 2010 Best Design Awards. YikeBike also won first place in the International Design Awards “Urban Sustainable Design” category and has been included in the Guinness Book of World records as the most compact electric bike in the world. It has also won a 2011 iF product design award.

Collected from: YikeBike

Collected from: YouTube - YikeBike [HD]


Gostai Jazz Telepresence Robot

Gostai Jazz Telepresence Robot Unveiled - IEEE Spectrum

French robotics company Gostai is unveiling today a mobile robot called Jazz designed for "telepresence and telesurveillance."

The waist-high robot, which a user can remote control using a web-based interface, rolls on two wheels and has a head that can move in any direction, with a camera stuck on its forehead. The price starts at 7900 euros.


Telepresence robot

Teleportation made real
Have you ever dreamt to be able to teleport yourself anywhere with a snap of your fingers? This is exactly what you can do now with Jazz Connect.

The principle is simple: the robot stands in a remote location and will serve as your personal avatar. It can move and perceive its surrounding with its embedded camera, speaker and microphone. Far away, in your office, you start your favorite web browser and connect to the robot through a simple web interface. You can see what it sees, and move it around to interact with the people there.

A new way of communicating
Unlike traditional videoconferencing systems, Jazz Connect is mobile and its head can rotate to give a sense of its surroundings. It is easily remote-controlled through an intuitive web interface, and it gives you more freedom to interact with the robot's surroundings the way you want.
Collected from: Gostai

Company profile

Gostai is born in March 2006, when Jean-Christophe Baillie founded the company to foster the development of Urbi, an innovative operating system for robotics. Since these early years, the company has continuously developed a whole set of software technologies for robotics and AI, and created an ecosystem of partners and users.

In 2010, as a culmination of years of expertize into software and hardware for robotics, Gostai launched its first telepresence autonomous robot: Jazz.

Collected from: Gostai


Turbulence TAU Hyper-Narrative Interactive Movie -- Change a Plot While You Watch

Change the course of a film plot--while you watch | Crave - CNET

Ever found yourself yelling, "Noooo, don't do it!" at a movie screen? Or been in the mood for a happy ending and found yourself halfway through a film you knew would leave you in a puddle of tears?

A new system out of Israel's Tel Aviv University allows viewers to influence a movie's plot while viewing it, thus affecting the progression of events. For now, audiences are testing the technology with a full-length interactive pilot feature, "Turbulence." But the plan is to extend the tool to other "hyper-narrative interactive movies," including commercials and television series, said Nitzan Ben Shaul, a professor of film and television studies at the university who created the system.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University: Choose a Movie's Plot -- While You Watch It

On the set of Turbulence

Utilizing complicated video coding procedures, the new format provides smooth interaction and transition between scenes as audience members watch — and determine the plot of — Turbulence, created by Prof. Nitzan Ben Shaul of Tel Aviv University's Department of Film and Television. Made with his unique scene-sequencing technique, Turbulence recently won a prize at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival for its technological innovation.

Nitzan Ben-Shaul Researcher's site

Prof. Nitzan Ben-Shaul Ph.D. Film And Television
Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel

Nitzan Ben Shaul is Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies and former acting chair of the Film and Television Department at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD from the Cinema Studies Dept. at New York University. He has authored several scholarly books among them Mythical Expressions of Siege in Israeli Films (Edwin Mellen, 1997), A Violent World: TV News Images of Middle Eastern Terror and War (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), Film: The Key Concepts (Berg, 2007), and Hyper-narrative Interactive Cinema: Problems and Solutions (Rodopi, 2008). [...]

Turbulence on Channel 10 News on Vimeo

Turbulence is an Israeli start-up commercializing a TAU patent that greatly simplifies and makes possible compelling interactive professional movies and audiovisual content. Their patented authoring tool and player software greatly simplifies and automates the current labor-intensive, complex process of creating an interactive video.


NASA's Rail-Launched Scramjet Spacecraft Concept

Emerging Technologies May Fuel Revolutionary Launcher

As NASA studies possibilities for the next launcher to the stars, a team of engineers from Kennedy Space Center and several other field centers are looking for a system that turns a host of existing cutting-edge technologies into the next giant leap spaceward.

This artist's concept shows a potential design for a rail-launched aircraft and spacecraft that could revolutionize the launch business. Early designs envision a 2-mile-long track at Kennedy Space Center shooting a Mach 10-capable carrier aircraft to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. then a second stage booster would fire to lift a satellite or spacecraft into orbit. 

 Different technologies to push a spacecraft down a long rail have been tested in several settings, including this Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) System evaluated at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Engineers have a number of options to choose from as their designs progress.

NASA Engineers Propose Combining a Rail Gun and a Scramjet to Fire Spacecraft Into Orbit | Popular Science

The system calls for a two-mile- long rail gun that will launch a scramjet, which will then fly to 200,000 feet. The scramjet will then fire a payload into orbit and return to Earth. The process is more complex than a rocket launch, but engineers say it’s also more flexible. With it, NASA could orbit a 10,000-pound satellite one day and send a manned ship toward the moon the next, on a fraction of the propellant used by today’s rockets.

Scramjet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing combustion jet engine in which the combustion process takes place in supersonic airflow. As in ramjets, a scramjet relies on high vehicle speed to forcefully compress and decelerate the incoming air before combustion (hence ramjet), but whereas a ramjet decelerates the air to subsonic velocities before combustion, airflow in a scramjet is supersonic throughout the entire engine. This allows the scramjet to efficiently operate at extremely high speeds: theoretical projections place the top speed of a scramjet between Mach 12 and Mach 24, which is near orbital velocity. The fastest air-breathing plane is a SCRAM jet design, the NASA X-43a which reached Mach 9.8. For comparison, the second fastest [1] manned airbreathing aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, has a cruising speed of Mach 3.2.[2]


Problem-solving Ants

Ants lead way to speedier computer networks : Nature News

A problem-solving tactic used by insects looks set to help engineers.

An analysis of how ants quickly find new routes in a changing maze reveals techniques that could be useful to systems engineers.

Problem-solving ants inspire next generation of algorithms - News and Events - University of Sydney

An ant colony is probably the last place you'd expect to find a maths whiz, but researchers from the University of Sydney have shown that the humble ant is not only capable of solving difficult mathematical problems, but is even able to do what few computer algorithms can - adapt the optimal solution to fit a changing problem.

These findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, deepen our understanding of how even simple animals can overcome complex and dynamic problems in nature, and will help computer scientists develop even better software to solve logistical problems and maximise efficiency in many human industries.

The ants were able to find the shortest route from one end of the maze to the other in under an hour, then were able to adapt and find the second shortest route when obstacles were put in their path.

Ants lay trail to complex problem-solving › News in Science (ABC Science)

Towers of Hanoi

In the study, Argentine ants were collected in the grounds of University of Sydney were introduced to a specially designed maze modelled on the 'Towers of Hanoi' puzzle.

The puzzle, also called 'Towers of Brahma', consists of three rods and a number of different-sized discs which have to be moved from one rod to the next without placing a larger disc on top of a smaller one. In legend, Brahmin priests are working to solve such a puzzle comprising 64 discs. When the puzzle is complete, the legend says, the world will end.

The rules for solving the problem with the minimum number of steps is called an algorithm.

Lead author Chris Reid, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, says that the best known nature inspired algorithm of this type is 'ant colony optimisation'. This involves finding the optimal path based on the behaviour of foraging ants.
Because the pheromones that ants use to mark their pathways are volatile and gradually evaporate, over time the colony selects the shortest path so that the signal remains stronger for longer.

The researchers say that most nature-inspired algorithms take only superficial inspiration from nature, and little is known about how real biological systems solve difficult problems.

Ant colony optimization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In computer science and operations research, the ant colony optimization algorithm (ACO) is a probabilistic technique for solving computational problems which can be reduced to finding good paths through graphs.

This algorithm is a member of ant colony algorithms family, in swarm intelligence methods, and it constitutes some metaheuristic optimizations. Initially proposed by Marco Dorigo in 1992 in his PhD thesis,[1][2] the first algorithm was aiming to search for an optimal path in a graph, based on the behavior of ants seeking a path between their colony and a source of food. The original idea has since diversified to solve a wider class of numerical problems, and as a result, several problems have emerged, drawing on various aspects of the behavior of ants.


E Green Technologies' Bullet 580 -- World's Largest, Greenest Airship

EcoAlert: A Giant 'Green' Airship

The world's largest airship, The Bullet 580,  will take to the skies early next year, powered by biofuel produced by algae. The moster airship, which is 72 meters long and 20 meters wide, will take off from its future home at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, carrying remote monitoring equipment designed to help forecast tropical storms and hurricanes.

Developed by E Green Technologies, based in Kellyton, Alabama, and 21st Century Airships, in Newmarket, Canada, the airship is designed to transport heavy equipment to remote locations, carry remote monitoring equipment to high altitudes, or act as a communications hub or surveillance platform.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Brief intro

12.08.10 NASA Research Park to Host World's Largest, Greenest Airship
+ E-Green Technologies Official Website

Collected from: NASA RESEARCH PARK

E-Green Technologies, Inc. - Airships for Practical Applications

Model 580 Bullet Airship

  • Approximate length = 230 feet
  • Specially manufactured in various lengths to meet sustained altitude and payload requirements.
  • Maneuverable—vertical takeoff/descent; capable of reversing directions.
  • Diesel-powered generators provide a power budget for payloads exceeding 4kw.
  • Payload bays designed for easy access and modification.
  • Dual-redundant flight control system for manned and unmanned operation.
  • Ground Control Systems and data links provide full control during unmanned operation.
  • Water Condensate Recovery System reduces need for helium replenishment.


Electromagnetic Railgun

Electromagnetic Railgun | Popular Science

Picture this: A massive destroyer receives the location coordinates of an enemy headquarters more than 200 miles away. Instead of launching a million-dollar Tomahawk cruise missile, it points a gun barrel in the direction of the target, diverts electric power from the ship’s engine to the gun turret, and launches a 3-foot-long, 40-pound projectile up a set of superconducting rails. The projectile leaves the barrel at hypersonic velocity—Mach 7-plus—exits the Earth’s atmosphere, re-enters under satellite guidance, and lands on the building less than six minutes later; its incredible velocity vaporizes the target with kinetic energy alone.

Railgun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A railgun is an entirely electrical gun that accelerates a conductive projectile along a pair of metal rails using the same principles as the homopolar motor. Railguns use two sliding or rolling contacts[1] that permit a large electric current to pass through the projectile. This current interacts with the strong magnetic fields generated by the rails and this accelerates the projectile.


Railguns are being researched as weapons with projectiles that do not contain explosives, but are given extremely high velocities: 3,500 m/s (11,500 ft/s, approximately Mach 10 at sea level) or more (for comparison, the M16 rifle has a muzzle speed of 930 m/s, or 3,050 ft/s), which would make their kinetic energy equal or superior to the energy yield of an explosive-filled shell of greater mass. 

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) achieved a world record Dec. 10 when it successfully conducted a 33-megajoule shot of the Electromagnetic Railgun at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr offered these remarks:

"The 33-megajoule shot means the Navy can fire projectiles at least 110 nautical miles, placing Sailors and Marines at a safe standoff distance and out of harm’s way," Carr said. "The high velocities achievable are tactically relevant for air and missile defense. This demonstration moves us one day closer to getting this advanced capability to sea.”


Zebra Imaging Holographic Prints

Holograms Moving From Science Fiction to Reality - NYTimes.com

Zebra Imaging in Austin, Tex., sells holographic prints that at first glance look much like ordinary 2-by-3-foot pieces of plastic — until an LED flashlight is shined at them. Then the patterns, burned into the plastic with high-power laser beams, come to life, said Al Wargo, chief executive. Out of the surface springs a model of a complicated building or an intricate network of pipes and mechanical equipment.

No special eyewear is required to view the holographic prints, which typically cost $1,000 to $3,000 each. The company has also demonstrated moving holographic displays in prototype at conferences, Mr. Wargo said. (It introduced color holograms in September.)

Architects are finding that hologram technology helps them to communicate with clients, lawyers and engineers.

Digital Prints

Bring Ideas to Life in Brilliant Detail

Get ideas across quickly with the help of ZScape™ digital prints. From regional terrain to architectural designs, you can now present 3D data in a true 3D format. Engage your audience and enable analysis from every angle by delivering a richer, more compelling visual experience. Inspire collaboration with brilliant, full-color images and provide your team with accurate information to communicate quickly and effectively in any setting.

This is a color hologram created with data from Google Sketchup. The model is of downtown Seattle. The building heights in this hologram get up to about 10 inches.

Engineering and Construction

Get the Big Picture Across Quickly

Zebra Imaging helps you engage project teams and personnel with rich, realistic three-dimensional presentations that enhance communication. Your construction and site plans can now feature multiple views, overlays and annotations in vivid detail — so the most complex projects can be understood faster than ever.

Hologram created from data that Net Engineering in Italy created using CADMATIC software.


Solar Energy Powered Oriental Hornets

BBC - Earth News - Oriental hornets powered by 'solar energy'

The Oriental hornet has a unique ability to harvest solar energy, scientists have discovered.

The large wasp species has a special structure in its abdomen that traps the sun's rays, and a special pigment that harvests the energy they contain.

The discovery helps explain why these hornets have a large yellow stripe across their body and why they become more active as the day gets hotter.

It also changes our understanding of how insect metabolism can work.

Marian Plotkin of Tel Aviv University and colleagues used advanced microscopes to examine a hornet's exoskeleton, or cuticle. Most of the cuticle is brown, but a few sections are yellow. These colours mark the hornet as a venomous insect, and therefore best avoided by potential predators, but the pigments are also involved in mopping up solar energy.

Both the brown and yellow cuticles are made up of many layers laid on top of each other, around 30 in the brown and 15 in the yellow. The brown areas contain melanin, a pigment also found in human skin, while the yellow areas contain xanthopterin.

Plotkin found that the brown cuticle is covered with grooves, while the yellow cuticle is covered with oval-shaped lumps. Both absorbed 99 per cent of the visible light falling on them.

What's more, the grooves on the brown cuticle are fairly regularly spaced, Plotkin found. As a result, the cuticle surface mimics a series of slits, which act as a diffraction grating, trapping yet more light inside the cuticle layers.

The team also built a solar cell that successfully used xanthopterin to harvest light.

Findings from the AFM study of the brown and yellow epicuticle (cuticle surface). a 3D image of the brown cuticle, showing the grating structure. b The profile structure of the grating on the brown cuticle. The grating-like formation has a height of about 160 nm and a period of about 500 nm. c 3D image of the yellow cuticle showing the interlocking pattern of oval-shaped structures. Every oval structure harbors at least one “pinhole” depression. d The profile structure of the grating on the yellow cuticle

Volume 97, Number 12, 1067-1076, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0728-1

Solar energy harvesting in the epicuticle of the oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis)