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Technology

Top Tech Breakthroughs of 2008 116

As we approach the end of the year it's time once again for the never-ending stream of retrospectives and year-in-review discussions. Wired has their version of the best technology breakthroughs of 2008. From phones to shrinking laptops to flexible displays, there is no shortage of interesting advancements when looking back at this year. What other groundbreaking advancements were made this year, and what do we have to look forward to for 2009?
Robotics

Ants Used For Mind-Controlled Robotic Limbs 82

mr sanjeev writes "Australian researchers are reducing the divide between science fiction and science reality by bringing the development of mind-controlled robotic limbs a few steps closer. Even the most fertile science fiction imagination might not see a link between the behavior of ant colonies and the development of lifelike robotic limbs, but that is the straightforward mathematical reality of research underway at the University of Technology, Sydney. The technology mimics the myoelectric signals used by the central nervous system (CNS) to control muscle activity. Artificial intelligence researchers have long used the complex interactions between ants to construct a pattern recognition formula to identify bioelectric signals. PhD student Rami Khushaba said 'swarm-intelligence' allows scientists to understand the body's electrical signals and use the knowledge to create a robotic prosthetic device that can be operated by human thought."
The Almighty Buck

X Prize For a 100-MPG Car 741

Heinen writes in about the X Prize Foundation, which spurred innovation by offering US $10 million for the first privately built spacecraft. The Foundation now plans to offer millions for the first practical car that increases mileage five-fold. The specs for the competition are out in draft form amd call for cars in two categories that are capable of 100 MPG in tests to be run in 2009. The categories are: 4-passenger/4-wheel; and 2-passenger/unspecified wheels. The cars must be manufacturable, not "science projects. The prize is expected to top $10 million. The X Prize Foundation says that so far it has received more than 1,000 inquiries from possible competitors.

Free Comic Book Day 2006 84

Julio Ojeda-Zapata writes "It's Free Comic Book Day (May 6), and what better way to mark the occasion than a comic about comic books? A reporter and artist at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press newspaper teamed up to honor the comic-book form -- imitation is the finest form of flattery, as they say. The comic is available online as a slide show, as well as in downloadable PDF form. As a bonus, the paper's 2001 manga-style tribute to manga (by the same artist, but with a dramatically different look and feel) has been reposted." More information is available at the official Free Comic Book Day 2006 site.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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