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3-D Flexible Computer Chips 85

Roland Piquepaille writes "Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have isolated a single-crystal film of semiconductor from the substrate on which it is built. Then they transferred this very thin film — 200 nanometers thick — on plastic. Both sides of the film can host active components and several layers can be stacked, opening the way to very powerful 3-D flexible computer chips. Besides computer chips, this technique could be used for solar cells, smart cards, RFID tags or active-matrix flat panel displays."

Anna Konda, the Robotic Firefighter 94

Roland Piquepaille writes "In fact, Anna Konda is a robotic fire hose moving like a snake. This robot, which has been developed in Norway by SINTEF, is 3 m long and weighs 70 kg. The snake contains 20 water hydraulic motors that move the robotic joints. And the energy needed to power these motors comes from water pressurized to 100 bars and already available inside the fire hose. This gives enough energy to this water-powered robot to climb up stairs, to lift a car up off the ground or even break through a wall. Very clever design! The designers think that this robot could not only replace humans to fight fires when it's too dangerous for them, but could also be used for subsea operations or explosion prevention. An additional overview contains more details and pictures of this snake robot."

Another Robotic Vehicle to Help Soldiers 154

Roland Piquepaille writes "There are many teams of U.S. scientists working on robots able to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq before they can kill American soldiers. Today, let's look at an effort going on at Florida State University (FSU) to build unmanned ground vehicles that could save soldiers' lives. The researchers are creating complex algorithms to control these robots who will have to integrate many different factors such as the type of ground surface or obstacles that might block the vehicle's path. Some of these robots, which also could be used for civilian missions, are currently being tested at FSU. Read more for additional references and pictures of these robots which will have to navigate among dense obstacles."

A Traffic Control System For Molecules 64

Roland Piquepaille writes "Our cells contain small protein factories which have to deliver materials inside the cell via a network of microtubules. And the transportation is carried out by biomolecular motors. Now, researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have built a traffic control system able to force individual molecules to choose between 'roads' by applying strong electrical fields locally at Y-junctions. This traffic control system can potentially lead to new nano-fabrication techniques. Read more for additional references and pictures showing how this traffic system works."

Would You Wear Video Glasses? 239

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to EE Times, an Israeli company has developed a personal video display device that looks like a simple pair of glasses. You can use these glasses with various sources, such as a portable media player or your cell phone. This technology promises to eliminate the dizziness phenomenon usually associated with this kind of display. And with these glasses weighing only about 40 grams, you'll feel that you're viewing a 40-inch screen from a distance of 7 feet." Video screens embedded into eyewear isn't that new, but the footprint of these is smaller than what I've seen before, making them cooler to wear on the subway.

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