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Hardware

Samsung Begins Mass Production of World's Fastest DRAM (hothardware.com) 65

MojoKid writes: Late last year marked the introduction of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) DRAM courtesy of AMD's Fury family of graphics cards, each of which sports 4GB of HBM. HBM allows these new AMD GPUs to tout an impressive 512GB/sec of memory bandwidth, but it's also just the first iteration of the new memory technology. Samsung has just announced that it has begun mass production of HBM2. Samsung's 4GB HBM2 package is built on a 20 nanometer process. Each package contains four 8-gigabit core dies built on top of a buffer die. Each 4GB HMB2 package is capable of delivering 256GB/sec of bandwidth, which is twice that of first generation HBM DRAM. In the example of NVIDIA's next gen GPU technology, code named Pascal, the new GPU will utilize HBM2 for its frame buffer memory. High-end consumer-grade Pascal boards will ship with 16GB of HBM2 memory (in four, 4GB packages), offering effective memory bandwidth of 1TB/sec (256GB/sec from each HMB2 package). Samsung is also reportedly readying 8GB HBM2 memory packages this year.
United Kingdom

British Engineers Create Sonic Tractor Beam (bbc.co.uk) 88

An anonymous reader writes: According to the BBC, engineers in Bristol, England have created a system for remote manipulation of physical objects using sound holograms. The video shows pea-sized objects being dragged around and stacked up in mid-air with no visible means of support. "In essence, an object sitting in a 'quiet' region of space can be held there if it is surrounded by very high-intensity sound waves. As the pattern of that boundary shifts, the object can be moved around." If the Empire is making a tractor beam, now they only need a Death Star to go with it.
Communications

Univ. of New Haven Cyber Lab: WhatsApp Collects Phone Numbers, Call Duration, and More 67

An anonymous reader writes: A recent network forensic examination of popular messaging service WhatsApp at the University of New Haven's Cyber Forensics Research & Education Group is offering new details on the data that can be collected from the app's network from its new calling feature: such as phone numbers and phone call duration, and highlights areas for future research and study. The researchers provided an outline of the WhatsApp messaging protocol from a networking perspective, making it possible to explore and study WhatsApp network communications. (Also noted at The Register.)
Bitcoin

Immersion Cooling Drives Server Power Densities To Insane New Heights (datacenterfrontier.com) 80

1sockchuck writes: By immersing IT equipment in liquid coolant, a new data center is reaching extreme power densities of 250 kW per enclosure. At 40 megawatts, the data center is also taking immersion cooling to an entirely new scale, building on a much smaller proof-of-concept from a Hong Kong skyscraper. The facility is being built by Bitcoin specialist BitFury and reflects how the harsh economics of industrial mining have prompted cryptocurrency firms to focus on data center design to cut costs and boost power. But this type of radical energy efficiency may soon be key to America's effort to build an exascale computer and the increasingly extreme data-crunching requirements for cloud and analytics.
Shark

Boeing Demonstrates Drone-Killing Laser 125

An anonymous reader writes: Boeing has successfully tested a new weapon system that tracks unmanned aircraft and shoots them down with a laser. The system is surprisingly small — it can be transported in a few medium-sized boxes, and two techs can set it up in minutes. The laser needs just a few seconds of continuous [contact] to set a drone aflame, and the tracking gimbal is precise enough to target specific parts of a drone. "Want to zap the tail so it crashes and then you can go retrieve the mostly intact drone and see who is trying to spy on you? Can do. Think it's carrying explosives and you want to completely destroy it? No problem." The laser is controlled with custom targeting software that runs on a laptop, with help from an Xbox 360 controller. Boeing expects the laser system to be ready for sale in the next year or two.
Transportation

Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S 283

SchrodingerZ writes: Nine days after Elon Musk hinted about a new project, Tesla Motors has unveiled the P85D Sedan. This is Tesla's latest car design, capable of feats not yet seen in electric vehicles. The four door luxury car is able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.2 seconds, an acceleration similar to the McLaren F1 super car. While the exterior remains the same build as the standard Model S, the interior will have a second motor in the front of the car to complement the rear motor. The D models will also have a slightly greater range of 275 miles on a single charge, 10 miles more than the 85 and P85 cars. Safety features have also been enhanced, adding "adaptive cruise control and the ability to read speed limit signs, stop itself if a crash is imminent, stay in its lane, and even park itself in a street spot or in your garage." Musk explains at the inaugural event, "this car is nuts. It's like taking off from a carrier deck. It's just bananas." The "D" version is available for the 60kWh, 80kWh, and P85 cars, and are expected to start shipping in December of this year.
Science

A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory 87

the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "People who have experienced traumatic brain injuries sometimes lose the ability to form new memories or recall old ones. Since many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suffered TBIs, the U.S. military is funding research on an implantable device that could do the job of damaged brain cells." Lofty goals: "To start, DARPA will support the development of multi-scale computational models with high spatial and temporal resolution that describe how neurons code declarative memories — those well-defined parcels of knowledge that can be consciously recalled and described in words, such as events, times, and places. Researchers will also explore new methods for analysis and decoding of neural signals to understand how targeted stimulation might be applied to help the brain reestablish an ability to encode new memories following brain injury. ... Building on this foundational work, researchers will attempt to integrate the computational models ... into new, implantable, closed-loop systems able to deliver targeted neural stimulation that may ultimately help restore memory function."
Hardware

Samsung Debuts Thin Galaxy Tab S With Super AMOLED 2560X1600 Display 176

MojoKid (1002251) writes Samsung unveiled its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S, at an event in New York City tonight, and the new device is thin, lightweight, and sports a killer Super AMOLED display. Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Tab S's 2560x1600 display has 73% better color reproduction than conventional LCD displays and can match colors up to 94% of "nature's true palette" with deeper blacks and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The 10.5-inch device weighs just 467g and measures a mere 6.6mm in thickness (and there's an 8.4-inch version, too). Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab S features Android KitKat 4.4, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage with a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB. The front camera is 2.1MP and the rear 8MP camera has an LED flash. No word on the exact processor on board just yet, other than it's a quad-core SoC. It's likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 though an Exynos variant or perhaps even Tegra 4 wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.
Hardware

First Transistors Made Entirely of 2-D Materials 137

ckwu (2886397) writes "Two independent research groups report the first transistors built entirely of two-dimensional electronic materials, making the devices some of the thinnest yet. The transistors, just a few atoms thick and hence transparent, are smaller than their silicon-based counterparts, which would allow for a super-high density of pixels in flexible, next-generation displays. The research teams, one at Argonne National Laboratory and the other at the University of California, Berkeley, used materials such as tungsten diselenide, graphene, and boron nitride to make all three components of a transistor: a semiconductor, a set of electrodes, and an insulating layer. Electrons travel in the devices 70 to 100 times faster than in amorphous silicon. Such a high electron mobility means the transistors switch faster, which dictates a display's refresh rate and is necessary for high-quality video, especially 3-D video."
Supercomputing

Stanford Bioengineers Develop 'Neurocore' Chips 9,000 Times Faster Than a PC 209

kelk1 sends this article from the Stanford News Service: "Stanford bioengineers have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain – 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC (abstract). Kwabena Boahen and his team have developed Neurogrid, a circuit board consisting of 16 custom-designed 'Neurocore' chips. Together these 16 chips can simulate 1 million neurons and billions of synaptic connections. The team designed these chips with power efficiency in mind. Their strategy was to enable certain synapses to share hardware circuits. ... But much work lies ahead. Each of the current million-neuron Neurogrid circuit boards cost about $40,000. (...) Neurogrid is based on 16 Neurocores, each of which supports 65,536 neurons. Those chips were made using 15-year-old fabrication technologies. By switching to modern manufacturing processes and fabricating the chips in large volumes, he could cut a Neurocore's cost 100-fold – suggesting a million-neuron board for $400 a copy."
The Military

Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7 630

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: "The U.S. Navy's new railgun technology, developed by General Atomics, uses the Lorentz force in a type of linear, electric motor to hurl a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7 — in excess of 5,000 mph. The weapon has a range of 100 miles and doesn't require explosive warheads. 'The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,' says Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. 'This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.' Sea trials begin aboard an experimental Navy catamaran, the USNS Millinocket, in 2016."
Displays

New Oculus Rift Prototype Features Head Tracking, Reduced Motion Blur, HD AMOLED 156

crabel writes "The Oculus rift prototype Crystal Cove shown at CES uses a camera to track over two dozen infrared dots placed all over the headset. With the new tracking system, you can lean and crouch because the system knows where your head is in 3D space, which can also help reduce motion sickness by accurately reflecting motions that previously weren't detected. On top of that, the new 'low persistence' display practically removes motion blur." The new low-persistence AMOLEDs also achieve 1920x1080 across the field of vision. Reports are that immersion was greatly enhanced with head tracking.
Shark

CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways 295

jeffb (2.718) writes "Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on optics.org describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a 'laser beam' from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the 'speckling' interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.
Technology

New Goggles Offer Minority Report-Style Interface With Heads-Up Display 67

Lucas123 writes "A Taiwanese non-profit R&D organization is demonstrating a new heads-up type display that allows users to interact with the floating virtual screens using finger swipes. The new i-Air Touch technology from the Industrial Technology Research Institute is being developed for an array of devices, including PCs, wearable computers and mobile devices. The technology allows a user's hand to be free of any physical device such as a touchpad or keyboard for touch input. ITRI plans to license the patented technology to manufacturers. The company sees the technology being used in not only consumer arenas (video), but also for medical applications such as endoscopic surgery and any industrial applications that benefit from hands-free input."
Hardware

MIT Reports 400 GHz Graphene Transistor Possible With 'Negative Resistance' 123

An anonymous reader writes "The idea is to take a standard graphene field-effect transistor and find the circumstances in which it demonstrates negative resistance (or negative differential resistance, as they call it). They then use the dip in voltage, like a kind of switch, to perform logic. They show how several graphene field-effect transistors can be combined and manipulated in a way that produces conventional logic gates. Graphene-based circuit can match patterns and it has several important advantages over silicon-based versions. Liu and co can build elementary XOR gates out of only three graphene field-effect transistors compared to the eight or more required using silicon. That translates into a significantly smaller area on a chip. What's more, graphene transistors can operate at speeds of over 400 GHz."

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