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Cellphones

Intel Envisions Shape-Shifting Smartphones 79

An anonymous reader writes "It's not sci-fi, but rather advanced robotics research which is leading Intel to envision shape-shifting smartphones. 'Imagine what you would do with this material,' says Jason Campbell, a senior researcher at Intel's Pittsburgh Lab who's working in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. 'If you want to carry the device, you'd make it as small as possible by making it pack itself as densely as possible. When you go to surf the Web, you're going to make it big.' The material being studied is transparent silicon-dioxide hemispheres, which can roll around each other under electrical control to create different shapes. The lab has built 6-inch long actuators, which it's working to reduce to 1-mm tube-sized prototypes. When will we see a shape-shifting phone? 'In terms of me being able to buy it, that's a difficult forecasting problem, because I have to guess about manufacturing costs,' Campbell said. 'I won't do that. But we hope the science will be proved out in three to five years.'"
Cellphones

Intel Envisions Shape-Shifting Smartphones 79

An anonymous reader writes "It's not sci-fi, but rather advanced robotics research which is leading Intel to envision shape-shifting smartphones. 'Imagine what you would do with this material,' says Jason Campbell, a senior researcher at Intel's Pittsburgh Lab who's working in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. 'If you want to carry the device, you'd make it as small as possible by making it pack itself as densely as possible. When you go to surf the Web, you're going to make it big.' The material being studied is transparent silicon-dioxide hemispheres, which can roll around each other under electrical control to create different shapes. The lab has built 6-inch long actuators, which it's working to reduce to 1-mm tube-sized prototypes. When will we see a shape-shifting phone? 'In terms of me being able to buy it, that's a difficult forecasting problem, because I have to guess about manufacturing costs,' Campbell said. 'I won't do that. But we hope the science will be proved out in three to five years.'"
Math

Packing Algorithms May Save the Planet 195

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist reports on how competitions to devise better packing algorithms could help cut the environmental impact of deliveries and shipping. A new record setter at packing differently-sized discs into the smallest space without overlapping them has potential to be applied to real world 3D problems, researchers claim." Ok the title might be a little ridiculous, but the ridiculous packaging used to ship a few tiny objects by some shippers is pretty shameful.

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