The smallest features in current silicon transistors are 45 nanometres in size, but the latest made by Jeremy Levy at the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues have features just 2 nanometers in size, allowing many more transistors to be crammed into the same area.
Rather than building them from silicon, the team used two different forms of the common mineral perovskite. When two of the insulating crystals of the right thickness are held together, the place where they meet can conduct electricity. But if one of the pieces is too thin, then current will not flow.
Working with wafers that were just too thin to conduct, Levy's team found that they could "draw" conducting patches onto the crystal using a microscopic needle. A positive voltage from the needle rearranges the crystal's atoms to create lines 2 nm across that conduct like electrical wire.
The process has been used to make transistors roughly 1000 times smaller in area than those fashioned from silicon. The "wires" can also be easily erased and recreated up to 100 times.
Being able to erase parts of a design and write over them again also offers more exotic possibilities, says Levy. It could be possible to use the phenomenon to could create hardware that rewires itself as it handles data, he says.
"It could blur or dissolve the distinction between software and hardware, for example by integrating memory and logic," he says.
Hardcoded logic circuits are 100-1000 times faster than general computer circuits that run software to provide flexibility.
Jean-Marc Triscone at the University of Geneva has shown that perovskite crystals can also behave as superconductors. "The achievements of Levy and co-workers coupled to [our] superconductivity [work] may allow small electronic circuits to be realised, which would open many interesting possibilities," he says.
This goes along with the prior atom scale room temperature quantum dots. Zyvex has a project and processes for atomic scale precision in manufacturing that was previously targeting millions of quantum dots. The old quantum dots were about 1000 molecules. So the new smaller quantum dots could mean Zyvex work could lead to nearterm billions of precise quantum dots.
Faster Learning, Instant Skills, Reality Augmentation and Memory Integration
There is a bunch of "instant skills and expertise" developing on the iPhone platform. Card counting for blackjack, sniper aid, doctor in a pocket, rubiks cube expert, food advisor etc...
DARPA is working on visualization (a holodeck like -immersive visualization experience using available technology) and other technology and methods for accelerated learning.
Recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience, as well as advances in modeling and analysis techniques, have laid the foundation for neuroscience-based noninvasive strategies with the potential to dramatically accelerate the transition from novice to expert in key military tasks. The Accelerated Learning Program will develop quantitative and integrative neuroscience-based approaches for measuring, tracking, and accelerating skill acquisition and learning while producing a twofold increase in progression in an individual's progress through stages of task learning..
This program will develop reliable and quantitative methods for tracking task progression based on noninvasive measures of brain activity. These may include, but are not limited to, neurophysiologically driven training regimens, neurally optimized stimuli, and stimulatory/modulatory interventions
The iPhone systems willl work even better with the heads up display and wearable workstations.
MIT has the sixth sense augmented reality, where internet information is overlaid a persons visual perception of the environment or projected onto peoples and objects.
More Phones are providing location aware information augmentation.
A new generation of smartphones like the G1, with Android software developed by Google, and a range of Japanese phones now “augment” reality by painting a map over a phone-screen image of the user’s surroundings produced by the phone’s camera.
Computers keep getting better at reading thoughts.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) looks more and more like a window into the mind. In a study published online today in Nature, researchers at Vanderbilt University report that from fMRI data alone, they could distinguish which of two images subjects were holding in their memory--even several seconds after the images were removed. The study also pinpointed, for the first time, where in the brain visual working memory is maintained.
Brain / Machine interfaces continue to improve and DARPA is funding brain implants to substitute for certain memory portions of the human brain.
A drug has been found that eases traumatic memories.
Merel Kindt, a clinical psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, has found that use of a common high blood pressure drug may help disrupt the process that leads to the brain encoding a fearful memory.
Kindt and colleagues showed pictures of spiders to study subjects, and combined that with a mild shock to create a fearful association. Then, half the participants were given propranolol, a beta-blocker often used in heart disease. The other half were given a placebo pill.
At the end of the three days, researchers again presented the pictures of the spiders, but without a shock. Subjects who had taken propranolol at the time of memory recall had a decreased fear response, but the placebo group continued to be startled. "The drug probably blocks the process that restores the fearful memory," says Kindt.