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May 16, 2009

Next Big Future Highlights Weeks 13-19

This is the third set of highlights for Next Big Future for 2009.

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 7-12.

Here is the link to the highlights for weeks 1-6

Nanotechnology

1. DNA origami can now make three dimensional boxes that can be opened and closed and locked. The boxes could be the foundation of more complicated three dimensional structures and can be used for drug delivery and other purposes.

2. DNA can be tricked into acting as nanotechnology building blocks. DNA nanotubes built one rung at a time with different triangular and square shapes.



3. Ultrathin diamond nanorods have been made.

4. Here are more details on how DNA origami can be made to self assemble and grow hundreds of times larger.

5. Spider silk can incorporate metallic particles which strengthen the spider silk by up to ten times.

6. IMEC integrates plasmon based nanophotonic circuits with regular integrated circuits

7. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a membrane-penetrating nanoneedle for the targeted delivery of one or more molecules into the cytoplasm or the nucleus of living cells. In addition to ferrying tiny amounts of cargo, the nanoneedle can also be used as an electrochemical probe and as an optical biosensor.

8. A rapid manufacturing machine by Optomec can print supercapacitors and highly efficient solar cells using carbon nanotubes.

9. The edges of graphene strips can be modified to atomic precision.

10. The ratio of carbon 13 can be reduced to increase the purity of Carbon 12 which enables better materials for quantum computing applications.

11. Interview with Peter Antoinette. Nanocomp Technology is making hundreds of square feet of sheets each week. They are scaling up to tons of material in sheets next year (2012)

12. Carbon nanotubes can be made smooth which makes them greatly increases luminescence.



Energy
13. An interview with Dr Richard Nebel who is running the Inertial Electrostatic Confinement [Bussard] fusion project.

14. IEC/ Bussard Fusion is getting another $2 million in government funding.

15. Eleven nuclear fusion and nuclear fission technologies.

16. Helion Energy built one third scale nuclear fusion and are seeking $20 million to

17. Helion Energy is based on the work John Slough. There is space propulsion system based upon it.

18. A method which eliminates the radiation damage problem is a Two-Step Photon Intermediate Direct Energy Conversion (PIDEC) method that uses the efficient generation of photons from the interaction of particulate radiation with fluorescer media. The photons are then transported to wide band-gap photovoltaic cells where electrical current is generated. PIDEC holds the promise of 40% energy conversion efficiency in a single cycle. PIDEC can be applied both to large power generation systems and to small scale nuclear batteries based on radioisotopes (Radioisotope Energy Conversion System-RECS).

19. Independent certification that EEStor's patented and patent pending Composition Modified Barium-Titanate Powders have met and/or exceeded a relative permittivity of 22,500. This is a high relative permittivity which is good for EEStor's supercapacitors. EEStor's supercapacitors could hold more charge than a battery but have the quick discharge and recharge.

20. Mascoma, a cellulosic biofuels company based in Lebanon, NH, reports significant advances in its goal of simplifying the cellulosic ethanol process by skipping the use of costly enzymes, which could potentially reduce cellulosic ethanol's production costs by 20 to 30 percent.

21. ET Energy's Electro Thermal technology could be used to pump out 600 billion barrels of Alberta's oil sands bitumen. That's more than triple the Alberta government's best guess at what's currently recoverable from the oil sands, and enough to satisfy total global demand for twenty years.

Saudi Arabia has 260 billion barrels of oil reserves, so the additional 421 billion barrels would be close to double the oil in Saudi Arabia.

22. 1 MW and 20 Megawatt Kitegen Wind Power Systems Funding of 15 million Euro Announced

The radical italian Kitegen wind power system appears to have funding of 15 million euro (announced not distributed).

23. Microbes to Convert Coal to Methane and Algae Fuel are Both Close to Industrial Scaleup.

24. The Cold Fusion segment on CBS 60 Minutes was favorable.

Metamaterials and Materials

25. Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology propose to use transformation optics [advanced metamaterials] to generate a general illusion such that an arbitrary object appears to be like some other object of our choice. This is achieved by using a remote device that transforms the scattered light outside a virtual boundary into that of the object chosen for the illusion, regardless of the profile of the incident wave. This type of illusion device also enables people to see through walls.

26. Michal Lipson and pals at Cornell University and Xiang Zhang and buddies at UC Berkeley say they have both built cloaks that are essentially mirrors with a tiny bump in which an object can hide. The cloaking occurs because the mirrors look entirely flat. The bump is hidden by a pattern of tiny silicon nanopillars on the mirror surface that steers reflected light in a way that makes any bump look flat. So anything can be hidden beneath the bump without an observer realising it is there, like hiding a small object under a thick carpet.

Magnetic Monopoles Found in Spin Ice

A special material called spin ice, co-discovered in 1997 by Professor Steven Bramwell of the London Centre for Nanotechnology has come close to revealing a secret of the universe.

Most computer memories store information magnetically, and if there was the ability to use magnetic rather than electric charges to read and write bits to and from those stores could have great advantages in speed and flexibility. What's more, the three-dimensional configuration of spin ice might allow for memories of much higher density than is currently possible.

The monopoles discovered in spin ice are rather different beasts from those he and others were looking for. For a start, they are some 8000 times less magnetic and are free to move only within the spin ice, not to roam the wider universe. So they are not really analogous to electric charges, and it doesn't look as if they are going to solve the dark matter problem.

Computers, Displays, Robots, Devices

27. Pixel Qi is a fabless ASIC company that specializes in screens. The screen is just a big ASIC chip - we work closely with the large LCD factories. The trick - we use their standard processes and materials and can produce new screens with radical new performance in about a year. Rather than just a demo - we can get all the way to high volume mass production in a year.

Pixel Qi screens will use 1/2 to 1/4 the power of a regular LCD screen, and when integrated carefully with the device can increase battery life between charges by 5-fold.

28. MIT TEchnology Review reports A new approach developed by Philips now offers fresh hope for color e-paper displays that are so bright and clear that even traditional liquid crystal displays (LCDs) will pale in comparison.

The new approach has the potential to create color images that are three times brighter than displays that use color filters, including LCDs. Another aspect that could make in-plane electrophoretics more attractive: the fact that it relies on cheaper and simpler electronics to address the pixels. Electrophorectics promise the possibility of cheaper, flexible displays with brighter colors.

Electrofluidic Display Technology is another alternative for color e-book displays.

Electrofluidic Display Technology (EFD), the first technology to electrically switch the appearance of pigments in a manner that provides visual brilliance equal to conventional printed media.

29. Red Camera has developed a wavelet compression that compresses video by 700 times or more.

The Red 400 original files were mastered as 16bit TIFFs (4096x2304), roughly 51MBs per frame. That's an uncompressed data rate of 1.3GBs per second. Blu-Ray is 1440X1080 and has 1920x1080 as well. So the Red 400 is about 5-6 times gthe resolution of Blu-ray. The Red 300 was mastered as 10bit DPX (4096x2048) at roughly 32MBs per frame or about 750MBs per second.

The compression was to 10 Mbps or less and able to be transmitted over wifi.

30. Artificial bacterial flagella are about half as long as the thickness of a human hair. They can swim at a speed of up to one body length per second. This means that they already resemble their natural role models very closely.

ETH Zurich researchers have built micro-robots as small as bacteria. Their purpose is to help cure human beings.

31. The Japanese HAL robotic exoskeleton (can boost strength by ten times) is going into mass production to make 400 suits per year at US$4200. .

AI and Quantum Computers

32. Sentience driving software can control a car or trucks acceleration and braking and enable 5-24% fuel savings and could be installed in vehicles starting in 2012. It is also a transition path to completely robotic driving. For about $30 to install ion each car or truck the system would save an average of 14% of fuel usage.

In evening tests on public roads in ‘real-world’ conditions in the vicinity of TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), achieved mean savings at all times in excess of 5 per cent.

33. A series of announcements that will multiply the productivity of scientific research and enhance the ability of lay people to have scientifically correct results. These new programs and robotic systems will be further enhanced with the increasing use of cloud computing, robotic and sensor advances and increased computing power from things like GPGPU.

Space and Long Range Predictions

34. Justin A. Atchison of Cornell University University proposes creating miniturized spacecraft with all systems made using computer chip technology and using only the active layer to achieve a weight of 7.5 milligrams or less.

35. There is progress working in the lab and in theory how to create reconfigurable spacecraft. The dynamics and control problems have been worked on in theory, math and simulation and the joints have been mocked and tested on an air table. Success would transform space operations and systems and enable large particle based solar sails, large optical telescope arrays and large lens for focusing lasers and networks of satellites and flexible modules for space stations.

Stem cells, gene therapy and advanced medicine

36. A university lecturer has succeeded in regenerating hair on mice using embryonic stem cells, an achievement that could pave the way for the development of treatments for conditions including hair loss, it has been learned.

This could lead to a baldness cures for humans and eventually to improved regeneration and healing of other organs in humans.

37. Enhancing Stem Cell Production for Miraculous Bone Healing in Less than Half the Time for older people.

The drug teriparatide, or Forteo, which was approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of osteoporosis appear to also boost bone stem cell production for "miraculous bone healing".

38. Gene therapy appears safe to regenerate gum tissue.

39. NABsys scientists, in close collaboration with scientists at Brown University, are developing a proprietary platform to build solid state, electrically addressable nanopore arrays that can sequence DNA without amplification or labeling. This Hybridization-Assisted Nanopore Sequencing platform combines nanopore sequencing with sequencing-by-hybridization (SBH) to create what NABsys believes will be the lowest cost [$100 to sequence the genome], fastest whole-genome sequencing technology available.

40. Molecular-level computer simulations of dendrimer/DNA complexes in the presence of a model cell membrane provide insights that directly pertain to critical issues arising in emerging gene delivery therapeutic applications. This work "Dendrimers as synthetic gene vectors: Cell membrane attachment" appeared in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

Key Finding: Dendrimers should be able to work effectively for gene therapy and cancer drug delivery. Dendrimers are known to be safer than virus delivery of genes and drugs but to this point have been less effective. This work shows how to increase effectiveness.

41. Safer Pluripotent Stem Cells using Recombinant Protein Bath to Convert Cells have been made.

University of Ulster Scientists Make Ultrathin Diamond Nanorod Breakthrough


University of Ulster Scientists Make a Nanorod Breakthrough.

Engineers at the University of Ulster are the first researchers to create diamond nanorods with a diameter as thin as 2.1 nm, which is not only smaller than all the currently reported diamond 1D nanostructures (4-300 nm) but also smaller than the theoretical calculated value (2.7-9 nm) for energetically stable diamond nanorods. They actually established with the help of high resolution TEM studies carried both at Birmingham University and SuperSTEM facility in Daresbury Laboratory that the synthesis of ultrathin diamond nanorods (DNR) is possible, because they are encapsulated in a few graphene layers, which actually serve as a shield for keeping the DNR stable.

“This finding represents a milestone because it provides an insight on the growth of ultra-thin diamond nanorods and could actually act as a stimulus for future theoretical and experimental work” said Prof Papakonstantinou who is leader of the group at UU.


J Storrs Hall notes that these ultrathin diamond nanorods are only twice as thick as the rod logic computer elements proposed in Nanosystems


Abstract from Amnerican Chemical Society Nano: Self-Assembled Growth, Microstructure, and Field-Emission High-Performance of Ultrathin Diamond Nanorods.

We report the growth of ultrathin diamond nanorods (DNRs) by a microwave plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition method using a mixture gas of nitrogen and methane. DNRs have a diameter as thin as 2.1 nm, which is not only smaller than reported one-dimensional diamond nanostructures (4−300 nm) but also smaller than the theoretical value for energetically stable DNRs. The ultrathin DNR is encapsulated in tapered carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with an orientation relation of (111)diamond//(0002)graphite. Together with diamond nanoclusters and multilayer graphene nanowires/nano-onions, DNRs are self-assembled into isolated electron-emitting spherules and exhibit a low-threshold, high current-density (flat panel display threshold: 10 mA/cm2 at 2.9 V/μm) field emission performance, better than that of all other conventional (Mo and Si tips, etc.) and popular nanostructural (ZnO nanostructure and nanodiamond, etc.) field emitters except for oriented CNTs. The forming mechanism of DNRs is suggested based on a heterogeneous self-catalytic vapor−solid process. This novel DNRs-based integrated nanostructure has not only a theoretical significance but also has a potential for use as low-power cold cathodes.





The ultrathin nanords were fabricated in a microwave plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition reactor using a mixture gas of nitrogen and methane gases. Together with some diamond nanocluster, graphene nanowires and carbon nanotubes, diamond nanorods were self-assembled into a spherical electron-emitting structure. This integrated self assembled nanostructure demonstrated excellent field electron emission performance, better than that of all other conventional (Mo and Si tips, etc.) and popular nanostructural ?eld emitters.

“This novel DNR-based integrated nanostructure has a potential for use as low-power cold cathodes as well as for medical technological applications” said Dr Naigui Shang a researcher at UU
.

May 15, 2009

Wolfram Alpha Opening Delayed but now launched

Wolfram Alpha is launching in about one hour.

8 pm pacific. Did my first query on wolfram alpha. Get out your popcorn and check it out.




CNet reports Wolfram Alpha has delayed the launch because of glitches. They may have a test launch tonight or over the weekend and are trying to get a full launch by Monday, May 18, 2009.

Then you too will be able to compare the ratios of the GDPs of different countries over time.

You can compare the heights of mountains to the length of bridges.

You will more flexible bond and mortgage calculators.

You will have a subset of canned Mathematica capabilities available online and for free.





You will be able to compute many of the number facts and you will be able to sign up and add number fact sets.



FURTHER READING
Wolfram alpha blog announcement.

Speculation on a Possible Path to Passive Femtotech

Related to ultradense deuterium and monopolium is some speculation in Isreal that there could be a way to enable a form of passive femtotech, which would be stable matter from subatomic particles.

AB Matter speculation is that they think that they have a series of steps whichcan be taken to use neutrons or protons; elements of the core of every atom; and making it into strings, and then crossing the strings into a mesh, then many impossible things becomes possible.

It is the size of the mesh opening which gives it certain properties and the absence of electrons which gives it other properties. Engineering elements of nucleus into strings instead of clumping up.


Recently magnetic monopoles were found in spin ice. (10,000 times magnetically weaker than theoretical free range magnetic monopoles)

There is also recent research about ultradense deuterium. Probably related to hand fulls of molecules. Clusters of 100 molecules or less.

From someone involved in the femtotech theoretical work (who is working with the theorist Bolonkin - Bolonkin has a lot of wild but creative stuff on arxiv):

No lab work, confirmation definitely still needed, no immediate prospects of any kind, I want to be very clear on that. This is a "wouldn't it be nice" kind of thing. There are ideas and urging investigation, but there is no test tube of AB-Matter sitting in a lab anywhere. There are ideas about approaches that might be productive to build tools to build tools-- and the bootstrapping I mentioned earlier might make it pay IF. IF. IF.

There is quantum state read write problem and this is only projecting as far as totally passive femtoscale structures-- NO active mechanisms in femtotech. Passive Femto scale structures would make possible extraordinary nano tool tips for various applications, etc,


An article discussing a paper about limitations on quantum state copying

Quantum mechanical universal constructor article.

Wikipedia on femtotechnology

An article on femtotechnology.

Before the femtotech press release.

Hans Moravec wrote about monopolium (making material out of monopoles)

Super dense conmputers by Hans Moravec.

Recently magnetic monopoles were found in spin ice. (10,000 times magnetically weaker than theoretical free range magnetic monopoles)






Speculation on What Would Be Possible with Passive Femtotech/Stable matter from subatomic particles

NOTE: I am well aware that this is likely impossible. However, it seems more possible to find a loop hole and bootstrapping to achieve something useful here than some of the theoretical work on say warp drive. This seems like something that could have some useful investigation for a million dollars or less per year or at most a few million with the multi-trillion dollar possibility of achieving radical transformation if successful.

Jerusalem, Israel – April 21, 2009– Strategic Solutions today announced a new prospective technology even more advanced than nanotechnology; the prospect of stable matter formed by subatomic particles that is faster than a speeding bullet; more powerful than a locomotive – no not Superman, but a form of super matter. Super strong – million times stronger than steel, the engines made of this new matter will be million times more powerful than a locomotive and aircraft built of this material will have full reflectivity, super-insulation and super energy storage, but most amazing will safely go super-fast with zero friction. Electric grids made of this superconductive material will eliminate the billions of dollars of lost electricity. As it can safely be used in temperatures of millions of degrees, while it is a super insulator, thermal power stations can be built in volcanoes and electricity be transmitted great distances with no loss. Paradoxically, this strongest material is invisible and can go right through matter. This is possibly the defining technology of the 21st century.

The chief scientist of Strategic Solutions Technology Group, Prof. Alexander Bolonkin for decades worked in the Russian Space program while he taught doctoral level courses and later worked for NASA and the USA Air Force research laboratories. His long history in overcoming the problems in space travel gave him unique insight which has evolved into innovations far before his time. One major limitation of space travel is the limitations of matter built from atoms. Aircraft burns its fuel fighting friction. On reentry, the temperatures soar and in outer space the temperatures are brutally cold. What is needed is a material which has zero friction; which does not decay under stress; which can contain and store a great amount of energy and which insulates absolutely. Prof. Bolonkin posited that this material can be made from sub-atomic nuclear matter, from nucleons (neutrons, protons), electrons, and other nuclear particles. In two journal articles he shows this new ‘AB-Matter’ has extraordinary properties as follows:

Super-transparency, invisibility of special AB-Matter-nets. The light we see with has a wavelength of 4-8 microns. Blue is 4.5, red is longer, etc. A net or mesh of AB-Matter having a spacing (step distance) between strings or monofilaments of more than 100 femtometers (10e-13 meter) will pass visible light of this sort with PERFECT efficiency.

Full reflectivity (super-reflectivity). Controlled modification of its properties will produce a PERFECT reflector. And even more amazing than these, controlled invisibility not just to eyes, but to sensors using the spectra we employ. There are so many possibilities for the above three properties alone, in optics, camouflage, directed energy weapons, literally reflecting most of the output of a nuclear bomb in a given direction that simply to catalogue most of them would take months.

Permeable property (ghost-like intangibility power; super-passing capacity). An AB-Matter monofilament net with spacing (mesh size) between strings of more than 100 nanometers (= 10e-11 meters) will pass the atoms and molecules through itself. This provides the ability to travel intangibly through the earth to seek out minerals, or through a diplomatic safe wall of any thickness to reach inside, as easily as a fish swims through water. With appropriate sensors and end effectors you could navigate through the earth and exactly delineate any buried installation or mineral deposit with absolute precision.

Zero friction. If the AB-Matter net has a mesh size distance between strings equal or less than the atomic scale (3×10-10 m), it has an ideal flat surface such that the mechanical friction may be zero. This means that planes and ships and other vehicles can travel WITHOUT energy losses which currently are a huge percentage of fuel consumption. This also means that perfect bearings can eliminate spin-down losses in generators and turbines, and untold other applications that could save vast amounts of energy and money.

Impenetrability for gas, liquids, and solid bodies. When the AB-Matter net has a step size between filaments of less than atomic size it can became impenetrable to conventional matter. While it may be invisible, it has enormous strength. Theoretically this would be the equivalent of the force-field belt beloved of comic book artists whose barrier could not be seen yet could repulse bullets, cannon shells, etc. Aircraft and other vehicles could be rendered nearly invulnerable to assault by low-technology forces.

Super-impenetrability for radiation. If the step size of the AB-Matter net will be less than a wave length of a given radiation, the AB-Matter net will not pass this radiation. In the above scenario, the laser protective goggles with variable spacing would be similarly blocking-- but it also works the other way, making selective invisibility possible, as well as invulnerability to nuclear flash.

Zero heat/thermal conductivity because nucleons have a very strong connection between one and another. In practical terms, this means that this is the perfect insulator--enabling small scale melting furnaces and the ability to carry incandescent molten metals in one's pocket inside a well sealed plastic bottle as long as a layer of the insulator is present and unbreached. The applications for rocket engine designs are obvious, and the increased exhaust velocity means a school-bus sized vehicle could carry astronauts to the Moon in a single stage--and back again, all on a single fueling from Cape Canaveral. Needless to say, the Mach 35 reentry would pose no thermal problem even if the underside of the femto-thin layer were ordinary aircraft aluminum.

Impunity against high temperatures: With appropriate insulation for protection of personnel and equipment, (see above) fusion reactions can be DIRECTLY CONTAINED WITHOUT COOLING or fears of the plasma touching the wall. Millions of degrees can be withstood. Reactor designs for fission also can use unprecedented levels of heat output and theoretically with gas-core fission reactors can DIRECTLY use plasma for industrial purposes as well as conversion efficiencies of over 2/3, and that is being conservative. Similar impunity against corrosive chemicals.

Super or quasi-super conductivity of electricity at any temperature. This is one reason for the conservative estimate of conversion efficiency above. Imagine MHD (magneto hydrodynamic) generators directly putting 50000 C plasma past a SUPERCONDUCTING structure for generating electricity without moving parts! The AB-Matter string can have outer electrons in an arrangement similar to the electronic cloud into metal. But AB-Matter strings or threads can be located along the direction of the electric intensity and they will not resist the electron flow. That means the electric resistance will be zero or very small. The AB-Matter string can have outer electrons in an arrangement similar to the electronic cloud between the nuclei of a metal structure. But AB-Matter strings (threads) can be located along the direction of the electric intensity and they will not resist the electron flow. That means the electric resistance will be zero or very small.

High tensile strength. Safe tensile stress is MILLIONS of times greater than the Safe tensile stress of steel OR NANOTUBES!

High dielectric strength AB-Matter may be used for devices to produce high magnetic intensity. This would be very useful for EMP weapons as well as medical uses and even electromotive equipment of many types and surpassingly light weight, thus enabling economical long range

Absolute chemical stability. No corrosion, no material fatigue, infinite lifetime. All chemical reactions are acted through ORBITAL electron of atoms. The AB-Matter does not have orbital electrons and nucleons cannot combine with usual atoms having electrons. As such, AB-Matter has absolute corrosion resistance. There is no fatigue of material because in conventional material fatigue is result of splits between material crystals and there are no crystals in AB-Matter. That means AB-Matter has lifetime equal to the lifetime of neutrons themselves.

The applications of the AB-Matter are encyclopedic in scope and will create revolutions in many fields of human activity. Some unusual applications include:

Storage of enormous energy. The energy stored in flywheels is highly dependent on the density of the material and the speed it is spinnable at. Lead is dense, but not strong. Kevlar is strong, but not dense. By contrast, a gigantic value of stored energy is possible with AB-Matter because of the extreme values afforded by the strong nuclear force. A car having a pair of 1 gram counterspun fly-wheels (2 grams total) which would be spun up at the factory with huge electric motors there, can run all its life without gasoline or any other refueling. Aircraft or sea ships having 100 gram (two 50 gram counterspun fly-wheels) can fly or swim all its life without additional fuel. The AB matter flywheel storage has zero friction and indefinite energy storage time.

Electricity Grid. While copper is one of the best electrical conductors, it still has some resistance which means that there is energy loss. In Israel which is about the size of New Jersey, the loss from the electricity generator in Ashkelon to Eilat, about 100 miles, is 15%. In the United States, the vast distances that electricity must be transported means that millions and perhaps billions of dollars is wasted. As mentioned above, AB Matter can both store electricity and transmit electricity with virtually no loss. It is inevitable that the future electric grid will be constructed by AB Matter.

Simple thermonuclear reactor. The AB-Matter film may be used as the wall of a simple thermonuclear reactor. The AB-Matter film allows a direct 100% hit by the accelerated nuclei to stationary nuclei located in the film. Wherever it impacts, there is a nucleus waiting! You get a controlled nuclear reaction of cheap fuel. In conventional thermonuclear reactor the probability of a hit by the accelerated or highly heated nuclei to other nuclei is trifling. The accelerated particles, which run through ghostlike ATOMS and lose the energy, need therefore to be sent through to repeated collisions each of which loses energy until the one that hits and generates energy. The winner must pay for all the losers. That way we need big, very complex, and expensive high temperature conventional thermonuclear reactors. They are so nearly unbuildable because ordinary matter literally cannot take the reactions they are designed to contain, and therefore special tricks must be used to sidestep this, and the reactions are so improbable that again special tricks are required. Here, every shot is a hit and the material can endure every consequence of that hit. A good vacuum system and a means of getting power and isotopes in and out are the main problems, and by no means insuperable ones. Using the AB-Matter we can design a micro-thermonuclear AB reactor.

Computer and computer memory. The AB-Matter film allows writing in 1 square centimeter 2.5×10e25 bits of information. The current 45 nanometer technology allows writing only 2.5×10e14 bits in 1 square centimeter. That means the main chip and memory of computer based in AB-Matter film may be a billion times smaller and presumably thousands of times faster based on the lesser distance signals must travel.

Increasing efficiency of a conventional aviation and transport vehicles. AB-Matter does not experience friction. The air drag in aviation is produced up 90% by air friction on aircraft surfaces. Therefore an AB-Matter friction free coating would enable global range in most aircraft which today only have an operational radius of only a thousand kilometers or so. Military aircraft could break the friction barrier that has held practical speeds to under Mach 3 for two generations, and suborbital hops would become more economical than transoceanic atmospheric flight in many cases because of the perfect heat shielding.

Hypersonic aircraft. The friction and heat which attacks conventional materials for hypersonic aircraft limits their speed. Using the AB-Matter eliminates this problem. Many designs for aerospace planes could capture oxygen in flight, which would save the cost of hauling oxidizer and carrying fuel. These designs enable new airliner type geometries and greater payloads because it eliminates the weight of the oxidizer and the tanks needed to hold it. A single stage to orbit or antipode aerospace plane would be quite possible with AB-Matter. For that matter, a single stage to lunar surface and back, just like the movies.

High efficiency rocket, jet and piston aviation engines. The efficiency of conventional jet and rocket engines are limited by the temperature and safety limits of conventional matter (2000oK). If the rotor blades in a jet engine or combustion chamber in rocket and piston engines are constructed from AB-Matter, their capacities radically improve. As there is no need for a cooling system, their construction is simplified.

AB-Matter as propulsion system of space ship. The most important characteristic of rocket engine is specific impulse which is the speed of gas or other material flowing out from the propulsion system. The chemical rocket engine has a specific impulse of about 3700 m/s. That value is 10 thousand times less than an AB Matter engine might be capable of. In our design of the rocket engine, the energy is saved in the flywheel. Current projects of a nuclear rocket are very complex, heavy, and dangerous for humans because of gamma and neutron radiation and have specific impulse of thousand of times less than the AB-Matter rocket engine which may be very small and which can produce any rocket thrust in any moment in any direction.

Super-armor from conventional and nonconventional weapons. No weapon exists which comes close to the speed needed to break through or perforate a shield of AB-Matter.

To oversimplify what we propose, AB Matter is really nothing more than taking neutrons or protons; elements of the core of every atom; and making it into strings, and then crossing the strings into a mesh. It is the size of the mesh opening which gives it certain properties and the absence of electrons which gives it other properties.

Strategic Solutions Technology Group is willing to share with the public the mathematical modeling which predicts these properties, but the designs of how to do it is a closely guarded secret which of course needs substantial R&D to actualize. After this type of matter is produced, the world will be unrecognizable. For example, we can configure this so that one probe goes to the core as it can go through matter like its not there, a second combination can resist any heat and pipeline the lava up and a third can be the turbine that makes the electricity. We then will have virtually unlimited electricity without burning any fossil fuels.

Finally, mankind can be safe from all conventional and unconventional weapons. For the first time in 50 years mankind is safe not just from nuclear weapons and other WMD but from all conventional weapons making warfare unfeasible. This is not a brave new world scenario but a safe new world. Eliminating the need to burn fossil fuel also makes this a clean new world.


FURTHER READING
A little section on computing with muons by Hans Moravic.

May 14, 2009

China and Russia Energy Update

The new 2020 targets are 300 GW Hydro, 75GW nuclear, 150GW from renewable if targets are reached. 46% of power would be from non-coal sources if natural gas usage is increased as projected.

In 2006/7 the projection was that China would have about 35% power from non-fossil fuel sources in 2020. 270GW Hydro, 40GW nuclear, 123GW from renewable if targets are reached. 42% of power would be from non-coal sources if natural gas usage is increased as projected. CapGemini projects that China will have 1230GW of electrical power by 2020. Up from about 600GW in 2006.

The State Council was reported to be considering raising the 2020 target to 75 GWe installed and 18 GWe under construction. The State Power Grid Corporation supplied 3430 billion kWh in 2008 and (earlier) expected to supply 3810 billion kWh in 2010 from 850-900 GWe. Growth is then expected to slow to 2020, when capacity is expected to reach 1600 GWe.

China nuclear plants under construction.


Plant Province MWe gross Type Agency Start const. Operation
Lingao-2 (#3 & 4) Guangdong 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 12/05, 5/06 12/10, 8/11
Qinshan 4(#6 & 7) Zhejiang 2x650 CNP-600 CNNC 4/06, 1/07 2011, 2012
Hongyanhe 1(#1-4) Liaoning 4x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 8/07, 4/08, 3/09, 7/10 10/12, 2014Ningde 1 (# 1-2) Fujian 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 2/08, 11/08, 12/12-2013
Yangjiang 1(#1-2) Guangdong 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 12/08, 15/6/09 5/13, 2015
Fuqing 1(# 1-2) Fujian 2 x 1080 CPR-1000 CNNC 11/08, 2009 10/13, 8/14
Fangjiashan (Qinshan 5) Zhejiang 2 x 1080 CNNC 12/08, 6/09 12/13, 10/14
Sanmen 1(units 1 & 2) Zhejiang 2x1100 AP1000 CNNC 3/09, 2010 10/13, 2014
Haiyang (units 1 & 2) Shandong 2x1100 AP1000 CPI 9/2009, ? 2014-15
Taishan 1 (units 1 & 2) Guangdong 2x1700 EPR CGNPC 9/09, 1/10 11/13, 2015
Shidaowan Shandong 200 HTR-PM China Huaneng 9/09 2013 or 2014
Fangchengang Guangxi 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 12/09, ? 2014, ?
Yangjiang 2 (units 3 & 4) Guangdong 2x1080 CGNPC 9/09, 7/10 2015, 15
Ningde 2 (units 3 & 4) Fujian 2x1080 CGNPC 7/09. 3/10 2014, 15
Tianwan 2 (units 3&4) Jiangsu 2x1060 AES-91 CNNC 2009?
Hongshiding 1(Rushan) Shandong 2x1080 CPR-1000 CNEC/CNNC 2009 2015
Changjiang 1
Hainan 2x650 CNP-600 CNNC 2/2009 2014, 2015
Dafan, Xianning Hubei 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 2009, 2010
Xiaomoshan 1 Hunan 2x1100 AP1000 CPI 2010
Pengze 1 Jiangxi 2x1100 AP1000 CPI 2010 2015
Haiyang 2 (units 3 & 4) Shandong 2x1100 AP1000 CPI 2010?
Wuhu Anhui 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC late 2011 2015
TOTAL 45 47,420 MWe


China has about 100 more proposed nuclear reactors.



Russia is planning to grow nuclear generation more than 50% from 23 GWe gross (21.7 net) in 2006 to 35 GWe in 2016, and at least double to 51 GWe by 2020.

In February 2008 the earlier federal target plan (FTP) to 2020 was endorsed with little change except than an extra five VVER-1200 units were added as "maximum scenario" or "extra" in the last few years to 2020. As well as the 4800 MWe capacity now under construction, a further 12,000 MWe is planned for completion mostly by 2016, and then another 16,000 to 22,000 MWe proposed by 2020. Several new sites are involved. Some US$ 282 billion is to be invested by 2015, and a further $204 billion to 2020 on the projects listed. Also the new 300 MWe units were listed as being VBER-300 PWR types.

Rosatom is also planning to construct seven or eight floating nuclear power plants by 2015. The first has been under construction since April 2007 with intended completion in 2010 originally to supply the Severodvinsk region, and the second is planned for 2012 commissioning at Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula in the far east. Each has two 35 MWe KLT-40S nuclear reactors, though reactor units may be larger or smaller. (If primarily for desalination this set-up is known as APVS-80.) As of early 2009, four are designated for northern Yakutia in connection with the Elkon uranium mining project in southern Yakutia, and in 2007 an agreement was signed with the Sakha Republic (Yakutia region) to build the first of them, using smaller ABV reactors. Five are intended for use by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola and Yamal peninsulas. Another was planned for Kamchatka region, also in the far east of the country. Electricity cost is expected to be much lower than from present alternatives.

The larger end of the floating nuclear power plant range uses a pair of 325 MWe VBER-300 reactors on a 49,000 tonne barge, and a smaller one could use a single RITM-200 reactor providing 55 MWe, this being a possible successor to the KLT-40. ATETs-80 and ATETs-200 are twin-reactor cogeneration units using KLT-40 and may be floating or land-based. The former produces 85 MWe plus 120,000 m3/day of potable water. The small ABV-6 reactor is 38 MW thermal and a pair mounted on a 97-metre barge is known as Volnolom floating NPP, producing 12 MWe plus 40,000 m3/day of potable water by reverse osmosis.

The guidelines for developing large-scale nuclear power in Russia were set out as follows early in the decade:

- Power costs not more than 3 cents/kWh,
- Capital costs under US$ 1000/kW,
- Service life at least 50 years,
- Utilisation rate at least 90%.

The technology future for Russia was focused on four elements:

- Serial construction of AES-2006 units,
- Fast breeder BN-800,
- Small and medium reactors - KLT-40 and VBER-300 (100-300 MWe),
- HTGR. (High Temperature Gas Reactor)


Speculist Explains why Seniors Get More Medicare Dollars

Phil Bowermaster has an excellent piece at the Speculist on medicare, senior citizens, life extension and financial choices for healthcare.

Seniors get more medicare dollars because more seniors die in any year than children or other groups. Most medicare dollars are spent in the last 6 years of life.





Fighting aging has a related article.

The rules made and vast sums of money moved around (and wasted) by government employees distort all businesses, all decisions, all processes in medicine. Once you step into the swamp and start debating which clump of mud should be over here versus over there, then every argument you make has the largely ignored cost of government waste and government regulation attatched to it.


The costs are not independent of the arbitrary rules that have been created. Consideration should be given to revamp the rules to achieve lower costs and faster and better results in radically improved medicine. Otherwise real progress will have to be made outside of places like the USA and Europe where there is too much bureaucracy (FDA etc...) that does not have rules tested and reversed if they are shown not to add more value than they cost in time and waste.

Roundup of Articles on Taiwan, China and US Economies

This site has forecast that China's currency will strengthen substantially versus the US dollar and China will re-establish strong economic growth and pass the overall size of the US economy in 2016.

Taiwan is opening its economy to Mainland Chinese investment.

On May 1, China formally approved Taiwan-bound investment by qualified domestic institutional investors. Four days later, it announced a plan to step up development of a cross-strait economic zone in Fujian Province. Taiwanese auto, banking and other companies added to the euphoria by announcing investment tie-up plans with mainland companies.

The response to all this has been a stock market frenzy, especially by foreign institutional investors. JPMorgan Chase announced a target of 8,000 for the Taiex by year-end (the Taiex closed at 6,485 on Wednesday).

Goldman Sachs upgraded Taiwan shares in general to “overweight” this month. “The rapidity and scope of recent cross-strait initiatives,” it said in a note, “are welcome signals that Taiwan may finally reap the economic benefits from a warmer relationship with China.”

Kevin Yang, chief investment officer at Paradigm Asset Management, added that for now, Beijing was capping Taiwan-bound investment at about 7.2 billion Taiwan dollars, or about $219 million.

“That’s very little,” he said. “I think the market’s overreacting.”

Phil Chu of Grand Cathay Securities and other analysts say foreign investors are betting that Taiwan will be another Hong Kong, where the stock market boomed following its opening to mainland investment. “I think it’s possible Taiwan’s stock market could double by 2012,” Mr. Chu said. “But it won’t go up as much as Hong Kong’s did.”


Time Magazine has the "Argument Over China's Economic Prospects Intensifies"

Time feels that China's consumer is not ready to take the place of the US consumer.
China's economy cannot stand on its own without the U.S. economy recovering its foundation, which is consumer spending. That means that the prospects of rapid GDP growth in the world's most populous nation remain doubtful.


Seeking Alpha has an article that the US debt levels will cause the US dollar to devalue and for the Chinese yuan to emerge as the new reserve currency.






Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have raised China's growth estimates.

Morgan Stanley raised its forecast for China economic growth to 7-8 percent from 5 percent for 2009 but warned the pace will slow next year as a protracted global slowdown deals a blow to the export-led economy. (a W shaped recovery)

Goldman Sachs raised its China growth forecast to 8.3 percent for 2009 and 10.9 percent for 2010, citing strong expansion in both fixed-asset and private sector investment.

Morgan Stanley Asia Chairman Stephen Roach suggested that China should strengthen its social safety net so that people will become more willing to spend.

China should double the size of the country's social security fund to $160 billion immediately and boost the private consumption share of the Chinese economy to 50 percent from currently 36 percent in five years, he said.

"China needs to stop depending on the over-extended American consumer and needs to rely more on the untapped potential of its own consumers," Roach said.


China is revamping its economic statistic tracking and reporting.

During the current downturn, China's National Bureau of Statistics has tried to provide more and better information. It is publishing data on food prices more frequently, and promises more detailed figures on output, jobs and wages. New penalties for falsifying statistical reports are also now in force.

There are signs the government is more open about bad economic news. As factories started to close last year, officials ordered special surveys of migrants in January, and publicized the shocking tally: around 20 million lost jobs.

The economic census has been commended as a serious effort to grasp the contours of China's economy. But it's not clear how the census results are reconciled with existing figures based on less-comprehensive surveys, and the statistics bureau publishes little information about its calculations. Among outside analysts, confusion persists over internal inconsistencies in the numbers.

"China is becoming such a big country that we expect some normalcy and some international standards," said Carsten Holz, an economist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who has written about Chinese statistics. "I would describe it as a rather professional bureaucracy, but the final stage is political."


From Petaflop to Exaflop


The NCCS massively parallel high-performance storage system (HPSS) data archive allows users to store vast amounts of long-term data. HPSS currently consists of tape and disk storage components, Linux servers, and HPSS software. As of October 2008 the system is storing over 3.5 petabytes of data. Tape storage is provided by robotic tape libraries that can each hold up to 30,000 cartridges, each of which can store up to a terabyte of data.

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) is working in collaboration with the Office of Science and the Department of Defense in the High Productivity Computer Systems (HPCS) program. Cray and IBM have been selected to work on building machines capable of around 20 petaflops. ORNL will work closely with both companies to help them understand the strengths and weaknesses of their designs and the computational needs of large-scale scientific applications. By 2011-2012, the Office of Science plans to install a 20-petaflop machine designed by the vendor whose design is selected. Looking even further into the future, the goal is to install a 100-250-petaflop machine in the 2015 time-frame, and an exaflop machine by 2018.


EVEREST (Exploratory Visualization Environment for REsearch in Science and Technology) is a large-scale venue for data exploration and analysis




Jaguar Petaflop MAchine Getting 10 Petabytes of Storage
One of the other major features supporting the new Jaguar system is a Lustre-based file system called Spider. "Jaguar also has an enormous amount of I/O bandwidth—all that memory is useless if you can't load data into the computer and get results back out," Bland adds. "Jaguar has a disc bandwidth of 288 gigabytes per second—larger than any other supercomputer, but very balanced for a system of this size."

Lustre, originally developed by Cluster File Systems, is an open-source, scalable, secure, robust, highly available cluster file system designed, developed, and maintained by Sun Microsystems. Spider will provide the Jaguar system with 10 petabytes of storage space.




A magnetohydrodynamic simulation performed with the GenASiS code explores what effects the instability of a supernova shock wave has on the magnetic fields in stellar cores during core-collapse supernova explosions. Shown is a volumetric representation of magnetic field strength (the semitransparent part) as well as a sampling of magnetic field strength and orientation at selected nodes (the vectors). The purpose of this was to help understand the effect of magnetic fields on the evolution of the 3D shock front.




FURTHER READING
Achieving an exaflop computer by 2015 was examined earlier and also creating a SETI@home collection of distributed computers with an exaflop of compute power in 2010-2011.

Folding@Home is the largest of the compute networks

The fastest, Folding@home, reported over 8.5 petaflops of processing power as of May, 2009. Of this, 2.5 petaflops of this processing power is contributed by clients running on PlayStation 3 systems and another 5.3 petaflops is contributed by their newly released GPU2 client.

Another distributed computing project BOINC platform, a host for a number of distributed computing projects. As of February 2009[update], BOINC recorded a processing power of over 1.7 petaflops through over 530,000 active computers on the network. One such project, SETI@home, reported processing power of over 508 teraflops through almost 317,000 active computers


May 13, 2009

The First 43 Years and Next 43 Years of Star Trek and Our World

The First 43 Years from 1966 to 2009
We start just a little before 1966 (when the first show of the TV series was aired, which would technically be the first 45 years) to get a sense of technology and the world while the Star Trek show was in its development phase through to today.

In 1964, Roddenberry secured a three-year development deal with leading independent TV production company Desilu (founded by comedy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz). In Roddenberry's original concept, the protagonist was named Captain Robert April of the "S.S. Yorktown". Eventually, this character became Captain Christopher Pike. The first pilot episode, "The Cage", was made in 1964, with actor Jeffrey Hunter in the role of Pike after Roddenberry's first choice, Lloyd Bridges had reportedly turned it down.

TV screens increased from an average size of 21 inches for the 1980s-90s to up to 32 inches and 37inches in 2007.

  • 1964: Control Data Corporation CDC 6600, the First Supercomputer
    A floating point multiplication took ten cycles, while a division took 29, and the overall performance considering memory delays and other issues was about 3 MFLOPS. Using the best available compilers, late in the machine's history, FORTRAN programs could expect to maintain about 0.5 MFLOPS.

  • 1965: NASA Project Gemini Computer - The First in Space

  • 1965: DEC PDP-8 Desktop-sized Minicomputer is Introduced
    The first minicomputer, built by Digital Equipment (DEC). It cost $16,000. 50,000 were sold (the most of any computer up to that time).

  • 1966: The Acoustic Modem is Improved for General Use

  • 1967: Ampex Instant Replay Disk Recorder

  • 1968: The First Computer Mouse is Demonstrated

  • 1969: CBS EVR or Electronic Video Recording System Prototype

  • 1969: RCA SelectaVision HoloTape Player Prototype

  • 1970: Telefunken Teldec VideoDisc Player Prototype

  • 1971: Intel 4004 - The First Microprocessor on the Market

  • 1971: Computer Space - The First Arcade Video Game

  • 1972: Magnavox Odyssey - The First Home Video Game System

  • 1972 Half the TVs in US homes are color sets.

  • 1972: Cartrivision - The First VCR with Prerecorded Tapes

  • 1973 Giant screen projection TV is first marketed.

  • 1973: Xero Alto Computer

  • 1973: RCA SelectaVision MagTape Prototype VCR

  • 1975: IBM 5100 - The First IBM PC - Is Released

  • 1975: Sony Betamax Combination TV/VCR Released in the U.S.

  • 1976: First Stand-alone Sony Betamax VCR Released in the U.S.

  • 1976: Apple Computer Co. Comes Into Existence

  • 1977: The First VHS VCR is Introduced in the U.S.

  • 1977: Atari Video Computer System

  • 1978: Heathkit H8 Unassembled Kit Computer

  • 1979: RadioShack TRS-80 Model II with Integral 8-inch Floppy Drive

  • 1980: Apple III Business Computer

  • 1981: Commodore VIC 20 Personal Computer

  • 1981: Xerox Star - The GUI is Marketed

  • 1981: Osborne Portable Computer

  • 1981: The IBM Personal Computer is Introduced

  • 1982: Sony CDP-101 - the Compact Disc is Introduced

  • 1984: Macintosh Hits the Market

  • 1985: The Commodore Amiga Is Introduced

  • 1993: The Graphical WWW is Born with the Release of NCSA Mosaic

  • 1994: The RCA Digital Satellite System (DSS) Begins Broadcasting

  • 1997: DVD Achieves a Nationwide Market

  • 1999: Personal Video Recorders from ReplayTV and TiVo are Introduced

  • 2002: Smartphone Blackberry

  • 2007: iPhone introduced


  • There are now supercomputers with over one petaflop of performance. This is one billion times faster than computers at the start of Star Trek. Broadband communication speeds of 10 mbps-100mbps are generally available.






    Future of Television and Displays

    Future television will have larger screens (60 inch average size for 2015) and high resolution and lower energy usage. Displays will be built into more surfaces and windows. There will also be holographic displays and environments.

    Holographic television appears likely to begin around 2020.

    the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will be starting a public-private partnership to develop technology for SHV in the hopes of setting an international standard for Super Hi-Vision in addition to broadcasting with it beginning in 2015 Super Hi Vision (7680 × 4320 pixels) has 16 times the pixel resolution of maximum HDTV (maximum resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels

    Red Digital Cinema Camera Company is making far higher resolution digital cameras and video players at far lower costs.

    Red Video players are being prototyped and demonstrated.

    Red Camera has developed a wavelet compression that compresses video by 700 times or more. Compression is to 10 MBs.

    Intel is developing Claytronics, which will use all digital radios.

    1. Claytronics catom components are now millimeter size in the lab and will be micron size in 5-10 years.
    2. Intel will have all digital multi-radios in 2009. Digital components can be miniaturized far better than analog and can have benefits in terms of performance.
    3. Intel has a solid roadmap to 11nm lithography in 2015.
    4. If micron sized claytronic catoms were pixels then resolution would be 20,000 X 30,000 or three hundred times better than HDTV or 20 times better than Super Hi Vision.

    Future of Computers

    DOE is getting a 20 petaflop supercomputer from IBM for 2011.

    NASA and Intel are developing a 10 petaflop computer for 2012.

    Exaflop supercomputers could be possible as early as 2015

    On chip photonic communications and other re-architecting of computers can enable zettaflop supercomputers.

    Multi-Zettaflop supercomputers and petaflop portable computers are something for the 2022-2030 timeframe. There would still be 20-30 years left until 2052.

    Three dimensional plasmonic computers that harness nanoparticle size components will be one of many new architectures that will be used to move beyond zettaflops.

    Nader Engheta (University of Pennsylvania, engheta@ee.upenn.edu) argued that nano-particles, some supporting plasmon excitations, could be configured to act as nm-sized capacitors, resistors, and inductors -- the basic elements of any electrical circuit.

    The circuit in this case would be able to operate not at radio (10**10 Hz) or microwave (10**12 Hz) frequencies but at optical (10**15 Hz) frequencies. This would make possible the miniaturization and direct processing of optical signals with nano-antennas, nano-circuit-filters, nano-waveguides, nano-resonators, and may lead to possible applications in nano-computing, nano-storage, molecular signaling, and molecular-optical interfacing.


    A fully three dimensional computer with nanoparticle elements and optical compute frequencies and an inherently massively parallel processing structure would have another million or billion times speed boost beyond zettaflops.

    Follow ups to this article will look at the future of
    - Space Access
    - Energy Production
    - Medicine
    - Communication

    International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2009


    IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2009) in Kobe, Japan, is presenting many interesting robots. [H/T Sander Olson]

    A rapid pole climbing robot from the University of Pennsylvania.



    Robot-Assisted Rapid Prototyping for Ice Structures

    Video of ice sculpting robot at this link

    McGill University researchers are currently developing experimental robotic systems for building ice structures: the Fab@home, for building small-scale structures, and the Adept Cobra 600 robot, for building medium-scale structures. Further software and hardware development is needed for the Cobra, since it was not designed for rapid prototyping, and certainly not for rapid prototyping using ice as the working material. The authors have designed and built fluid delivery systems for each machine to permit the use of water as the building material. A signal-processing subsystem permits control of the water-delivery flow rate and synchronization with the robot motion. Additionally, we have developed a slicing algorithm to generate toolpaths for the Cobra using stereolithography (STL) files as the input. We also intend to develop a larger robotic system for producing ice sculptures and buildings at the architectural scale.








    Safe platooning of vehicles without communication (would enable high traffic volume and lower fuel usage)

    LORIA Researchers propose a novel near-to-near longitudinal platooning building a collision-free platooning whatever the number of vehicles. The model is derived from the study of the most dangerous interaction between two vehicles, i.e. considering the maximum acceptable acceleration when the previous vehicles brakes at maximum capacity. Collision avoidance of this model is proved. Finally, we show that this model can be combined to existing ones, keeping this collision-free property while allowing more various behaviors.




    FURTHER READING
    International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2009) website

    Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology is Indistinguishable from Magic: Beyond Invisibility Illusion Optics


    Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology propose to use transformation optics [advanced metamaterials] to generate a general illusion such that an arbitrary object appears to be like some other object of our choice. This is achieved by using a remote device that transforms the scattered light outside a virtual boundary into that of the object chosen for the illusion, regardless of the profile of the incident wave. This type of illusion device also enables people to see through walls. Our work extends the concept of cloaking as a special form of illusion to the wider realm of illusion optics.

    23 page research paper

    This type of illusion device also enables people to see through walls. Our work extends the concept of cloaking as a special form of illusion to the wider realm of illusion optics.

    We note that some special illusion tricks by image projection using transformation
    optics have been discovered, such as the shifted-position image of an object inside a metamaterial shell, the cylindrical superlens, the “superscatterer”, the
    “reshaper” and the “super absorber”. Recently, we proposed an approach to
    realize “cloaking at a distance” by using an “anti-object”. Here, by combining the “anti-object” cloaking functionality and the image projection functionality, we achieve a general form of illusion optics such that an object can be disguised into something else and the illusion device itself is invisible. This general form of illusion optics with arbitrary shape and generalized topology is proved mathematically as it is designed with transformation optics and the functionality is also demonstrated numerically.






    In principle, the illusion optics allows us to remotely change the optical response of an object into that of any other object chosen for illusion at a selected frequency, without the need to change the constituents and shape of the true object or even cover its surface. This opens up interesting possibilities. For instance, an illusion waveguide or photonic crystal would allow the control of light propagation in actual free space; an illusion tip might perform near-field scanning optical microscopy without physically approaching a surface. However, the theoretical foundation of the illusion device is transformation optics and, as such, our theory relies on the validity and accuracy of a linear continuous medium that describes the homogenized electromagnetic fields in metamaterials. This requirement is crucial in the interface between the complementary medium and the “cancelled” object due to the high-intensity local fields as well as rapid oscillations there. The range of the virtual boundary also plays an important role. When it is large, the field at the boundary will be large as well. Another issue that we have not considered is loss, which will degrade the illusion effect unless the object is close to the device. If these issues and challenges can be solved with advances in metamaterial technologies, we should be able to harness the power of transformation optics to create illusions.





















    Seeing Through Walls

















    Spoon Into a Cup



    Ripsaw Robotic Tank


    Built by twin brothers, Geoff and Mike Howe of Barwick, Maine, the Ripsaw, unmanned ground vehicle, can careen at high speed [over 60 mph] over obstacles that would leave a vehicle’s crew dazed and bruised. It is operated by a driver in another vehicle using a modular crew station that can be unbolted and placed in a range of Army vehicles, including the Stryker and all the MRAP models. It is a cheap unmanned vehicle that is able to drive at the full speed of Humvees or other military truck convoys.

    A weaponised version, modified by the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, includes a remotely operated M240 machine gun. The gun is operated by a separate person using another modular station that can be put in a range of vehicles. The Ripsaw can carry a payload of 2,000 pounds. It is not armored and each track can be removed as a unit should it be damaged. It was funded by an earmark worth about $1 million.

    Howe and howe is a small company with about a staff of 16 (although if prospective sales for some of the vehicles are made this staff will increase.






    Coal Mine Personnel Carrier

    The SR-1 subterranean rover, a mean-looking, black personnel carrier resembling the legendary Batmobile, can endure cratered terrain, fireball blasts, and cave-ins.


    Built specifically for subterranean operation, SR1 is ideal for coal and precious metal mining. The chassis is engineered out of 4130 chrome molly tubing to withstand the harshest of environments while offering extremely good fatigue resistance. The chassis is then further strengthened by completely webbing the tubular structure with .125" plate steel. With 14" of suspension, SR1 offers a smooth 6 person ride while also reducing the jarring forces throughout the frame. SR1 is engineered ground up to not only be the most durable mining personnel transport vehicle ever assembled but also to be extremely modular and easily maintained. Built with "over the shelf" parts, SR1 maintenance is simple and inexpensive. Powered by a tier 3 Cummins 4QSB, SR1 is powerful and emission certified for mining operations. SR1 is designed to replace the less reliable and more complex Humvee. It is also designed to be faster, more comfortable and less complex than current industry standard hydrostatic drive human transport mining vehicles

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    May 12, 2009

    Startup Pixel Qi Will Soon Release Low-cost, Color E-paper / LCD Combination

    Pixel Qi is a fabless ASIC company that specializes in screens. The screen is just a big ASIC chip - we work closely with the large LCD factories. The trick - we use their standard processes and materials and can produce new screens with radical new performance in about a year. Rather than just a demo - we can get all the way to high volume mass production in a year.

    Pixel Qi screens will use 1/2 to 1/4 the power of a regular LCD screen, and when integrated carefully with the device can increase battery life between charges by 5-fold.


    Startup Pixel Qi looks to have its first e-paper/LCD screens out in a couple of months. They will be 10" diagonal screens for netbooks and ebook readers that will sample in mid-2009 and ship in high volume in late 2009. These screens rival the best epaper displays on the market today but in addition have video refresh and fully saturated color. The epaper mode has 3 times the resolution of the fully saturated color mode allowing for a high resolution reading experience without sacrifice to super color fidelity for graphics. In addition these screens can be used in sunlight. Look for them in the market in the second half of 2009.


    Low Cost, sub-10 Watt HDTV

    They have begun design of a sub-10 watt HDTV that can be used in hundreds of millions of households that don't have steady, if any, access to electrical power. The typical HDTV uses more than 100 Watts and often draws several hunded watts. We are working on a way to massively lower the power consumption, and significantly lower the price with a target price of $100. Thus this HDTV can run off of battery that can be charged up when the power is on, or charged with a small solar panel





    Wired has coverage of Pixel Qi.

    Response time for E Ink displays are about 200 milliseconds. Pixel Qi’s displays are expected to show average response time between 5 ms and 30 ms. As the e-book readers market matures, companies are likely to seek a second display supply source and Pixel Qi could emerge as a viable alternative to E Ink.

    Pixel Qi is creating a hybrid display that combines the best of E Ink and regular LCDs,” says Robert Barry, director of business development for Team Research, a company that makes an e-book reader called the Astak Mentor. Team Research has partnered with Pixel Qi to include the latter’s display into a new e-book reader codenamed ‘Spectrum.’


    Star Trek and the Future



    The most recent Star Trek movie is a financial success. It made $79 million in the first weekend. Therefore, a guaranteed prediction is that there will be many more Star Trek sequel movies in the future. There will also be more attempts (and likely some successful launches) at new Star Trek television series. However, any television series will not be able to afford the actors who are in the current Star Trek movie (except possibly special appearances or cross promotions).

    There were some reviews that looked at the movie from a military and computer security perspective. The reviews have spoilers for the movie so do not look at them until after you have seen the movie or if you do not care about the spoilers.

    Wired had a "military analysis" of the most recent Star Trek movie.

    Computer World looked at the computer and information technology security problems that still plague the imagined future.

    For military aspects, the issues boil down to given the hypothetical technology available, the characters of the Star Trek world only know how to fight as well as mostly scientifically, computer and military illiterate movie writers choose to make them.

    Particular trouble spots are basic physics and astronomy which are central to a space based setting. Things like E equals M C squared. You go faster then you have squared the amount of kinetic energy. Other areas of knowledge would be trouble as well if they ended up being incorporated into the movie or TV show. It is the rare piece of entertainment that goes to the effort of trying to incorporate some kind of technical accuracy. However, even in those attempts at getting certain details there is usually exaggeration of some aspects in order to fit the entertainment. Law and Orders makes substantial efforts to get legal procedures and police procedures accurate. Yet, the case volume for the primary detectives and lawyers is massively exaggerated and some methods produce better and faster results than in reality. In reality, many murders go unsolved. Homocide detectives have 4-6 cases per year and clear about 61% nationally. [Clearing a case means getting an arrest. The number where the correct person was arrested or where that correct person was sent to jail is lower.] The medical and police procedures in shows like CSI attempt to get some accuracy but the capabilities, speed and accuracy of the techniques is exaggerated.



    The Star Trek movie and the entertainment it provides is rightly focused on telling a good story and having a fast pace and entertaining plot and engaging characters and actors.

    An enthusiastic non-technical review by Kevin Smith.

    Kevin Smith is so enamored of Chris Pine [who played James Kirk], he's willing to do almost anything to take in another of the actor's performances. "I'd watch that dude do anything," Smith said with a laugh. "I'd watch that dude have sex with my wife at this point. He's such a good actor."

    But it wasn't just Pine that had Smith raving about "Trek." "The opening 10 minutes of that movie are astounding," he said. "It's, like, everything could go downhill after that, and you would still leave that movie going, 'That movie rocked.' But, luckily, it doesn't really go downhill. It maintains that energy throughout."


    The Star Trek Universe has basically been reset. There is no need to delve into the reasons that are provided. This should be considered a parallel dimension with as many similarities and differences to the old universe of TV shows, movies and books as the writers choose to incorporate for maximum entertainment value.


    The most important movie reviews for the health of the future of Star Trek are positive reviews from previous non-fans.

    On meta-review site Rotten Tomatoes, Star Trek 11 is getting 95% positive reviews.





    RELATED READING
    This site has considered the basic shape of a positive human future 240-250 years from now.

    An Amusing Bit of Star Wars/ Star Trek Fanboy Video