Archive for nanotechnology

Slow Week

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 22, 2009 by xtravaluemeal


Man oh man the future was coming on slow last week.  A few gadgets and a bunch of celebrity news, but then the end of the week came on strong.  Here are two great articles promising important steps forward in nano-brain-computing.

The New Scientist reports on two new computer interfaces without the old ball and chain (keyboard & mouse).

“I wanted to build a new human-computer interface that would take advantage of our abilities to grasp objects, move them around and understand the spatial relationships between them,” Merrill says. “Many of these skills are underutilised.”

He has now done this by building a set of smart blocks he calls “siftables”, each about the size of a toddler’s play brick. Users feed information into the system simply by shuffling the siftables around, while the siftables themselves relay information back to the user.

Each siftable measures about 5-centimetres square and is fitted with an LCD screen, battery, memory, an accelerometer to detect motion, a Bluetooth radio to communicate with other computers, and an infrared link to detect the presence and orientation of neighbouring siftables. Each block also has a small amount of built-in computing power, comparable to that available in a mid-1980s PC.

A group of siftables can be programmed to either solve problems independently, or take their orders from a desktop computer, in which case the way the pieces are moved around also controls an application running on the computer.

I like this approach to computing.  It fits right in to the current trend of diversifying while unifying, moving applications to the cloud, GPS and social communities to our cell phones, and personal data storage/computing to our brains (coming soon, I swear).  When three dimensional physical objects can become movable usable programmable widgets anyone will be able to carry out small scale experiments.  It really plays on the creative brain.  Pair that with the Minority Report style interface also reported on in the article “Sixth Sense” and you have an interactive world at our fingertips. They are already promising brain implants in 10 years.

Read the entire article HERE.

Oh yeah, Forbes also reported on a new method of data storage that could fit 10.5 Terrabits on a surface the size of a quarter.

Soon I’ll be blogging from bed.