Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology have succeeded in creating light from vacuum – observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. The results will be published tomorrow (Wednesday) in the journal Nature. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.
The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.
Chalmers scientist, Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists.
Androids are being developed that have an uncanny resemblance to people. A pinnacle example is an android crafted by roboticist David Hanson that resembles the famous and deceased science fiction writer Philip K.
(Robert Dash's subjects are stomata — plant pores that take carbon dioxide in and push oxygen and water out. Though his subjects are barely a fraction of the size of a pinhead, they pack a world of wonder.
Dash uses a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to produce the micrographs. But first he must prepare the plant specimen — stems, leaves, and flowers that are no larger than a grain of rice — through an elaborate process that involves drying them out and coating them with a light mist of gold or palladium so that they conduct electricity. "Once in the SEM," Dash says, "it is not light but a beam of electrons which scans the sample and creates an image."
Dash admits he's drawn to the images that suggest eyes and mouths. "These symbolize an intelligence and cleverness of a significant life form that we interact with daily, but know so little about," he says. "I'm fascinated by the intelligence of plants."
An experiment by University of Washington researchers is setting the stage for advances in mind reading technology. Using brain implants and sophisticated software, researchers can now predict what their subjects are seeing with startling speed and accuracy.
Formerly known as Internet Explorer and then as Project Spartan, Microsoft Edge Browser has evolved a lot. From the User Interface to the technology it’s built upon, the browser has completely changed in its variant meant for Windows 10. This post will provide an insight into the artifacts left behind on the local machine by…
In a new paper published in Science, researchers at the Harvard and Raytheon BBN Technology have made a breakthrough in our understanding of graphene's basic properties, observing for the first time electrons in a metal behaving like a fluid. This research could lead to novel thermoelectric devices as well as provide a model system to explore exotic phenomena like black holes and high-energy plasmas.
MIT researchers have developed a new chip designed to implement neural networks. It is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing.
In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain.
Neural networks are typically implemented using graphics processing units (GPUs), special-purpose graphics chips found in all computing devices with screens. A mobile GPU, of the type found in a cell phone, might have almost 200 cores, or processing units, making it well suited to simulating a network of distributed processors.
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. It is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing.
Neural nets were widely studied in the early days of artificial-intelligence research, but by the 1970s, they’d fallen out of favor. In the past decade, however, they’ve enjoyed a revival, under the name “deep learning.”
“Deep learning is useful for many applications, such as object recognition, speech, face detection,” says Vivienne Sze, the Emanuel E. Landsman Career Development Assistant Professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science whose group developed the new chip. “Right now, the networks are pretty complex and are mostly run on high-power GPUs. You can imagine that if you can bring that functionality to your cell phone or embedded devices, you could still operate even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection. You might also want to process locally for privacy reasons. Processing it on your phone also avoids any transmission latency, so that you can react much faster for certain applications.”
The new chip, which the researchers dubbed “Eyeriss,” could also help usher in the “Internet of things” — the idea that vehicles, appliances, civil-engineering structures, manufacturing equipment, and even livestock would have sensors that report information directly to networked servers, aiding with maintenance and task coordination. With powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms on board, networked devices could make important decisions locally, entrusting only their conclusions, rather than raw personal data, to the Internet. And, of course, onboard neural networks would be useful to battery-powered autonomous robots.
Researchers have engineered tiny gold particles that can assemble into a variety of crystalline structures simply by adding a bit of DNA to the solution that surrounds them. Down the road, such reprogrammable particles could be used to make materials that reshape themselves in response to light, or to create novel catalysts that reshape themselves as reactions proceed.
Ray Kurzweil is the world's foremost futurist, authoring bestsellers like "The Age of Spiritual Machines" and "How to Create a Mind."
He's so influential that Google hired him to lead its artificial intelligence efforts. Kurzweil is known for making predictions, which are right about 86% of the time. Here are some of his most promising (and terrifying) visions of the 2020s and beyond.
Nanobots, Kurzweil said in a webinar earlier this year, will give us "full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system." Earlier this month, Kurzweil said that nanobots will "finish the job" of the natural human immune system. We'll be able to defeat any disease, even cancer. This leads to what futurists call "radical life extension." Kurzweil, like other futurists,considered death a disease to be cured — and nanobots are one of the ways to cure it.
As 3-D printing becomes more large scale and open source, more of of the world around us will become information technology.
Kurzweil says that by the 2020s, you'll be able to "live extremely well and print out everything you need." Already, 3-D printed houses, rib cages, andbridges are becoming a reality.
And we will hit singularity. The most important date for Kurzweil is 2045. That's the year, he says, of what futurists call the Singularity, the moment when biological evolution's rate of growth is superceded by artificial intelligence. Kurzweil says that in 2045, the computational power of artificial intelligence will be a billion times that of human intelligence. And our species will never be the same...
Kurzweil and other futurists see "mind-uploading" as a major consequence of the singularity. Even Stephen Hawking thinks it's possible. "I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain on to a computer and so provide a form of life after death," the physicist says. "However, this is way beyond our present capabilities." But by 2045, it might not be.
If your mind is uploaded and virtual reality is fully immersive, then no doubt your bodywill be virtual, too. "The virtual bodies will be as detailed and convincing as real bodies," Kurzweil says.
A team of material scientists in the United States has discovered a novel allotrope of carbon, Q-carbon.
Q-carbon is distinct from graphite and diamond. The only place it may be found in the natural world would be possibly in the core of some planets, according to team leader Prof. Jagdish Narayan, of North Carolina State University. The new carbon allotrope has some unusual characteristics: it is ferromagnetic, harder than diamond, and it glows when exposed to low levels of energy.
“Q-carbon’s strength and low work-function – its willingness to release electrons – make it very promising for developing new electronic display technologies,” Prof. Narayan explained. Prof. Narayan and his colleague, North Carolina State University Ph.D. student Anagh Bhaumik, have also developed a technique for using Q-carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air.
To produce Q-carbon, the material scientists start with a glass or sapphire substrate. The substrate is then coated with an amorphous metastable phase of carbon, where bonding characteristics are a mixture of graphite and diamond.
The carbon is then hit with a single KrF laser pulse lasting 200 nanoseconds. During this pulse, the temperature of the carbon is raised to 6,740 degrees Fahrenheit (3,727 degrees Celsius) and then rapidly cooled. This operation takes place at one atmosphere – the same pressure as the surrounding air. The end result is a film of Q-carbon, and scientists can control the process to make films between 20 nanometers and 500 nanometers thick. By using different substrates and changing the duration of the laser pulse, they can also control how quickly the carbon cools. By changing the rate of cooling, they are able to create diamond structures within the Q-carbon.
“We can create diamond nanoneedles or microneedles, nanodots, or large-area diamond films, with applications for drug delivery, industrial processes and for creating high-temperature switches and power electronics,” Prof. Narayan explained. Bhaumik and Prof. Narayan reported their results in a pair of papers in theJournal of Applied Physics and the journal APL Materials.
Nowadays, multitasking capabilities are a fundamental part of modern warfare.Among the many innovations introduced in Russia this year, kinetic control of drones certainly does represent a major breakthrough.The project is mainly financed by the Foundation for Advanced Research, (Wikipedia) an organization that works on programs related to Russia’s national defense.
If you accidentally get transformed into a fly, and get caught in a Venus flytrap, here is some valuable advice: Don’t panic. “If you just sit there and wait, the next morning, the trap will open and you can leave,” says Ranier Hedrich from the University of Würzburg. “It you panic, you induce a deadly cycle of disintegration.”
Hedrich and others have found that the Venus flytrap can count the number of times that its victims touch the sensory hairs on its leaves. One touch does nothing. Two closes the trap. Three primes the trap for digestion. And five,according to Hedrich’s latest study, triggers the production of digestive enzymes—and more touches mean more enzymes. The plant apportions its digestive efforts according to the struggles of its prey. And the fly, by fighting for its life, tells the plant to start killing it, and how vigorously to do so.
The Venus flytrap has captivated scientists for centuries, perhaps because of how un-plant-like it is. It captures and eats animals. Its leaves look unnervingly like fang-lined mouths. It moves quickly, with each of its traps closing shut in a tenth of a second. It has, on occasion, a fantastic singing voice. It is, as Charles Darwin said, “one of the most wonderful [plants] in the world.” To understand his admiration, it helps to slow things down, and see exactly what happens when the flytrap traps.
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