Faster and denser chips

: "According to chipmakers and a technology road map from the Semiconductor Industry Association , we can expect transistor counts on CPUs to double from 1 billion to 2 billion in two years, and to an astonishing 4 billion in four years. The SIA roadmap predicts chips will continue to become smaller and denser through 2020.

Intel and AMD have said CPU clock speeds -- measured in gigahertz -- will not increase to the same degree as in years past due to constraints in power consumption and heat. However, the companies will take advantage of increasing chip densities to pack multiple cores onto each chip, resulting in performance leaps. Intel said there may be as many as 100 cores packed on a single processor within 10 years."



Robots writing speeding tickets

Photo Radar Citations Begin on Loop 101: "Civil speeding citations are now being issued in Scottsdale to motorists who trigger speed cameras on the Loop 101 Freeway within the city's boundaries...

The average volume on the freeway is about 150,000 vehicles per day on weekdays and slightly less on weekends. During the first 30 days of the warning period, cameras detected speeds over 76 mph an average of about 770 times daily on weekdays and about 1,400 times daily on weekends and holidays.

All citations issued on the freeway will be processed by the Scottsdale Police Department and referred to the Scottsdale City Court. The total cost for a typical speeding citation is $157. "



Taco Bell kiosks

These photos show a kiosk system being tested at Taco Bell here in NC:

Crazy Taco Bell Automated Ordering

In Robotic Nation these fast food kiosks are discussed in some detail. With kiosks becoming ubiquitous in airports, stores and other public places, it seems like only a matter of time before they invade fast food establishments.



Center for Intelligent Mechatronics: Exoskeleton

The idea of powering robot joints with fuel rather than electric motors is interesting, at least in the short term. Precision seems unlikely, but the power would be nice in some applications.

Center for Intelligent Mechatronics: Exoskeleton: "The power supply most often used for untethered robots is battery power. Although battery power is effective in its own right, it generally contains insufficient mass specific energy density to perform human-scale work for extended periods of time. For example, one of the more advanced current mobile robots - Honda's P-3 Humanoid Robot - has an operation time of only 15-25 minutes, depending on its workload. Operation times of this magnitude or smaller are not uncommon and represent one major technological roadblock for designing mobile robots that can operate remotely for extended periods of time.
The Center for Intelligent Mechatronics is currently working with UC Berkeley under DARPA funding to develop liquid fueled robot actuators that provide an order of magnitude greater energy and power density than typical battery-powered geared DC motors,"



IBM's new idea for saving on chips / Method addresses basic problem for the industry

IBM's new idea for saving on chips / Method addresses basic problem for the industry: "IBM researchers say they have figured out a way to extend the optical lithography method by shooting light through a specially designed liquid rather than through air.
The researchers will detail their findings at the SPIE Microlithography 2006 conference in San Jose today.

'The whole industry has quite a challenge here, but scaling is what drives the whole industry,' said Gian-Luca Bona, a scientist at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose. Risto Puhakka, an analyst at industry research firm VLSI Research, said chipmakers are looking at a variety of new methods of making chips, but those technologies are new and largely unproven. Also, the cost of switching to a new method would mean refitting chip factories with new equipment that could cost the industry billions of dollars, he said.

That's why he finds IBM's latest findings are so intriguing. 'It tells us that optical lithography is not running out of steam,' he said."



Couple's implant chips take love to a new level

Couple's implant chips take love to a new level: "Jennifer Tomblin and Amal Graafstra have made the most modern declaration of their affection for each other, with implanted electronic chips that allow them unfettered access to each other's lives.

It's called Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID. Both have had a small electronic chip embedded under their skin that grants access to each other's front doors and home computers.

The system works like a key-card. A simple swipe of the wrist across an electronic sensor, and they're in."


New magnetic chips for microprocessors

New Microchips Shun Transistors: "For the first time, researchers have created a working prototype of a radical new chip design based on magnetism instead of electrical transistors.

As transistor-based microchips hit the limits of Moore's Law, a group of electrical engineers at the University of Notre Dame has fabricated a chip that uses nanoscale magnetic "islands" to juggle the ones and zeroes of binary code.

Wolfgang Porod and his colleagues turned to the process of magnetic patterning to produce a new chip that uses arrays of separate magnetic domains. Each island maintains its own magnetic field.

Because the chip has no wires, its device density and processing power may eventually be much higher than transistor-based devices. And it won't be nearly as power-hungry, which will translate to less heat emission and a cooler future for portable hardware like laptops."



US group implants electronic tags in workers

US group implants electronic tags in workers: "An Ohio company has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees - the first known case in which US workers have been 'tagged' electronically as a way of identifying them.

CityWatcher.com, a private video surveillance company, said it was testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police. "



Toy makers hawk robotic playmates

Toy makers hawk robotic playmates: "With young consumers growing out of toys faster and preferring iPod digital music players and video games, the nation's toy makers are working harder to come up with more high-tech products, particularly robotic playmates.

Such robotic toys, which are even more lifelike than a year ago, are among the thousands of toys to be featured at American International Toy Fair, officially beginning Sunday."



New Scientist Robot special: Almost human

New Scientist Robot special: Almost human: "New Scientist lifts the lid on the most stunning advances in humanoid bots. Researchers are poised to pull together developments in three key fields - walking, talking and manipulation - to produce a new generation of human-like machines. And when artificial intelligence catches up, they will not only be able to clean the house, do the dishes and take out the garbage, but also to play with children, help care for the elderly and even explore the farthest reaches of space and perform repairs or search-and-rescue missions in hazardous sites on Earth."

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