Names of Allah

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Latest Technology Trends

A Neurochip That Can Communicate With Brain

The University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine scientists who proved it is possible to cultivate a network of brain cells that reconnect on a silicon chip—or the brain on a microchip—have developed new technology that monitors brain cell activity at a resolution never achieved before.
Developed with the National Research Council Canada (NRC), the new silicon chips are also simpler to use, which will help future understanding of how brain cells work under normal conditions and permit drug discoveries for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Naweed Syed's lab cultivated brain cells on a microchip.
Naweed Syed's lab cultivated brain cells on a microchip.
The new technology from the lab of Naweed Syed, in collaboration with the NRC, is published online this month in the journal, Biomedical Devices.
“This technical breakthrough means we can track subtle changes in brain activity at the level of ion channels and synaptic potentials, which are also the most suitable target sites for drug development in neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychological disorders,” says Syed, professor and head of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and advisor to the Vice President Research on Biomedical Engineering Initiative of the U of C.
The new neurochips are also automated, meaning that anyone can learn to place individual brain cells on them. Previously it took years of training to learn how to record ion channel activity from brain cells, and it was only possible to monitor one or two cells simultaneously. Now, larger networks of cells can be placed on a chip and observed in minute detail, allowing the analysis of several brain cells networking and performing automatic, large-scale drug screening for various brain dysfunctions.
This new technology has the potential to help scientists in a variety of fields and on a variety of research projects. Gerald Zamponi, professor and head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, says, “This technology can likely be scaled up such that it will become a novel tool for medium throughput drug screening, in addition to its usefulness for basic biomedical research”.

Water Ice Discovered On Asteroid For First Time

Water ice has been found on the surface of a nearby asteroid for the first time – a discovery that could help explain how Earth got its oceans, scientists announced.
Two teams of researchers independently verified that the asteroid 24 Themis – a large rock hurtling through space in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – is coated in a layer of frost.
They also found that the asteroid contains organic material, including some molecules that might be ingredients for life. But scientists have not found any evidence for life itself on this asteroid, or anywhere else in the universe beyond Earth.
“This is the first time we’ve actually seen ice – literally H20 – on an asteroid,” said one of the study leaders, Andrew Rivkin of Johns Hopkins University.
Previously, hints that water might be present on 24 Themis were found in the form of hydrated minerals, which were thought to have formed from the reaction of water with rock. But this time the researchers saw the direct signature of water itself, he explained.
Another science team, led by Humberto Campins of University of Central Florida, found the same thing. Both teams used the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility atop on Mauna Kea in Hawaii to make their observations, but conducted them on different nights.
“Our work and their work are very nicely confirming and complementary,” Campins said.
“To our surprise there was water ice, there were organic molecules, and they were more or less evenly distributed throughout the surface,” Campins told, “We thought that was fascinating.”
Both teams reported their findings in the 19 April 2010 issue of the journal Nature.

Broadband Internet Speeds 2009-2010: The Top 10 Countries

2broadband_internet_2009-2010The results of the second annual global study on the quality of broadband connections done at end of 2009 reveal that 62 out of the 66 countries analyzed had improved the quality of consumer broadband services since last year. However, new data from the study highlights the extent of the digital quality divide between urban and rural areas and, for the first time, compares the quality of fixed and mobile broadband services.
The first groundbreaking Broadband Quality Study was published in September 2008 to highlight each country’s ability to benefit from next-generation web applications and services. The research team found that broadband quality is linked to a nation’s advancement as a knowledge economy and countries with broadband on their national agenda had the highest broadband quality. This year’s report covers an additional 24 countries and includes new analysis on broadband quality in more than 240 cities.
Highlights / Key Facts:
  • Overall average broadband quality increased across the globe:
    • Global average download throughput increased by 49% to 4.75 Megabits per second (Mbps)
    • Global average upload throughput increased by 69% to 1.3 Mbps
    • Global average latency decreased by 21% to 170 milliseconds
  • South Korea tops the 2009 Broadband Leadership table.
Broadband Penetration (% of households)
Broadband Quality Score 2009
Broadband Leadership 2009
South Korea
Hong Kong
  • South Korea rose just above last year’s broadband quality leader Japan with a 72% improvement in its Broadband Quality Score (BQS). This improvement has been driven by continuous efforts by the government to strengthen the country’s position as one of the world’s ICT leaders. Combined with higher broadband penetration, South Korea rises above Japan in the global Broadband Leadership rankings.
  • Japan stands out as having the cities with the highest BQS in the world, with Yokohama and Nagoya leading the BQS rankings and Sapporo not far behind.
  • Sweden has the highest quality broadband internet in Europe. It is rapidly catching up with Japan and South Korea as its BQS improves 38% from 2008. Sweden is the most successful country in closing the broadband quality gap with residents outside the most populated cities enjoying better quality than those in the cities.
  • Lithuania, Bulgaria and Latvia come just behind Sweden in quality boosted by recent city-based fibre rollouts and cable improvements but low broadband penetration means these countries have yet to break into the broadband leaders’ category.
  • 39 countries have a BQS above the threshold required to deliver a consistent quality of experience for the most common web applications today, such as social networking, streaming low-definition video, web communications and sharing small files such as photos and music.
  • Nine countries, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, The Netherlands, Denmark and Romania, were found to have the broadband quality required for future web applications, such as high definition Internet TV viewing and high-quality video communications (such as home telepresence) that will become mainstream in the next 3 to 5 years. In 2008, only Japan exceeded this threshold.
  • The research compares countries according to their stage of economic development :
    • Amongst the developed, innovation-driven economies, South Korea achieved the greatest improvement in broadband quality over the past year with a 73% increase in BQS. Sweden, the USA and the Czech Republic also saw significant above average improvements.
    • Amongst efficiency-driven economies, Bulgaria topped the most improved list with a 57% increase in BQS from 2009. Lithuania, Romania and Latvia also achieved above average improvements.
    • Amongst factor-driven economies, Kenya actually trebled its BQS but the overall score for Kenya remains well below the threshold required for today’s applications. Vietnam and Qatar followed Kenya as having made the most progress in broadband quality for countries in this stage of economic development.
  • The cities with the highest BQS of all the countries in the study were:
Top 10 Cities BQS Next 10 Cities BQS
Yokohama, Japan 85 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 55
Nagoya, Japan 82 Riga, Latvia 54
Kaunas, Lithuania 79 Copenhagen, Denmark 53
Sapporo, Japan 72 Bucharest, Romania 52
Seoul, South Korea 68 Stockholm, Sweden 51
Malmo, Sweden 67 Vilnius, Lithuania 50
Osaka, Japan 65 Zurich, Switzerland 49
Wuhan, China 60 Tokyo, Japan 49
Uppsala, Sweden 57 Goteborg, Sweden 49
Sofia, Bulgaria 56 Kosice, Slovakia 48
  • The research team compared the difference between the BQS in the most populated cities with the BQS in the rest of the country. Although a digital quality divide was found in the majority of countries, 13 countries showed significant differences in BQS between its major cities and the rest of the country. Lithuania, Russia and Latvia had the biggest digital quality divide, while rural residents in Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Iceland enjoyed similar, if not slightly higher quality broadband services than their city counterparts.
  • The country with the highest broadband quality outside of its major cities was Japan, followed by Korea and Sweden.
  • The study also included data on the quality of mobile broadband services for the first time. On average, mobile devices connecting to WiFi services meet the broadband quality threshold required for today’s mobile Internet applications. The average BQS of 3G and 3G+ technologies do not currently meet the threshold due to low upload throughput.

Scientists Recreate Big Bang Successfully

Physicists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)  broke a record with their atom smasher Large Hadron Collider when they managed to collide protons at 3 times the energy previously achieved.
Earlier in the day, scientists stepped up efforts to detect the elusive ‘God Particle’ by triggering collision of two proton beams in the world’s largest atom smasher located on the Franco-Swiss border on the outskirts of Geneva.
The two proton beams, set in motion in opposite directions of two 27-km long pipes of the LHC in November last year, were previously moving at 3.5 trillion electron volts (TeV) with each beam of the protons going around the device 11,000 times every second.
Physicists achieved the feat while attempting to collide the two beams at 7 TeV, creating conditions similar at the time of the Big Bang — that is believed to have created the universe.
The success triggered rounds of applause and cheers from the scientists and journalists gathered in the circular control room, while allaying concerns that the experiment would create a black hole and destroy the universe.
The breakthrough heralds the beginning of a new era in efforts to try to understand profound scientific questions, including whether the sub-atomic particles – quarks – inside the protons and neutrons can be freed; and why these latter particles weigh some 100 times more than the quarks of which they are composed.
The protons in the LHC, which requires 100 megawatts of power to operate, collided at more than 7 tera – or trillion – electronvolts (TeV), a measure of energy given to an electron as it accelerates through a potential of one volt. This was more than triple the levels of previous experiments.
A view of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva
A view of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva

Silent Sound Technology: An End To Noisy Communications 

You are in a movie theater or noicy restaurent or a bus etc where there is lot of noice around is big issue while talking on a mobile phone. But in the future this problem is eliminated with ”silent sounds”, a new technology unveiled at the CeBIT fair on Tuesday that transforms lip movements into a computer-generated voice for the listener at the other end of the phone.
The device, developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), uses electromyography, monitoring tiny muscular movements that occur when we speak and converting them into electrical pulses that can then
be turned into speech, without a sound uttered.
Crowd Talking On Mobile Phones
‘Silent Sound’ technology aims to notice every movements of the lips and transform them into sounds, which could help people who lose voices to speak, and allow people to make silent calls without bothering others. Rather than making any sounds, your handset would decipher the movements your mouth makes by measuring muscle activity, then convert this into speech that the person on the other end of the call can hear. So, basically, it reads your lips.
“We currently use electrodes which are glued to the skin. In the future, such electrodes might for example by incorporated into cellphones,” said Michael Wand, from the KIT.
The technology opens up a host of applications, from helping people who have lost their voice due to illness or accident to telling a trusted friend your PIN number over the phone without anyone eavesdropping — assuming no lip-readers are around.
The technology can also turn you into an instant polyglot. Because the electrical pulses are universal, they can be immediately transformed into the language of the user’s choice.
“Native speakers can silently utter a sentence in their language, and the receivers hear the translated sentence in their language. It appears as if the native speaker produced speech in a foreign language,” said Wand.
The translation technology works for languages like English, French and Gernan, but for languages like Chinese, where different tones can hold many different meanings, poses a problem, he added.
Noisy people in your office? Not any more. “We are also working on technology to be used in an office environment,” the KIT scientist told AFP.
The engineers have got the device working to 99 percent efficiency, so the mechanical voice at the other end of the phone gets one word in 100 wrong, explained Wand.
“But we’re working to overcome the remaining technical difficulties. In five, maybe ten years, this will be useable, everyday technology,” he said.

Chile Earthquake Shock Effect On Earth’s Axis May Have Created Shorter Days

The earthquake that took more than 700 lives in Chile on 27th Feb 2010 probably have changed the entire Earth’s rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.
The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second), according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Chile earthquake may have shortened days
Chile earthquake may have shortened days
Richard Gross, a geophysicist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said the 8.8 magnitude quake could have moved the Earth’s axis by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8cm) – enough to shorten a day by about 1.26 microseconds.
A large quake can shift huge amounts of rock and alter the distribution of mass on the planet. When that distribution changes, it changes the rate at which the planet rotates, which determines the length of a day.
The computer model used by Gross and his colleagues to determine the effects of the Chile earthquake effect also found that it should have moved Earth’s figure axis by about 3 inches (8 centimeters or 2.7 milliarcseconds).
Earth’s figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis, which it spins around once every day at a speed of about 1,000 mph (1,604 kilometers per hour). The figure axis is the axis around which Earth’s mass is balanced. It is offset from the Earth’s north-south axis by about 33 feet (10 meters).
Strong earthquakes have altered Earth’s days and its axis in the past. The magnitude-9.1 Sumatran earthquake in 2004, which set off a deadly tsunami, should have shortened Earth’s days by 6.8 microseconds and shifted its axis by about 2.76 inches (7 centimeters, or 2.32 milliarcseconds).

No comments:

Post a Comment