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Brian Dodson

Brian Dodson

From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.

— Telecommunications

Free service blocks robocalls

By - October 1, 2013 1 Picture
You're relaxing after a hard day at work, or just getting ready to cut into a juicy steak at dinner. All seems right with the world, just for a moment. Then the phone rings, disturbing your bliss with yet another recorded spiel for some shady deal. You slam the phone off, and return to your life while muttering vague obscenities. Nomorobo now offers a transparent system for reliably blocking such robocalls, that is far more effective than Do-Not-Call lists. Best of all, the service is free. Read More
— Electronics

Cota system transmits power wirelessly at up to 30 feet

By - September 29, 2013 9 Pictures
In 2008, Gartner Research released a report in which it identified the number one IT grand challenge as "Never having to manually recharge devices." Physicist Hatem Zeine has invented what he believes to be the answer to this challenge. The Cota wireless power transmission system uses intelligently steered phased array antennas to focus a beam of microwaves on a receiver module – and only on that module. The inherently safe technology can deliver electrical power up to 30 feet from a central transmitter without any line-of-sight requirement and without interfering with other devices. The system is projected to hit the market in 2015. Read More
— Aircraft

Redesigned Martin Jetpack deliveries expected to start in 2014

By - September 28, 2013 11 Pictures
The Martin Jetpack being developed by Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand has undergone a major design overhaul. Reemerging as the P12 prototype, the ducted-fan personal VTOL is fully certified for manned test flights as a Class 1 microlight. The first commercial sales, now expected in mid-2014, will be for first responder applications, such as rescue, fire, and police missions. According to the company, sales to individuals will follow shortly after the initial models are vetted in field use. Read More
— Computers

Stanford scientists build first carbon nanotube computer

By - September 26, 2013 3 Pictures
In a technological tour de force, researchers at Stanford University have constructed a one-bit, one-instruction programmable computer on a chip using carbon nanotube-based electronics for all logic elements. Containing 178 carbon nanotube field-effect transistors, the computer is only able to carry out only one instruction, called SUBNEG. However, SUBNEG is Turing-complete, allowing the computer to run, albeit with an extraordinary level of inefficiency, any program, given enough memory, time, and programming ingenuity. Read More
— Science

Close encounter with a supermassive black hole

By - September 23, 2013 6 Pictures
As you read this, the eyes of the astrophysical world are focused on about one-trillionth of the sky, watching as the calm existence of G2, a three-Earth mass gas cloud near the galactic center, is viciously disrupted by a close encounter with Sagittarius A*, the galaxy's supermassive black hole. Careful observation of this rare event is expected to provide an enormous amount of information on the environment of the central light month (about 6,000 AU) immediately surrounding the black hole. Read More
— Science

Nanoscale lithography breakthrough uses Scotch tape

By - September 17, 2013 3 Pictures
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Seoul National University have developed a new lithographic method with the help of a very low-tech tool: Scotch Magic tape. This new method, which promises to enhance our ability to fabricate nanostructures, has been used to build highly nonlinear optical materials consisting of sheets of 25 micron (0.001 in) metal blocks separated by nanometer-wide insulating channels. As light squeezes through these channels, incompletely understood plasmonic effects enable novel optical behavior. Read More
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