Highlights from Interbike 2014

Computers

A recent study has shown that heat can be used to magnetically store data on tiny magnetic...

For the past several decades, it has been assumed that in order to store data on a magnetic medium, a magnetic field must be applied. Recently, however, an international team of scientists discovered that heat can be used instead of a magnetic field. Not only is this method reportedly more energy efficient, but it also theoretically allows for ten times the storage capacity and 300 times the performance of current hard drive technology.  Read More

A new technique that allows CPUs and GPUs to collaborate on computing tasks has resulted i...

Want to get your computer to run faster? Well, consider its graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU). The two work away at their own tasks, each one rarely helping the other shoulder its workload. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, are in the process of changing that. They have already developed a technique that allows GPUs and CPUs located on a single chip to collaborate on tasks, and it has resulted in a processing speed increase of over 20 percent.  Read More

After some delay, the first batch of US$25 Raspberry Pi computers is due to roll of the pr...

There's good news for those itching to get their hands on a Raspberry Pi. After a short delay, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has confirmed that the first batch of the US$25 computers is due to roll off the production line February 20. Shifting production eastwards caused some delay, as the cheapest available quartz crystal package selected when manufacturing was planned for the UK proved harder to source in China, where the Pi will now be manufactured. The first batch will be freighted by air to the UK, where the wee beasties should be available before the end of the month. Previously, the first batch had been slated for completion by the end of January.  Read More

The Telikin is a new touchscreen family computer aimed at older users, designed to make ev...

The Telikin is a new touchscreen family computer designed to make everyday tasks as easy as possible. It is clearly aimed at the older user, which explains why its most vaunted features are social in nature, and make a lot of sense for grandparents with distant relatives. Video chat (thanks to a built-in camera), photo sharing and email are first among its advertised features - all of which come ready to use out of the box, provided an internet connection is available, of course.  Read More

Top view of the US$25 Raspberry Pi computer

Budding computer hackers/scientists are about to get a welcome gift, albeit a bit late for Christmas 2011. The non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) is nearing the release date of its surprisingly powerful and remarkably affordable Raspberry Pi line of bare-bones machines that have been developed in an effort to broaden kids' access to computers in the UK and abroad. How affordable? The figure above was no typo. Read on to learn just what US$25 will get you when these nifty, fully-assembled, credit-card sized computers go on sale next month (sorry, case, monitor, keyboard and mouse not included ... we did say bare bones).  Read More

A diagram of a three-dimensional indium-gallium-arsenide transistor (Image: Peter Ye, Purd...

Starting next year, computers will be available with three-dimensional transistors – these will incorporate vertical components, unlike the flat chips that we’re used to seeing. This structure will allow them to have shorter gates, which are the components that allow the transistors to switch the electrical current on and off, and to direct its flow. The shorter the gate, the faster the computer can operate. While the new 3D transistors will have a gate length of 22 nanometers, as opposed to the present length of about 45, the use of silicon as a construction material limits how much shorter they could ultimately get. That’s why scientists from Purdue and Harvard universities have created prototype 3D transistors made out of indium-gallium-arsenide – the same compound recently used in a record-breaking solar cell.  Read More

Scientists have created one of the smallest electronic circuits ever, and it has led to a ...

A team of scientists from Montreal’s McGill University have successfully formed a circuit between two wires which were separated by a gap of only 15 nanometers – that’s about the width of 150 atoms. It is reportedly “the first time that anyone has studied how the wires in an electronic circuit interact with one another when packed so tightly together.” Along with being one of the smallest electronic circuits ever created, it has also led to a discovery that may have big implications for the world of computing.  Read More

The design of an 'AND gate' created by Imperial College London scientists using E-Coli bac...

DNA is often referred to as the building block of life. Now scientists from Imperial College London have demonstrated that DNA (and bacteria) can be used to create the fundamental building blocks of a computer - logic gates. Using DNA and harmless gut bacteria, the scientists have built what they claim are the most advanced biological logic gates ever created by scientists. The research could lead to the development of a new generation of microscopic biological computing devices that, amongst other things, could travel around the body cleaning arteries and destroying cancers.  Read More

By applying electrical pulses to the new nanomaterial, a sea of small negatively charged i...

By now, we’re all fairly used to electronic devices such as smartphones, which can act as a mobile phone, computer, camera and navigation unit all at once. These devices, while multi-functional, still use different hard-wired electrical circuits for their different functions. Thanks to research being carried out at Chicago’s Northwestern University, however, all those functions may one day be able to utilize the same physical piece of electronic material – the electrical current would simply be “steered” through it differently, depending on what was needed. This means that a single section of the material could act as a resistor, rectifier, diode or transistor, as instructed by a computer.  Read More

The all-conquering smartphone seems headed for ubiquity

Over the last decade, mobile telephones have gone from being a rarity in most countries, to being carried by the vast majority of human beings. Now, according to new research, smartphone (which is actually a misnomer – it is actually a Very Personal Computer) sales will top a billion units a year by 2015 as the smartphone's share of phone shipments rockets from 15.8% in 2009, to 32.5% this year to 54.4% in 2015). Planet Earth only has 6.75 billion human inhabitants. If this trend continues, by the turn of the decade, the vast majority of human beings will be carrying a networked personal computer on their person at all times. We are undoubtedly living through a period of unprecedented change in human history.  Read More

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