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The DIY PC in a LEGO case, by Mike Schropp (Photo: Total Geekdom)

Most of the custom-built DIY PCs featuring unusual case mods are made just for fun or fashion. The LEGO-bodied PC by Mike Schropp is quite different, however, despite the fact it looks really impressive. It's a 12-core PC setup consisting of three systems in a single box made of LEGO, with its computing power being donated to medical research and humanitarian projects via IBM's World Community Grid project.  Read More

Screen shot of Sid Meier's strategy computer game, Civilization II

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have been able to create computers that learn language by doing something that many people consider a last resort when tackling an unfamiliar task - reading the manual (or RTBM). Beginning with virtually no prior knowledge, one machine-learning system was able to infer the meanings of words by reviewing instructions posted on Microsoft's website detailing how to install a piece of software on a Windows PC, while another was able to learn how to play Sid Meier's empire-building Civilization II strategy computer game by reading the gameplay manual.  Read More

South Korea plans to digitize all textbooks which are in use by Korean schools by 2015 (Im...

South Korean ministry of education has announced a ground-breaking plan to digitize all textbooks in Korean schools and thus completely phase out printed materials by 2015. This opens a huge market for manufacturers of tablet PCs or smartphones as the Korean education ministry has revealed it will spend US$2.4 billion on buying appropriate devices and digitizing content for them.  Read More

Swiss researchers have achieved reliable multi-bit phase-change memory, using a specially-...

Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are claiming a world-first, for their recent demonstration of “reliable multi-bit phase-change memory [PCM] technology.” PCM involves the use of materials that change between crystalline and amorphous states, the two states having different levels of electrical resistance – data is stored in a binary fashion, using one level to represent a 0, and the other to represent a 1. By applying new techniques to existing PCM technology, the researchers were reportedly able to write and retrieve data 100 times faster than is possible with Flash.  Read More

Researchers have developed a new technique that could lead to the development of 'brain-li...

Unlike human brains that make no real distinction between memory and computation, computers currently deal with processing and memory separately. This means data has to be constantly moved around, resulting in a speed and power “bottleneck.” Now, using phase change materials that can store and process information simultaneously, researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK have developed a new technique that could lead to the development of “brain-like” computers.  Read More

A 'heat mean signature' of a human hand is used to perceive the six segments of the overal...

When we see a hand, regardless of whether it's open, in a fist, or pointing a finger, we still recognize it as a hand. If a computer has only been taught to recognize an open hand, however, it will probably have no idea what a fisted hand is. Getting computer vision systems to interpret images more like people do - to realize that a fist is a hand, for instance - has been one of the aims of artificial intelligence researchers for some time now. Things in that field may be about to take a step forward, however, as scientists from Indiana's Purdue University have just announced two new methods of three-dimensional object recognition, both based around heat diffusion.  Read More

It took three years of searching electronic junkyards to gather all discarded parts for Ma...

We tend to quickly forget about technology that's no longer shiny and state-of-the-art, which is part of the reason that piles of discarded electronics are becoming larger and larger. Polish sculptor Marek Tomasik, however, thought of a way of bringing them back to life ... sort of. He created an enormous and disturbing rectangular, walk-in sculpture made of several thousand discarded computer parts. The piece, entitled "Sometimes You Have To Be Open," is in the form of a room measuring 5m x 4m x 4.5m (16' x 14' x 15'), based around a wooden structure.  Read More

EnerJ is a power-saving system that allocates less voltage to regions of computer chips th...

As computers, data centers and mobile devices become more powerful, their energy requirements are likewise generally increasing. Possible solutions to the problem include power-saving sleep modes, devices that keep computers from drawing a current when supposedly turned off, and water-cooled processors. EnerJ, a new solution created at the University of Washington, takes a different approach – it supplies less power to regions of the chip that are performing processes that don’t require absolute precision. In lab simulations, it has already cut power consumption by up to 50 percent, although that amount could potentially reach as high as 90 percent.  Read More

LG's first All-in-One desktop computer - the V300

LG has announced its first All-in-One desktop computer at Computex 2011 in Taipei, which will allow users to view 3D content using lightweight polarized glasses instead of the heavy shutter-type variety. The highest spec version of the 23-inch, multi-touch LG V300 will come with Intel's second generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics, a Blu-ray optical drive, and a 750GB HDD. Hi-Speed and SuperSpeed USB also feature, along with HDMI 1.4. There's a choice of Bluetooth 3.0 or 2.1 with EDR, and the space-saving device is also DNLA-compliant.  Read More

The Thanko USB Foot Switch allows computer users to perform keyboard or mouse functions vi...

If you find that having your hands on the keyboard and mouse still isn’t giving you enough control over your computer, perhaps you’d like to let your feet in on the action, too. While some people might think that's overkill, it’s precisely what the Thanko USB Foot Switch lets you do. Available as either a single pedal or a joined trio, the floor-located device plugs into your PC’s USB port, and controls a function (or three) of your choice via foot taps.  Read More

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