Wow: science is advancing at increasingly fast rates! Check out what Amazon is testing and thinking about...
Photo credit: AP
Photo credit: AP
Wheels sloping outward
Wheels sloping inward
In its next generation of jet engines, General Electric Co (GE). plans to use a new, and possibly revolutionary, technology.
In each engine, 19 nozzles will shoot fuel into a combustion chamber, where it mixes with compressed air. Because the fuel must be distributed precisely, the interior of a nozzle is very sophisticated: Elaborate chambers and passageways help curtail emissions, control nitrous-oxide levels and prevent temperature surges. Previously, making each nozzle required welding 20 disparate pieces together. Now, GE is employing 3-D printing to build each nozzle as a single piece, using laser sintering on a metal alloy called cobalt chromium.
The new nozzle is faster to make, five times more durable and a full pound lighter -- on a two-engine plane, that saves almost 40 pounds. And it radically reduces scrap. By 2020, the company expects that 100,000 of its engine parts will be made using this process.
All around you, 3-D printing technology is making useful things in novel ways. Align Technology Inc. uses it to make clear orthodontics. Nike Inc. uses it to make soccer cleats. Bespoke Innovations makes customized (and quite stylish) prosthetics. And DUS Architects, a Dutch company, plans to print a whole house.
As the sheer variety of these examples suggests, 3-D printing is already having a demonstrable effect on the economy. Traditionally, it has been most useful in creating prototypes. But as GE and others are showing, printers will increasingly be able to produce critical parts and final products. In 2012, 28.3 percent of the $2.2 billion global 3-D printing market was tied to the production of parts for final products rather than prototypes, according to the Wohlers Report 2013. That shift could have profound implications for the economy and for public policy.
The ability to move single atoms, one of the smallest particles of any element in the universe, is crucial to IBM's research in the field of atomic-scale memory. In 2012, IBM scientists announced the creation of the world's smallest magnetic memory bit, made of just 12 atoms. This breakthrough could transform computing by providing the world with devices that have access to unprecedented levels of data storage.
There is no good way to find out that your significant other is cheating on you, but one woman in Russia discovered her boyfriend's infidelity in a pretty surprising manner. Marina Voinova was looking up an address on Russia's version of Google Maps, Yandex Maps. She wanted to get a closer glimpse of a building using the street view feature. So she zoomed in, and there was her boyfriendSasha with his arms around another woman.
The asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth on Feb. 15 and zip within 17,200 miles of the planet during the cosmic close encounter. The asteroid will approach much closer to Earth than the moon, and well inside the paths of navigation and communications satellites.
"This is a record-setting close approach," Don Yeomans, the head of NASA's asteroid-tracking program, said in a statement. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."
Asteroid 2012 DA14 was discovered last year by an amateur team of stargazers at the La Sagra Sky Survey observatory in Spain. Yeomans stressed that, while the asteroid's approach bring it closer than the geosynchronous satellites orbiting 22,245 miles above Earth, 2012 DA14 poses no threat of a deadly collision with the planet.
An SSD can read and write data many times faster than the best mechanical hard drive. On the downside, flash memory is many times more expensive than the innards of a typical hard drive, so manufacturers have limited their SSD capacities to hit reasonable price points: A 128GB SSD costs about $130, and for that same price tag, you can buy a 3.5-inch desktop hard drive that delivers 2TB of storage, or a 2.5-inch laptop drive that provides 1TB of storage.
Two years ago, Seagate (quickly followed by Samsung) introduced a drive that married a small SSD with a mechanical drive. The objective was to deliver the superior speed of an expensive SSD, while retaining the higher capacity and lower cost of a conventional hard drive. Now that Toshiba and Western Digital are joining the party, it's a great time to explain in more detail what hybrid drives are and how they operate.
Much of the reporting about Google’s driverless car has mistakenly focused on its science-fiction feel. While the car is certainly cool—just watch the video below about a 95%-blind man running errands—the gee-whiz focus suggests that it is just a high-tech dalliance by a couple of brash young multibillionaires, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
In fact, the driverless car has broad implications for society, for the economy and for individual businesses. Just in the U.S., the car puts up for grab some $2 trillion a year in revenue and even more market cap. It creates business opportunities that dwarf Google’s current search-based business and unleashes existential challenges to market leaders across numerous industries, including car makers, auto insurers, energy companies and others that share in car-related revenue.
The new chips that are made using 22nm process technology promise to revolutionize notebooks and ultrabooks as besides of increased performance they will feature lower power consumption.
“We started production of our next-generation micro-architecture product code-named Haswell, which we expect to qualify for sale this quarter. This production prior to qualification for sale resulted in an increase in [older-generation] inventory write-offs,” said Stacy Smith, chief financial officer of Intel, during quarterly conference call with financial analysts.
The fourth-generation Intel Core i “Haswell” family will enable true all-day battery life, representing the most significant battery life capability improvement in Intel history, the company revealed earlier this month. Intel executives disclosed that new systems are expected to deliver up to 9 hours of continuous battery life. Thanks to higher performance and lower power consumption compared to predecessors, Intel Core i “Haswell” will be able to power new breed of laptops that will, among other advantages, feature touch-screens, voice recognition and gesture controls. Intel itself believes that ultrabooks powered by Haswell will revolutionize the market of mobile PCs in a similar way Centrino did a decade ago.