December Technology Report

By H. Randall Goldsmith | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 18, 2000 | Go to article overview

December Technology Report


H. Randall Goldsmith, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Researchers in federal, academic and corporate laboratories continue to push the envelope of scientific developments. Discovery leads to technologies that lead to the products that drive our economy and shape our lives. This month's review shows advancements across a variety of technology sectors.

Revolutionary optics

MIT spinout startup, OmniGuide Communications, created a revolutionary optic cable that can carry light of higher intensity and a broader bandwidth, transmitting up to 1,000 times more data than fiber optics. The cable could be used in miniaturized applications.

Nanotechnology

IBM created a simple quantum computer that can solve in one step what conventional computers can do only after taking several steps. University of California researchers and Hewlett-Packard are collaborating on a molecular computer. Lucent and Oxford University built a minuscule motor out of DNA.

Smart windows

Sage Electronics of Faribault, Minn., is developing a commercial product for home and office windows that uses five thin coatings of ceramics to control light. Applying an electrical current to the material causes the window to tint -- the higher the voltage, the darker the tint.

Web 3-D

Bell labs has developed software code that delivers complex geometry over the web in one-twelfth the time as current MPEG-4 technology. Code sends big, rough details first followed by finer details until a 3-D image is complete.

Fuel cells

SRI International spinoff, Polyfuel, developed a miniature fuel cell similar to ones that power cars and trucks. The device uses a cartridge of concentrated methanol the size of a AA battery with no need for plug-in AC chargers. Due out next year and expecting sales of 1 million fuel cells per month, the tiny cells will operate a cell phone for two weeks.

Microelectronics

PicoDyne licensed technology from New Mexico's Microelectronics Research Center to build a chip that uses 50 to 100 times less power than current chips. Chips will be used in cell phones, laptops, PDAs and digital hearing aids.

Copyright technology

Elisar Software of Albuquerque has developed software that prevents copying without permission and allows for online tracking after sale. The software works with images, music, text and video and can be used with standard viewers such as Adobe Acrobat.

Antifreeze proteins

Researchers at universities in Ontario and Alberta are exploring applications for the proteins that keep insects from freezing. In addition to keeping winter fruit and crops from freezing, the proteins could help preserve transplant organs longer. …

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