Acoustic Holograms Form Ultrasonic Tractor Beams for Tiny Objects

tractor-beams2-1445932182206You’ve seen holograms before: they’re images that seem to jump out of a flat surface, full of depth that you can experience through perspective changes and parallax cues. The three-dimensional effect that a hologram creates comes from the three dimensional light field that’s created when photons diffract through the interference pattern on a holographic plate. It’s essentially a structure made of light that gets projected out into space when the seemingly random pattern of features on the plate interact with each other.

Light isn’t the only wave that can be manipulated to create structures in space; the same thing goes for sound waves. The structures generated by constructively and destructively interfering with ultrasonic waves are tangible things that can exert force on objects. Researchers at the Public University of Navarre in Spain have used ultrasonic acoustic holograms to manipulate things just like the tractor beam used by the crew of the USS Enterprise on the TV show Star Trek.

Acoustic levitation is usually accomplished with a pair of ultrasound emitter arrays, or with one array aimed at a reflector. A standing wave of ultrasound is formed between these two elements,

How Supercomputing Can Survive Beyond Moore’s Law

supercomputer-1449073977441Today’s technology makes a 1-exaflop supercomputer capable of performing 1 million trillion floating-point operations per second almost inevitable. But pushing supercomputing beyond that point to 10 exaflops or more will require major changes in both computing technologies and computer architectures.

Planning for such challenges has been a major focus for Erik DeBenedictis, a computer engineer at the Advanced Device Technologies department at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He has worked with the IEEE Rebooting Computing initiative and International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors to pave the way for the future of both computing and supercomputing.

DeBenedictis outlined several possible technology paths for supercomputing—the millivolt switch, 3-D integration, and specialized architecture—at the  session titled “Beyond Moore’s Law” at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC15) held from November 15–20 in Austin, Texas.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

IEEE Spectrum: The “Beyond Moore’s Law” session covered three general technology areas that could aid development of exascale supercomputing: the millivolt switch, 3-D integration, and specialized architecture. Which of the three areas piqued the most interest among attendees?

Erik DeBenedictis: I think it was clear that the

Nearly cheat-proof smartphone knows if you’re faking activity

smartphoneHealth care providers and insurance companies are increasingly relying on smartphone and wearable activity trackers to reward active individuals for healthy behavior or to monitor patients.

But because activity trackers can be easily deceived, Northwestern Medicine and Northwestern Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) researchers have designed a way to train smartphone trackers to spot the difference between fake and real activity.

The new method detects, for example, when a cheater shakes the phone while lounging on the couch, so the tracker will think he’s broken a sweat on a brisk walk.

While systems trained on normal activity data predicted true activity with 38 percent accuracy, training on the data gathered during the deceptive behavior increased their accuracy to 84 percent.

“As health care providers and insurance companies rely more on activity trackers, there is an imminent need to make these systems smarter against deceptive behavior,” said lead study author Sohrab Saeb, a postdoctoral fellow? at the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University? Feinberg School of Medicine. “We’ve shown how to train systems to make sure data is authentic.”

The study was published in PLOS

Ways to protect your smartphone form physical damage

Ways to protect your smartphone form physical damageOnce you have bought an expensive smartphone, it is worth thinking about protecting it from different undesirable scratches so that this useful gadget could serve you longer.
When it comes to protecting the smartphone screen, everything is clear – we usually use a protective film, whereas the situation with protecting your phone case is a bit different. It is possible to use various covers, hard cases and protective films. Let us consider these protective measures in detail.

Polyurethane film
Currently many manufacturers are offering a polyurethane film made of substantially the same material. It has a number of indisputable advantages: it is durable, it does not tear apart, it has no scratches. Emerging scratches after a while disappear. It is pleasant to hold your phone covered with such a film, it is more convenient. Even if you clumsily applied it, the remaining air inside the bubbles will eventually disappear and your innovative Samsung Galaxy or stunning iphone 6s will look great. Of course, it is better to trust sticking this film to aview full post »

Why you need an eCom store for your business

“Become the customer, and then build what you want!”

The contemporary retail business just changed its agenda. There is a paradigm shift in their way of business. What is that shift? A subtle transition of offline to online happened, thus giving life to eCom business model, all credits to the Digital Marketing Agencies. Why this shift? The overnight success of this new business model is now forcing all the retailers from small to big, to adapt their business online. Applying digital marketing strategies for all types of business just became inevitable.

Why you need an eCom Store?

The growth in technology just left an advanced gadget in all of our hands. With that Smartphone, we can access anything anytime. If a customer can get what they want, with just a few clicks on their mobile or desktop, they will definitely go for it. Remember the business has only two functions – marketing and innovation. If eCom offers both, it is high time to take your business online!

Hassle-free shopping experience

Building an eCom store for your business is probably the quickest way to your first sale. With a digital marketing agency’ssupport, you can

Unearth premium quality web development services today

Knack is the Web Development Company in New York, that is experienced in coming up with websites that are quite marketable. Offering Web development services in New York is a walk in the park for us. We love what we do and this is the reason why we have remained the Web development firm in New York that is in a class of its own. Our team of experts works with passion in order to deliver to you a website that is bound to make your business shine online. Our work is to look at your website and come up with solutions on how to improve its appearance, and even if you do not have one, we will ensure that we develop it from scratch.  We can assure you that finding Website developers in New York, who can match the kind of service that we offer is quite difficult. Our team of gifted web developmentexperts works closely with you to cultivate your dream as well as ensuring that your dream is implemented to the letter.

We develop customized as well as tailor made business websites that assist numerous businesses in gaining online recognition.

Importance of CAD in the field of Engineering

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a profession of a Civil or Mechanical engineering to draw an illustration and design with the help of computer. CAD designs may be either 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional. Software’s in CAD are used to design electronic circuits and other devices. With the help of this software we can perform our job in more faster and precise manner. CAD brings all the handmade architectural design into an automation mode. To perform task using this tool, we needs to have a knowledge of drawing standards, accounting and some other drawing aspects.

 The primary difference between Computer Aided Design and Engineering drawing is that, CAD uses the computer software to design and document a product where engineering drawing uses graphical symbols like point, planes, shapes etc.

 Types of CAD software’s:

  • 2D CAD
  • 3D CAD
  • 3D Modeling
  • Solid Modeling

Advantage of Using Automated CAD tools

 Engineering drawing involves typical measurements which becomes a headache for the designer. So all these difficulties are overcome by CAD technology

 CAD is to draw scale: It has the ability to draw accurate to scale dimensions to produce very accurate designs in 2D and 3D both.

Get Tax software online services to file the taxes

Over the years, the process of taxation was managed by accountants and bookkeepers who operated the manual process of filing the tax returns. Today the process of tax return has become simplified because the software is automated product that performs most of the functionality. Tax software is designed to simplify the complicated tax management industry with simple and easy modules thus making taxation very much simpler solution. The advent of tax softwares have eliminated the manual methods to operate the taxations and hence there are many firms, businesses and self-employed individuals who run their enterprise and file the tax returns with the tax softwares, no paperwork and manual process is almost vanished. Users can file for any number of taxes for a financial year. The tax application consists of all the tax forms for state, federal and local which makes easier for the user to select the required form and file the returns. Automated software product ATX is a suite of tax functionalities which performs all the task of taxation thus minimizing the rejection of tax returns.

A tax software application is operated by professional accountants, CPAs, Bookkeepers who manage multiple customers with the help

Novel multiferroic materials devices integrated with silicon chips developed

A research team led by North Carolina State University has made two advances in multiferroic materials, including the ability to integrate them on a silicon chip, which will allow the development of new electronic memory devices. The researchers have already created prototypes of the devices and are in the process of testing them.

Multiferroic materials have both ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties.

“These multiferroic materials offer the possibility of switching a material’s magnetism with an electric field, or switching its electric polarity with a magnetic field — making them very attractive for use in next-generation, low-power, nonvolatile memory storage devices,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and senior author of two papers describing the work.

Researchers had previously known that you could create a multiferroic material by layering barium titanate (BTO), which is ferroelectric, and lanthanum strontium magnese oxide (LSMO), which is ferromagnetic. But these “bilayer” thin films weren’t feasible for large-scale use because they could not be integrated on a silicon chip — the constituent elements of the thin films would diffuse into the silicon.

But Narayan’s team has

New ‘FeTRAM’ is promising computer memory technology

Researchers are developing a new type of computer memory that could be faster than the existing commercial memory and use far less power than flash memory devices.

The technology combines silicon nanowires with a “ferroelectric” polymer, a material that switches polarity when electric fields are applied, making possible a new type of ferroelectric transistor.

“It’s in a very nascent stage,” said doctoral student Saptarshi Das, who is working with Joerg Appenzeller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of nanoelectronics at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center.

The ferroelectric transistor’s changing polarity is read as 0 or 1, an operation needed for digital circuits to store information in binary code consisting of sequences of ones and zeroes. The new technology is called FeTRAM, for ferroelectric transistor random access memory.

“We’ve developed the theory and done the experiment and also showed how it works in a circuit,” he said. Findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared this month in Nano Letters, published by the American Chemical Society.

The FeTRAM technology has nonvolatile storage, meaning it stays in memory after the computer is turned off. The devices have the

Programming model for supercomputers of the future

The demand for even faster, more effective, and also energy-saving computer clusters is growing in every sector. The new asynchronous programming model GPI from Fraunhofer ITWM might become a key building block towards realizing the next generation of supercomputers.

High-performance computing is one of the key technologies for numerous applications that we have come to take for granted — everything from Google searches to weather forecasting and climate simulation to bioinformatics requires an ever increasing amount of computing ressources. Big data analysis additionally is driving the demand for even faster, more effective, and also energy-saving computer clusters. The number of processors per system has now reached the millions and looks set to grow even faster in the future. Yet something has remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years and that is the programming model for these supercomputers. The Message Passing Interface (MPI) ensures that the microprocessors in the distributed systems can communicate. For some time now, however, it has been reaching the limits of its capability.

“I was trying to solve a calculation and simulation problem related to seismic data,” says Dr. Carsten Lojewski from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM.

Giant step towards ‘holy grail’ of silicon photonics

A group of researchers from the UK, including academics from Cardiff University, has demonstrated the first practical laser that has been grown directly on a silicon substrate.

It is believed the breakthrough could lead to ultra-fast communication between computer chips and electronic systems and therefore transform a wide variety of sectors, from communications and healthcare to energy generation.

The EPSRC-funded UK group, led by Cardiff University and including researchers from UCL and the University of Sheffield, have presented their findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Silicon is the most widely used material for the fabrication of electronic devices and is used to fabricate semiconductors, which are embedded into nearly every device and piece of technology that we use in our everyday lives, from smartphones and computers to satellite communications and GPS.

Electronic devices have continued to get quicker, more efficient and more complex, and have therefore placed an added demand on the underlining technology.

Researchers have found it increasingly difficult to meet these demands using conventional electrical interconnects between computer chips and systems, and have therefore turned to light as a potential ultra-fast connector.

Whilst it has been difficult

President pledges $4 billion toward computer science in schools

The White House isn’t just relying on legislation to make computer science education a priority in the US. President Obama has launched a Computer Science for All initiative that gives states $4 billion in funding to expand computer science in K-12 schools through a mix of better course materials, partnerships and teacher training. The move also sends another $100 million directly to school districts, unlocks $135 million in funding from government organizations and gets further cooperation from both local governments as well as tech leaders.

Some of those leaders include companies that have already promised support for the President’s educational initiatives. Apple, Cartoon Network,, Facebook, Microsoft, Salesforce and Qualcomm are all widening their education efforts, investing in programs or both to help improve computer science in the country.

Throwing cash at a problem won’t make it go away, of course, and there aren’t any guarantees that the money will make a difference. However, the effort at least tackles one of the core issues head-on: getting computer science

Divoom Voombox Outdoor

At $99.99, the Divoom Voombox Outdoor is a rugged Bluetooth speaker in a crowded field. Its splash-proof design and ability to get quite loud are certainly positives, but it suffers from a tendency to distort at top volumes on bass-heavy tracks is not ideal, and its lack of high frequency clarity is a bit disappointing. If your budget can extend a bit beyond the $100 barrier, there are much stronger options in the outdoor-friendly, portable Bluetooth speaker realm.

With a rugged, splash-proof IP44-rated design, the Voombox Outdoor is ideal for poolside music listening. The 3 by 7.2 by 2.3-inch, 1.5-pound rectangular speaker is available in red, black, green, or blue, and features six drivers delivering a total of 15W of power. While its relatively bulky build may weigh down a purse or tote, its size makes it ideal for stowing in a carry-on or camping pack.

Rubber panels line the sides of the Voombox Outdoor, and a control panel is situated at the top of the speaker with Bluetooth, Play/Pause, Power, and Volume Up/Down buttons. The volume controls also hand track navigation, and the Play/Pause button accepts and ends calls when using the built-in speakerphone feature.

Divoom rates the Voombox Outdoor’s battery life at approximately 12 hours, but

Creating a Computer Voice That People Like

When computers speak, how human should they sound?

This was a question that a team of six IBM linguists, engineers and marketers faced in 2009, when they began designing a function that turned text into speech for Watson, the company’s “Jeopardy!”-playing artificial intelligence program.

Eighteen months later, a carefully crafted voice — sounding not quite human but also not quite like HAL 9000 from the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” — expressed Watson’s synthetic character in a highly publicized match in which the program defeated two of the best human “Jeopardy!” players.

The challenge of creating a computer “personality” is now one that a growing number of software designers are grappling with as computers become portable and users with busy hands and eyes increasingly use voice interaction.

Machines are listening, understanding and speaking, and not just computers and smartphones. Voices have been added to a wide range of everyday objects like cars and toys, as well as household information “appliances” like the home-companion robots Pepper and Jibo, and Alexa, the voice of the Amazon Echo speaker device.

A new

Are There Open Source Vulnerability Assessment Options?

Failure to fix known software vulnerabilities is a big reason why organizations’ networks get breached. In some cases organizations run software with known vulnerabilities for years. Forty-four percent of known breaches in 2014 were caused by unfixed vulnerabilities that were between two and four years old, according to HP’s Cyber Risk Report 2015.

This is why vulnerability assessment tools are so important. Some work in a similar way to anti-virus scanners, methodically scanning through all your applications, identifying them and their version, and cross referencing them against a frequently updated database of vulnerabilities. They then flag any vulnerable software that you may be running. A good scanner should also make it easy to update the vulnerable application or mitigate the risk in some other way.

Other tools such as Web server and application scanners probe applications to see if they are vulnerable to certain types of attack (like SQL injection) by scanning for poor code or coding errors such as incorrectly filtering escape characters in user input.

Automated Vulnerability Assessment

An automated approach to spotting known vulnerabilities is important because the security of applications changes over time as new vulnerabilities are discovered, and new vulnerabilities are

How Much Power Will Quantum Computing Need?

Google’s Quantum AI Lab has installed the latest generation of what D-Wave Systems describes as the world’s first commercial quantum computers. Quantum computing could potentially solve certain problems much faster than today’s classical computers while using comparatively less power to perform the calculations. Yet the energy efficiency of quantum computing still remains a mystery.

For now, D-Wave’s machines can scale up the number of quantum bits (qubits) they use without significantly increasing their power requirements. That’s because D-Wave’s quantum computing hardware relies on a specialized design consisting of metal niobium loops that act as superconductors when chilled to a frigid 15 millikelvin (-273°  C). Much of the D-Wave hardware’s power consumption—slightly less than 25 kilowatts for the latest machine—goes toward running the refrigeration unit that keeps the quantum processor cool. The quantum processor itself requires a comparative pittance.

“The operation of the quantum processor itself requires remarkably little power—only a tiny fraction of a microwatt—which is essentially negligible in comparison to the power needs of the refrigerator and servers,” says Colin Williams, director of business development & strategic partnerships at D-Wave Systems.

The new 1 000-qubit D-Wave 2X machine installed at Google’s lab has about double the qubits of its predecessor, the D-Wave Two machine. But the minimal amount of power used by the quantum

“Tardis” Memory Could Enable Huge Multi-Core Computer Chips

Future generations of computer chips could become much more powerful, with processors containing hundreds or even thousands of cores. But these huge multi-core processors will also require loads of memory so their directories can keep track of data on each individual core and coordinate updates to shared data. A new MIT technique promises to greatly reduce the required memory for such coordination as multi-core processors scale up in the coming years.

The new MIT system, called Tardis, coordinates the shared data on multi-core processors much more efficiently than existing directory techniques, according to an MIT press release. As a result, the required memory increases according to the logarithm of the number of cores instead of in direct proportion to the number of cores. So, a future 128-core chip might need only one-third the memory of a comparable chip based on an existing directory system. Memory savings become even greater as the number of cores increases: 80 percent in memory savings for a 256-core chip and 96 percent for a 1,000-core chip.

MIT’s group plans to present a paper on its new technique at the International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques in October.

So how does Tardis improve on the existing system? Today’s multi-core chips have directories to make sure no conflicts arise whenever one of the

David DiVincenzo on his Tenure at IBM and the Future of Quantum Computing

Theoretical physicist David DiVincenzo is widely viewed as one of the pioneers of quantum computing. He authored a 1996 paper (PDF) outlining five criteria he predicted would make quantum computing a reality; it has become a de facto roadmap for most of the research in quantum computing since then. In 1998, with Daniel Loss, he proposed using electron spins for storing data as qubits in quantum dots, which might prove to be the best choice for creating a working quantum computer.

In 2010, DiVincenzo was invited by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to become Director of the Institute of Theoretical Nanoelectronics at the Peter Grünberg Institute in Jülich, and a professor at the Institute for Quantum Information of RWTH Aachen University. Previously he was a research director at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

We met DiVincenzo in his Spartan office at the Physikzentrum of RWTH Aachen University, which is located “ten minutes by bicycle” from The Netherlands, where DiVincenzo has made his home.

IEEE Spectrum: You turned to investigating quantum computing while working as a theoretical physicist at IBM. What caught your interest?

DiVincenzo: I became interested in around 1993. It was not very much of a field at that time, but

New U.S. Military Chip Self Destructs on Command

A new chip built on strained glass can shatter within 10 seconds when remotely triggered. It’s not quite as fast as the fictional Mission: Impossible messages that self-destruct in five seconds, but such vanishing electronics could prove tremendously useful for the U.S. military and corporations by keeping data secure and out of unwanted hands.

The new chip was developed by Xerox PARC for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and went on display at a DARPA technology forum last week, according to the IDG News Service. Engineers fabricated the chip on Corning Gorilla Glass, the material used in the displays of many smartphones. But it’s a strained version of the glass that makes it susceptible to heat. A self-destruct circuit triggered by laser light activates a resistor that heats the chip to the point of shattering into many tiny fragments.

A chip of this type represents a potentially big step forward for DARPA’s Vanishing Programmable Resources initiative. That program previously awarded a $3.45 million contract to IBM for the purpose of creating a similar self-destructing chip made on “strained glass substrates,” according to Information Week.

The recent chip demonstration relied upon the laser triggering a photo diode, which switched on the self-destruct circuit. Previous research by the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology has also considered using a tiny resistor heater that could

A Radical Proposal: Replace Hard Disks With DRAM

When it comes to computer storage, the magnetic disk has been top dog for almost half a century. The first commercial disks appeared in 1956, and by the early 1970s their cost and capacity had improved to the point where they began to replace magnetic tape as the primary storage medium for computers. By the end of that decade, tapes had been relegated mostly to a backup role. Since then, disk technology has improved at an exponential rate, just like integrated circuits. Nowadays, a typical drive holds 20,000 times as much data as it did in 1985, and on a per-byte basis, disks cost one-millionth of what they did then.

No wonder hard disks are so pervasive. This is also why today’s popular forms of computer storage, such as file systems and relational databases, were designed with disks in mind. Indeed, until recently any information kept on a computer for more than a few seconds probably ended up on disk.

But the hard disk’s reign may be coming to an end. The most obvious challenger is flash memory, which is faster, more compact, and more resistant to shock. Virtually all mobile devices, such as tablets, smartphones, and watches, already use flash instead