are essentially miniature waterworks -- tiny
pipes and valves etched into silicon. Being
able to move fractions of a drop of fluid
around calls for minuscule pumps not much
bigger than cells. Stringing together microscopic
beads could be the way to get things flowing.
design aims for quantum leap
Ultrapowerful machines that compute using the quirks
of quantum physics are still just a gleam in researchers'
eyes, but a chip design that calls for harnessing
thousands of individual electrons could lead to
practical, easy-to-manufacture quantum computers.
traffic mimics earthquakes
New-media pundits may be onto more than a metaphor
when they refer to shock-waves roiling the Net.
Cyberspace really does harbor many miniature earthquakes
-- sudden, quick fluctuations in Net traffic that
are mathematically similar to the laws that describe
the timing of earth's temblors and aftershocks.
The finding raises hopes that Internet traffic patterns
could provide clues for forecasting earthquakes.
and glue make circuits
In another example of tech going retro, Bell Labs
researchers have invented a rubber stamp that uses
glue to fix ink to a surface. The ink in this case
is gold and the stamps contain microscopic patterns
that form transistors and other circuitry. The printing
process could be used to stamp circuits onto sheets
of plastic to make flexible displays.
lighten wireless load
Keeping track of neighbors who move out of the area
turns out to be a good way to lighten the load in
wireless networks. This bodes well for tracking
vehicle fleets, monitoring the environment and handling
the chaotic conditions of the battlefield. It all
comes down to six degrees of separation.