July 16/23, 2003   

   Sensors guard privacy
A privacy scheme hides your identity by letting you melt into the walls. The idea is to make sensor networks automatically reduce the accuracy of the location data they report whenever anyone is in danger of standing out. The goal is to allow people to be monitored without any one person being tracked.
Full story
Cheaper optics-chip link on tap
One of the best ways to speed up the Internet would be to extend all the way to the home the fiber-optic lines that make up the Net's backbone. One piece of the fiber-to-the-home puzzle is a low-cost way of converting light pulses to electrical signals. A semiconductor that can be shaped in low heat could do the trick.

Logic clicks with ratchet
Microscopic electrical tornadoes pop up and skitter around superconductors whenever magnetic fields go through them. Scientists can corral these superconductor vortices, and one research team has found that getting a vortex to move between opposite ends of a tiny trench is a way to flip a bit between 1 and 0. Making the trenches the right shapes and in the right places could lead to very fast computer logic circuits.

Electricity shapes nano plastic
Plastic is a popular material for electronics these days because it's light and flexible. But today's chipmaking processes tend toward hard crystals, not soft polymers. A method that yields microscopic plastic structures could help, and it's based on a readily-available resource -- electricity.

News briefs
Experience handed across Net... 3D display goes vertical... Gel yields nanotube plastic... Nano toolbox gains carbon cones... Jolts mix micro fluids... Jet-laser tandem prints gold.

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