December 31, 2003/
January 7, 2004   

   Bots, humans play together
Joining a pickup ball game is a good way to get to know people. It might also be a good way for humans and robots to learn to work together. To that end, CMU researchers are putting together mixed teams for soccer, with the Segway scooter as the common denominator.
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Light frozen in place
Momentarily freezing a light pulse is the latest trick from scientists who have recently figured out how to slow light and make light pulse impressions in vapors. The feat could make it easier to get light pulses to interact with each other in a way similar to electronic signals in computer circuits. It also gives quantum computer researchers a new tool.

Gel gains life-like motion
Put a strip of hydrogel on a surface and most likely it will just lay there. But cut scale-like slits into it and make the surface vibrate, and the gel will seem to spring to life. Mimicking the motions of legless animals opens up new possibilities for moving micromachines and tiny robots.

Tool eases Grid monitoring
If Grid computing is going to become the ubiquitous data utility many people envision, it's going to have to be easier to use. Setting up a Grid today requires programming skills. A Web interface that makes running a Grid a point-and-click affair points the way.

News briefs
Biochip holds millions of vessels... Inside-out images secure screens... Colors expand neural net... Micro fuel cell runs cool... Electroplating boosts solar cells... Shape key to strong sensors.

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