February 28, 2001   

   Robots learn soft touch
Learning how to bounce a ball on a racket seems like child's play only because we know instinctively how to solve what is an inherently complicated problem. Researchers have figured out how we keep the ball stable and have taught that trick to robots. Will tennis stars meet the same fate as chess masters?
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Evolution breeds cooperation
Breeding generation after generation of software agents could lead to better ways to program teams of robots or search the Web. But whether the agents will talk to each other depends on the mission.

Chip promises brighter wearable displays
Semiconductors are the secret to brighter, more durable microdisplays. The key is using a semiconductor that shines blue.

Light source brightens prospects for security
Now that researchers have figured out how to squeeze out one photon at a time, the next step is controlling where those photons go. A microscopic cone seems to do the trick, and a result could be truly secure communications.

Bound bits could bring bigger disks
Cramming more bits onto disk drives means making smaller bits. But make the bits too small and they become unstable. IBM researchers are fencing in individual bits to help them hold themselves together.

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