brains can handle much more information than
artificial ones, even when they're the same
size. Nature's advantage seems to come from
setting each neuron against the others and
making sure that no one wins. Research on
locusts' sense of smell could lead to big
improvements in robots, computer vision and
a host of other pattern recognition programs.
crypto gear shrinks
Quantum cryptography promises truly unbreakable
codes, and it looks like the science is pretty much
worked out. Replacing huge laboratory lasers with
the kind that fit on circuit boards could make perfectly
secure communications ready for prime time within
a few years.
shows bare bones of walking
Trying to build two-legged, walking robots by copying
human muscles, nerves and brains is tremendously
difficult. A simple tinker toy, however, shows that
walking is largely a matter of gravity.
jaws snatch cells
A lot of medical research involves injecting things
into individual blood cells, a tedious task usually
done by hand. A nasty looking set of tiny teeth
promises to automate the process.
mix helps shrink circuits
A mix of two plastics automatically creates a microscopic
template for building a key microchip component.
Best of all, chipmakers won't have to abandon their
billion dollar factories to use the new technique.