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2017-11-23 - Nº 134

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Editorial

Esta é a Newsletter Nº 134 que se apresenta com o mesmo formato que as anteriores. Se gostar da Newsletter partilhe-a!

Todas as Newsletters encontram-se indexadas no link.

Esta Newsletter tem os seguintes tópicos:

Faz hoje anos que nascia, em 1837, Johannes Diderik van der Waals. Este físico holandês ficou conhecido pela sua pesquisa sobre os estados gasosos e líquidos da matéria. O seu principal trabalho foi desenvolver uma equação (a equação van der Waals) que - ao contrário das leis de Charles Boyle e Jacques Charles - aplica-se a gases reais. Uma vez que as moléculas têm forças de atracção e volume (por mais pequeno que seja), van der Waals introduziu na teoria duas constantes adicionais para levar em consideração essas propriedades. As fracas forças electrostáticas atractivas entre moléculas e entre átomos são chamadas de forças van der Waals em sua homenagem. Seus valiosos resultados permitiram que James Dewar e Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes estudassem os métodos de liquidificar os gases permanentes. Foi-lhe atribuído o prémio Nobel da Física em 1910.

Faz também anos hoje que nascia, em 1869, Valdemar Poulsen. Este engenheiro dinamarquês desenvolveu em 1903 o primeiro dispositivo para gerar ondas de rádio contínuas, contribuindo para o desenvolvimento da radiodifusão. O seu transmissor de arco aumentou a faixa de frequência de Duddell's Songing Arc (1900) da faixa de áudio para ondas de rádio, permitindo que a fala fosse transmitida até um raio de 240 km. Em 1920, o transmissor do arco de Poulsen era tão poderoso quanto 1000kW com faixas de até 4.000 km. Uma invenção anterior era o Telegrafono, para o qual ele submeteu uma patente na Dinamarca em 1 de Dezembro de 1898. Este foi o primeiro dispositivo na história a usar gravação de som magnético, embora esta invenção permaneça comercialmente impraticável devido à baixa saída de som até ao advento dos amplificadores de tubo de vácuo na década de 1930.

Faz igualmente hoje anos que nascia, em 1874, Theodore Lyman. Este físico norte-americano, fez estudos importantes em fenómenos relacionados com redes de difracção, nos comprimentos de onda da luz ultravioleta de vácuo descoberta por Victor Schumann e também nas propriedades da luz de um comprimento de onda extremamente curto, sobre o qual ele contribuiu com documentos valiosos para a literatura de física nos procedimentos das sociedades científicas.

Faz também anos hoje que nascia, em 1887, Henry Moseley. Este físico britânico demonstrou experimentalmente que as principais propriedades de um elemento são determinadas pelo número atómico, não pelo peso atómico, e estabeleceu firmemente a relação entre o número atómico e a carga do núcleo atómico. Usando técnicas fotográficas de raio X, ele determinou uma relação matemática entre o comprimento de onda da radiação e os números atómicos dos elementos emissores. Moseley obteve várias relações quantitativas a partir das quais ele previu a existência de três elementos em falta (números 43, 61 e 75) na tabela periódica, todos os quais foram posteriormente identificados.

Por fim, faz anos hoje que nascia, em 1894, Donald Deskey. Este desenhador industrial norte-americano ajudou a estabelecer o design industrial como uma profissão. Ele criou o uso inventivo de materiais industriais para fins decorativos. Deskey inventou um laminado de alta pressão conhecido como Weldtex. Ele projectou as luzes de rua bem conhecidas na comissão para a cidade de Nova York em 1958 como um novo protótipo de padrão de luz de rua. Ele trouxe um olhar novo e modernista para móveis e interiores, incluindo o de Radio City Music Hall.

Esta semana ficámos a saber que a Tesla vai comercializar um camião eléctrico com autonomia de 800 Km. A bateria pode ter até 1 megawatt-hora de energia. E com um sistema de Tesla Megacharger mais novo, super-rápido, um camionista pode adicionar 600 Km de alcance em 30 minutos. O Tesla Semi entrará em produção em 2019, afirma a Tesla.

Também esta semana ficámos a saber que astrónomos observaram um asteróide intrigante que se deslocou através do sistema solar numa trajectória inclinada do espaço interestelar - o primeiro objecto confirmado vindo de outro sistema estelar. Agora, novos dados revelam que o intruso interestelar é um objecto rochoso em forma de charuto com uma tonalidade um pouco avermelhada. O asteróide, chamado 'Oumuamua pelos seus descobridores, tem até 400 metros de comprimento e altamente alongado. Tem uma relação de aspecto maior que a de qualquer asteróide ou cometa observado no nosso sistema solar até à data. Embora sua forma alongada seja bastante surpreendente e, ao contrário dos asteróides observados em nosso sistema solar, pode fornecer novas pistas sobre a forma como os outros sistemas solares se formaram.

Ainda esta semana, um robô chinês tornou-se a primeira máquina do mundo a passar pelo exame médico. O robô médico chinês de IA chamado "Xiaoyi" tornou-se o primeiro no mundo a ser aprovado na prova escrita do Exame Nacional de Licenciamento Médico da China, que agora trabalhará para melhorar o diagnóstico clínico. O robô obteve 456 pontos no exame, muito acima da média nacional, de acordo com sua equipa de pesquisa no Tsinghua-iFlyTek Joint Lab da Universidade de Tsinghua e a empresa líder na China iFlyTek Co., Ltd. Xiaoyi estudou quase um milhão de imagens médicas, 53 livros médicos, dois milhões de registos médicos e 400 mil literaturas médicas e relatórios médicos antes de tentar fazer o teste, disse Wu Ji, director do laboratório conjunto.

Na Newsletter desta semana apresentamos diversos projetos de maker assim como um modelo 3D que poderá ser útil. São apresentadas as revistas newelectronics de 14 Novembro 2017, a revista HackSpace magazine #1 e a revista "AIY Voice Essentials".

jpralves João Alves ([email protected])

O conteúdo da Newsletter encontra-se sob a licença by-nc-sa4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Novidades da Semana

Tesla Semi: 500-Mile Range, Cheaper Than Diesel, Quick to Charge

Tesla Semi: 500-Mile Range, Cheaper Than Diesel, Quick to Charge

"The Tesla Semi launched Thursday night to a host of superlatives. It’s faster, safer, and cheaper to run than anyone expected. Most of all, it will run 500 miles on a single charge, according to Tesla. The battery might have as much as 1 megawatt-hour of energy, we believe. And with a newer, super-faster Tesla Megacharger system, a trucker can add 400 miles of range in 30 minutes. The Tesla Semi will go into production in 2019, Tesla claims." [...]

Solar System's First Interstellar Visitor Dazzles Scientists

Solar System's First Interstellar Visitor Dazzles Scientists

"Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space-the first confirmed object from another star. Now, new data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named 'Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated-perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed. The observations and analyses were funded in part by NASA and appear in the Nov. 20 issue of the journal Nature." [...]

Chinese robot becomes world’s first machine to pass medical exam

Chinese robot becomes world’s first machine to pass medical exam

"A Chinese AI medical robot named “Xiaoyi” became the world’s first to pass the written test of China’s National Medical Licensing Examination, who will now work to improve clinical diagnosis, Beijing News reported. The robot scored 456 points in the exam, well above the national average, according to its research team at the Tsinghua-iFlyTek Joint Lab of Tsinghua University and China’s leading AI enterprise iFlyTek Co., Ltd. Xiaoyi studied nearly one million medical images, 53 medical books, two million medical records, and 400,000 medical literatures and medical reports before sitting for the test, said Wu Ji, director of the joint lab. For the critics who say that the robot only works by relying on its formidable memory ability, Wu explained that it does not make sense, because medical examination questions vary every year. Wu said its study, reasoning, and judgment abilities also played a part in Xiaoyi’s success. However, the robot is not likely to replace human doctors, noted Tao Xiaodong, a project manager at iFlyTek, adding that the robot is not able to flexibly use the knowledge it possesses, as there are often unforeseen circumstances during actual diagnosis and treatment. The robot will be applied nationwide from March next year in medical education and training, and will be used to assist doctors in clinical diagnosis and treatment to improve diagnosis accuracy and shorten treatment time." [...]

Outras Notícias

Scalable clusters make HPC R&D easy as Raspberry Pi

Scalable clusters make HPC R&D easy as Raspberry Pi

"System with thousands of nodes brings affordable testbed to supercomputing system-software developers LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 13, 2017—A quest to help the systems software community work on very large supercomputers without having to actually test on them has spawned an affordable, scalable system using thousands of inexpensive Raspberry Pi nodes. It brings a powerful high-performance-computing testbed to system-software developers, researchers, and others who lack machine time on the world’s fastest supercomputers. “It’s not like you can keep a petascale machine around for R&D work in scalable systems software,” said Gary Grider, leader of the High Performance Computing Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the Trinity supercomputer. “The Raspberry Pi modules let developers figure out how to write this software and get it to work reliably without having a dedicated testbed of the same size, which would cost a quarter billion dollars and use 25 megawatts of electricity.” Grider conceived the new solution to provide the systems software community with an inexpensive testbed of similar scale to the largest supercomputers being deployed. Designed and built by BitScope and distributed by SICORP, the Pi Cluster Modules enable developers to build, scale and test software before launching it on Trinity, Crossroads, and other large systems. The modules have other potential applications from education to the internet of things." [...]

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group completes acquisition of Terrafugia Inc

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group completes acquisition of Terrafugia Inc

" Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (‘Geely Holding’) is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Terrafugia Inc, a US-based company focused on the innovation, engineering and production of flying cars and future technologies, to acquire its operations and assets in their entirety. Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five award-winning graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since its inception, the company has made considerable progress towards realizing its vision of bringing a new form of mobility to the world, and delivered a number of working prototypes. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to the market in 2019, with the world’s first VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying car being made available by 2023. Under the terms of the agreement, Terrafugia will remain domiciled and headquartered in the United States of America, and continue to focus on its existing mission of developing flying cars. Terrafugia will also benefit from the Group’s significant expertise and track record of innovation within the global auto industry." [...]

China sets out long-term space transportation roadmap including a nuclear space shuttle

China sets out long-term space transportation roadmap including a nuclear space shuttle

"The main contractor for the Chinese space programme has set out a space transportation roadmap which could massively boost capabilities and reduce costs for access to space. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) roadmap sets out a string of ambitious targets related to space technology, space science and space applications from 2017 to 2045. By 2020 CASC will have a wide range of launch capabilities through its expendable Long March rocket families, with the low-cost Long March 8 rocket to be in action by this time, adding to the new capabilities of the Long March 5 and 7. 2025 is the marker for the successful development of a reusable space plane, initially using two stages for suborbital flight, including for tourism purposes. The debut flight for the space plane has earlier been stated as being set for 2020. Eventually the spacecraft would use combined cycle propulsion for orbital flight." [...]

Marvell and Cavium to Combine Creating an Infrastructure Solutions Powerhouse

Marvell and Cavium to Combine Creating an Infrastructure Solutions Powerhouse

"Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) and Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM) today announced a definitive agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, under which Marvell will acquire all outstanding shares of Cavium common stock in exchange for consideration of $40.00 per share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each Cavium share. Upon completion of the transaction, Marvell will become a leader in infrastructure solutions with approximately $3.4 billion1 in annual revenue. The transaction combines Marvell’s portfolio of leading HDD and SSD storage controllers, networking solutions and high-performance wireless connectivity products with Cavium’s portfolio of leading multi-core processing, networking communications, storage connectivity and security solutions. The combined product portfolios provide the scale and breadth to deliver comprehensive end-to-end solutions for customers across the cloud data center, enterprise and service provider markets, and expands Marvell’s serviceable addressable market to more than $16 billion. This transaction also creates an R&D innovation engine to accelerate product development, positioning the company to meet today’s massive and growing demand for data storage, heterogeneous computing and high-speed connectivity. “This is an exciting combination of two very complementary companies that together equal more than the sum of their parts,” said Marvell President and Chief Executive Officer, Matt Murphy." [...]

mbed OS 5.6.5 released

mbed OS 5.6.5 released

"We are pleased to announce the Mbed OS 5.6.5 release is now available. This is the latest patch release based on the feature set introduced by Mbed OS 5.6. Summary This patch release includes new target support for the following boards: NUCLEO_L496ZG_P L-Tek FF-LPC546XX Mbed Connect Cloud board ADI EV-COG-AD4050LZ RedBear BLE Nano 2 ADI EV-COG-AD3029LZ There was a workaround that went into mbed-os-5.6.4 for STM32 F767 rev A devices, to address an issue where the Ethernet peripheral had problems on the RMII interface. This workaround turned out to be an incomplete solution, that has now been corrected for this release. We've added bootloader support for DISCO_L475VG_IOT01A and HEXIWEAR, CAN3 support for STM32 and initial cryptographic acceleration support for the Silicon Labs family. We've made some quality improvements by extending the test set for Ticker class, updating the BLE BatteryService documentation and fixing a number of broken test cases." [...]

Ciência e Tecnologia

Breakthrough could launch organic electronics beyond cell phone screens

Breakthrough could launch organic electronics beyond cell phone screens

"A discovery by an international team of researchers from Princeton University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Humboldt University in Berlin points the way to more widespread use of an advanced technology generally known as organic electronics. The research, published Nov. 13 in the journal Nature Materials, focuses on organic semiconductors, a class of materials prized for their applications in emerging technologies such as flexible electronics, solar energy conversion, and high-quality color displays for smartphones and televisions. In the short term, the advance should particularly help with organic light-emitting diodes that operate at high energy to emit colors such as green and blue. “Organic semiconductors are ideal materials for the fabrication of mechanically flexible devices with energy-saving low temperature processes,” said Xin Lin, a doctoral student and a member of the Princeton research team. “One of their major disadvantages has been their relatively poor electrical conductivity, which leads to inefficient devices with a shorter operating lifetime than is required for commercial applications. We are working to improve the electrical properties of organic semiconductors to make them available for more applications.” Semiconductors, typically made of silicon, are the foundation of modern electronics because engineers can take advantage of their unique properties to control electrical currents." [...]

Improving clinical trials with machine learning

Improving clinical trials with machine learning

"Machine learning could improve our ability to determine whether a new drug works in the brain, potentially enabling researchers to detect drug effects that would be missed entirely by conventional statistical tests, finds a new UCL study published today in Brain. “Current statistical models are too simple. They fail to capture complex biological variations across people, discarding them as mere noise. We suspected this could partly explain why so many drug trials work in simple animals but fail in the complex brains of humans. If so, machine learning capable of modelling the human brain in its full complexity may uncover treatment effects that would otherwise be missed,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Parashkev Nachev (UCL Institute of Neurology). To test the concept, the research team looked at large-scale data from patients with stroke, extracting the complex anatomical pattern of brain damage caused by the stroke in each patient, creating in the process the largest collection of anatomically registered images of stroke ever assembled." [...]

Engineering of a Swedish quantum computer set to start

Engineering of a Swedish quantum computer set to start

"A SEK 1 billion research initiative is setting Sweden on course to a global top position in quantum technology. The focus is on developing a quantum computer with much greater computing power than the best supercomputers of today. The initiative, which is headed up by Professor Per Delsing at Chalmers University of Technology, has been made possible by an anniversary donation of SEK 600 million from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The progress of research in quantum technology in recent years has brought the world to the brink of a new technology revolution – the second quantum revolution. Researchers have learnt to control individual quantum systems such as individual atoms, electrons and particles of light, which is opening the door to completely new possibilities. Extremely rapid computers, intercept-proof communications and hyper-sensitive measurement methods are in sight." [...]

Three-Dimensional Nanomagnets for the computer of tomorrow

Three-Dimensional Nanomagnets for the computer of tomorrow

"Since the late 60´s electronic devices have stored and transmitted information (bits) in two-dimensional circuits. Now, researchers at the University of Cambridge have been able to break this barrier by creating a nanoscale magnetic circuit capable of moving information along the three dimensions of space. This breakthrough could lead to an important increase in storage and processing capacities of electronic devices over those used today. The information revolution that has shaped society into what it is today has been based on traditional printing of ever-shrinking electronic components. With current technologies reaching the limits of what Physics allows, researchers are starting to explore the third dimension in search for a route to continue improving those electronic devices in our pockets. In a recent study published in the journal ACS Nano, researchers at the university of Cambridge (UK) and TU Eindhoven (Netherlands), demonstrate how by combining the most advanced techniques in 3D-nanprinting with traditional methods it becomes possible to create functional circuits that can process information." [...]

Diagnosing supercomputer problems

Diagnosing supercomputer problems

"A team of computer scientists and engineers from Sandia National Laboratories and Boston University recently received a prestigious award at the International Supercomputing conference for their paper on automatically diagnosing problems in supercomputers. The research, which is in the early stages, could lead to real-time diagnoses that would inform supercomputer operators of any problems and could even autonomously fix the issues, said Jim Brandt, a Sandia computer scientist and author on the paper. Supercomputers are used for everything from forecasting the weather and cancer research to ensuring U.S. nuclear weapons are safe and reliable without underground testing. As supercomputers get more complex, more interconnected parts and processes can go wrong, said Brandt. Physical parts can break, previous programs could leave “zombie processes” running that gum up the works, network traffic can cause a bottleneck or a computer code revision could cause issues. These kinds of problems can lead to programs not running to completion and ultimately wasted supercomputer time, Brandt added." [...]

Speedy Collision Detector Could Make Robots Better Human Assistants

Speedy Collision Detector Could Make Robots Better Human Assistants

"Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a faster collision detection algorithm that uses machine learning to help robots avoid moving objects and weave through complex, rapidly changing environments in real time. The algorithm, dubbed “Fastron,” runs up to 8 times faster than existing collision detection algorithms. A team of engineers, led by Michael Yip, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego, will present the new algorithm at the first annual Conference on Robot Learning Nov. 13 to 15 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The conference brings the top machine learning scientists to an invitation-only event. Yip’s team will deliver one of the long talks during the 3-day conference. The team envisions that Fastron will be broadly useful for robots that operate in human environments where they must be able to work with moving objects and people fluidly." [...]

Supercomputing Speeds Up Deep Learning Training

Supercomputing Speeds Up Deep Learning Training

"A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) published the results of an effort to harness the power of supercomputers to train a deep neural network (DNN) for image recognition at rapid speed. The researchers efficiently used 1024 Skylake processors on the Stampede2 supercomputer to complete a 100-epoch ImageNet training with AlexNet in 11 minutes - the fastest time recorded to date. Using 1600 Skylake processors they also bested Facebook's prior results by finishing a 90-epoch ImageNet training with ResNet-50 in 32 minutes and, for batch sizes above 20,000, their accuracy was much higher than Facebook's. (In recent years, the ImageNet benchmark — a visual database designed for use in image recognition research — has played a significant role in assessing different approaches to DNN training.) Using 512 Intel Xeon Phi chips on Stampede2 they finished the 100-epoch AlexNet in 24 minutes and 90-epoch ResNet-50 in 60 minutes. "These results show the potential of using advanced computing resources, like those at TACC, along with large mini-batch enabling algorithms, to train deep neural networks interactively and in a distributed way," said Zhao Zhang, a research scientist at TACC, a leading supercomputing center." [...]

Less is more to produce top-notch 2D materials

Less is more to produce top-notch 2D materials

"A simple technique for mass producing ultrathin, high-quality molybdenum trioxide nanosheets could lead to next-generation electronic and optoelectronic devices Molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) has potential as an important two-dimensional (2D) material, but its bulk manufacture has lagged behind that of others in its class. Now, researchers at ASTAR have developed a simple method for mass producing ultrathin, high-quality MoO3 nanosheets.1 Following the discovery of graphene, other 2D materials such as transition metal di-chalcogenides, began to attract considerable attention. In particular, MoO3 emerged as an important 2D semiconducting material because of its remarkable electronic and optical properties that hold promise for a range of new applications in electronics, optoelectronics and electrochromics. Liu Hongfei and colleagues from the ASTAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and Institute of High Performance Computing have sought to develop a simple technique for mass producing large, high-quality nanosheets of MoO3 that are flexible and transparent. “Atomically thin nanosheets of molybdenum trioxide have novel properties that can be utilized in a range of electronic applications,” says Liu. “But to produce good quality nanosheets, the parent crystal must be of very high purity.” By first using a technique called thermal vapor transport, the researchers evaporated MoO3 powder in a tube-furnace at 1,000 degrees Celsius." [...]

Butterfly Wing Inspires Photovoltaics: Light Absorption Can Be Enhanced by Up to 200 Percent

Butterfly Wing Inspires Photovoltaics: Light Absorption Can Be Enhanced by Up to 200 Percent

"Nanostructures Optimize Light Absorption in Black Butterflies – Principle Can Be Transferred to Photovoltaics for Improving Light Harvesting in Thin-Film Solar Cells – Cell Efficiency Increase Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that help absorbing light over a wide spectrum far better than smooth surfaces. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in transferring these nanostructures to solar cells and, thus, enhancing their light absorption rate by up to 200 percent. The scientists report their results in the journal Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700232. “The butterfly studied by us is very dark black." [...]

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

"Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing. Quantum computing could solve problems impossible for today’s supercomputers. The challenge for this new form of computing is processing the quantum bits (qubits) that represent data. A qubit can be made by controlling the orientation of an electron’s spin at a defect site in diamond. To solve a problem, a quantum computer uses logic gates to couple multiple qubits and output new information. Scientists designed a new protocol that can be used to develop fast, robust logic gates for qubits." [...]

Zipping DNA

Zipping DNA

"ETH researchers have developed a method that allows large amounts of genetic information to be compressed and then decompressed again in cells. This could aid in the development of new therapies. What do you do if you have a large document or a high-resolution image that is too big to send via email? You simply zip it to a more manageable size using a suitable software. “Instead of sending the information ‘white-white-white-white-white-…’ for every single pixel on a white line, only the message ‘white 1,000 times’ is transmitted,” explains Kobi Benenson, Head of the Synthetic Biology Group at ETH’s Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering in Basel. Once received, the information can then be returned to its original size, i.e." [...]

Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications

Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications

"Multiband tunable antennas are a critical part of many communication and radar systems. New research by engineers at the University of Bristol has shown significant advances in antennas by using optically induced plasmas in silicon to tune both radiation patterns and operation frequency. Conventional antenna tuning is performed with diodes or Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) switches. However, these approaches have significant drawbacks as systems become more complex and move to higher frequencies, which is anticipated for 5G systems. The first paper, published in IET Optoelectronics, co-authored by Dr Chris Gamlath, Research Associate in RF Engineering during his PhD, shows how a silicon superstrate placed over a slotted microstrip patch can be used to tune radiation patterns. The second paper published in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, co-authored by Dr Michael Collett during his PhD, demonstrates how silicon can be placed within the slots of an air-spaced, cavity-backed antenna to perform frequency and pattern tuning that achieves high efficiencies." [...]

New Deposition Technique Puts the Heat on Silicon

New Deposition Technique Puts the Heat on Silicon

"In the early history of electronic devices, germanium, a more efficient elemental semiconductor than silicon, was the material of choice. Ultimately, the high cost of developing germanium crystals eclipsed its efficiency, and silicon captured the field. But new research establishing an economical method for growing crystalline thin-film germanium – using a process known as van der Waals epitaxy — challenges that supremacy. “This is the first time strain-free van der Waals epitaxy of an elemental semiconductor has been demonstrated,” said Aaron Littlejohn, a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Gwo-Ching Wang, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Our research found a narrow window, a very specific set of conditions that work.” Interestingly, the technique produces flexible germanium that which can be removed from the substrate. “Our germanium film could be used as a thin-film nanomembrane, which could be integrated into electronic devices more easily than nanocrystals or nanowires,” said Littlejohn, who is first author on the research." [...]

Berkeley startup to train robots like puppets

Berkeley startup to train robots like puppets

"Robots today must be programmed by writing computer code, but imagine donning a VR headset and virtually guiding a robot through a task, like you would move the arms of a puppet, and then letting the robot take it from there. That’s the vision of Pieter Abbeel, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and his students, Peter Chen, Rocky Duan and Tian