ISOStick, USB Memory Überstick…

USB memory sticks have been with us for a while now, like the crocodile of the gadget world they have remained unchanged for what seems like an eternity. This may be about to change with the introduction of the new Über memory stick.

Designed by Elegant Invention for IT professionals, computer technicians, noids and boffins, generally anyone who has found themselves carrying multiple memory sticks or a wad of DVD’s to install operating systems or solve that IT emergency. ISOStick comes to the rescue by rolling all of the functions you require into one nice little unremarkable looking USB stick.

In order for a gadget to achieve the Über classification it must push the limits in some way, be unnecessarily extreme. The ISOStick’ s bag of tricks include, the ability to appear as a virtual DVD-Rom that can use any ISO file as a disk in the drive, switch disks with a button on the USB stick, read-only mode for virus proof safety, upgradeable firmware, completely configurable settings file and flashing RGB LED.

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Fujitsu’s LOOX F-07C, Über Pocket Computer…

Gadget lovers the world over have this week had a collective oww ahhh moment. The masters of miniaturization at Fujitsu this week released the Uber pocket computer the Fujitsu LOOX F-07C, setting new standards in geek sexy, the super model of Windows computers. Weighing in at just 218 grams, – along with dimensions of 125x61x19.8mm – this is the worlds smallest fully function Windows pocket computer.
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The LOOX is a triple personality Über gadget, Windows 7 Pocket Computer, Symbian Smart Phone and using the docking station Desktop Windows PC with full sized keyboard and screen. While Netbooks reminded us of what portability should be, the LOOX makes netbooks look like giants. The fact that Fujitsu have managed to shoe horn a fully-fledged smart phone into the package as well is just a incredible bonus.

Dells UltraSharp U2412M Übermonitor for the Masses

We’ve been following IPS panels for a we while now, and with much anticipation of them becoming a bog standard item, a standard consumable . . .

Dell this week released a new affordable IPS LCD Monitor, a monitor with more pop than a lady gaga track and a price tag we can actually afford, the monitor is already on sale for $399 USD. The panel is based on IPS technology – In-Plane Switching – that gives the display a more vivid and brighter picture than the current generation LCD monitors. The iPad 2, iPhone 4, Asus Transformer tablet, Samsung Galaxy tablet all use IPS displays to give the tiny displays that little extra pop, critical when the whole computer is just a display. Are IPS monitors about to hit mainstream?

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Power From Thin Air, Harnessing Ambient Electromagnetic Energy…

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have demonstrated – at the IEEE conference July 6 – technology capable of harnessing ambient electromagnetic energy that pervades our modern world.

By taking advantage of the transmitters that are already covering modern cities power is extracted from thin air. In a sense turning mobile phone base stations, tv transmitters and radio station transmitters into micro power stations. While this technology only provides very small amounts of power it is enough to power simple sensors and devices, eventually as the technology develops more advanced electronics may be powered, we may eventually see self-powered bumper stickers telling us to back the f off.

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The AMD Radeon HD 6990M, Dial M for Mobile…

The tussle between AMD and NVIDIA has erupted once again, both jockeying for position at the top of the Video Card heap. With marketing departments loaded and ready to fire at ten paces the great GPU – Graphics Procesing Unit – race starts a new. Two weeks ago Nvidia announced the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M was the fastest mobile graphics processor on the market, AMD not to take such claims lightly has this week announced the AMD Radeon HD 6990M, claiming to be up to 25% faster than the competition. Will NVIDIA have a comeback, we will all have to wait and see.

AMD’s marketing department would like us to highlight its latest catch phrase technologies, things like EYEFinity, a technology built into AMD’s new chips that allows 6 displays to be connected and used as one continuous display. It does look spectacular for gaming, full video surround, immersive. HD3D is AMD’s take on integrating 3D glasses for 3D movies and to give those first person shooters head ducking realism. App Acceleration cuts CPU usage by shifting application work loads to the GPU, using the math’s crunching power to make easy work of applications like video production and photo editing. AMD PowerPlay™ power management technology with dynamic power management with low power idle state should stop this GPU requiring a nuclear power station to operate.

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Magnetic Microprocessors: The Pure Logic of Magnetism…

In our overtly connected lives the CPU – Central Processing Unit or Microprocessor – is the engine that drives this connectivity. In the not too distant future a new generation processor is lifting it’s head just above the horizon. Based on tiny nano-magnets instead of tiny transistors, the Nano-Magnet Microprocessor is on the rise.

Relying on magnetic fields rather than electric current – flow of electrons – the Magnetic-Nano Processor could be up to 1,000,000 times more power efficient than current processors. Working at the very limits of possible efficiency might allow laptops to run for a thousand hours between charges, will an iPhone 10 be good for two days on a single charge, it is possible, the Nano-Magnetic Processor revolution is almost on us.

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Dust and Debris, The Middle Mystery of Planet Formation…

How did this rocky outpost of life we call ‘Earth’ form, what process is capable of turning space dust and rubble into this picturesque blue planet we call home.

Science has a fairly good understanding of the beginning and end of the life-cycle of solar systems and their planets but the middle bit is still a huge mystery. How we go from a dusty cloud to what we on Earth a used to seeing, a working solar system that’s the question. A number of recent discoveries are helping us shape our understanding of this process, the formation of planets. Central to this new understanding is the information being collected by many radio telescopes and satellites. With these new modern tools we are seeing for the first time this process in action. Discoveries are also being made in unexpected places, theories are being expanded or replaced faster than ever.

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Phase Change Memory, The New Storage King…

The battle over the next storage technology is heating up. IBM scientists this week demonstrated a working practical version of their Multi-bit Phase Change Memory. PCM combines speed, endurance, non-volatility and density into a single chip. This is Flash memory part 2 and may be the first technology to threaten hard drives. 100 times faster than flash with read/write durability of 10 million cycles this is what Flash always wanted to be. PCM is the little prince who one day may become the king of storage.

IBM developed a 200,000 memory cell test chip to prove the technology. The chip was developed using older 90nm CMOS fabricating technology – Intel is just about to start using 22nm technology – , the cells consists of an alloy between two electrodes, top and bottom. When voltage is passed between the electrodes the alloy heats up and changes once it hits the right temperature. This change in structure affects its electrical resistance and this is used to represent 1’s and 0’s. The alloy itself belongs to a class of materials called chalcogenide compounds, materials that change their internal structure from crystalline to amphoras under certain circumstances. DVD-R disks use a similar material but they use light to read and write, changing the refractive index.

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Artificial Skin, Getting That Robotic Touch…

Skin a wonderfully tactile and complex part of the human condition that often goes unnoticed. Scientists this week have demonstrated the most complex artificial skin for robots yet produced. Containing infra-red, heat and accelerometer sensors this is an intelligent hard shell for our robotic creations. Still lagging a long way behind human skin this new robotic facsimile is a huge advancement on previous technology that will eventually be able to include other sensors to enhance our robots sense of touch.

The skin itself is made from a collection of small hexagonal circuit boards – 5 square centimeters each– that are connected to form the skin. Each circuit board contains four infra-red sensors to detect objects within a few centimeters of the skin, six temperature sensors for heat / cold and an accelerometer. The circuit boards have their own processor and communications hardware used to form a network of skin cells.

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