Science Sunday: Nano transistors, and does anyone have a Jive dictionary?

nano transistorWhen we heard about the phenomenon of “Self Excitation of Nano-Mechanical Pillars” and the possible implications in the development of nano-computing devices, we were as excited as the next “nanobods“. But what had us laughing off our chairs was the interpretation of the effect - if you could call it an interpretation - on the physics arXiv blog - in a southern Jive!

Convertin’ a constant force into an oscillatin’ one is a useful trick. Ya’ll seen em: gravity-powered pendulums and wind-powered turbines for example, them both set machines a-spinin and a-swingin by exploitin’ a constant force.

ImageThe science of the effect is the ability to convert a constant signal into an oscillating one - a visual example is the windmill where a constant force - the blowing wind - can set up a resonant oscillation frequency in the turbine.

This phenomenon of self excitation (SE) would be a very useful feature if it could be replicated within nano systems, since it can be produced by applying a constant DC voltage to produce an oscillation [At the basis of any kind of binary system, which will form the foundations of a computing system, is the ability to produce a varying or oscillating signal which can be ultimately be made to flip between two binary states on-off, 0/1 etc.].

ImageKim et all at UC Davis have published a paper describing the demonstration of self excitation in single electron, nano electro-mechanical transistors (NEMSET), which could form the basis for nano-computing systems.

Their device is a kinda nano-mushroom that stands between the plates of a capacitor, in a constant DC field.

Give the mushroom a push and it leans towards the source electrode where electrons tunnel across into the mushroom head. The DC field exerts a force on this extra charge on the ’shroom, pushing it towards the drain electrode where the electrons jump ship. The force disappears and the mushroom’s stiffness sends it swinging back to the source again like metronome, and the process starts again.

But back to jive - there is a neat website that lets you translate from English to Jive, but unfortunately not the other way around.

So the next time you write a boring article, you might want to spice it up with a double shot of Jive!

So de next time ya’ scribble some bo’in’ article, ya’ might wanna spice it down wid some double shot uh Jive. Right On!


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BitTorrent: An application platform for P2P

A new client has been developed for the iPhone, called µTorrent, which allows file transfer using Bittorrent (Bittorrent is the original pioneer of P2P file transfer on pc), on the iPhone. Ashwin Navin, President and co-founder of Bittorrent recently spoke about the application at a recent TiE entrepreneur’s mixer in Los Angeles. Ashwin is credited with building relationships between BitTorrent and mainstream media such as Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. BitTorrent is providing app builders with tools - SDKs (software development kits) for building applications on top of the BitTorrent file transfer platform.


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Tubecast TV: Turn on, Tune in, Chill out

ImageIf you have an hour to kill on a weekend, tubecast.tv is a great place to go. Tubecast is a very simple site - it shows pre-programmed channels, with line ups rather like broadcast TV, except you can hop ahead and watch shows that are accessible on the current time line.

The site, based in UK, gathers up and streams independent as well as mainstream content, such as music videos. The first channel that comes up on the site is 101 or the Miaow channel (mainstream pop) which shows popular videos such as Beyonce’s and Shakira’s latest.

There are a handful of other channels with dance and R&B music. We could not get to some of the channels, such as the BBC comedy channel. It is just amazing that given the recent rush of press that Tubecast is getting, from Techcrunch and others, the server has not crashed already from overload. In fact there were no noticeable buffering delays while playing the videos.

We have reviewed other video aggregation sites in the past - Blinkx, Joost, Mefeedia. Tubecast is not a video search engine, but is more of a play and enjoy destination.

The best feature of Tubecast is that it can be shown full screen (be sure to step away from the screen though when playing in this mode or the picture will appear pixelated if the original video quality is not very high). Also Tubecast tv is totally web based and does not require a download.

Tubecast is a shoestring not-for-profit experimental site - just goes to show what an innovative guy, with a fast computer, can do!

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Google phone: The tongue wagging just won’t stop.

ImageWhich mobile phone does not exist, but continues to generate almost as much hype as the iPhone? The answer is the Gphone, Google’s supposed mobile-phone-in-development. We keep hearing rumors, and more rumors about google coming out with its own phone. Now Rediff reports that Google is in talk with Indian carriers regarding the imminent roll out of the Gphone. Gigaom calls the report speculative, and we tend to agree.

Google started tongues wagging when the put their hat into the ring for the 700 MHz spectrum auction , for which it is prepared to shell out $4.6 billion. So news of Google’s upcoming foray into the mobile space continues to do the buzz rounds.

According to Google spokespeople “Google is committed to providing users with access to the world’s information, and mobile becomes more important to those efforts every day. We’re collaborating with partners worldwide to bring Google search and applications to mobile users everywhere.”

Google has, of course, come out with a lot of handy applications for the mobile phone, such as icalendar. I understand, though, why companies would want to keep mum about their upcoming launches these days. Gone are the times of the quick releases, followed by endless patches. These days a product has to be perfect, please everybody, and work straight out of the box. It is little wonder then that even small websites take great pains to indicate when they are in alpha or beta, lest their star rise too pre-maturely, and be followed by a fast crash and burn.

Google has developed a reputation of producing apps that work. I am sure they would be as cautious when (and if) they decide to release any hardware - specially a mobile phone.


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