NASA wants to print a spacecraft, but first it’s printing the electronics


PARC — home of the laser printer, ethernet, the graphical user interface and the Alto computer — is best known for its role in Silicon Valley’s past. But in late July, a window in the belly of the center’s Palo Alto campus provided a look at the future: printable electronics that could someday go into space.

The window led to PARC’s clean room, where bodysuit-protected researchers milled about while a printer the size of an office copy machine whirred. For three or four months now, a PARC team has been working with NASA on printing heat and light sensors that would be ideal for environmental sensing on the surface of Mars. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory lead researcher Kendra Short said that eventually they’ll be able to print other types of electronics that take in solar energy, communicate wirelessly and more.

The electronics are printed on thin plastic sheets. Ideally, they could be released on…

View original post 456 more words


We might need new types of chip designs for the internet of things


If we’re going to embed chips into roads, bury them in fields and even slap them on produce at the grocery store, we’re going to have to dump the battery. They are expensive, bulky, require changing and can also leak toxins into the environment. And while many people are focused on how to best to power these future sensors, the chip architecture firm ARM(s armh) is thinking about how to build chips for sensors that harvest their own energy.

Maybe these sensors are gathering power from RF signals in the air, kinetically, or even through a chemical reaction that they are built to recognize and report. No matter how they gather the energy, if they can’t store it then the way the chips use that power may have to change. At least that’s what Mike Muller, the CTO of ARM, told Peter Clarke of EETimes last week. In

View original post 192 more words

IBM researchers get closer to brain-like computing


IBM (s ibm) researchers say they have whipped up a programming language, algorithms and applications to deploy on top of a computing system inspired by the human brain.

This is the latest progress IBM and collaborating groups have made for a little project from the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) dubbed Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics, or SyNAPSE.

“It’s a very modest goal — it’s to build a brain-like computer,” said Dharmendra Modha, principal investigator and senior manager at IBM Research.

In recent years, Modha and his fellow researchers have simulated a brain larger than a cat cortex and built chips that function like a human brain (pictured), adapting in response to new information in real time.

Simulating a brain in software

Researchers have since developed a massively parallel, multi-threaded software simulator for its brain-like architecture. The simulation covers 2 billion neurosynaptic cores all connected…

View original post 446 more words

Tesla, fast charging and why it’s getting inconvenient for future EV drivers


This article originally appeared on GigaOM Pro, our premium research subscription service.

If we’ve learned anything over the past couple months about Tesla (s TSLA), it’s that the company is concerned about range anxiety, particularly as it heads into the next couple years in which it’ll try to make a splash in the mass market. It opened the summer by demoing battery swapping technology in the Model S and most recently has aggressively pursued those with access to retail and commercial parking space in a quest to put 98 percent of U.S. drivers within range of a supercharger by the end of 2015.

Tesla Model STesla is willing to foot the entire $100,000 to $175,000 bill of installing superchargers in public venues. The prospective “supercharger hosts” don’t have to do much. Tesla covers the costs, including electricity, construction and ongoing maintenance. All the real estate provider has to do is agree…

View original post 504 more words