Sunday, June 3, 2007

19. Communication/Transmission technology

(voice/sound, paper, mud brick cuneiform, silk rolls, papyrus, digital computers, pony express, telephone/telegraph, smoke signals from fires, semaphore, electrified metals/conductors, electromagnets, etc.)

Featured in the main post are three important posts so far: [1] speakers more environmentally sound, made of glass; [2] glass based hard drives as a final solution for communication and transmission; [3] an assemblage of information on the dangers of choosing microwaves as a means of communication.

[1] speakers more environmentally sound

Amazing Glass Speaker Technology
1:17 min presented by Greensound Technology™ offers specially engineered glass speakers that create a natural, high-fidelity sound. By utilizing a patented technology, this innovation provides an unmatched harmony of consistent high quality tone, everlasting performance, and elegant design to fit any venue. Unlike traditional speakers with components that break down over time, Greensound Technology™ is able to maintain this sophisticated level of performance forever. By employing the concept of sound projection thru glass, each of the glass speakers can deliver true 360° sound to produce an optimal listening experience for any member of an audience. Greensound Technology™ also maintains flexibility as a fundamental value. Several product lines and configurations are available for versatility, personalization, and optimal performance anywhere.

2. communication through the ages solved: glass hard drives

Computers are a very polluting industry. They got much less polluting with this option: glass memory. Plus, it solves other material category difficulties for information storage and communication that humans have always had for thousands of years. It's great for daily consumers and great for the long term views of cultural preservation and archives. Archival purposes are solved for the digital era completely. It's hard to overstate the importance of this development of glass hard drives for the human species culturally along of course with the importance for the ever cleaner environment.

Read this. Stop people from telling you we 'have to' degrade the environment to live on this planet. To say so is just someone's ignorance of our options to settle for an ongoing bad material history when we can have now a much better material future--and a durable cultural memory for the species at last.

Superman 'memory crystals' to become a reality as scientists store computer data on powerful glass hard drive
By Daniel Bates
15th August 2011

Computer users could soon be saving their work onto hard drives made of glass after scientists developed ‘memory crystals’ similar to those in the Superman films.

Researchers have used laser beams to alter glass and make it possible to store memory inside, just as Clark Kent does in his Fortress of Solitude.

They say the crystals will be able to store much more than conventional hard drives and are less prone to overheating or damage.

Poweful memory database: The process works by putting tiny dots called 'voxels' into pure silica glass which changes the way light moves through it

At home: Researchers have used laser beams to alter glass and make it possible to store memory inside, just as Clark Kent does in his Fortress of Solitude

Currently the glass shards can store up to 50GB of data, the equivalent of a whole Blu-ray Disc, on a piece the size of a mobile phone screen.

They can also withstand temperatures of up to 1,800F and last for thousands of years without the quality of the data stored degrading.

The process works by putting tiny dots called ‘voxels’ into pure silica glass which changes the way light moves through it.

These voxels can then be read using an optical decoder, allowing the user to write or delete data as often as they like.

Lead research Martynas Beresna, of Southampton University's optoelectronics research centre, said: ‘We have developed this memory which means data can be stored on the glass and last for ever. It could become a very stable and safe form of portable memory.

‘It could be very useful for organisations with big archives. At the moment companies have to back up their archives every five to ten years because hard-drive memory has a relatively short lifespan.

‘Museums who want to preserve information or places like the national archives where they have huge numbers of documents, would really benefit.'

The researchers are now working with a Lithuanian company to market the crystals.

In the Superman film series, the Fortress of Solitude was created by a crystal placed aboard a spacecraft Superman is put on to escape the war on his home planet of Krypton.

The teenage Clark Kent ends up in an ice field thought to be in the Arctic and when he throws it into the floor it becomes a cavernous crystal complex.

The memory crystals contain holograms and sound recordings of Superman’s parents Jor-El and Lara which are accessed by placing a glass ‘memory stick’ into a glass pipe.

3. microwave radiation dangers as a communication medium choice

995 - Barrie Trower (BONUS 10 of 10)
[Microwave Cancer, Lukemia, Genetic Damage Known--Dangers of Cell Phones, WiFi--for Kids and Adults; Court Cases Being Won For Removing WiFi on Health Grounds from Schools]

10:00 min.

Mr. Trower has a background in covert military microwave weaponry from the 1960s, and from this he knows the dangers it can do. For years, microwave weaponry was perfected in select militaries of the world throughout the 20th century to cause health problems intentionally based on known different frequencies. Now, the same technologies and wave forms are in the public sector hurting you and others--in various applications from cell phones, WiFi, Bluetooth, cell phone masts, etc. Barrie Trower, U.K. citizen, knows much about the military history of microwave dangers and the updated public documented cancer/leukemia clusters of people around cell phone towers on school and private property. With this knowledge, he has been an expert witness across the world in court suits--some in which he won--revealing the documentation of dangers of microwave radiation that was crucial in removing cell phone towers.

 The U.K. media hates to reveal such well documented dangers: he was told he was on a British "blacklist" as someone the BBC was "not allowed to talk to" on the issue. Despite his repeated attempts to contact the BBC, they refuse to even respond to him much less to make a documentary warning the public about the dangers. He reveals that it is the militaries of the world that are pressing this technology because it sets up an Orwellian spy grid in which even the spy/security services of all countries are completely transparent to the microwave network owners.

All parts of this two-day interview are worth seeing. (And search for Dr. George Carlo as well)

We are biologically endangered by the poor choice of utilizing electropollution as a mechanism of communication. I mean EMF as a mechanism of communiation.

The science of these dangers is not "still out". The information is available in droves about the dangers of: Wi-Fi, EMF, RF, cell phones, RFID tags, Verichip implants, cell phone towers, police communication frequency bands (TETRA), supermarket two way radios, etc. Most of this misses the major corporate owned media rounds, so it's definitely important to the consumer and citizen.

The infrastructure of your digital communication life definitely is giving you cancer, leading to numerous other health complications, leading to mental imbalances and other mental conditions in children and adults, and causing you to go blind with cataracts, and much more below.

"Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a controversial technology that uses tiny microchips to track items from a distance. These RFID microchips have earned the nickname "spychips" because each contains a unique identification number, like a Social Security number for things, that can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves. Over 40 of the world's leading privacy and civil liberties organizations have called for a moratorium on chipping individual consumer items because the technology can be used to track people without their knowledge or consent." Bennetton's RFID was nipped in the bud in 2003 with a huge consumer backlash. Now, companies like Levis Strauss keep mum about the U.S. test location in order to prevent such a consumer backlash, effectively lying to their consumers about adulteration of their clothing with RFID. Clothing retailer Benetton was hit hard by a consumer boycott led by Albrecht in 2003 when the company announced plans to embed RFID tags in its Sisley line of women's clothing. The resulting consumer outcry forced the company to retreat from its plans and disclaim its intentions. The same can happen to Levi Strauss doubly so because it is attempting to do this against the wide consumer opposition to being tracked much less by having it secretly introduced by Levi Strauss in the process.

A control grid, a prison without bars, is being introduced like the above on many levels.

This has health implications as well: RFID gives you cancer and a host of other problems. So if you are lax about your concerns of governmental tyranny, perhaps you will be concerned by the cancer increases in your young children from the RFID panopticon?

The "Intelligence Reform Act" of 2004 and the Real ID Act of 2005 in the USA established an ominous national ID system, ***forcing all states to standardize*** biometric-laden birth certificates, drivers licenses and other (RF)ID cards.

By 2008, personal data from USA citizens will be flowing into a biometric database full of DNA profiles that the Fuhrer's would be proud of. While coming to power over all law enforcement agencies with its directives and funding, DHS is regimenting U.S. medical establishment to collect and forward all health data....Medical history will be part of your 'file' and your DNA will be governmental property, suitable for culling? Remember, the Third Reich was unable to organize the eugenic Shoah/Holocaust without the technology of communication and monitoring in place. The USA has currently an even more improved form of eugenic monitoring than was utilized in Germany in the 1930s through silent, scannable RFID information and DNA databases. You are unable to organize a eugenic bioweapon driven Holocaust like PNAC is on record wanting without detailed individual genetic-biological lists, courtesy of, in the U.S. from 2008, a microwave based RFID file system with individual required bio-information-genetic markers carried at all times as an internal passport, mandated by the State. The next Holocaust is being organized right now via microwave RFID. All 'genetic minorities' should be concerned by the USA's activities. LET'S RECALL P.N.A.C.'s quote, signed off by dozens of appointee in Bush Administration: "...advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."

Ban all uses of these frequencies now. They are bad for your health and a bad communications medium because they could be different frequencies.

Can I mention that the same frequencies for cell phones institutionalized right now are known to be 'useful' psychotronic mind/mood control and/or altering frequencies as long ago as the 1950s? Anyone out there getting cataracts from their cell phones?
July 29, 2005 .

In a recent scientific study conducted by a team of researchers from the Technion, a possible link between microwave radiation, similar to the type found in cellular phones, and different kinds of damage to the visual system was found. At least one kind of damage seems to accumulate over time and not heal, challenging the common view and leading the researchers to the assertion that the duration of exposure is not less important than the intensity of the irradiation.

With RFID tags, Verichip implants, and cell phones (all microwave band frequencies) capable of giving people cancer and a host of other diseases from reduced bodily soundness, a complete switch away from these harmful spectrum bands is required.

More data on these claims below, and one film about cell phone electropollution and cancer.

First, the Verichip:

AP: FDA approved microchip implants linked to animal cancer
( Published on Monday, September 10, 2007 )
A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats

AP: FDA approved microchip implants linked to animal cancer
Published on Monday, September 10, 2007.
Source: Associated Press - Todd Lewan AP Writer

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients' medical records almost instantly. The FDA found "reasonable assurance" the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005's top "innovative technologies."

But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.

"The transponders were the cause of the tumors," said Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, explaining in a phone interview the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich.

Leading cancer specialists reviewed the research for The Associated Press and, while cautioning that animal test results do not necessarily apply to humans, said the findings troubled them. Some said they would not allow family members to receive implants, and all urged further research before the glass-encased transponders are widely implanted in people.

To date, about 2,000 of the so-called radio frequency identification, or RFID, devices have been implanted in humans worldwide, according to VeriChip Corp. The company, which sees a target market of 45 million Americans for its medical monitoring chips, insists the devices are safe, as does its parent company, Applied Digital Solutions, of Delray Beach, Fla.

"We stand by our implantable products which have been approved by the FDA and/or other U.S. regulatory authorities," Scott Silverman, VeriChip Corp. chairman and chief executive officer, said in a written response to AP questions.

The company was "not aware of any studies that have resulted in malignant tumors in laboratory rats, mice and certainly not dogs or cats," but he added that millions of domestic pets have been implanted with microchips, without reports of significant problems.

"In fact, for more than 15 years we have used our encapsulated glass transponders with FDA approved anti-migration caps and received no complaints regarding malignant tumors caused by our product."

The FDA also stands by its approval of the technology.

Did the agency know of the tumor findings before approving the chip implants? The FDA declined repeated AP requests to specify what studies it reviewed.

The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options.

Thompson, until recently a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, says he had no personal relationship with the company as the VeriChip was being evaluated, nor did he play any role in FDA's approval process of the RFID tag.

"I didn't even know VeriChip before I stepped down from the Department of Health and Human Services," he said in a telephone interview.

Also making no mention of the findings on animal tumors was a June report by the ethics committee of the American Medical Association, which touted the benefits of implantable RFID devices.

Had committee members reviewed the literature on cancer in chipped animals?

No, said Dr. Steven Stack, an AMA board member with knowledge of the committee's review.

Was the AMA aware of the studies?

No, he said.


Published in veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996 and 2006, the studies found that lab mice and rats injected with microchips sometimes developed subcutaneous "sarcomas" - malignant tumors, most of them encasing the implants.

- A 1998 study in Ridgefield, Conn., of 177 mice reported cancer incidence to be slightly higher than 10 percent - a result the researchers described as "surprising."

- A 2006 study in France detected tumors in 4.1 percent of 1,260 microchipped mice. This was one of six studies in which the scientists did not set out to find microchip-induced cancer but noticed the growths incidentally. They were testing compounds on behalf of chemical and pharmaceutical companies; but they ruled out the compounds as the tumors' cause. Because researchers only noted the most obvious tumors, the French study said, "These incidences may therefore slightly underestimate the true occurrence" of cancer.

- In 1997, a study in Germany found cancers in 1 percent of 4,279 chipped mice. The tumors "are clearly due to the implanted microchips," the authors wrote.

Caveats accompanied the findings. "Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided," one study cautioned. Also, because none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get chips, the normal rate of tumors cannot be determined and compared to the rate with chips implanted.

Still, after reviewing the research, specialists at some pre-eminent cancer institutions said the findings raised red flags.

"There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members," said Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Before microchips are implanted on a large scale in humans, he said, testing should be done on larger animals, such as dogs or monkeys. "I mean, these are bad diseases. They are life-threatening. And given the preliminary animal data, it looks to me that there's definitely cause for concern."

Dr. George Demetri, director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, agreed. Even though the tumor incidences were "reasonably small," in his view, the research underscored "certainly real risks" in RFID implants.

In humans, sarcomas, which strike connective tissues, can range from the highly curable to "tumors that are incredibly aggressive and can kill people in three to six months," he said.

At the Jackson Laboratory in Maine, a leader in mouse genetics research and the initiation of cancer, Dr. Oded Foreman, a forensic pathologist, also reviewed the studies at the AP's request.

At first he was skeptical, suggesting that chemicals administered in some of the studies could have caused the cancers and skewed the results. But he took a different view after seeing that control mice, which received no chemicals, also developed the cancers. "That might be a little hint that something real is happening here," he said. He, too, recommended further study, using mice, dogs or non-human primates.

Dr. Cheryl London, a veterinarian oncologist at Ohio State University, noted: "It's much easier to cause cancer in mice than it is in people. So it may be that what you're seeing in mice represents an exaggerated phenomenon of what may occur in people."

Tens of thousands of dogs have been chipped, she said, and veterinary pathologists haven't reported outbreaks of related sarcomas in the area of the neck, where canine implants are often done. (Published reports detailing malignant tumors in two chipped dogs turned up in AP's four-month examination of research on chips and health. In one dog, the researchers said cancer appeared linked to the presence of the embedded chip; in the other, the cancer's cause was uncertain.)

Nonetheless, London saw a need for a 20-year study of chipped canines "to see if you have a biological effect." Dr. Chand Khanna, a veterinary oncologist at the National Cancer Institute, also backed such a study, saying current evidence "does suggest some reason to be concerned about tumor formations."

Meanwhile, the animal study findings should be disclosed to anyone considering a chip implant, the cancer specialists agreed.

To date, however, that hasn't happened.


The product that VeriChip Corp. won approval for use in humans is an electronic capsule the size of two grains of rice. Generally, it is implanted with a syringe into an anesthetized portion of the upper arm.

When prompted by an electromagnetic scanner, the chip transmits a unique code. With the code, hospital staff can go on the Internet and access a patient's medical profile that is maintained in a database by VeriChip Corp. for an annual fee.

VeriChip Corp., whose parent company has been marketing radio tags for animals for more than a decade, sees an initial market of diabetics and people with heart conditions or Alzheimer's disease, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company is spending millions to assemble a national network of hospitals equipped to scan chipped patients.

But in its SEC filings, product labels and press releases, VeriChip Corp. has not mentioned the existence of research linking embedded transponders to tumors in test animals.

When the FDA approved the device, it noted some Verichip risks: The capsules could migrate around the body, making them difficult to extract; they might interfere with defibrillators, or be incompatible with MRI scans, causing burns. While also warning that the chips could cause "adverse tissue reaction," FDA made no reference to malignant growths in animal studies.

Did the agency review literature on microchip implants and animal cancer?

Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a privacy advocate and RFID expert, asked shortly after VeriChip's approval what evidence the agency had reviewed. When FDA declined to provide information, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request. More than a year later, she received a letter stating there were no documents matching her request.

"The public relies on the FDA to evaluate all the data and make sure the devices it approves are safe," she says, "but if they're not doing that, who's covering our backs?"

Late last year, Albrecht unearthed at the Harvard medical library three studies noting cancerous tumors in some chipped mice and rats, plus a reference in another study to a chipped dog with a tumor. She forwarded them to the AP, which subsequently found three additional mice studies with similar findings, plus another report of a chipped dog with a tumor.

Asked if it had taken these studies into account, the FDA said VeriChip documents were being kept confidential to protect trade secrets. After AP filed a FOIA request, the FDA made available for a phone interview Anthony Watson, who was in charge of the VeriChip approval process.

"At the time we reviewed this, I don't remember seeing anything like that," he said of animal studies linking microchips to cancer. A literature search "didn't turn up anything that would be of concern."

In general, Watson said, companies are expected to provide safety-and-effectiveness data during the approval process, "even if it's adverse information."

Watson added: "The few articles from the literature that did discuss adverse tissue reactions similar to those in the articles you provided, describe the responses as foreign body reactions that are typical of other implantable devices. The balance of the data provided in the submission supported approval of the device."

Another implantable device could be a pacemaker, and indeed, tumors have in some cases attached to foreign bodies inside humans. But Dr. Neil Lipman, director of the Research Animal Resource Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, said it's not the same. The microchip isn't like a pacemaker that's vital to keeping someone alive, he added, "so at this stage, the payoff doesn't justify the risks."

Silverman, VeriChip Corp.'s chief executive, disagreed. "Each month pet microchips reunite over 8,000 dogs and cats with their owners," he said. "We believe the VeriMed Patient Identification System will provide similar positive benefits for at-risk patients who are unable to communicate for themselves in an emergency."


And what of former HHS secretary Thompson?

When asked what role, if any, he played in VeriChip's approval, Thompson replied: "I had nothing to do with it. And if you look back at my record, you will find that there has never been any improprieties whatsoever."

FDA's Watson said: "I have no recollection of him being involved in it at all." VeriChip Corp. declined comment.

Thompson vigorously campaigned for electronic medical records and healthcare technology both as governor of Wisconsin and at HHS. While in President Bush's Cabinet, he formed a "medical innovation" task force that worked to partner FDA with companies developing medical information technologies.

At a "Medical Innovation Summit" on Oct. 20, 2004, Lester Crawford, the FDA's acting commissioner, thanked the secretary for getting the agency "deeply involved in the use of new information technology to help prevent medication error." One notable example he cited: "the implantable chips and scanners of the VeriChip system our agency approved last week."

After leaving the Cabinet and joining the company board, Thompson received options on 166,667 shares of VeriChip Corp. stock, and options on an additional 100,000 shares of stock from its parent company, Applied Digital Solutions, according to SEC records. He also received $40,000 in cash in 2005 and again in 2006, the filings show.

The Project on Government Oversight called Thompson's actions "unacceptable" even though they did not violate what the independent watchdog group calls weak conflict-of-interest laws.

"A decade ago, people would be embarrassed to cash in on their government connections. But now it's like the Wild West," said the group's executive director, Danielle Brian.

Thompson is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a Washington law firm that was paid $1.2 million for legal services it provided the chip maker in 2005 and 2006, according to SEC filings.

He stepped down as a VeriChip Corp. director in March to seek the GOP presidential nomination, and records show that the company gave his campaign $7,400 before he bowed out of the race in August.

In a TV interview while still on the board, Thompson was explaining the benefits - and the ease - of being chipped when an interviewer interrupted:

"I'm sorry, sir. Did you just say you would get one implanted in your arm?"

"Absolutely," Thompson replied. "Without a doubt."

"No concerns at all?"


But to date, Thompson has yet to be chipped himself.

Microchip implants cause fast-growing, malignant tumors in lab animals
( Published on Saturday, September 08, 2007 )
Damning research findings could spell the end of VeriChip
Source: Intel Daily - Dr. Katherine Albrecht

The Associated Press will issue a breaking story this weekend revealing that microchip implants have induced cancer in laboratory animals and dogs, says privacy expert and long-time VeriChip opponent Dr. Katherine Albrecht.

As the AP will report, a series of research articles spanning more than a decade found that mice and rats injected with glass-encapsulated RFID transponders developed malignant, fast-growing, lethal cancers in up to 1% to 10% of cases. The tumors originated in the tissue surrounding the microchips and often grew to completely surround the devices, the researchers said.

Albrecht first became aware of the microchip-cancer link when she and her "Spychips" co-author, Liz McIntyre, were contacted by a pet owner whose dog had died from a chip-induced tumor. Albrecht then found medical studies showing a causal link between microchip implants and cancer in other animals. Before she brought the research to the AP's attention, the studies had somehow escaped public notice.

A four-month AP investigation turned up additional documents, several of which had been published before VeriChip's parent company, Applied Digital Solutions, sought FDA approval to market the implant for humans. The VeriChip received FDA approval in 2004 under the watch of then Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson who later joined the company's board.

Under FDA policy, it would have been VeriChip's responsibility to bring the adverse studies to the FDA's attention, but VeriChip CEO Scott Silverman claims the company was unaware of the research.

Albrecht expressed skepticism that a company like VeriChip, whose primary business is microchip implants, would be unaware of relevant studies in the published literature.

"For Mr. Silverman not to know about this research would be negligent. If he did know about these studies, he certainly had an incentive to keep them quiet," said Albrecht. "Had the FDA known about the cancer link, they might never have approved his company's product."

Since gaining FDA approval, VeriChip has aggressively targeted diabetic and dementia patients, and recently announced that it had chipped 90 Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers in Florida. Employees in the Mexican Attorney General's Office, workers in a U.S. security firm, and club-goers in Europe have also been implanted.

Albrecht expressed concern for those who have received a chip implant, urging them to get the devices removed as soon as possible.

"These new revelations change everything," she said. "Why would anyone take the risk of having a cancer chip in their arm?"



CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.



Dr. Katherine Albrecht
Founder and Director, CASPIAN Consumer Privacy
(877) 287-5854, kma[at]

Host of "Uncovering the Truth"
We the People Radio Network, M-F 10AM-12PM EST

Co-author of "SPYCHIPS: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID"


Human Chipping:


Shopper Cards:

Bio online at:

More on the cell phone frequencies:

Dangers of the Wireless Cell Phone, Wi-Fi and EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) Age, Part 1 (9 min) (four parts)

World-renowned Epidemiologist Dr. George Carlo provided a high impact presentation that exposed the dangers of living in the wireless age in a way that everyone could understand. As the chief scientist of the world's largest research effort into wireless safety, the Safe Wireless Initiative (SWI), he discussed the effects of electromagnetic radiation, specifically Information Carrying Radio Waves (IRCWs) and how they negatively affect the body's ability to function and repair damage affecting our cells. This is great information about how emf effects our health.

Recent Swedish epidemiological studies confirm that, after 2,000 hours of cellular phone exposure, or a latency period of about 10 years, brain cancer risk rises by 240 percent. Brain cancer has leaped forward as the #1 cancer killer of people in the world. There are about 2.5 billion users of cell phones in 2007.

What about graphene?

What is Graphene?
6 min.

Ideas of flexible graphene:
2 min.

The wonder stuff that could change the world: Graphene is so strong a sheet of it as thin as clingfilm could support an elephant

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 7:39 AM on 7th October 2011

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material [transparent, electric, and strong building material as well] material for a century [it's a completely unique mixture of consumptive categories in this material: a thin, transparent, super-strong (harder than diamond) structural building material that has electrical conduction properties better than copper (copper is hardly a structural material), though graphene's lack of semiconductor principles may make it difficult for some fantasy computer operations that currently are based on mostly silicon's physical capacities of 'on/off' switching in the material itself (there are other options for this switching though than polluting silicon industries: see the category on communication materials for more options); thus with graphene always 'on' in other words, and very efficiently so, it makes it difficult to do any anticipated Boolean/operations in the material itself in base 2--the insight of all computers from Shannon onward.]

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material for a century

It is tougher than diamond, but stretches like rubber. It is virtually invisible, conducts electricity and heat better than any copper wire and weighs next to nothing. Meet graphene — an astonishing new material which could revolutionise almost every part of our lives.

Some researchers claim it’s the most important substance to be created since the first synthetic plastic more than 100 years ago.

If it lives up to its promise, it could lead to mobile phones that you roll up and put behind your ear, high definition televisions as thin as wallpaper, and bendy electronic newspapers that readers could fold away into a tiny square.

It could transform medicine, and replace silicon as the raw material used to make computer chips [perhaps everything except this however, see note above.]

The ‘miracle material’ was discovered in Britain just seven years ago, and the buzz around it is extraordinary.

Last year, it won two Manchester University scientists the Nobel Prize for physics, and this week Chancellor George Osborne pledged £50 million towards developing technologies based on the super-strong substance.

In terms of its economics, one of the most exciting parts of the graphene story is its cost. Normally when scientists develop a new wonder material, the price is eye-wateringly high.

But graphene is made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils.
Every few months researchers come up with new, cheaper ways of mass producing graphene, so that some experts believe it could eventually cost less than £4 per pound.

But is graphene really the wonder stuff of the 21st century?

For a material with so much promise, it has an incredibly simple chemical structure. A sheet of graphene is just a single layer of carbon atoms, locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern.

Pledge: George Osborne, pictured visiting the University of Manchester lab where graphene is being researched, has said £50m will be set aside to help with development of technologies based on the substance

That makes it the thinnest material ever made. You would need to stack three million graphene sheets on top of each other to get a pile one milimetre high. It is also the strongest substance known to mankind — 200 times stronger than steel and several times tougher than diamond.

A sheet of graphene as thin as clingfilm could hold the weight of an elephant. In fact, according to one calculation, an elephant would need to balance precariously on the end of a pencil to break through that same sheet.

Despite its strength, it is extremely flexible and can be stretched by 20 per cent without any damage.

It is also a superb conductor of electricity — far better than copper, traditionally used for wiring — and is the best conductor of heat on the planet.

But perhaps the most remarkable feature of graphene is where it comes from. Graphene is made from graphite, a plentiful grey mineral mostly mined in Chile, India and Canada.

A pencil lead is made up of many millions of layers of graphene. These layers are held together only weakly — which is why they slide off each other when a pencil is moved across the page.

Graphene was first isolated by Professors Konstantin Novoselov and Andrew Geim at Manchester University in 2004. The pair used sticky tape to strip away thin flakes of graphite, then attached it to a silicon plate which allowed the researchers to identify the tiny layers through a microscope.

Discovery: Professors Andre Geim, left, and Dr Konstantin Novoselov first isolated graphene in 2004. They later won the Nobel Prize for Physics last year

Russian-born Prof Novoselov, 37, believes graphene could change everything from electronics to computers.

‘I don’t think it has been over-hyped,’ he said. ‘It has attracted a lot of attention because it is so simple — it is the thinnest possible matter — and yet it has so many unique properties.

‘There are hundreds of properties which are unique or superior to other materials. Because it is only one atom thick it is quite transparent — not many materials that can conduct electricity which are transparent.’

Its discovery has triggered a boom for material science. Last year, there were 3,000 research papers on its properties, and 400 patent applications.

The electronics industry is convinced graphene will lead to gadgets that make the iPhone and Kindle seem like toys from the age of steam trains.

Modern touch-sensitive screens use indium tin oxide — a substance that is transparent but which carries electrical currents. But indium tin oxide is expensive, and gadgets made from it shatter or crack easily when dropped. Replacing indium tin oxide with graphene-based compounds could allow for flexible, paper-thin computer and television screens. South Korean researchers have created a 25in flexible touch-screen using graphene.

Ancient history: If the development of graphene is successful it will make the iPad and Kindle seem like toys from the age of the steam train

Imagine reading your Daily Mail on a sheet of electric paper. Tapping a button on the corner could instantly update the contents or move to the next page. Once you’ve finished reading the paper, it could be folded up and used afresh tomorrow.

Other researchers are looking at many ways of using graphene in medicine. It is also being touted as an alternative to the carbon-fibre bodywork of boats and bikes [and car tires?] Graphene in tyres could make them stronger.

Some even claim it will replace the silicon in computer chips. In the future, a graphene credit card could store as much information as today’s computers.

‘We are talking of a number of unique properties combined in one material which probably hasn’t happened before,’ said Prof Novoselov. ‘You might want to compare it to plastic. But graphene is as versatile as all the plastics put together.

‘It’s a big claim, but it’s not bold. That’s exactly why there are so many researchers working on it.’

Dr Sue Mossman, curator of materials at the Science Museum in London, says graphene has parallels with Bakelite — the first man-made plastic, invented in 1907.

Resistant to heat and chemicals, and an excellent electrical insulator, Bakelite easily made electric plugs, radios, cameras and telephones.

‘Bakelite was the material of its time. Is this the material of our times?’ she says. ‘Historically we have been really good at invention in this country, but we’ve been really bad at capitalising on it.’

If graphene isn’t to go the same way as other great British inventions which were never properly exploited commercially at home — such as polythene and carbon fibre — it will need massive investment in research and development.

Core material: Graphene comes from a base material of graphite and is so thin that three millions sheets of the substance would be needed to make a layer 1mm thick

That’s why the Government’s move to support its development in the UK got a warm round of applause at the Conservative Party conference.

But compared to the investment in graphene in America and Asia, the £50 million promised by the Chancellor is negligible. South Korea is investing £195million into the technology. The European Commission is expected to invest one billion euros into graphene in the next ten years.

Yet despite the flurry of excitement, many researchers doubt graphene can live up to such high expectations.

It wouldn’t be the first wonder material that failed to deliver. In 1985 another form of carbon, called fullerenes or buckyballs, was hailed as the revolutionary new material of the era. Despite the hype, there has yet to be a major practical application.

And there are already some problems with using graphene. It is so good at conducting electricity that turning it into devices like transistors — which control the flow of electrical currents, so need to be able to stop electricity flowing through them — has so far proved problematic.

Earlier this year computer company IBM admitted that it was ‘difficult to imagine’ graphene replacing silicon in computer chips.

And sceptics point out that most new materials — such as carbon-fibre — take 20 years from invention before they can be used commercial use.

You might think from all the hype, that the road to a great graphene revolution has already been mapped out.

But its future is far from certain. In fact it’s barely been penciled out in rough.

Read more:


Mark said...

Another nice example of waste materials becoming something useful: paper.

Additionally saving forests from being pulped.

From this link:


This is the analysis of hemp's potential to supply pulp to the paper industry in Wisconsin that the US Federal Government has attempted to suppress.

The author is a chemical engineer whose name and affiliation are protected here since he has been censured for writing it by pressure from the Justice Department applied directly to his employer, a public institution.

I obtained a bootlegged copy of the report and have put it here as a public service and in the name of ACADEMIC FREEDOM. The report's author is not responsible for my actions.


Market Analysis for Hemp Fiber as a Feed Stock for Papermaking

Author: Anonymous


This analysis is based on information available in the public domain, as referenced in the cited literature.


In an attempt to develop alternative crops for midwestern farmers, industrial hemp is being evaluated as a fiber source for the paper industry.

This simplified analysis shows that hemp could profitably be used as a fiber source for the paper industry and that Wisconsin farmers could meet the demand for fiber by the fine paper manufacturers of Wisconsin. In contrast to the past utilization of hemp, it is essential that the whole plant be used to make paper and not just the long bast fibers.

Hemp production rate and cultivation

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) as a fiber source has a long history. During World War I and II the military demand for fiber resulted in the expansion of the number of acres used for hemp production.

In 1943, there were 176,000 acres planted in hemp in the US.[p. 7, ref. 1] For military purposes the primary products were canvas and rope, so the long bast fibers of the plant, which account for 25% of the dry weight of the retted stalks, were of the most interest.

The balance of the stalk is called the hurds and was considered as a waste material, often used for animal bedding, soil improvement, or fuel.

In response to the request that Iowa farmers plant 45,000 acres of hemp, the Iowa extension service published a pamphlet entitled "Hemp Production Experiments"[ref. 1] in 1944.

For the purposes of a market analysis a critical number from this study is the production rate of hemp per acre. An average of 4 sites with a seeding rate of 5 pecks/acre was 3.9 tons/acre of dry retted straw.[table 3, p. 15, ref. 1] The production data ranged from 3.1 to 5.0 tons/acre and largely depended on the quality of the soil.

Hemp as a raw material for paper

During the processing of hemp, a large quantity of waste material is produced. It was recognized rather early that this material could be used as a feedstock for papermaking.

In 1916 the USDA published a report entitled "Hemp Hurds as a Papermaking Material".[ref. 2]

The authors of this study used chemical pulping methods to reduce the material to fibers. After subsequent bleaching, the material was formed into paper. The resulting paper was judged to be of a sufficient quality to meet the specifications of the US Government Printing Office. In fact, the strength and fold endurance exceeded a typical wood-based material produced at that time. [p. 25, ref. 2]

The fiber yield from the hurds ranged between 35 and 44%,[table 1, p.16, ref. 2] which, when corrected for the weight of dirt, corresponds to 38 to 47% yield.

A chemical analysis of the hurds suggests that they are 55% cellulose and 25% lignin[table 2, p. 12a, ref. 3], which is similar to many hardwoods. With modern process optimization, it is likely that the fiber yield would be nearly 50%.

The value of the bast fibers as a component in paper pulp is widely acknowledged. An analysis of the bast fibers shows that they are composed of 70% cellulose and 8% lignin[table 2, p. 12a, ref. 3]. Given that this material is chemically quite different than the hurds, it likely would have to be processed separately, but would likely have a 70% yield to fiber.

If one does a weighted average of 50% yield for the hurds and 70% for the bast fibers, one obtains a value of 55% fiber yield from retted hemp stalks.

(0.25)(70%) + (0.75)(50%) = 55%

Pulp production in Wisconsin

The majority of paper produced from virgin fiber in Wisconsin is printing and writing paper. Thus, if the hemp production is intended to meet the fiber needs of the state, then the focus should be placed on these grades. The papermills in Wisconsin currently use a mixture softwoods and hardwoods to produce bleached grades of pulp. Table 1 shows a list of the paper companies producing chemical pulp in Wisconsin. The production rates were taken from the 1997 edition of Lockwood-Post's Directory of the Pulp, Paper and Allied Trades.[p145-153 ref. 4]

The mills selected for this table all produce fine papers that could benefit from the addition of hemp pulp. In fact, the inclusion of hemp bast fibers would likely produce a high quality paper similar to cotton bond.

Table 1: Pulp production for fine papers in Wisconsin (1997)
[read clearer table here]

Location Company
Type Pulp (T/day) Products

Brokaw Wausau Paper Mg-sulfite 230 office, offset and specialty papers

Kaukauna International Paper Kraft 420 packaging and industrial papers

Mosinee Mosinee Kraft 250 industrial papers
Neenah Kimberley-Clark

Rag/Kraft 125 printing and writing papers

Nekoosa Georgia-Pacific
Kraft 380 uncoated free sheet

Park Falls Fraser Paper NH4-sulfite 170 bond, offset and specialty papers

Peshtigo Badger Paper Ca-sulfite 155 watermark, bond and printing

Port Edwards Georgia-Pacific Mg-sulfite 220 uncoated fee sheet

Rothschild Weyerhauser Ca-sulfite 200 uncoated free sheet

Wapaca Filter Materials Rags 12 filter, specialty, and industrial papers

Wisconsin Rapids Consolidated Paper Kraft 1016 coated printing papers
Total 3178

Making assumptions about hemp yield per acre (3.9 tons/acre/year) and the pulp yield per ton of retted hemp (55%), one can estimate the number of acres of hemp required per year to meet the current Wisconsin demand.

3178 tons pulp/day X 360 days/yr =533,000 acres
3.9 tons hemp/acre-yr X 0.55 tons pulp/tons/hemp

Discussions with Russel Weisensel of the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council suggest that 1 million acres could be available for growing hemp in a crop rotation plan.

Thus, it appears that the Wisconsin hemp production could meet the demand for fine paper production in Wisconsin.

There are other grades of paper that could also benefit from the strength properties of hemp fiber, e.g., linerboard or packaging grades, but demand in these markets would likely exceed the production capacity of Wisconsin farmers.

Market value of hemp fiber for papermaking

The price of bleached pulp varies widely, $300 to $1000/ton, due to fluctuations in supply and demand.

Given this wide variation estimating the value of hemp fiber is rather difficult. It is likely that fiber formed from the hurds will be viewed as similar to hardwood fiber. The current price of bleach pulp is near $425/ton.

The production costs will be similar to the production cost of fiber from wood. In fact, an implicit assumption of the following analysis is that only minor modifications to a pulp mill would be required to switch from wood to hemp.

A recent analysis[Table IX, p. 144, ref. 5] of the pulp making process suggests that the raw material, chemical and energy costs for pulping and bleaching wood chips is $233/ton of ECF bleached pulp. Of this cost, $155 was the cost of the wood chips, assuming wood chips cost $55/ton. If one includes a 50% increase in the cost/ton to account for labor, overhead and capital, one finds that the break even point is likely near $350/ton. If one assumes that the average yield from the hemp fibers would be 55%, then a direct replacement for wood chips would suggest a value of $75/ton for the retted hemp stalks. This price is based on numbers that were generated in 1993 if one uses the chemical price index to adjust this to 1997 one gets a value of $85/ton.

With the tightening of the domestic wood chip supply, there is a strong upward price pressure. In fact, the price of domestic chips has risen to the point that chips produced in South America and Southeast Asia, with their associated transportation costs, can compete.

Thus $85/ton for the value of hemp is likely a low estimate. A more realistic future value is likely $100-125.

It is likely that the bast fibers would be viewed as a higher value material on the pulp market. If, for example, one were able to produce fibers similar to cotton linters or cotton rags, then the market would likely offer $1000/ton of fiber.

To translate this value to a price of the raw materials one must make several assumptions. If one assumes that the processing costs are the same as that for wood, $195/ton, that the yield to fiber is 70%, and that the required profit margin is $100/ton processed, the paper company could pay $500/ton for the bast fibers.

$1000 -
= $493/ton hemp
1.43 tons hemp/ton fiber

If one uses a value of $100/ton for hurds and $500/ton for bast fibers, the estimated market price of retted hemp stalks is $200/ton. A study of hemp cultivation in Iowa [table 3, p. 15, ref. 1] suggested an average yield of 3.9 tons/acre.

Combining the market price and the yield per acre one obtains a crop value of $780/acre.

Since the production, storage, and transportation costs will be similar to those of corn, $300/acre, a farmer could make a profit of $480/acre growing hemp.

If the farmer were to only market the fiber, however, the profit drops to $190/acre.


This simple analysis shows that Wisconsin farmers could profitably produce hemp, and that they could meet the fiber demand in the state if 530,000 acres were planted in hemp. The profitability, for the farmer, hinges on the separation of the bast fibers from the hurds and the selling of the bast fibers at a higher price.

For the purpose of this analysis, it was assumed that the paper industry would use the bast fibers, but it is also likely that other markets, e.g., textiles and building materials, could be found for them.

Furthermore, one must develop markets for both the hurds and the bast fibers, if this enterprise is to be viable.


1 C.P Wilsie, C.A. Black and A.R. Aandahl, "Hemp Production Experiments: Cultural Practices and Soil Requirements", Publication P63, Agricultural Experiment Station, Agricultural Extension Service, Ames, Iowa, June 1944

2 L.H. Dewey and J.L. Merrill, "Hemp Hurds a Paper-making Material", USDA Bulletin No. 404, US Government Printing Office, Washington, October 14, 1916

3 E.R. Schafer and F.A. Simmonds, "A Comparison of the Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Hemp Stalks and Seed Flax Straw", Publication No. R868, USDA Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI, 1926

4 H. Dyer, ed. "1997 Lockwood-Post's Directory of the Pulp, Paper and Allied Trades", Miller Freeman, NY, NY, 1996

5 B. Parsad, J. Gratzl, A. Kirkman, H. Jameel, T. Rost, and V. Magnotta, "High-Kappa Pulping and Extended Oxygen Delignification Decreases Recovery Cycle Load" TAPPI J., Vol. 77, No. 11, 1994, p. 135-147


Mark said...

100,000-Year Memory Candidate
September 24th, 02007
by Kevin Kelly

DVDs don’t. Tape doesn’t. Paper won’t. But rock does.

In fact carved rock is about the only medium we have that might last 100,000 years. Most of our current electronic media will hardly last several decades. You need to continuously migrate info from one platform to the next as the current platform crumbles beneath you.

The first enthusiasms for a new electronic platform hint that perhaps “self-assembling nanowire of germanium antimony telluride” may have a working life of 100,000 years. According to this report in Physorg, this new nanoscale memory material is not only extremely small but also extremely durable.

(The original work was published in the October 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, which is not online yet.)

Tests showed extremely low power consumption for data encoding (0.7mW per bit).

They also indicated the data writing, erasing and retrieval (50 nanoseconds) to be 1,000 times faster than conventional Flash memory and indicated the device would not lose data even after approximately 100,000 years of use, all with the potential to realize terabit-level nonvolatile memory device density.

“This new form of memory has the potential to revolutionize the way we share information, transfer data and even download entertainment as consumers,” Agarwal said. “This represents a potential sea-change in the way we access and store data.”

(This picture is of a different self-assembling nano circuit by IBM.)

We’ve heard that last claim before.

But even if this memory would remain intact for 1,000 years, it would be a revolution in digital preservation. [in our society increasingly made out of temporary beach sand patterns drawn in the digital dust...]


Mark said...

The fibre of fast-growing bamboo has been used to make paper in China since early times. A high quality hand-made paper is still produced in small quantities.

Mark said...

More waste: banana plant stems that typically get thrown away can be made into paper (via the fibers).

"Banana paper is used in two different senses: to refer to a paper made from the bark of the banana tree, mainly used for artistic purposes, or paper made from banana fiber, obtained from an industrialized process, from the stem and the non utilizable fruits. This paper can be either hand-made or made by industrialized machine.

The banana agro-industry processes each year 42 million tons of bananas with 2 million hectares planted.

This industry generates numerous wastes such as: the plastic that wrap the bananas, plastic cords to tie the wrapping, damaged bananas and the pinzote (stems).

An alarming quantity of over 10 million metric tons of pinzote is thrown in landfills or even worse in local rivers.

The pinzote is composed 92% of water, 3% of resins and 2% glucose, the rest is vegetal fiber. This particular composition makes it decompose with the solid component not getting destroyed.

This causes a severe impact on the surrounding ecosystems, the detriment of river sand underground waters, also the massive reproduction of flies and nauseous smells.

Agro-industrial fibers come from the waste of processing common agricultural products.

Packing of bananas: as a result of pulling apart the banana bunches from the main stem, we have the pinzote left over and it contains 5% of usable fiber to manufacture paper.

[Wiki emptor]

Mark said...

One cutting-edge printer ink is said to help to save paper, because it will disappear from the paper after 24 hours and paper can be used again.

What’s more inspiring is that the amount of energy will be saved to print a single page by a factor of 200.

Moreover, it almost costs the same as a regular paper while it can be used up to 30 times.

Sustainable technology is always welcomed.

Despite the fact that government or corporations are reactionary to the environment-friendly changes, some changes are lucky enough to survive in the battle for they have little to deal with the interests of more strategic corrupt raw material regime's productions.


How 'disappearing ink' can cut waste paper

Scientists have unveiled a new kind of 'ink' that disappears from a page 24 hours after printing, allowing paper to be re-used
Jonathan Richards in Grenoble
Mission Impossible-style self-destructing messages may soon cross from the realm of fiction into the wilds of the nine-to-five office, according to scientists who have developed printer ink [it's not really an 'ink' its a heat effect on thermopaper] that vanishes after 24 hours.

When a document is printed on the reusable paper, the text initially appears similar to normal printed text – only in a shade of dark purple, rather than black.

Eight hours later, however, the image is a shadow of its former self and after a day – much like the McFly family photograph in Back to the Future – it is gone completely.

The blank page can then be put back in the printer.

It is hoped that the technique will reduce the trillion pages put in the recycling bin – or worse, thrown out – soon after being printed each year.

The 'disappearing ink' is not ink at all, but a temporary discolouration of light-sensitive molecules known as photochromes.

The paper is coated with these molecules, which change colour when they are exposed to ultraviolet light. As soon as the printing is finished, the molecules begin reacting to the warmth in the surrounding air and gradually return to their natural state.

Sheets of paper can be re-used before the ink has completely disappeared because the high temperatures inside a printer erase any remaining traces.

As long as the paper is not creased, it can be used as many as 30 times.

The unit which emits the ultraviolet light could feasibly be incorporated in an existing printer, the developers said, allowing computer users to select a special tray for ‘short lifespan’ documents.

"Our studies were showing us that 45 per cent of all office printing is for 'one-time use', like reading an e-mail," Paul Smith, a lab researcher at Xerox, who was demonstrating the technology in Grenoble, France, said. "Sometimes it can be a matter of minutes, then it goes straight in the recycling bin," he said.

The technology, which will not be commercially available for several years, will reduce the amount of energy required to print a single page by a factor of 200 – from just over 200kJ (which would power a 75W light bulb for an hour) to 1kJ (which would power the bulb for just 18 seconds), Mr Smith said. A recycled page uses about 110kJ of energy.

The paper itself is no more expensive than a regular page, costing about 0.5p per sheet.

Despite the proliferation of devices which display text on electronic screens, the market for printers is growing at 6 per cent per year, according to analysts, driving the likes of Xerox to make printing more cost-effective – and more green – for offices.

Sophie Vandebroek, the company's chief technology officer, said: “Green technologies are increasingly important, and re-usable paper, while it requires conscious participation from the user, is one way of reducing the impact of printed documents on the environment.”

Sharon McNee, an analyst in Gartner’s printing group, said that despite being in its infancy, the technology had obvious commercial potential, but warned that there would be significant costs associated with switching over printers and paper supplies.

A spokeswoman for Waste Watch, the environmental charity, said: "There is enormous potential for innovative new technology to reduce the amount we generate at work, as so many office documents are only used for a short time. We welcome any sustainable printing option."


Mark said...

Superconducting wire:

High temperature superconductors, 20 years on

By John Timmer | Published: September 04, 2007 - 10:34AM CT

Back in 1987, the people who hand out Nobel Prizes recognized a major breakthrough: the development of non-metallic superconductors that carried electricity with no resistance at temperatures well above absolute zero. In honor of that event, Nature Materials is offering up an overview of the field. It has a couple of interviews with pioneers in the field (including one of the Nobel honorees), a review article, and a perspective on applications of these materials.

The review focuses on the challenges of making useful wiring out of exotic ceramics. A couple of commercial techniques have been developed, both based on a metal backbone coated with layers of material that ultimately pattern the superconductor that caps the structure. These wires are typically 4mm wide, with a superconducting layer that's over a micrometer thick.

The process of creating these wires is expensive, so an obvious route to reducing their costs is to have each one carry more power. This is where the actual physics of the superconducting process comes in. When carrying power, small magnetic vortices appear within the superconductors, induced by the current itself. At low power densities, these vortices remain anchored at defects in the superconducting material. But, once a critical amount of current is reached, the magnetic vortices begin to move, creating resistance and causing a rapid failure of the superconduction.

Increasing the current capacity of these wires becomes a balancing act. Researchers have found a number of ways to introduce defects in the material in a way that helps pin the magnetic flux in place, increasing the currents that can be carried. Unfortunately, it becomes harder to control the formation of defects as the layer of superconductor becomes thicker; adding thickness to the layer of superconductor is, of course, the obvious way to increase the current capacity of these wires. The remainder of the review focuses on different ways of balancing this trade-off, and ends with a call for a standardized testing regime, so that future work can be better integrated into a coherent picture.

The perspective focuses on the use of superconducting wires in real-world applications. It notes that electricity grids lose about 7-10 percent of their power through leakage and resistance, [in conventional non-superconducting wires] and most of that's not going away: the cooling needs for high-temperature superconductors prevent their use for anything beyond urban areas and power distribution centers, where wiring is very high density.

Currently, the US Department of Energy has funded test installations of superconducting cables up to 600m long at a number of power distribution centers.

The review estimates that superconducting wire will have to drop anywhere from a half to a third in price and double its current capacity before its installation becomes competitive with traditional wiring.

Meanwhile, the DOE is sponsoring efforts intended to reduce refrigeration costs by a quarter in order to cut down on operating costs.

Nothing, in theory, prevents any of these advances, but progress has been slow so far.

In the meantime, the review points out some uses that may make sense in the short term. The article notes that strategic placement of superconducting cabling can prevent the propagation of current spikes, such as the one that ["officially" was claimed to have] caused the northeast blackout in 2003.

As noted above, when a critical current density is surpassed, superconducting wires would simply stop superconducting, preventing these sorts of surges from spilling over to other areas of the grid.

The US Navy is also funding the development of superconducting electrical generators, which cut power losses in half, weigh a third less, and are far more compact when compared to traditional generators.

Given military budgets and the space requirements of ships, these seem to be a sensible trade off.

The perspective wraps up by indicating that we're still a number of years away from high-temperature superconductors making the transition from government-supported test cases to a profitable commercial industry.

That transition will also require funding for fields that aren't directly related to superconduction, such as the cryogenic technology needed to efficiently cool the installations.

Ultimately, its author (who works for one of the companies hoping to profit from the transition) hopes the government doesn't lose sight of the need for continued support during the remaining years needed for this transition to take place.

Nature Materials, 2007. DOI: 10.1038/nmat1989
Nature Materials, 2007. DOI: 10.1038/nmat1990
Buzz up!

Filed under: high-temperature superconductors, superconduction, materials science, physics, sciencemore...
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Reader comments

when a critical current density is surpassed, superconducting wires would simply stop superconducting

When an overloaded superconductor becomes resistive, wouldn't it overheat and sustain damage? Surely there's a more cost-efficient way to prevent spikes than using the electrical infrastructure as a giant fuse.

September 04, 2007 @ 12:39PM
Nobel honorees are more commonly referred to as Nobel Laureates Smile

Interesting article.

September 04, 2007 @ 01:49PM
I'm with SIDB

when a critical current density is surpassed, superconducting wires would simply stop superconducting

[sarcasm] This sounds a lot like a piece of technology known to electricians as a "fuse" or if you want to get fancy a "fusable link". Only now [with this idea of superconducting infrastructure] your fuse costs tens thousands of dollars and will do thousands of dollars of damage to supporting infrastructure when it flash boils some nitrogen.

September 04, 2007 @ 08:12PM
When the line quenches (the actual term for spontaneous loss of superconductivity) it doesn't have to do any damage. (ie, it doesn't get so hot as to destroy itself, or the cyrogen pressure doesn't get so high as to cause explosions.) Presumably, this would be the designed in case here.

Frankly though, I predict their use in the power grid will become common around the same time the first commercial fusion plant comes online. Which is perpetually 10 years out.

September 04, 2007 @ 08:39PM
+++ Surely all of these will be designed using flexible organic displays, and provide power for the flying cars that will follow. Razz

September 04, 2007 @ 11:59PM

Using superconductors to limit fault currents is an active area of interest...

September 05, 2007 @ 05:23AM
Does it matter if it damages the superconductor? It is still functioning as a massive surge protector.


Mark said...

computer memory as tautomer storage (i.e., chemical storage of a compound where it is unimportant for the chemical where its hydrogen atoms are--the fascinating thing here is that instead of only electrons being shifted around in silicates, we are talking about shifting around protons and electron pairs (hydrogen)

This is a substitution for electric storage in computers

And talk about the 'hydrogen economy'--if we can built multiple frameworks off hydrogen (superconductivity; communication memory storage in computers, etc., Brown's Gas machines, hydrogen is the innate building block of an ideal commodity ecology because it IS the building block of matter we can utilize; thus a network that employs hydrogen is set up for the most potential cross-links to everything else in a commodity ecology.]

Storing data in molecules: shifting atoms and flipping bits

By John Timmer | Published: September 02, 2007 - 10:19PM CT

As electronics continue to shrink, they're constantly pushing up against the limits of our ability to craft increasingly tiny features.

Processors rely on features etched with extremely high-energy light, and disk drives store information in ever-smaller clusters of atoms.

As these features shrink, electrical, magnetic, and even quantum interference begin to dominate, and it becomes ever more difficult to maintain and detect signals such as the state of a memory bit.

To avoid these issues entirely, scientists have started to explore the possibility of storing information in the chemical structure of single molecules.

A team of European researchers reported a new approach to single-molecule storage that may bring these devices closer to stepping out of the lab.

Molecular memory will require chemicals that can switch back and forth between two stable states, much the way clusters of atoms switch magnetic states on the surface of disk drives.

It's relatively easy to find molecules that can behave the same way.

So far, however, most of these molecular switches involve structural changes: large parts of the molecule move relative to each other when changing states. This can work well in lab settings, but it isn't ideal in the real world, where it may not be compatible with a stable and reliable material that's easy to manufacture.

The approach described in the new research relies on a molecule that's physically flat and changes states by shifting the location of hydrogen atoms without undergoing any structural changes.

Even better, the memory states can be changed and read through the same technique used in electronics today: changes in electrical conduction.


The new work is based on a compound called naphthalocyanine, a cross-shaped molecule consisting of a number of interlocking ringed structures (shown at left). At the center of the cross, four nitrogen atoms face inward; two of those nitrogens, located opposite each other, are bonded to hydrogen atoms. The key fact is that it doesn't matter which two. There are two equally stable conformations of the molecule, termed tautomers, that differ only in the location of these hydrogen atoms.

The authors layered these molecules on an insulating surface and chilled them to five degrees above absolute zero. They found that a scanning-tunneling microscope could readily detect the axis of the molecule that included the two hydrogens. By manipulating the current tunneling out of the microscope's tip, however, they were able to induce the hydrogens to swap locations.

Because of the interlinked chemical structure of naphthalocyanine, energy pumped anywhere into the rings was able to induce this "tautomerization." [i.e, a chemical--instead of merely an electrical--storage of 'hydrogen bits']

In fact, putting energy into the end of one of the molecule's arms was the most efficient way of moving the hydrogens to a different location. Overall, the researchers claim that they can accurately set the state of these molecular bits 90 percent of the time.

The team was not content to stop at a single molecular bit, however.

They used the tip of the tunneling microscope to push several naphthalocyanine molecules close enough that the electrons in their ringed structures formed linked orbitals.

Depending on where current is injected in the rings, different members of the structure can be selectively switched.

They suggest that similar arrangements might also either allow the coordinated switching of a number of atomic bits, or enable the state of one bit to influence the response of its neighbors.

Clearly, this approach is not ready for use on the desktop. It operates just a shade above absolute zero, requires a scanning-tunneling microscope, and only sets bits with 90 percent accuracy. Still, as the authors suggest, the basic approach—one where the molecule holding the bit remains largely unperturbed by changes in its value—is far more likely to produce usable technology than many of the approaches that have been described previously. [and it's effectively a form of permanent chemical storage of 'hydrogen bit' data as well?]

Science, 2007. DOI: 10.1126/science.1144366


Mark said...

Room-temperature terahertz laser invented

R. Colin Johnson
(05/21/2008 12:07 PM EDT)

PORTLAND, Ore. — What's claimed to be the world's first room-temperature terahertz laser harnesses the optical equivalent of heterodyning to bridge the terahertz gap. Today, a terahertz-gap exists where most semiconductor lasers fail to operate--between microwave wavelengths (centimeters) and optical wavelengths (microns). In between are the millimeter wavelengths--terahertz frequencies (1-10 THz).

The only semiconductor lasers that run at terahertz frequencies today are supercooled quantum cascade lasers (QCL). Now, the co-inventor of the QCL (while at Bell Labs in 1994), professor Federico Capasso at Harvard University, has demonstrated a heterodyning method cast in nonlinear materials that mixes two easy-to-generate optical frequencies spaced apart at the desired terahertz frequency, resulting in a room-temperature terahertz laser.

"This class of nonlinear optical materials has the interesting property that, when illuminated by two frequencies, their constituent molecules vibrate coherently, not only at the driving frequencies, known as 'pump' frequencies, but also at their difference frequency," said Harvard professor, Federico Capasso. "As a result, at the output of the material one not only observes light at the pump frequencies, but also at the difference frequency--a process similar to the heterodyne principle widely used in radio."

By choosing optical wavelengths that are easy to generate at room temperature--but whose difference is exactly the desired terahertz frequency--Capasso and Harvard research associate Mikhail Belkin sidestepped the terahertz-gap problem, resulting in a terahertz laser that operates at room temperature. The two optical lasers used by Capasso's group in its room-temperature demonstration were at 33.7-THz (8.9-micron wavelength) and 28.5-THz (10.5-micron wavelength), which produced a difference frequency of 5.2 THz.

"Basically, electrons are driven to oscillate all in phase at this frequency, thus producing coherent terahertz emission," said Capasso. "The device structure is both a two frequency mid-infrared QCL and a nonlinear material, which generates the frequency difference. Since the two mid-infrared frequencies are generated at room temperature, their difference obviously is, as well. In this way we have circumvented the limitation of THz QCLs, which operate so far only at cryogenic temperatures."

Terahertz scanners act like x-rays, but at power levels that are completely safe to use around people. Using a terahertz scanner, airports could detect hidden weapons under clothing, as well as hazardous and toxic materials inside luggage. Terahertz lasers could also remotely detect hazardous gases floating in the air, offering a potential solution to identifying improvised explosive devices from a distance.

Conventional lasers energize electrons, which then emit a single photon by jumping from the semiconductor's conduction band to its valence band. Quantum cascade lasers, on the other hand, arrange a stair-step of quantum wells--each at a progressively lower energy level--that allow electrons to cascade down an energy staircase, emitting a photon at each step. Today, quantum cascade lasers lose their ability to work in the terahertz gap without supercooling. But by using a heterodyning architecture, the Harvard researchers demonstrated twin quantum cascade lasers, whose mixed output is in the terahertz gap.

The heterodyning principle is well known in nonlinear optics as difference frequency generation (DFG). Most materials act like linear harmonic oscillators when light impinges on them, oscillating only when the frequency matches their own internal natural resonant frequency. Nonlinear materials like vacuum tubes and transistors, on the other hand, can be made to resonate at the sum and difference frequencies of two inputs, enabling radios to move signals between bands, or to encode and decode them.

Others have demonstrated the feasibility of terahertz lasers using DFG, but bulky external "pump" lasers were used just to prove the principle. The Harvard group accomplished the task with semiconductor materials that, if all goes well, eventually could be mass produced for inexpensive room-temperature devices.

"Our device does everything in one small semiconductor crystal with no need for bulky external lasers for pumping; hence, the advantages of compactness, portability and low power consumption," said Capasso. "In essence, the material of the device is designed and grown so that when a bias current is applied to it, not only are laser beams emitting at two different mid-infrared frequencies generated, but also coherent radiation at the difference frequency corresponding, in our case, to 5 Terahertz".

The mechanism by which nonlinear devices perform operations like mixing--generating sum and difference frequencies--depends on the materials used. The quantum cascade laser is fabricated using molecular-beam epitaxy, a layer of atoms at a time, from alternating layers of gallium and aluminum. Each layer is slightly thinner than the one before it.

Next, the Harvard researchers plan to optimize their design in an attempt to increase the output power to milliwatts, from its nanowatt levels today. One way is to add low-cost thermoelectric coolers to the laser's substrate--since the cooler the laser runs, the higher its output power. Secondly, the group plans to switch from edge emission to surface emission for their semiconductor material.

"Our approach will be to greatly increase the surface area used for emission," said Capasso. "Surface emission will be achieved by fabricating a suitable grating to scatter vertically the terahertz radiation generated in the device's active region."

Belkin and Capasso performed the work in cooperation with researchers Feng Xie and Alexey Belyanin, at Texas A&M University (College Station), and researchers Milan Fischer, Andreas Wittmann, and Jrme Faist, at ETH (Zurich, Switzerland). Funding was provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation and two Harvard-based centers, the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and the Center for Nanoscale Systems, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.

Mark said...

[more superconducting wire, and transparent superconductors as well]

Room Temperature Superconductors, Inc.

Has developed what are believed to be the world’s first, commercial, ambient-temperature superconducting polymer materials, trademarked Ultraconductors

RTS has three issued U.S. Patents.

The very large
pending application is in the process of division. It will become ten additional patent applications.

To read more about this exciting technology

Click here

Room Temperature Superconductors Inc. (RTS),
a subsidiary of Magnetic Power Inc., has developed the world's first ambient temperature superconducting materials, trademarked Ultraconductors. The company has worldwide rights to this technology, with landmark process and materials patents U.S. #5,777,292 and #6,552,883.

RTS also has achieved significant polymer technology breakthroughs and experimental demonstrations for film applications, enhanced materials properties, and additional superconducting materials.

The company's primary technology objectives are:

* To develop commercial processes and core fabrication technologies

* To reach application-ready platforms for commercial film and wire products

* To achieve proof of concepts for additional product applications

WHAT is an Ultraconductor ?


- A Primer -

By Kevin P. Shambrook, Ph.D.

ULTRACONDUCTORtm n. "Electrical conductors, which have certain properties similar to present-day superconductors. They are best considered as a novel state of matter."

Ultraconductors are patented materials being developed for commercial applications by Room Temperature Superconductors, Inc. They are made by the sequential processing of amorphous polar dielectric elastomers.

They exhibit a set of anomalous magnetic and electric properties, including: very high electrical conductivity (> 1011 S/cm -1) and current densities (> 5 x 108 A/cm2) over a wide temperature range (1.8 to 700 K).

Additional properties established by experimental measurements include: the absence of measurable heat generation under high current; thermal versus electrical conductivity orders of magnitude in violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law; a jump-like transition to a resistive state at a critical current; a nearly zero Seebek coefficient over the temperature range 87 - 233 K; no measurable resistance when Ultraconductor(tm) films are placed between superconducting tin electrodes at cryogenic temperatures.

The Ultraconductor properties are measured in discrete macromolecular structures which form over time after the processing.

In present thin films (1 - 100 micron) these structures, called 'channels', are typically 1 - 2 microns in diameter, 10 - 1000 microns apart, and are strongly anisotropic in the Z axis.

RTS was founded in 1993 to develop the Ultraconductor(tm) technology, following 16 years of research by a scientific team at the Polymer Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, led by Dr. Leonid Grigorov, Ph.D., Dc.S. There have been numerous papers in peer-reviewed literature, 4 contracts from the U.S. government, a landmark patent (US patent # 5,777,292). and a devices patent (US patent # 6,552,883.)

Another patent is pending and a fourth now is being completed.

To date 7 chemically distinct polymers have been used to create Ultraconductors(tm), including olefin, acrylate, urethane and silicone based plastics. The total list of candidate polymers suited to the process is believed to number in the hundreds.

In films, these channels can be observed by several methods, including phase contrast optical microscope, Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), magnetic balance, and simple electric contact. The channel structures can be moved and manipulated in the polymer.

Ultraconductor(tm) films may be prepared on metal, glass, or semiconductor substrates.

The polymer is initially viscose (during processing). For practical application the channels may be "locked" in the polymer, by crosslinking, or glass transition.

The channel's characteristics are not affected by either mode.

A physics model of the conducting structures, which fits well with the experimental measurements, and also a published theory, have been developed. The next step in material development is to increase the percentage or "concentration" of conducting material.

This will lead to films with a larger number of conducting points (needed for interposers and other applications) and to wire.

Wire is essentially extending a channel to indefinite length, and the technique has been demonstrated in principle. Connecting to these conducting structures is done with a metal electrode, and when two channels are brought together they connect.

From an engineering point of view, we expect the polymer to replace copper wire and HTS in many applications.

It will be considerably lighter than copper, and have less electric resistance.


Ultraconductors are the result of more than sixteen years of prior scientific research, peer reviewed publication, independent laboratory testing, and eight years of engineering development.

From an engineering perspective, Ultraconductors are a fundamentally new and enabling technology. They are lightweight, flexible, transparent, and possess magnetic, electric, and electronic properties of exceptionally high commercial value.

Ultimately, Ultraconductors will offer unprecedented high performance and energy efficiency throughout a very broad range of products.

These applications will include:

* Electric power products (Power downleads, motors, generators, transmission lines)

* Electronics (microelectronic circuits and components, computer chip mounting, antennas)

* Medical (MRI systems, sensors, specialized instruments)

* Electromagnetics (energy storage, shielding)

More PDF documents from them here:

Mark said...

CASPIAN - New Evidence Of
VeriChip Lies And Deception
Group's Latest Report Sets Record Straight
On Chip Implants, Cancer, And More
By Katherine Albrecht

Opponents of the VeriChip implant are launching a new offensive against the controversial human microchip this week, amid reports that VeriChip plans to put its chipping division on the auction block.

A new report titled "Microchip Implants: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions" released today by CASPIAN Consumer Privacy reveals dirty laundry the company would probably rather keep hidden as it seeks a buyer for its beleaguered product.

The 42-page report was authored by CASPIAN director Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a Harvard-educated privacy expert and long-time critic of the VeriChip.

The highlight of the report is an eleven-page section titled "Cancer Cover-up" that describes a systematic pattern of lies and deception engaged by VeriChip executives in an effort to downplay the fact that implantable microchips cause cancer in laboratory animals.

The report reveals how news outlets like Time Magazine, Business Week, and the RFID Journal were used as unwitting [or witting] pawns in a VeriChip scheme to spread misinformation about the cancer studies.

Since research linking the product to cancer first surfaced last year, each of these publications has repeated misstatements from VeriChip company executives, in many cases printing the inaccurate statements verbatim and unchallenged.

"These were not subjective issues, they were plainly verifiable issues of fact," Albrecht said. "We were saddened to see the misstatements fall through the fact-checking cracks of these respected publications. Now that VeriChip is back in the headlines, we felt it was time to set the record straight."

VeriChip's media efforts have done little to salvage the company's public image or its financial performance, both of which plummeted after research linking the implantable microchip to cancer was widely revealed by the Associated Press in September 2007.

The same company that once predicted revenues in the "billions" earned just $3,000 from its microchip implant operations in the first quarter of 2008, as patients shun the device that many are now calling the "cancer chip."

Investors have also distanced themselves from the failing company, with VeriChip's stock plummeting from a high of $10.62 last year to just over $2.00 today.

VeriChip's VP of business development, Jay McKeage, acknowledged the implant division suffers from "a substantial cash burn" and is "not sustainable on its own." As a result, he says, VeriChip plans to "shop the VeriMed / Health Link [human implantable chip] business around widely" in hopes that another company will take the unpopular product off its hands.

However, with recent blog headlines like "VeriChip Death Watch" making the rounds, Albrecht has a hard time imagining who, if anyone, will want to buy the business.

"This is a company that has engaged in a consistent pattern of making false and misleading statements," she said. "It has lied to the public, to the media, to its shareholders, and to regulatory agencies," she said, citing additional evidence from the report indicating that VeriChip hid cancer evidence from the FDA when the agency reviewed the implant's safety in 2004.

"We laid out all the evidence in our report," she added. "We want to make sure no one else gets burned by VeriChip."



CASPIAN's new report, "Microchip Implants: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions," is a comprehensive reference guide to implantable microchips in animals and humans. It provides thoroughly-researched, footnoted answers to 85 of the most commonly asked questions about the implantable microchip, including religious, privacy, social, and health questions. The report concludes with a list of recommendations for patients, pet owners, and policy makers affected by the device.

The new report is available for free download on the group's website at:">>

While on the website, readers are encouraged to download Dr. Albrecht's comprehensive 52-page overview of the studies, "Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990-2006," and to review scanned copies of the original documents.



CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.

Mark said...

Engineers Make Cheaper, Brighter Displays Out Of Organic Materials

July 1, 2005 — Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are plastic-based materials that are able to emit light. Engineers are beginning to make displays out of OLEDs by spraying the materials on a surface, the way an ink-jet printer works. The new OLED displays promise to provide a cheaper, brighter, less power-hungry alternative to liquid-crystal displays -- the ones commonly used in laptop computers and cell phones.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- If you're getting ready to buy a new cell phone, computer monitor or TV, this new technology will change everything.

A new type of screen is hitting the market. It's called OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, and it's a term you're going to see a lot of in the next few years. "It's a much brighter display," explains Steven Van Slyke, Research Fellow of Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y.

OLED is changing the way we see our cell phones, digital cameras, and even small-screen television. But that's just the beginning. He says, "Eventually we'll get larger and larger to portable DVD player displays and then onto laptop displays and then eventually into the computer monitor and TV markets."

What's so special about OLED? Right now, displays on things like your camera or cell phone are LCDs, or liquid crystal displays. But OLEDs are made from plastic. The display is made by spraying layers of OLED droplets similar to the way an ink-jet printer prints.

OLEDs are made from fewer materials so they'll cost less, use less power allowing your laptop battery to last longer, and give off their own light so the picture is brighter and easier to see. It doesn't make any difference what direction you view the screen at. Van Slyke says, "You get the same perceived color."

Cell phones with OLED screens are already on the market, but big screen TVs won't be available for a few years.


Mark said...

Paperless Book
Scientists Develop E-ink To Replace Books, Newspapers

March 1, 2007 — Scientists at Sony have developed an electronic version of ink, currently used in the E-Reader, that enables thousands of books to be carried around in one portable, energy-efficient case. Ink movement is possible because of millions of transparent, liquid-filled spheres sandwiched between a plastic film. Positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles float inside the spheres, depending on how the electrical charge is applied to the plastic. Either the black or white particles move to the front of the spheres, forming crisp patterns of black and white.

Newspapers can be cumbersome, books can take up space, and computer screens can be difficult to read. But now a unique technology may revolutionize the way we read.

E Ink Imaging Film is electronic paper that is currently used in the Sony Reader. Thousands of titles, pictures and audio files can be downloaded into one portable, leather-bound case.

"The, the broadest, most dramatic application is electronic publishing -- the ability to have an entire library in a single electronic book," Michael McCreary tells DBIS. He's a physical organic chemist at E Ink Corporation in Cambridge, Mass.

Once an E Ink page is displayed, the Reader uses virtually no power until the page is turned and, unlike a computer screen, can be read in bright light.

"Basically, the way it works is by moving "ink" around," McCreary says.

Ink movement is possible because of millions of transparent, liquid-filled spheres sandwiched between plastic films. Positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles float inside the spheres, depending on how the electrical charge is applied to the plastic. Either the black or white particles move to the front of the spheres, forming crisp patterns of black and white.

E Ink scientists are now developing ways to revolutionize the newspaper industry. Consumers would hold a paper-like display but be able to download an infinite number of stories.

"In addition to being immediate, it can be customized to you," McCreary says. "Every newspaper doesn't have to be the same."

The Sony Reader can store and display documents like Adobe PDF files, blogs, RSS feeds, photos and e-books. Scientists are also working on ways to use E Ink in supermarket shelf labels and signs along the highway. Its low-level power consumption is also making E Ink popular in cell phones and watches.


Mark said...

Holodeck 1.0? Star Trek-style 3-D Displays Make Their Debut

ScienceDaily (Jun. 5, 2008) — Star Trek's holodeck is a famous science fiction concept. Crewmembers could walk through the garden of their childhood home, re-enact famous historical events or watch full, 3-D performances of famous plays. It was a rich source of story lines for the Star Trek writers because the holodeck offered so many opportunities to work, rest and play.

Crewmembers could also learn by using simulations to acquire new skills or execute training drills.

They could simulate surgery, flight, and engine repairs in a truly realistic environment.

The holodeck is still science fiction, but last year researchers took the first, confident steps towards its realisation with the Coherent project.

This EU-funded research project, developed a commercial, true 3-D display that could one day be called Holodeck version 1.0.

It is called HoloVizio.

Innovation intensive

The HoloVizio is a 3-D screen that will allow designers to visualise true 3-D models of cars, engines or components. Better yet, gesture recognition means that observers can manipulate the models by waving their hands in front of the screen. The function offers enormous scope for collaboration across the globe.

"The aim of the COHERENT project was to create a new networked holographic audio-visual platform to support real-time collaborative 3-D interaction between geographically distributed teams," explains Akos Demeter, spokesperson for the project.

Two applications drove the design of the basic networked audiovisual components – a collaborative visualisation system for the medical sector and a collaborative design review system for the automotive industry.

The researchers based the display component on innovative holographic techniques that can present, at natural human interaction scale, realistic animated 3-D images simultaneously to an unlimited number of freely moving viewers.

No goggles required

The upshot is that users do not need goggles, and the 3-D image is maintained as they move about – both in contrast with early attempts at holographic displays.

But the real star of the Coherent project is not simply the display.

The researchers made exciting advances in enabling applications that show the system's real potential.

The COMEDIA application, for example, uses raw data from medical imaging devices to create 3-D models of anatomy. The development, led by Coherent partner CRS4 Visual Computing, demonstrated the system to 50 clinicians in Italy.

"The strength of the COMEDIA system is related to the collaboration, discussion and evaluation of clinical cases, since it provides users with an immediate 3-D understanding of the anatomy shown," explains Demeter.

COMEDIA led to the 'Holo-Heart' series of seminars last year.

Art's hidden secrets

CRS4 also developed rendering and visualisation software that may reveal the artistic secrets of the great masters, like Michelangelo. A scan of his famous David revealed that the eyes diverge.

It is impossible to see this by standing in front of the statue, because of its height and the position of the left forearm. But it becomes clear when viewed through the COHERENT system, and theorists posit that Michelangelo wanted to present two different faces of the same character.

Coherent also led to the development of the COLLAUDA application for collaborative automotive design. The application, developed with CS Systemes d’Information and Peugeot in France, led to a series of demonstrations to potential end users.

The demonstration led to a new project collaboration, named ARIVA, which starts in June 2008.

Oil exploration

Finally, COHERENT's researchers explored the potential for applying holographic systems for oil exploration, using Shell's data. The system displayed real examples of subsurface data. Holografika, the Hungarian research company behind the Holovizio system, developed a lot of the core technology used by the project.

In all, the team developed useful applications for a leading edge, emergent technology, explored excellent commercial opportunities and perfected holographic and allied systems for real-world use. The research also stimulated enormous interest in the area and prompted a wave of activity in the sector. But history, perhaps, will remember the Coherent project as the precursor to a real world holodeck.

The project received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.


Mark said...

RFIDs Can Turn Off Hospital Lifesaving Equipment

'Hospital risk' from radio tags

Lifesaving equipment in hospitals may be switched off by radio-frequency devices used to track people and machines, Dutch scientists claim.

Radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) are on the rise in healthcare, helping identify patients, and reveal the location of equipment.

The Journal of the American Medical Association study found they could interfere with machines.

But NHS computer specialists said RFIDs could eventually make patients safer.

Even the most seductive technology will interact in the tightly-coupled healthcare world in ways physicians and other members of the healthcare team had better understand, or they and their patients may pay a dear price
Dr Donald Berwick
Institute for Healthcare Improvement

There are two types of RFID, one which transmits information, and another, "passive", device which can be "read" by a powered machine when it is held nearby.

They are small and cheap enough to be in everyday use in society, in everything from security and travel cards - such as London Transport's Oystercard, to anti-theft devices on goods in shops, and hospitals are starting to become aware of their potential.

At Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, [England] patients heading for the operating theatre wear an RFID wristband, so that even when anaesthetised, their full identity, including a picture, can be downloaded into a PDA held nearby.

Turned off

The latest research, conducted at Vrije University in Amsterdam, tested the effect of holding both "passive" and powered RFIDs close to 41 medical devices, including ventilators, syringe pumps, dialysis machines and pacemakers.

A total of 123 tests, three on each machine, were carried out, and 34 produced an "incident" in which the RFID appeared to have an effect - 24 of which were deemed either "significant" or "hazardous".

In some tests, RFIDs either switched off or changed the settings on mechanical ventilators, completely stopped the working of syringe pumps, caused external pacemakers to malfunction, and halted dialysis machines.

The device did not have to be held right up to the machine to make this happen - some "hazardous" incidents happened when the RFID was more than 10 inches away.

Patient safety

Dr Donald Berwick, from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said: "Design in isolation is risky - even the most seductive technology will interact in the tightly-coupled healthcare world in ways physicians and other members of the healthcare team had better understand, or they and their patients may pay a dear price."

A spokesman for NHS Connecting for Health, which manages various IT projects across the health service, said that RFIDs had the potential to deliver big improvements in patient safety, reducing mistakes caused by the wrong identification of patients.

She said: "Any product such as this which is for use in a healthcare setting has to meet a standard which means it is very unlikely to interfere with medical equipment.

"This risk is more likely to come from RFID tags from other sources - such as a travel card, a tag on clothing, or on another retail item."

A spokesman for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said that, as for mobile phone use, individual Trusts needed to make risk assessments about the use of RFIDs.

He said: "Despite much debate in the literature on the subject of electromagnetic interference (EMI) of medical devices by mobile telephones and other sources of radiofrequency transmission, the MHRA has received very few reports of adverse events caused by this problem over the last seven years or so.

"Of those incidents reported, only a very small number have been proven to be as a direct result of EMI." [and the rest have been buried by the EM lobby?]

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/06/24 23:47:16 GMT

Lavonne said...

Good post.