HP scaling memristor and photonic computing: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
Following on the heels of Phonebloks, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara. The Verge recently interviewed Paul Eremenko, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
"The Synth Kit that just hit the market originated a year ago, at a TED conference where Bdeir and comedian/musician Reggie Watts met backstage after giving talks, and started discussing the idea of littleBits musical instruments."
DJ Focus couldn't wait to get back to Sierra Leone. AKA Kelvin Doe, this young man makes beautiful, functional and very useful electronic devices out of trash found in his native Sierra Leone. It's not clear whether he or M.I.T. was more impressed after his visit there.
Audiophoolery: Pseudoscience in Consumer Audio. You might think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune to the kind of magical thinking we see in other fields. Unfortunately, you would be wrong [...] As a consumerist, it galls me to see people pay thousands of dollars for fancy-looking wire that’s no better than the heavy lamp cord they can buy at any hardware store. Or magic isolation pads and little discs made from exotic hardwood that purport to “improve clarity and reduce listening fatigue,” among other surprising claims. The number of scams based on ignorance of basic audio science grows every day. Via.
Friday Flash Fun*: Конструктор: Engineer of the People, in which you are an engineer working in a top-secret semiconductor facility called H3, designing top-secret integrated circuits based on specifications provided to you. *For certain values of 'fun'
The coming memristor revolution in electronics and how it works. The newly created memristor, only the fourth fundamental fundamental type of passive circuit element, has the promise of computing advances both prosaic (faster, cheaper and "bigger" flash drives) and momentous (relatively effortless mimicry of brain cells and their activity). This is the story of the memristor's genesis, told by R. Stanley Williams, the leader of the team that created the device. [more inside]
In a single 1931 document, electrical engineer Alan Blumlein patented stereo records, stereo movie sountracks and surround sound. His equipment was used to make some of the first stereo recordings at EMI's Abbey Road studios - several decades before the technology came into popular use. Blumlein went on to pioneer 405 line TV (the first wholly electronic format which won out over John Logie Baird's rival system) and to produce the equipment that made the first outside TV broadcast possible. At the outbreak of World War 2 he was a key architect of the secret H2S radar project. Unfortunately he was killed in a plane crash while testing the technology and the whole incident was kept secret. Hence he remains an obscure figure despite his achievements. A recent BBC Radio 4 program contains a lot of the archive stereo footage and tells his story.
Anita Mk VII the "A New Inspiration To Accounting" OR "A New Inspiration To Arithmetic" was the world's first electronic desktop calculator. Launched in 1961, the Mk VII and Mk VIII were the only commercial calculators available for a period of two years.
There's been a lot of talk of late about signal-to-noise ratios here on MeFi (er, Ashcroft who?...). Generally, we think of noise as something that always degrades the quality of a signal. Sometimes, however, the opposite can be the case. Here's a neat little demonstration of a non-linear system in which noise can be used to amplify a signal that would otherwise be too be faint to detect any other way. It exploits a phenomenon known as Stochastic Resonance.