Monday, September 19, 2011

Tiny infrared LEDs could find a home in ultra-thin multitouch screens

A company called Osram Opto Semiconductors has created a new infrared LED that can be used in conjunction with detectors to create ultra-thin touchscreens.

We've seen infrared used in touchscreens before, most notably in Microsoft's Surface and recent e-readers from Barnes & Noble and Kobo. But, Osram's solution is complex enough to work in a multitouch tablet, while being as space-saving zForce.

At only 0.45mm tall the diodes and sensors can easily be crammed into a bezel around a screen and sip just 35mW during regular use. Now the company just has to convince someone to put the tiny IREDs in their products.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Researchers wed quantum processor with quantum memory, quaziness ensues

Quantum computing has a long way to go before becoming truly mainstream, but that certainly hasn't stopped us from indulging in dreams of a qubit-based existence. The latest bit of fantasy fodder comes from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where researchers have become the first to combine a quantum processor with memory mechanisms on a single chip. To do this, Matteo Mariantoni and his team of scientists connected two qubits with a quantum bus and linked each of them to a memory element, capable of storing their current values in the same way that RAM stores data on conventional computers. These qubit-memory links also contained arrays of resonators -- jagged, yet easily controlled circuits that can store values for shorter periods of time. The qubits, meanwhile, were constructed using superconducting circuits, allowing the UCSB team to nestle their qubits even closer together, in accordance with the von Neumann architecture that governs most commercial computers. Once everything was in place, the researchers used their system to run complex algorithms and operations that could be eventually used to decode data encryption. The next step, of course, is to scale up the design, though Mariantoni says that shouldn't be too much of a problem, thanks to his system's resonators -- which, according to him, "represent the future of quantum computing with integrated circuits."