‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ Breakthrough as scientists move objects 5ft using tractor beams

Scientists have invented a tractor beam which is able to move large objects longer distances than ever before by using a laser light.

A team of researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra have brought the art of molecular transportation, made famous by the catchphrase ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ from the TV series Star Trek, a fraction closer.

Using what they call tractor beams – rays of energy that can move objects – they have managed to move tiny particles up to 59 inches from one place to another.

via ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ Breakthrough as scientists move objects 5ft using tractor lasers | Mail Online.

The Recent Future / September 9, 2010 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It! / 0 Comments

Star Trek-like Heisenberg Compensators!??!

A quantum memory may be all scientists need to beat the limit of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to a paper published in Nature Physics. According to a group of researchers, maximally entangling a particle with a quantum memory and measuring one of the particle’s variables, like its position, should snap the quantum memory in a corresponding state, which could then be measured. This would allow them to do something long thought verboten by the laws of physics: figure out the state of certain pairs of variables at the exact same time with an unprecedented amount of certainty.

Our ability to observe particles at the quantum level is currently limited by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Heisenberg noticed that when someone measured one variable of a particle, such as its position, there were some other variables, like momentum, that could not be simultaneously measured with as much precision—there was a small amount of uncertainty applied to one or both of the measurements.

The physical reasoning behind this is hard to follow. But Paul Dirac, another physicist, made up a scenario to illustrate why some variables have this contentious relationship.

Dirac pointed out that one of the only ways to measure a particle’s position is by bouncing a photon off of it, and seeing where and how that photon lands on a detector. How the photon lands completely describes the particle’s position, but by hitting it, the measurement changes the particle’s momentum.

Likewise, a measure of momentum would change the particle’s position. Because of this quirk, scientists thought it was impossible to know certain pairs of variables that affect one another at the same exact time with a very high degree of precision.

Then along came entanglement. When two particles are entangled, reading even one variable of one of the particles collapses the wavefunction of both particles, giving finite values to all related variables.

The cadre of scientists behind the current paper realized that, by using the process of entanglement, it would be possible to essentially use two particles to figure out the complete state of one. They might even be able to measure incompatible variables like position and momentum. The measurements might not be perfectly precise, but the process could allow them to beat the limit of the uncertainty principle.

Quantum memory may topple Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

The Recent Future / August 2, 2010 / Star Trek Did It!, Tech / 0 Comments

The Recent Future / June 24, 2010 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It! / 0 Comments

US Navy Wants to Field Cyber-Attack System

In 2018, the U.S. Navy hopes to take a major step toward fielding a cyber-attack system on a tactically survivable, fighter-size aircraft.

Although researchers are cautious about discussing their cyberwarfare and electronic attack projects, one company states that it is “developing a weapon system that can deliver cyber-effects through free space into an aperture.”

That opaque explanation refers to a cyber-weapon, sized for a tactical aircraft or UAV, that can create a long-range data stream — most likely from an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) emitter. The emitter will function both as radar and the source of these uniquely tailored data streams that could be used for electronic attack and cyber-invasion.

The data beams would be packed with specialized waveforms and algorithms that work like keys to open networks. They would be manufactured by an exciter or techniques generator that functions as part of the radar. The beam is fired into an antenna that electronic surveillance indicates is attached to the target network. It could connect an air defense system, a command-and-control center or a flight of aircraft.

via US Navy Wants to Field Cyber-Attack System.

The Recent Future / April 3, 2010 / Star Trek Did It!, Tech / 0 Comments

Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists

The new type of armour will use pulses of electrical energy to repel rockets, shrapnel and other ammunition that might damage a vehicle.

Researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which is the research and development arm of the Ministry of Defence, claim it is possible to incorporate material known as supercapacitors into armour of a vehicle to turn it into a kind of giant battery.

When a threat from incoming fire is detected by the vehicle, the energy stored in the supercapacitor can be rapidly dumped onto the metal plating on the outside of the vehicle, producing a strong electromagnetic field.

Scientists behind the project claim this would produce a momentary “force field” capable of repelling the incoming rounds and projectiles.

via Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists – Telegraph.

The Recent Future / March 26, 2010 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It!, Tech / 0 Comments

Google leaps language barrier with translator phone

GOOGLE is developing software for the first phone capable of translating foreign languages almost instantly — like the Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

By building on existing technologies in voice recognition and automatic translation, Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years. If it works, it could eventually transform communication among speakers of the world’s 6,000-plus languages.

The company has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being honed by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents. So far it covers 52 languages, adding Haitian Creole last week.

Google also has a voice recognition system that enables phone users to conduct web searches by speaking commands into their phones rather than typing them in.

via Google leaps language barrier with translator phone – Times Online.

The Recent Future / February 8, 2010 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It!, Tech / 0 Comments

Alcohol substitute that avoids drunkenness and hangovers in development

The new substance could have the added bonus of being “switched off” instantaneously with a pill, to allow drinkers to drive home or return to work.

The synthetic alcohol, being developed from chemicals related to Valium, works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.

But unlike alcohol its does not affect other parts of the brain that control mood swings and lead to addiction. It is also much easier to flush out of the body.

Finally because it is much more focused in its effects, it can also be switched off with an antidote, leaving the drinker immediately sober.

The new alcohol is being developed by a team at Imperial College London, led by Professor David Nutt, Britain’s top drugs expert who was recently sacked as a government adviser for his comments about cannabis and ecstasy.

He envisions a world in which people could drink without getting drunk, he said.

No matter how many glasses they had, they would remain in that pleasant state of mild inebriation and at the end of an evening out, revellers could pop a sober-up pill that would let them drive home.

via Alcohol substitute that avoids drunkenness and hangovers in development – Telegraph.

The Recent Future / December 26, 2009 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It! / 0 Comments