Now you see it, now you don’t: #CloakingDevice preventing cross-talk between components enables powerful #PhotonicComputers

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University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and his team have developed a cloaking device for microscopic photonic integrated devices — the building blocks of photonic computer chips that run on light instead of electrical current — in an effort to make future chips smaller, faster and consume much less power.

Menon’s discovery was published online Wednesday in the latest edition of the science journal, Nature Communications. The paper was co-written by University of Utah doctoral student Bing Shen and Randy Polson, senior optical engineer in the U’s Utah Nanofab.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon (pictured) and his team have developed a cloaking device for microscopic photonic integrated devices — the building blocks of photonic computer chips that run on light instead of electrical current — in an effort to make future chips smaller, faster and consume much less power.

The future of computers, data centers and mobile devices will involve photonic chips in which data is shuttled around and processed as light photons instead of electrons. The advantages of photonic chips over today’s silicon-based chips are they will be much faster and consume less power and therefore give off less heat. And inside each chip are potentially billions of photonic devices, each with a specific function in much the same way that billions of transistors have different functions inside today’s silicon chips. For example, one group of devices would perform calculations, another would perform certain processing, and so on.

The problem, however, is if two of these photonic devices are too close to each other, they will not work because the light leakage between them will cause “crosstalk” much like radio interference. If they are spaced far apart to solve this problem, you end up with a chip that is much too large.

So Menon and his team discovered you can put a special nanopatterened silicon-based barrier in between two of the photonic devices, which acts like a “cloak” and tricks one device from not seeing the other.

“The principle we are using is similar to that of the Harry Potter invisibility cloak,” Menon says.

Source: Now you see it, now you don’t | UNews

DIY networking: The path to a more democratic internet

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DIY community networks have been also used as social tools to reconnect citizens. The Sarantaporo.gr initiative in Greece has provided a community solution for affordable internet access, but it’s also a revolutionary model for building networking infrastructure.

Source: DIY networking: The path to a more democratic internet | P2P Foundation

How to care for communities and carnivorous plants before they turn into a little shop of horrors

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Learn how caring for a carnivorous plant is much like caring for an open source community.

I hadn’t considered how plants, like open source communities, are living organisms with different needs, and that thrive under specific kinds of care. For someone like me who lacks a green thumb, this was a huge and somewhat costly mistake.

You shouldn’t join an open source community before first doing a bit of research, either. Knowing about a community’s history, culture, organization, and etiquette will help you avoid inadvertently causing damage. Like species of carnivorous plants, each community is unique and thrives under different conditions.

Source: How to care for communities and carnivorous plants before they turn into a little shop of horrors | Opensource.com

Blockchain Community Solar: the Value of a Renewable Energy Reputation – Medium

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Ethereum blockchain tech used to share solar power on a community microgrid – Internet and cloud computing can use same model:

Last Monday 6 community members on President St in the Brooklyn Park Slope neighborhood created the first local marketplace for renewable…

Source: Blockchain Community Solar: the Value of a Renewable Energy Reputation – Medium

WindTalker allows attacker to know sensitive keystrokes on mobile device through WiFi-based side-channel #MobileSecurity

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Keystrokes on mobile devices will lead to different hand coverage and the finger motions, which will introduce a unique interference to the multi-path signals and can be reflected by the channel state information (CSI). The adversary can exploit the strong correlation between the CSI fluctuation and the keystrokes to infer the user’s number input. WindTalker presents a novel approach to collect the target’s CSI data by deploying a public WiFi hotspot.

Source: sig-alternate-sample.pdf – p1068-li.pdf

Steps towards Biological Computing

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At the IEEE Spectrum Neil Savage reports on the use of biological materials for more eco-friendly electronics. Applications include 3D-printable gelatins for medical sensors that could be swallowed and DNA used as an electron-blocking layer in the organic LED’s (OLED’s) used in computer displays.

These promise to be both nontoxic and biodegradable – unlike the 50 million metric tons of electronics which are currently discarded every year.

But the real breakthrough point for biological materials will be when the ability of biological systems to self-replicate and self-assemble can be harnessed.

A major step towards this goal was realized when bioengineers at Stanford University created the first biological transistor made from genetic materials: DNA and RNA. Dubbed the “transcriptor,” this biological transistor is the final component required to build biological computers that operate inside living cells.

 

DIY implantable systems augment human capabilities; transcend limits of biology

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Make Magazine reports on: “Biohackers [that] create DIY implantable systems to augment human capabilities and transcend the limits of biology.”

Neil Harbisson was born colorblind, but a snorkel-like device mounted to his head now translates the visible spectrum into sound and transmits it to him via bone conduction.

Rich Lee had two magnets implanted in his head. Signals from his MP3 player run through a coil, creating an electromagnetic field that causes the magnets to vibrate, playing music.

Lee’s coil works with almost anything you can plug a headphone jack into so a piezo contact mic lets him “hear” through walls, and hooking his coil up to a rangefinder grants a crude version of sonar.