Also, laptop keyboards could soon replace rubber membranes with MagLev keys.
By Jason Imms on June 13, 2014 at 8:33 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of HP memristor technology, the AI that successfully passed the Turing Test, and the virtual trading terminal designed for the Oculus Rift.
HP memristors to power world’s first photonic computer within the decade
Computers as we know them are made up of three fundamental components: the resistor, capacitor, and the inductor. In 2008, HP scientists developed a fourth, known as the memristor, which could find its way into production machines within the decade and completely change the way we think about large-scale computing. By 2016, HP plans to have memristor-based DIMMs available to market, which can combine the high storage densities of hard disks with the high performance of traditional DRAM.
According to John Sontag, vice president of HP Systems Research, memristor-based memory would use “electrons for processing, photons for communication, and ions for storage,” resulting in the ability for conventional chip manufacturers to produce optical components. High-speed optical interconnects combined with memristor memory could, in theory, produce machines capable of hosting databases that can handle hundreds of billions of updates per second. HP is working with memristors to first power a computer that the company simply refers to as “The Machine,” a refrigerator-sized computer that was conceived to replace traditional datacentre systems. Read more over at Bloomberg Businessweek.
Laptops may get MagLev keys in the not-too-distant future
The term “magnetic levitation” may sound like science fiction, but the science behind it is far from fictional. So much so, CNET is reporting that an ultra-thin laptop keyboard by Darfon has been demoed at Computex which uses the technology as a replacement for the bulky rubber caps found on standard laptop keyboards. MagLev keys use magnets to provide resistance to the keys, which is user-adjustable, and fits within a tiny space. Obviously this means that space traditionally set aside for the keyboard can be used to fit more powerful (read: heat-generating) hardware into the same chassis, or to reduce the overall thickness of laptop chassis.
Computer AI passes the Turing Test for the first time
A computer AI capable of posing as a 13-year-old boy has successfully fooled a human into thinking that it too is human, and thus has become the first AI to pass the Turing Test since the test’s inception in 1950. A computer programme called Eugene Goostman accomplished the feat during Turing Test 2014, held at the Royal Society in London this week. There is some controversy surrounding the success, as some claim that the test has already been passed. However, these accusations have been generally dismissed, based on the fact that this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified, and most importantly, involved unrestricted conversations.
First Chicago robber arrested based solely on facial recognition
One Pierre D. Martin has been convicted of two holdups, after being identified from Chicago Transit Authority surveillance footage by facial recognition technology. Martin robbed a 20-year-old man at gunpoint on Jan. 28, 2013, and another man on Feb. 9, 2013, both times within view of CTA surveillance cameras. The images from these cameras were then compared against 4.5 million criminal booking shots, and Martin was ranked topmost amongst possible matches according to CTA officials, which lead to his arrest. Martin’s involvement was then corroborated by eye-witness identification from a line-up.
Image credit: Bloomberg
Bloomberg develops a virtual trading terminal designed for the Oculus Rift
One of the hurdles traders need to overcome is the sheer amount of concurrent information that they need to consume in order to be effective. This leads to having multi-monitor rigs mounted to their desks, which is a costly and bulky solution to the problem. Bloomberg L.P. has developed a prototype trading station for the Oculus Rift which is designed to solve this problem, by providing a near infinite number of displays suspended in space around the trader. This is very much a prototype at this stage, with the displays themselves only showing static images and video not actual trading information. Bloomberg hopes that the proof-of-concept may eventually work to reduce the space needed for trading, and to make it somewhat portable.
Header image credit: Bloomberg