• Accidental invention could light up the future – LiveScience – MSNBC.com

    Michael Bowers, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, was just trying to make really small quantum dots, which are crystals generally only a few nanometers big. That’s less than 1/1000th the width of a human hair.

    Quantum dots contain anywhere from 100 to 1,000 electrons. They’re easily excited bundles of energy, and the smaller they are, the more excited they get. Each dot in Bower’s particular batch was exceptionally small, containing only 33 or 34 pairs of atoms.

    When you shine a light on quantum dots or apply electricity to them, they react by producing their own light, normally a bright, vibrant color. But when Bowers shined a laser on his batch of dots, something unexpected happened.

    “I was surprised when a white glow covered the table,” Bowers said. “The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow.”

    LEDs are already great for light – quantum dots next? Yum, can’t wait.

  • Suit filed over Nano scratches | Tech News on ZDNet

    Claiming that the iPod Nano has a widespread propensity for scratching easily, lawyers this week filed a class action suit against Apple Computer on behalf of those who have purchased the diminutive music player.

    The lawsuit charges, however, that the Nano contains a thinner coating of resin than on previous iPod models. “The amount and durability of the resin applied as a protective coating during the Nano manufacturing process is clearly defective in that it is not sufficient to adequately protect the face of the Nano from extreme scratching and ultimately irreparable damage,” the lawsuit says.

    Scratches? On the nano? Get out of here. (But the stuff about resin is interesting, eh?)

  • BBC NEWS | Health | Implant may help deaf hear music

    “The challenge is to miniaturise the elements so that they still resonate at audible frequencies.”

    He said this means a commercial implant is likely to be at least 10 years away.

    But once complete, the implant should enable people to have manual control over the frequencies they hear, enabling them to tune in to individuals in a crowded room and filter out the background chatter.

    Damn! Ten years? Now I know why stories about cancer cures drive cancer patients mad – it’s always the mice getting well, never (it seems) the humans.
    Meanwhile, to see how the present-generation cochlear implants are going, see this post at Hearing Mojo: Cochlear Ltd, with 70% of the market, expects to be used in 20,000 implants this year.