Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Physicists reaches milestone towards optical computing

Physicists at Aarhus University, Denmark have proven that the methods for slow light can be used for creating optical transistors, an important milestone they say.

The scientists use a method known as electromagnetically induced transparency, which is the same that Danish physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau from Harvard University uses in her experiments concerning slow light.

A crystal of cold calcium ions can be utilized as an optical transistor, where the photons (light) can check and control the amount of other photons that can escape the crystal - the same way that the voltage of a gate-electrode in a transistor can control the current running through the transistor, writes physicists at Aarhus University in a new article in Nature Photonics.

Professor Michael Drewsen and two of his coworkers from Aarhus University have taken this research a step further by controlling the transmission of photons through a Coulomb crystal. A Coulomb crystal is a collection of ions, in this case calcium ions that are cooled down to only a thousands of a degree above absolute zero.

The typical distance between these ions is 10 micrometers, which is 100.000 times longer than the distance between atoms in a normal solid. That means that the Coulomb crystal is both a solid and a collection of free particles at the same time, which gives the crystal a bunch of special properties.
  One of which is that the transmission of photons through the crystal can be adjusted with the principle of electromagnetically induced transparency by tuning the properties of photons and ions in the crystal in relation to each other.

Through an experiment, the scientists have shown that they can turn on and off for a passage of light with a wavelength of 866 nano meters through the crystal by sending a switching signal consisting of photons with a wavelength of 850 nano meters.

In a purely optical quantum computer they would have to be able to control the passage of a single photon by using another single photon. Currently they use 150.000 controlled photons for their experiment, but they say that they are already working on ideas to decrease the amount of photons needed by a factor of 100.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Angry Birds, now a theme park attraction

The popular game Angry Birds for smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android phones, have been turning out profit of everything from t-shirts and teddy bears to board games and is now also a theme park attraction.

The goal of the Angry Birds stall is to shoot down balloon pigs with the use of a giant slingshot and those well known little birds as ammunition. So far the idea is a huge success and has attracted a lot of visitors since it's opening last Wednesday, and it has also made it to one of the theme parks more popular attractions.
   But just as with many other Chinese products the people behind this stall have not gotten permission to use the Angry Birds name or idea from Finnish Rovio who created Angry Birds.

A spokesperson from the amusement park said,
This is just a way for people to have fun and let off steam.
Usually when the Chinese copies Western products the procedure is to sue them and close down the copyright infringement, but instead the Finnish company has chosen not to. According to Rovio's Chinese spokeswoman Daisy Chang, the company will examine if they can cooperate with the amusement park. She states,
We would welcome a partnership, but Rovio would need to give them permission to use the Angry Birds game.
Rovio currently has a goal of reaching a 100 million downloads in China before the end of this year and the attraction could help them achieve this goal so it is also in their interest to spread awareness of their game.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Google arms HTC for Apple patent war

Google's latest buy of Motorola brought with it some very interesting patents. Among those there is the patent for running software on mobile hardware and also a patent for hidden antennas on mobile phones.

HTC has brought up a bunch of patents and is currently suing Apple for multiple infringements. It's a total of 9 patents that HTC has bought from Google during the last two weeks that are being used to fend of Apple, which currently has been dominating the courtroom in many different countries, namely the world wide cases against Samsung's phones and tablets. But also in their attempts to bring the Android OS down.

Google has been criticized before for not taking action against Apples attacks on several Android phone manufacturers, but Google have not had a very threatening patent catalog in the past. In the last year Google has been working hard to get as many patents as possible by buying companies like Openwave Systems, Palm and as mentioned earlier, Motorola.

According to All Things Digital HTC has paid an unknown amount to Google for the patents that will help them in the battle against Apple.