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     Volume 4 Issue 18 | October 22, 2004 |

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Crystal To Trap Pollution
University of Tokyo researchers have come up with a crystal resembling Swiss cheese that dramatically cleans up exhaust emissions by trapping pollutants a few minutes after the start of a vehicle's engine. Tatsuya Okubo and colleagues have been investigating the problem and say that a material called SSZ-33 looks promising as a hydrocarbon trap. This substance is a zeolite: a crystal made from silicon, aluminium and oxygen that looks, at the atomic scale, like Swiss cheese. The atoms in zeolites are linked into rings that form a three-dimensional framework riddled with tiny pores and channels that can hold vast quantities of gases. SSZ-33 can hold 30 percent more hydrocarbons than zeolite beta, and it does not break down so readily when it is subjected to the kinds of high temperatures (around 8000ºC) that can be reached inside the vehicle exhaust system.

Cell Phone 'would never catch on'?
Here is another story of great inventors not giving up in the face of adversity. John Edwards, the man who created the mobile phone in the 1960's, was refused a start up loan for the gadget, because the bank manager thought that the technology would 'never catch on.' Edwards, who was an electronics engineer, revealed that he had applied for a loan of 150,000 pounds at the Midland Bank in Southport, Merseyside. Unfortunately, his application was shot down, because according to the manager, the idea was absolute 'nonsense' and people would never like to carry a 'phone in their pockets,' reports The Sun Newspaper. "I asked for an overdraft of £150,000 but he turned me down, saying he didn't think people would want to carry a phone around with them. He said they would never sell and called the idea 'nonsense'," said Edwards. Edwards borrowed the money from another bank and created the hefty Ready Call device, which was the world's first cell phone. However the father of the cell phone also admitted that shockingly enough, he does not know how to send SMS's and has to be aided by his grandchildren when he wants to send a message.

PC That Reads Minds
There is no need for you to tire your fingers on the keyboard, as your PC may soon be in a position to type what's in your mind. A team of three researchers from the Institute for Infocomm Research led by Sitaram Ranganath has developed a new brain-computer interface that types by tapping your mind power. The mind-reader project works by transferring brain signals triggered by changes seen by the eyes, via the user's electronic headgear, to the computer so the desired letter appears on the screen. According to Ranganatha, after using the mind reader for more than three hours, he felt a bit uncomfortable. 'Using an earlier interface, I could do up to only five minutes before my eyes start to water,' he added.

'Smart watches'
That Remind You of Your Forgetfulness
Apart from just keeping track of the time, wrist watches could soon help forgetful people to keep track of necessities like keys, wallets or cell phones, and our important items needed for a meeting or a business lunch, say University of Washington researchers. According to Gaetano Borriello, a University of Washington computer scientist, who has developed a working prototype of the idea, 'Smart watch' system would be the next logical step in computing. Borriello claims that such systems would be smart enough to take the initiative to save the users from the inconvenience and embarrassment of forgotten essentials. "This project demonstrates one of the promises of ubiquitous computing, which is that our information systems will be proactive. That means that information will be made available as we need it, as opposed to our having to request it," Borriello said. Borriello and his colleagues are next working on integrating a wireless location system into the server so that it can determine where users are at any given time and whether they are arriving or leaving and factor that into decision-making.

Video Games And Male Stereotypes
A new study by researchers at the Trinity Western University has found that men often play video games because it enables them to escape into a fantasy world where they can be the perfect guys, something they are not in real life. The researchers say that their study has revealed that men are big video game buffs because they are able to play the tough and strong 'Rambo' like guys, which is also the reason why women have never really taken to playing video games. Some of the most popular games are the ones which show men as a combination of a respectable man who is the all around good guy, a rough and tough man who is the athletic bad-boy, and a grown-up boy who is not supposed to take anything too seriously. The researchers say that the games contain subtle but powerful themes that appeal to male players, allowing them to play out different perceived roles of masculinity, which in ordinary life would be difficult. "I began to look at fantasy role playing games more carefully, and noticed that there are parts of the game going on that allow the user to simultaneously engage these male stereotypes," the author of the study, Kevin Schut said. "While playing a game that is very much like a playground, the user is the romantic hero who forcefully rids the village of evil, participating as both the rough and tough man and the good-guy," he added.

Source: Webindia123.com / Google



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