Tech Universe: Thursday 28 June

By Miraz Jordan

Trying to get to the other side but can't find a bridge? The Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying System M3 would come in handy if you were ever stranded in a situation like this. Photo / Thinkstock
Trying to get to the other side but can't find a bridge? The Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying System M3 would come in handy if you were ever stranded in a situation like this. Photo / Thinkstock

SLOW BRIDGE: Oops, your GPS directions want to drive you through a 100 metre wide river without a bridge. No problem, provided you have an army with you and the The Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying System M3 from General Dynamics. Eight or so amphibious vehicles line up side by side facing into the current. Each vehicle contains several pontoons that extend out from each side of the vehicle and lock into the pontoons from the adjacent vehicles. That forms a road for land-based vehicles to cross the river. The bridge can support vehicles up to 85 tons. It's not a very speedy process, but it's a lot quicker than going nowhere. Gizmodo has more. Check out the video.

HIGH WIFI: American and Israeli researchers twisted vortex beams to make a wireless signal go faster — 2.5 terabits per second. That's fast enough to send the contents of more than 66 DVDs in one second.

The twisted visible light data streams use orbital angular momentum to speed up the signal. Orbital angular momentum is like the thread on a screw. The technique for packing more data into the signal involves using varying degrees of twist, differing polarisations and arranging the streams in a specific pattern. Unfortunately the speedy beam was transmitted over only 1 metre and in the real world turbulence becomes an issue. That could blow out your Internet cap in a millisecond! BBC explains.

MOLECULAR MEMORY: Computer memory is already pretty small, but what if it could be 1,000 times smaller? Scientists at Kiel University in Germany used a scanning tunneling microscope to selectively switch individual molecules between two magnetic states. This proves that it's technically possible to store information using molecules, rather than electronic or magnetic memory cells. But how small can they make the scanning tunneling microscope? Kurweil AI details.

SUPERFAST: Proud of your new dual or quad core computer? The Sequoia supercomputer from IBM uses 1,572,864 cores and runs at 16.32 petaflops per second. It's 1.55 times faster than its closest rival, Japan's Fujitsu K Computer. Sequoia's at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and consumes 7.9 megawatts of power. Sequoia will spend its time simulating nuclear explosions down to the molecular scale, with maybe a bit of climate modelling thrown in. Because why waste a supercomputer on trivial things like curing disease? io9 elaborates.

CARBON SIEVE: Scientists in the University of Nottingham have created a honeycomb-like metal organic framework that can absorb CO2. It's called UK NOTT-202a. Even though other gases can pass through the material carbon dioxide remains trapped in its nanopores, even at low temperatures. The material could be the basis for new materials for gas storage, sieving and purification, carbon capture, chemical reactivity and sensing. And once it's full? The University of Nottingham has further info.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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