Year end link clean up

* “Poor Halo play prompts stabbing threat”: Doesn’t seem unreasonable. I’ve heard campers threatened with worse.
* “How Secure Is My Password”: No idea how accurate, but fun. 17 thousand years for my typical password.
* “Rich on photobooks”: I just always use the default in Aperture but perhaps I should branch out.
* “AR.Drone”: Why don’t I have one of these yet.
* “Declining energy quality as recession cause”: An interesting way to look at things. Not sure it actually makes sense tho.
* “Now you can swap useless Amex reward points for useless Zynga crap.”:
* “Snoopy themed Windows tablet”: Take that, Apple.
* “Spiders on Drugs”: We are asking for some serious payback from spider nation some day.
* “Umpteenth article on the death of cable TV”:, yawn. Until I can watch HD live sports without stuttering I am captive to cable/dish. Going to be a while.
* “Charles on breaking up MSFT”: Good as always.
* “Habitable planet found?”:
* “Languages you’ve never heard of”: In the future, we will all have our very own programming language.
* “Topologist suggests new form of matter”: For most of our history we’ve used the forms of matter that nature gave us. It is interesting to observe and think about what we can create as we gain mastery over atomic organization.
* “One man’s indictment of iTunes”: The thing is a giant hairball of software.
* “Exercise and aging”: Crap I need to get after it.
* “Show Me What’s Wrong”: Super useful.
* “User experience of F1 telemetry”: Always impressed with the amount of money spent on racing.
* “MacPaint and MacDraw source code”: Nostalgia.

My fall quarter academic work — vibrations, DEP modeling

Fall quarter kicking off, hurray! Formal coursework will be ME 588 — Dynamics and Vibrations. Basic theoretical framework, single DOF systems, multiple DOF systems, and continuously driven systems. Not my first choice of material but need to take remotely and the options were few.

Informally, I’ll be working on modeling of dielectrophoresis effects at the nanoscale, applied primarily to biological sensors. Some finite element, some matlab, some fluids, etc. Interesting study of forces and motion at the nanoscale. I’ve ordered a bunch of texts on electrodynamic modeling and and cranking thru. The mechanics are new to me, the electrodynamics are familiar but rusty, the coding work is relatively straightforward. Initial model focus is on 2D systems tho I’d like to step up to 3d, tho this is of course substantially more complicated.

Feed by Mira Grant

Silk and Timber electronics

“Paper and Lignin-based RFID tags”: “Silk electronic metamaterials”:

Seems like we are not far away from having processing power embedded in damn near everything. Not lots of processing power, but enough to do identification and limited sensing. Interesting times.

An aside — why am I reading bunches of PDFs?

I finally officially matriculated last fall as a part time grad student at UW and am studying nanoengineering. For the moment I am sited in the mechanical engineering department tho I could just have easily been in the electrical engineering department, materials science department, chemistry, physics, or several other places. And in fact I am taking no traditional mechanical engineering courses, but am entirely focused on nanoscale problems and technology.

My long term interest is in industrial-scale production of nanoscale devices. Many great things have been made in the labs, but to scaling up to industrial scale production requires discovery of methods to automatically produce and assemble nanoscale devices, accepting the inherent error levels in these devices. Photolithography has been an amazing technology for creating computer chips but is a top-down approach — the entire chip is exactly designed and then carved out of silicon. The next wave of devices at the nanoscale will be organically assembled bottoms-up and there are whole new classes of problems to solve.

I’ve been reading a ton on nanowires and carbon nanotubes and the manipulation of them via various methods. And also thinking on the side about chip/circuit architecture based on these inexact, nondeterministic elements. Just got a pointer to “RelXLayer”: which is a nice launch point for thinking about.

Materials/Science grabbag

No time to blog, fall quarter starting, and travelling too. Dump of stuff that is interesting:

* “Ultimate Productivity Blog”: I think that is clear.
* “Paintable transistors”: Semiconducting polymer stable when applied at room temp, cool.
* “Hydrophobic Nano Grass”: Nano scale fluid handling tech is pretty awesome.
* “Fantastic Solar System Photos”: Humbling and inspiring.
* “Structural Color Printing”: Structural colors are very cool — colors created by the nanostructure of an item, not by dyes. And now you can manipulate the color dynamically.
* “Atoms jump around a lot”:
* “Bionic Eyesight”: You rushed ahead and got Lasik surgery, while those of us late to the party are going to be able to see through walls and have heat vision.

Thinking that intrigues me

* Touchable holography. Uses tracking cameras and directed ultrasound to create interaction and physical sensation. Cool demo.
* Algortihmatic – online library of algorithms and IDE. Cool tho limited.
* The LED’s dark secret. Droop in LED performance to be overcome for broader use.
* Plasmobots — “their previous research has already proved the ability of the mould to have computational abilities”.
* Ford Mike Rowe video. I didn’t realize they automatically tracked every single assembly operations through the tools. Fascinating.
* Brad Feld’s open office hours. An intriguing idea. Commendable.

Oriented Assembly of Metamaterials — Science

Oriented Assembly of Metamaterials — Stebe et al. 325 5937: 159 — Science — good article.

“Such metamaterials may, for example, be used to create cloaking devices or light-based circuits based on manipulations of local optical electric fields rather than on the flow of electrons.”

“The challenge now is to move from hit-or-miss assemblies of academic interest to the creation of technologically relevant devices that combine particle and patterned assembly via large-scale processes.”

It is this latter challenge I find most interesting.

Polymer Circuits

Good basic article on polymer circuits. I need to learn more about charge transport in polymers, i have a basic understanding of charge transport in metals and semiconductors and ionic fluids, i don’t really understand polymers. Polymer circuits potentially a research area for my future course work.

Spring Coursework

Continuing my educational adventure this spring:

ME 568 Active and Sensing Materials:  Fundamental knowledge of the nano-structure property relations of active and sensing materials, and their devices. Examples of the active and sensing materials are: shape memory alloys (SMAs), ferromagnetic SMAs, ferroelectric, pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials, thermoelectrics, electroactive and conducting polymers, photoactive polymers, photovoltaics, and electrochromic materials.

ME 518 Seminars on Advances in Manufacturing & Management: Current topics and advances made in manufacturing and management. Topics presented by invited speakers from academia and industry. Emphasis on the multidisciplinary nature of manufacturing and management.

via Course Descriptions.

Molecular programming

Caltech researchers awarded $10M for molecular programming project. UW involved as well.  More info at the Molecular Programming Project:

…we will develop new computer science principles for programming information-bearing molecules like DNA and RNA to create artificial biomolecular programs of similar complexity.

…computing and decision-making will carried out by chemical processes themselves. Through the creation of molecular programming languages, theory for analyzing them, and experiments for validating them, our long-term vision is to establish “molecular programming” as a subdiscipline of computer science

Overview presentation here.

Fascinating stuff.