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Rory Levin, a sixth grader in Bloomington, Minn., used to hate going to school. He has a health condition that often makes him feel apprehensive around other students. Taking special-education classes did little to ease his anxiety. So when...

In its first month on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover snapped a dizzying 12,145 images, and recorded the first sounds of the red planet. It also began zapping nearby rocks with lasers, uncovering chemical signatures similar to Earth’s volcanic rocks....

Biotech and pharma companies are starting to implement augmented reality technologies at their manufacturing facilities, bringing forth a whole new world of possibilities. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst to embracing new ways of working. Travel restrictions and...

Most of the smartphones in our pockets contain computer chips based on Arm architecture, whereas Intel’s x86 architecture reigns supreme among laptops, desktops, and server hardware. But a fast-growing number of companies in the U.S., Europe, and especially Asia...

Even before last winter’s snow had fully melted, the roar of leaf blowers began to punctuate the quiet of many towns, renewing noise battles that had only intensified as more people worked from home. Leaf blowers are not just...

The Okeechobee Clean Energy Center was designed to use the fossil fuel natural gas when it opened two years ago among the lakes of central Florida. Now the power plant’s owner, NextEra Energy, is preparing it to handle a...

AI/ML is creeping into multiple processes within the fab and packaging houses, although not necessarily for the purpose it was originally intended. The chip industry is just beginning to learn where AI makes sense and where it doesn’t. In...

For decades, Europe has poured millions of tons of its trash into incinerators each year, often under the green-sounding label “waste to energy.” Now, concerns about incineration’s outsized carbon footprint and fears it may undermine recycling are prompting European...

Testing whether gravity obeys the laws of classical physics or quantum mechanics is no easy matter. Discovering mineral deposits from space and etching atom-sized lithographs aren’t exactly simple either. But all three tasks may soon belong to a quantum...

New Uses For AI

AI is being embedded into an increasing number of technologies that are commonly found inside most chips, and initial results show dramatic improvements in both power and performance. Unlike high-profile AI implementations, such as self-driving cars or natural language...

Methane pollution from the largest oilfield in the US has soared back to pre-pandemic levels as a recovery in drilling undermines industry pledges to crack down on emissions of the potent greenhouse gas. The rise in methane pollution from...

The womb is home to the most complex feat of human biology: the transformation from embryo to fetus to baby. But that magnificent conversion would be impossible without the placenta, the life-giving organ that the developing fetus is tied...

The idea of space-based laser weapons orbiting the earth has been a part of popular culture and real life government projects for decades, from James Bond’s Goldeneye to Ronald Reagan’s ambitious “Star Wars” program. Recently, the Pentagon began developing...

In the May 2002 issue of this magazine, the late Lester F. Eastman and Umesh K. Mishra made the case for what was then a long-shot technology in the world of power semiconductors: gallium nitride (GaN). They presented an...

Marty Odlin, who grew up and lives on the Maine coast, remembers what the ocean used to be like. But now, he said, “It’s like a desert and just within my lifetime.” In the last few years, he said,...

Today, there are many examples of artificial intelligence interacting with us to make our lives more efficient and effective. Machines recommend products for us to purchase through e-commerce websites, they rank news for us through social-media feeds, they introduce...

Increasingly, we’re interacting with our gadgets by talking to them. Old friends like Alexa and Siri are now being joined by automotive assistants like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even apps sensitive to voice biometrics and commands. But...

The way we eat needs to change. Agriculture accounts for around ten per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions in both Europe and the US, with little improvement over recent years. From more efficient crop management to chemical-free weeding,...

On the banks of the Rhine in north-west Germany sits Thyssenkrupp’s Duisburg plant, Europe’s largest integrated steel mill. The hulking facility churns out about 11m tonnes of steel a year — along with roughly 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide,...

Carbon nanotube transistors are finally making progress for potential use in advanced logic chips after nearly a quarter century in R&D. The question now is whether they will move out of the lab and into the fab. Several government...

Designing 2.5D Systems

As more designs hit the reticle limit, or suffer from decreasing yield, migrating to 2.5D designs may provide a path forward. But this kind of advanced packaging also comes with some additional challenges. How you adapt and change your...

After a tough year of toggling between remote and in-person schooling, many students, teachers and their families feel burned out from pandemic learning. But companies that market digital learning tools to schools are enjoying a coronavirus windfall. Venture and...

Ryota Takakura was working at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11 2011, packing low-level radioactive waste into drums, when the ground began to shake and then heaved like a ship in a storm. The lights went...

In 2018, astronomers were shocked to find a bizarre explosion in a galaxy 200 million light-years away. It wasn’t like any normal supernova seen before — it was both briefer and brighter. The event was given an official designation,...

Alice and Bob, the stars of so many thought experiments, are cooking dinner when mishaps ensue. Alice accidentally drops a plate; the sound startles Bob, who burns himself on the stove and cries out. In another version of events,...

It’s become increasingly difficult to manage the heat generated during IC test. Absent the proper mitigations, it’s easy to generate so much heat that probe cards and chips literally can burn up. As a result, implementing temperature-management techniques is...

China built more new windfarm capacity in 2020 than the whole world combined in the year before, leading to an annual record for windfarm installations despite the Covid-19 pandemic. A study has revealed that China led the world’s biggest...

Global energy-related carbon emissions were higher in December than in the same month in 2019 as polluting activity rebounded from coronavirus lockdowns, a finding that must serve as a “stark warning” to policymakers, the head of the International Energy...

The push to electrify transportation includes big developments for heavy-duty vehicles, with an expanding range of zero-emission trucks, buses and service vehicles. And while Tesla sets the standard for electric passenger cars, CEO Elon Musk’s view that batteries are...

The cosmological constant has been a thorn in the side of physicists for decades. Even though its purpose in modern cosmology differs from its original role, the constant – commonly represented by Λ – still presents a challenge for...

Tony Ho, Head of Research and Development at CRISPR Therapeutics, offers his insights into the advantages of CRISPR gene editing over other technologies and what the future holds for the genome editing field. For decades, gene editing required engineering...

Theoretically, quantum computers can prove more powerful than any supercomputer. And recent moves from computer giants such as Google and pharmaceutical titans such as Roche now suggest drug discovery might prove to be quantum computing’s first killer app. Whereas...

USING A computer used to mean bashing away at a keyboard. Then it meant tapping on a touchscreen. Increasingly, it means simply speaking. Over 100m devices powered by Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, rest on the world’s shelves. Apple’s offering,...

Soleil Lofts, an apartment development in suburban Salt Lake City, offers a lot of amenities — pools, three spas, a basketball court, electric appliances, a dog park — to lure potential residents. But the feature that sealed the deal...

Chiplets For The Masses

Chiplets are a compelling technology, but so far they are available only to a select few players in the industry. That’s changing, and the industry has taken little steps to get there, but timing for when you will be...

Just off the M1 motorway near Sheffield, on a site where thousands of steel workers once helped to forge the northern English city’s industrial reputation, a little known hydrogen company with just over 220 employees is once again attracting international...

More than 110 countries and countless companies have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, but can they get there with existing technologies? Probably not. The world is counting on electrification to replace fossil fuels, which means that global...

Gartenfeld Island, in Berlin’s western suburb of Spandau, was once the bellows of Germany’s industrial revolution. It hosted Europe’s first high-rise factory and, until World War II, helped make Berlin, behind London and New York, the third-largest city on...

It certainly looks like it. From almost any perspective, seabed mining of metals is better for the environment, social justice issues and economics. A large continuous supply of special economic metals is essential for any high tech future. Building...

When the tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake struck the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on 11 March 2011, it not only knocked out the plant but eventually led to the shutdown of all the country’s 54...

A.I. Here, There, Everywhere

I wake up in the middle of the night. It’s cold. “Hey, Google, what’s the temperature in Zone 2,” I say into the darkness. A disembodied voice responds: “The temperature in Zone 2 is 52 degrees.” “Set the heat...

Scientists continue to search for vaccines and drugs to add to the anti-COVID-19 arsenal. Now two research groups have announced discoveries related to the changing structure of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that caused the pandemic, and they believe their insights...

Annabelle Huang recently won a government lottery to try China’s latest economics experiment: a national digital currency. After joining the lottery through the social media app WeChat, Ms. Huang, 28, a business strategist in Shenzhen, received a digital envelope...

Medical training has never been easy, but in the middle of a pandemic, it is a truly life or death scenario. Maintaining the skills and knowledge of medical professionals has never been more important, not to mention new requirements...

Domestic wood burning has become the single biggest source of small particle air pollution in the UK, producing three times more than road traffic, government data shows. Just 8% of the population cause this pollution by burning wood indoors,...

Skyscrapers and bridges, cars and cruise ships, guns and washing machines. All have one thing in common: steel. As a key input for engineering and construction, it is the world’s most commonly used metal, providing the foundations of the...

The UK’s first homes to be fitted with boilers and hobs that run on hydrogen rather than fossil fuel gas will be built in Gateshead by April. The semi-detached houses in the north-east will use 100% hydrogen for heating...

FeFETs Bring Promise And Challenges

Ferroelectric FETs (FeFETs) and memory (FeRAM) are generating high levels of interest in the research community. Based on a physical mechanism that hasn’t yet been commercially exploited, they join the other interesting new physics ideas that are in various...

Breaking The 2nm Barrier

Chipmakers continue to make advancements with transistor technologies at the latest process nodes, but the interconnects within these structures are struggling to keep pace. The chip industry is working on several technologies to solve the interconnect bottleneck, but many...

Solar’s voracious appetite for land means that as installations continue to grow, the industry will increasingly come into conflict with other important concerns, in particular agriculture. Coupled with warnings that a holistic approach to the global food-energy-water nexus is...