10. RFID and the heart
Telemedicine researchers have been awarded a $US400,000 grant to work on integrating RFID technology with cardiac sensor networks used to monitor patients' heartbeats.
The Rochester Institute of Technology says its work will make cardiac sensor networks more secure, reducing the chances of identity theft or other abuse. The work could also make the healthcare process work more efficiently by supporting RFID tags on medicine bottles, the school says.
"Telemedicine technology can greatly increase the quality of medical care while also decreasing healthcare costs," said Fei Hu, assistant professor of computer engineering at RIT, in a statement. "Through this project we hope to increase the integration of RFID into existing cardiac sensor networks, ensure the overall security of the system and promote the implementation of the technology in nursing homes and adult care facilities across the country."
11. Analyzing the "Dark Web"
Computer scientists at a University of Arizona lab have created a project called Dark Web that is designed to track and analyze the moves of terrorists and extremists using the Internet to spread propaganda, recruit members and plan attacks (click here to read our feature on cyberwar).
The project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies, is led by Hsinchun Chen at the Artificial Intelligence Lab in Tucson. Dark Web's specialty is tracking massive amounts of information scattered across thousands of Web sites and in e-mail and other online programs. Spidering, link analysis, multimedia analysis and other techniques are used, according to the NSF.
A method dubbed Writeprint is used to strip away the anonymity of terrorists online by analyzing language, semantic and other features of content and comparing it with other content posted across the Internet. Authors can be identified and new information published by the authors can be flagged as it is posted and spread. One recent study by the Dark Web team identified stories and videos used to train terrorists in building improvised explosive devices.
Not that the terrorists are unaware they're being watched.
"They can put booby-traps in their Web forums," Chen said in a statement, "and the spider can bring back viruses to our machines."
12. Really, really fast wireless
Scientists at the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a system that can transfer data at 5Gbps at a range of 5 meters.
Joy Laskar, the GEDC's director, says many of the products designed for the 60GHz band initially will be marketed to consumers for home use, because businesses are more likely to take wait-and-see attitudes with new technology that hasn't yet proved reliable. Even so, he says he can imagine several business applications for multigigabit networks, especially in the field of large-scale data transfer. "Imagine that you have a portable device that's essentially an evolved iPod that has hundreds of gigs of storage," he says. "One scenario would be to have several kiosks around an office that could wirelessly send information to your device."
Separately, a team of engineers at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is taking a new approach to phased-array antennas that the developers say could enable an ultra-wideband device to do the job of five regular antennas.
The Fragmented Aperture Antenna has already demonstrated a 33-to-1 bandwidth, blowing by the 10-to-1 ratio of conventional systems. Researchers say a 100-to-1 ratio might not be far off for use in radar and communications environments.