Diverse technologies, missing or secret documentation, and hostile copyright laws threaten video-game preservation.
Not long ago a film buff turned up a 90 year old film of Charlie Chaplin. It had not shown since 1914, and was utterly forgotten by film historians -- yet because analog film technology has remained fundamentally unchanged since its invention, preservationists were able to re-debut the movie at a film festival in Virginia.
In the cat and mouse game of camouflage, the extraordinary development of invisibility cloaks has surely given the mouse the upper hand in recent years. Not only have theorists dramatically developed the ideas behind these devices, but others have built and tested the cloaks themselves.
A new type of solder can be melted and shaped in three dimensions under the force of a weak magnetic field. Using a magnet to pull the solder up through narrow holes makes it possible to create electrical connections between stacked silicon chips, for example. These three-dimensional chips pack more computing power in a given area, but making connections between them is expensive, a problem that the new solder might address.
IBM has created graphene transistors that leave silicon ones in the dust.
A computer made entirely of sodium acetate, known as hot ice, solves mazes and other problems. It also occasionally hangs. If you've ever used a chemical hand warmer, you'll be familiar with sodium acetate. These bags of liquid are supersaturated solutions of sodium acetate that has supercooled to ambient temperature. Clicking a metal disc in the solution creates a nucleation center that causes the solution to rapidly crystallize, releasing heat. Heating the solid turns it back into a liquid, thereby recharging the hand warmer.
A new technique makes it possible to print flexible arrays of thin inorganic light-emitting diodes for displays and lighting. The new printing process is a hybrid between the methods currently used to make inorganic and organic LEDs, and it brings some of the advantages of each, combining the flexibility, thinness and ease of manufacturing organic polymers with the brightness and long-term stability of inorganic compounds. It could be used to make high-quality flexible displays and less expensive LED lighting systems.
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