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Watch a Memory Bit Switch in Real Time

As a replacement for today’s DRAM and flash memory, ferroelectric materials have many desirable characteristics. But to get a better sense of how ferroelectric bits behave on the nanoscale, Xiaoqing Pan of the University of Michigan and his colleagues used a high-resolution transmission electron microscope to watch the switching process in action. They’ve found the switching starts in an unexpected place and can be started with less power than anticipated.   IEEE Spectrum Associate Editor Rachel Courtland speaks with Pan about the new results and the team’s footage of the switching process.  

Software Realistically Adds 3-D Objects to Old Photos

In this edition of The Full Spectrum, we interview Kevin Karsch, a computer science PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his collaborators have developed a method for inserting synthetic objects into photographs without having access to the original location. By marking the rough physical geometry of the scene and the location of light sources within it, users can quickly add digital objects that behave as if they were in the original photo.  

CES 2012: Catching up with Dean Kamen at CES 2012

I caught up with Dean Kamen at CES 2012. Kamen, inventor of the first wearable infusion pump, the Segway and founder of the FIRST family of robotic competitions, gives a shout out to the sponsors of FIRST and tells me why he’s passionate about supporting the next generation of innovators. Says Kamen, “this world we live in of exciting growth of science, technology, and electronics doesn’t happen for free; we all have to be committed in making sure the next generation of kids has a passion for innovation.”  

Kickstarter’s iAccessory Evolution

Kickstarter, the well-known crowdfunding website, has evolved from an art community into a techie shopping center. The website runs on a reward system: a backer of a project is given a prize for pledging support. Some projects offer tangible prizes, such as t-shirts, while others promise little more than the joy of being involved. But for gadget start-ups with prototypes, the promised reward is often the product itself. When users pledge a set amount of cash for a product to be delivered in the future, it looks a lot like a sale, even if Kickstarter stresses that it is not….

Duke Engineers Showcase a Prototype Gigapixel Camera

David Brady and his colleagues at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering have taken the phrase “high resolution” to a whole new level. They’re building gigapixel cameras, which produce images that resemble some of the panoramic mosaics you may have seen. The difference is that Brady’s cameras can take giga-snapshots, capturing the entire scene all at once rather than forcing you to take a series of images and later stitch them together.  

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