Switch To Build Largest Data Center In the World In Reno 62

An anonymous reader writes: Data center provider Switch is planning to build a huge facility in Reno, Nevada, which it claims will be the largest data center campus in the world once completed. Switch has said that the SuperNap Reno campus will cost $3bn when fully built. The project will include seven data center buildings of the same size, totaling 6.49mn sq. ft.

Light-Based Memory Chip Is First To Permanently Store Data 85

sciencehabit writes: Scientists have developed the first ever memory chip that’s entirely light-based and can store data permanently. Sciencemag reports: "Today's electronic computer chips work at blazing speeds. But an alternate version that stores, manipulates, and moves data with photons of light instead of electrons would make today's chips look like proverbial horses and buggies. Now, one team of researchers reports that it has created the first permanent optical memory on a chip, a critical step in that direction. If a more advanced photonic memory can be integrated with photonic logic and interconnections, the resulting chips have the potential to run at 50 to 100 times the speed of today's computer processors."
Hardware Hacking

Brain-Controlled (Inflatable) Shark Attack 17

the_newsbeagle writes: This is a parlor trick, not neuroscience," writes this DIY brain hacker — but it sure is a nifty trick. The hacker put electrodes on his scalp, fed the resulting EEG data into a specialized processor that makes sense of brain signals, and modified the remote control for a helium-filled shark balloon. Soon, he and his buddies were steering the shark around the room. Why did it take his buddies, too? "EEG interpretation is not easy because, to be technical, EEG signals are a crazy mess. EEG recordings are a jumble of the signatures of many brain processes. Detecting conscious thoughts like “Shark, please swim forward” is way beyond even state-of-the-art equipment. The electrical signature of a single thought is lost in the furious chatter of 100 billion neurons." So builder Chip Audette settled on the simplest control system he could, and divvied up the actual controls (left, right, forward, etc.) among several users, so each one's brain signals could be interpreted separately.
United States

Nuclear Energy: The Good News and the Bad News In the EPA Clean Energy Plan 121

Lasrick writes: Peter Bradford explains what the EPA's new Clean Power Plan has in store for nuclear energy. He provides an excellent explanation of the details of the plan, and how the nuclear industry benefits (or doesn't). "The competitive position of all new low-carbon electricity sources will improve relative to fossil fuels. New reactors (including the five under construction) and expansions of existing plants will count toward state compliance with the plan's requirements as new sources of low-carbon energy. Existing reactors, however, must sink or swim on their own prospective economic performance—the final plan includes no special carbon-reduction credits to help them."

Russian Scientists Create Cockroach Spy Robot 50

An anonymous reader writes: A team of scientists at the Kaliningrad-based Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University has unveiled a small cockroach robot which will be tasked with hunting out victims trapped under debris. The robot measures 10cm in length, and can move at up to 30cm/second. The device is fitted with light sensors, as well as contact and non-contact probes which allows it to move around without bumping into any obstacles. “We had to develop many things from scratch. For example, there’s a company in Austria that produces gearing for legs, but a unit for one robot would have cost us nearly $9,000 while our entire budget is $22,500,” said Danil Borchevkin, the university’s lead engineer.

Battery Advance Could Lead To a Cleaner Way To Store Energy 146

sciencehabit writes: With the continuing rise of solar and wind power, the hunt is on for cheap batteries that are able to store large amounts of energy and deliver it when it's dark and the wind is still. Last year researchers reported an advance on one potentially cheap, energy-packing battery. But it required toxic and caustic materials. Now, the same team has revised its chemistry, doing away with the noxious constituents—an advance that could make future such batteries far cheaper and simpler to build.
Hardware Hacking

1000-key Emoji Keyboard Is As Crazy As It Sounds 146

hypnosec writes: A YouTuber named Tom Scott has built a 1,000-key keyboard with each key representing an emoji! Scott made the emoji keyboard using 14 keyboards and over 1,000 individually placed stickers. While he himself admits that it is one of the craziest things he has built, the work he has put in does warrant appreciation. On the keyboard are individually placed emojis for food items, animals, plants, transport, national flags, and time among others.

Does It Make Sense To Hand Make Printed Circuit Boards? 196

An anonymous reader writes: A Hackaday author told the hackers that it isn't worth making your own PC boards anymore. Good tools, fast shipping, and cheap manufacturing capacity means that spending a day making a board that is much worse than a 'pro' board just isn't worthwhile anymore. The reaction was worse than when Kirk told the Star Trek fans to get a life. Although there have been some who agree, many of the readers have taken it as an affront to their very way of life.

Intel Launches SSD DC P3608 NVMe Solid State Drive With 5GB/Sec Performance 65

MojoKid writes: Intel just launched a new NVMe-based solid state drive today dubbed the SSD DC P3608. As the DC in the product name suggests, this drive is designed for the data center and enterprise markets, where large capacities, maximum uptime, and top-end performance are paramount. The Intel SSD DC P3608 is somewhat different than the recent consumer-targeted NVMe PCI Express SSD 750 series, however. This drive essentially packs a pair of NVMe-based SSDs onto a single card, built for high endurance and high performance. There are currently three drives slated for the Intel SSD DC P3608 series, a 1.6TB model, a 3.2TB model, and a monstrous 4TB model. All of the drives feature dual Intel NVMe controllers paired to Intel 20nm MLC HET (High Endurance Technology) NAND flash memory. The 1.6TB drive's specifications list max read 4K IOPS in the 850K range, with sequential reads and writes of 5GB/s and 3GB/s respectively. In the benchmarks, the new SSD DC P3608 offers up just that level of performance as well and is one of the fastest SSDs on the market to date.

Startups Push 3D Printers As Industry Leaders Falter 101

gthuang88 writes: Given the hype around 3D printing, you'd never guess that established leaders like 3D Systems and Stratasys have seen their stock fall by 75 percent in the last year. Big companies like HP, Amazon, and Boeing are getting into the field, too, but startups are still where a lot of the action is. Now Formlabs, a Boston-area startup, has released a new 3D printer that is supposed to be more reliable and higher quality than its predecessors. The device uses stereolithography and is aimed at professional designers and engineers. The question is whether Formlabs---and other startups like MarkForged, Voxel8, and Desktop Metal---can find enough of a market to survive until 3D printing becomes a more mainstream form of manufacturing.

Misusing Ethernet To Kill Computer Infrastructure Dead 303

Some attacks on computers and networks are subtle; think Stuxnet. An anonymous reader writes with a report at Net Security of researcher Grigorios Fragkos's much more direct approach to compromising a network: zap the hardware from an unattended ethernet port with a jolt of electricity. Fragkos, noticing that many networks include links to scattered and unattended ethernet ports, started wondering whether those ports could be used to disrupt the active parts of the network. Turns out they can, and not just the ports they connect to directly: with some experimentation, he came up with a easily carried network zapping device powerful enough to send a spark to other attached devices, too, but not so powerful -- at least in his testing -- to set the building on fire. As he explains: I set up a network switch, and over a 5 meters Ethernet cable I connected an old working laptop. Over a 3 meters cable I connected a network HDD and over a 100 meters cable I connected my “deathray” device. I decided to switch on the device and apply current for exactly 2 seconds. The result was scary and interesting as well. The network switch was burned instantly with a little “tsaf” noise. There was also a buzzing noise coming from the devices plugged-in to the network switch, for a less than a second. There was a tiny flash from the network HDD and the laptop stopped working. It is not the cheapest thing in the world to test this, as it took all of my old hardware I had in my attic to run these experiments. I believe the threat from such a high-voltage attack against a computer infrastructure is real and should be dealt with.

Nintendo Joins Khronos Group 46

jones_supa writes: Gamasutra reports that Nintendo has quietly joined Khronos Group, the consortium managing the OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs. The news was brought to Gamasutra's attention by a NeoGaf post, which notes that Nintendo's name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month. As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group's API development, but it doesn't have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can't participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.

NVIDIA Announces GeForce GTX 980 GPU For High-End Gaming Notebooks 90

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA is taking things is a slightly different direction today, at the ultra-high-end of their mobile graphics offering, introducing a "new" mobile GPU implementation, that's not really a mobile part at all, the GeForce GTX 980. Notice, there's no "M" on the end of that model number. NVIDIA is betting that the enthusiasts that are most likely to buy a notebook with a GeForce GTX 980 in it are savvy enough to understand the difference. Through some careful binning and optimization of the components that accompany the GPU, including the memory, voltage regulation module, and PCB, NVIDIA was able to take the full desktop GeForce GTX 980 GPU and cram it into mobile form factors. The mobile flavor of the GeForce GTX 980 features selectively binned GPUs that are able to achieve high frequencies at lower-than-typical voltages. And those GPUs are paired to 7Gbps GDDR5 memory and a heat sink with up to 2X the capacity of typical solutions. Notebooks powered by this GPU will be unlocked, and fully overclockable.The performance of the GeForce GTX 980 will also allow notebooks powered by the GPU to push multiple screens or power VR gear. NVIDIA was demoing a GTX 980-powerd Clevo notebook at an event in New York, connected to a trio of 1080P monitors, running GTA V at smooth framerates.

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Reliable Linux Laptop? 235

An anonymous reader writes: I will be looking for a new laptop soon and I'm mostly interested in high reliability and Linux friendliness. I have been using an MSI laptop (with Windows 7) for the last five years as my main workhorse and did not have a single, even minor problem with the hardware nor the OS. It turned out to be a slam-dunk, although I didn't do any particular research before buying it, so I was just lucky. I would like to be more careful this time around, so this is a hardware question: What laptop do you recommend for high reliability with Linux? I will also appreciate any advice on what to avoid and any unfortunate horror stories; I guess we can all learn from those. Anti-recommendations are probably just as valuable, a lesson I learned when an HP laptop I bought (low-end, I admit) turned out to be notoriously fickle when it comes to Linux support. Since our anonymous submitter doesn't specify his budget, it would be good if you specify the price for any specific laptops you recommend.

Video Why Hardware Development Takes Longer in the West Than in China (Video) 65

This was originally going to be a second video about the Popup Factory Demo we talked about last Wednesday. But this section of Tim's lengthy interview with people from the Popup Factory seemed like it would be of broader interest to Slashdot people -- and your coworkers, bosses, and friends who may be involved in device production or prototyping. There are some hard words here, because David Cranor is talking about problems that go way beyond the usual perceived Chinese advantages such as low labor costs and a lack of environmental regulations.