Textiles that can detect counterfeiting devices, bacteria, and dangerous chemicals; a 22 nm chip; copyrighting food?

I’m going to watch at least part of the live stream for the PEN event (Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation) that’s taking place this morning (9:30 PST), so this is going to be a quick posting.

In my master’s project (The Nanotech Mysteries wiki), I featured a 2007 news item about a student designer at Cornell University who used textile fibres coated with nanomaterials in her clothing designs. (You can see the wiki page here.) Today, I caught a news item on Azonano about some textile scientists at Cornell University who launched a start-up that markets these kinds of fabrics.

Fabrics with embedded nanoparticles to detect counterfeiting devices, explosives and dangerous chemicals or to serve as antibacterials for hospitals, law enforcement or the hospitality industry are just a few of the products that a new company, [iFyber LLC] launched by two Cornell researchers, will produce.

This is exciting as I’ve gotten to follow the story a little further than usual. Generally, I find out about a product and then learn that it had its origins in an academic laboratory.

Intel has announced a new 22 nanometre (nm) chip. From the news item on Nanowerk,

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini today displayed a silicon wafer containing the world’s first working chips built on 22nm process technology. The 22nm test circuits include both SRAM memory as well as logic circuits to be used in future Intel microprocessors. “At Intel, Moore’s Law is alive and thriving,” said Otellini. “We’ve begun production of the world’s first 32nm microprocessor, which is also the first high-performance processor to integrate graphics with the CPU.

I posted about the 32 nm chip and Intel’s investment in retooling three of their manufacturing facilities to produce the chip here. As I recall, IBM has a 28 nm chip.

I’m not sure what to make of all this. I find these innovations exciting but I always wonder about the practicalities. Since these chips aren’t visible to the naked eye, how does your computer get fixed (e.g. chip replacement) by your average computer repair shop? How reliable are these chips?

Finally, here’s a posting I found on Techdirt about copyrighting hummus, etc. There is a group in Lebanon who are planning to sue  Israel for using words like hummus, tabbouleh, etc. to describe their food products. It seemed a little odd to me when I scanned the headline but as Techdirt sardonically points out, the word champagne is for the exclusive use of wine producers in  France and there have been other successful attempts at this type of copyright claim. (As I recall,  not even French wine producers from  regions other than Champagne can call their product champagne.) I followed one of the Techdirt links here for more information. My understanding after viewing a tv clip and reading the article (both Israeli-produced) is that the Lebanese group is motivated by the fact that Israel has been more successful at marketing and selling these products internationally.  I also wonder how the other countries that market and sell these products will react to Lebanon’s proposed copyright claim.

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