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When Promises from Nanotechnology Go Horribly Wrong

Indian company accussed of defrauding millions out of investors on the back of promises of nanotechnology and alternative energy

1 min read
When Promises from Nanotechnology Go Horribly Wrong

The modern-day snake oil pedaled by the less scrupulous among us sometimes consists of alternative energy and some little known emerging technology, and occasionally the potent mix of both of them together.

We need only look at the cautionary tale of Solyndra to see how desperate the US government was to give it money in the hope that they could make solar power just a little bit better than it is.

Combining precise amounts of desperation, greed and ignorance can really do people in as we can see from the latest bit of news coming out of India that follows along these lines.

The Kerala High Court in India has been investigating some outfit that calls itself Nano Excel Pvt Ltd after documents revealed that investors were promised high returns for a project that was touted as the “first nanotechnology-based hydroelectric power generation plant in the country”.

Reports estimate that the company “swindled” Rs350 crores ($71 million) from investors after claiming that they had a memorandum of understanding with the government to build a power plant with initial generation capacity of “100 MW, which would be scaled up to 10,000 MW by 2015.” Instead the only agreement Nano Excel had with the government was to build “a 14 MV small scale power plant.”

It seems Nano Excel was also claiming that they had deals in place with low-cost solar cell maker Nanosolar  as well as Korea-based inorganic chemical component manufacturer Biocera Co.

It’s not clear whether there were in fact deals in place with those companies, or not, but when you fudge the facts on this scale it’s hard to believe anything the company might have said.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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