box approach in favor of a rack-mounted approach.

The company, ClearCube Technology, has created its "C3" architecture, which essentially takes the guts from a PC - the CPU, RAM, a NIC, hard drive(s) and a graphics board - and transfers them to a "CPU Blade."

Up to eight such blades can be housed in a "Cage," and the typical six-feet-tall by 19-inches-wide rack can hold 12 Cages, effectively stashing 96 PCs in one place.

On the users end, a little black box, the "C/Port," has the necessary connections for a monitor, keyboard and mouse plus a serial port for PDA-type devices. The C/Port is connected to the individuals CPU Blade back at the rack.

The racks are set up in the same room as an enterprises servers, making connecting PCs to the LAN much simpler, and the cable that used to be a users connection to the LAN is now the connection to the PC.

Such an arrangement might not be for every agency, but the company believes that call centers and customer-service/support centers are likely targets due to the space savings.

Computers Get ESP

ISPRA, Italy - Researchers at the Joint Research Centre, the European Unions scientific and technical research laboratory, have perfected an adaptive brain interface (ABI) that allows people to control their computers actions with pure brainpower.

"We have developed - the software to analyze and recognize what mental state the subject is concentrating on," said Jose del Millan, a Spanish computer scientist who coordinated the research project.

The ABI is programmed to recognize specific electrical signals generated by a persons brain to determine what the person wants the computer to do. First, however, the ABI must learn how a person thinks and a user must learn how to focus their thoughts.

Users are trained to focus their thoughts to generate three specific electrical signals, which are then recorded by a special cap that the user wears. One signal is relaxation, and the other two are mental commands to move each hand.

As a user becomes accustomed to focusing their thoughts, the ABI learns to associate particular signals with particular thoughts, though the software can only recognize a few brainwaves.

"There are technical limitations to recognizing more than a few brainwaves," del Millan said. "With more sophisticated systems - we could recognize many more brain states. There is a tradeoff between portability and ease of use, on the one hand, and resolution of the brain activity."

Researchers say that a user wearing the ABI can focus on a virtual keyboard on a computer screen and select a letter within roughly 20 seconds of thought and write a sentence in a few minutes.

The ABI was designed with people with disabilities in mind, and the researchers hope that, ultimately, the technology will allow those in wheelchairs to control the movements of the chair with their minds. In addition, people with disabilities could use the ABI to control a variety of household electronic devices.

The ABI was demonstrated at the European Information Society Technology exhibition held late last year.

Its a Cyborg!

CHICAGO - Although its not yet capable of amazing feats of strength or logic, Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi, Ph.D., of Northwestern Universitys Department of Physiology, has created an actual cyborg.

The brain stem and rostral spinal cord from a sea lamprey were kept alive in an oxygenated salt solution and wired to a small, mobile robot equipped with optical sensors and two wheels.

In a series of experiments, the researchers shined a light in front of the robot. Acting on impulses sent by the lamprey brain, the robot performed a variety of movements