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Best of Last Year: The top Tech Xplore articles of 2022



Best of Last Year: The top Tech Xplore articles of 2022

It was an interesting year for technology research, as a team at Stanford University found that the practice of charging cars in the evenings or at night will overstress the electric grid in the years to come. They suggested that policymakers institute programs to incentivize daytime charging at work or public service stations to prevent the costs of electricity from soaring in the future.

A collaboration between Reed College, the University of Illinois and Portland State University this past spring resulted in an assessment of the benefits of ecoroofs. They found that they are worth the cost for urban residents. Putting gardens on the tops of buildings or homes, they found, more than made up for installation costs in energy savings, preventing sewer overruns and providing an increase in pollinators.

And a team of engineers at the University of New South Wales designed a new engine system based on retrofitting diesel engines to run on 90% hydrogen. Led by Professor Shawn Kook, the group spent 18 months working on the design and building a working model. Testing showed that it reduced CO2 emissions over a standard diesel engine by over 85% and that the design could be used to retrofit existing trucks.

Also, a team at Dartmouth College built an AI application that could read conversations on Reddit and report back about the mental state of the people engaging in such conversations. Testing showed the application was capable, under some scenarios, of detecting mental health disorders. The team presented their paper describing their app and their work with it at this year’s International Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology.

A team of engineers at the University of Delaware announced last winter that they had designed and built a fuel cell that could remove 99% of the carbon dioxide in an ambient air sample. Describing their work as game-changing, the group suggests their milk-jug-sized device could be used to remove CO2 from manufacturing applications and also in closed space scenarios, such as spacecraft or submarines.

A combined team of researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Michigan and the University of Electro-Communications, in Japan, found that directed hand-held lasers could be used by criminals to attack autonomous vehicles. Such attacks, they found, could result in lidar systems becoming blind to pedestrians and confused by the movements of other vehicles around them.

A combined team from National Renewable Energy Laboratory and MIT designed and built a new heat engine with no moving parts that was as efficient as a steam turbine. The engine converted heat to electricity at approximately 40% efficiency and was created in the form of a thermophotovoltaic cell, similar to a solar panel’s photovoltaic cells.

A team at Rowland Institute at Harvard University, working with a pair of colleagues from Stanford University developed a new kind of 3D printing. Instead of creating objects by laying down layers from above, their new printer adds layers from all sides at the same time. It does so through the use of a laser focused through a lens onto a gelatinous resin that sets when exposed to blue light.

Last spring, a team at Aston University announced that AI traffic light systems could soon make traffic jams a distant memory. They developed a system that reads data from live traffic cameras at multiple sites, analyzes the imagery and then devises the best approach to timing traffic lights to prevent traffic from backing up. And because it is based on reinforcement learning, it improves over time.

Nissan announced last spring that it was working with NASA and the University of California, San Diego, to develop a new type of battery for electric vehicles—one that would be both lighter and safer than those currently in use. In their announcement, Nissan described such batteries as “game-changing,” and would involve swapping out lithium-ion for other materials that would make them solid-state, and safe enough, they noted, for use in pacemakers.

And a team at the University of California, Irvine, discovered that music could be used to trigger a deadly pathogen release from a negative-pressure room used for biological research. They noted that someone familiar with how pressure controls are used for such rooms could embed a tone in a song playing on a smartphone that would change how the pressure-control fans operate in the room, and thus affect air flow, potentially blowing air out instead of keeping it in.

A combined team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pennsylvania State University, developed a material that could be wrapped around a hot pipe to convert its waste heat into electricity. The material exhibited a 150% higher power density than other state-of-the-art units. A larger version was able to maintain a 115% power density advantage.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge developed a supercapacitor device that can remove CO2 from the air during its charge cycle and then disburse it into a container for capture during its discharge cycle. The device, envisioned and built by Trevor Binford, Grace Mapstone, Israel Temprano and Alexander Forse, resembles a rechargeable battery and is approximately the size of a coin.

During an interview with AFP, Jens Husemann, an entrepreneur running an energy conversion business, described a problem involving solar panels being disconnected from the grid during strong daylight hours, when they are producing the most power. This occurs when the grid becomes overwhelmed.

And a team with members from the University of Cambridge and the University of Oslo reported that a mathematical paradox demonstrates some of the limits of AI. They noted that most such systems, because they are built on neural networks, are not good at understanding when they arrive at a wrong answer. This is due to a paradox first described by Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel that involved being able to prove whether a given mathematical state is true or false.

Milán Janosov, lead scientist at Datopolis with a Ph.D. in Network Science from Central European University, published what he described as a social map of “The Witcher”, a graphic representation summarizing the plot and relationships between characters in the popular fantasy novel series written by Andrzej Sapkowski (and now a Netflix television series).

And a team at the University of Naples Federico II, announced that they had built a bartending robot that not only mixes drinks, but can engage in personalized interactions with human patrons. Similar in many respects to Arthur, the android bartender in the movie “Passengers,” the system, called BRILLO, has been designed to engage with customers in a personalized way by listening to what they say and providing unique recommendations.

Also reminding movie fans of scenes from several sci-fi movies, a team at Zhejiang University working with a colleague from Hong Kong University of Science and another from the Technology and Huzhou Institute of Zhejiang University, created a swarm of drones capable of flying autonomously through a thick forest. Ten quadcopters were shown flying together through a bamboo forest in China without running into branches or other bushes.

A team at Stanford University conducted a study that involved tracing the origins and diffusion of image memes online. They found that internet memes do not generally originate from peripheral communities—they are instead extremely centralized. They also found that most image memes are first published on a single site, Reddit, and then shared on other platforms.

A team of computer security experts at the University of Glasgow developed a system called ThermoSecure that is capable of figuring out a user’s computer or smartphone password by studying traces of heat left behind by finger taps on keyboards or screens. The system requires direct, unnoticed access to the computer keyboard or smartphone, of course, but also demonstrates how far thermal imaging technology has come in the past few years.

And a team of researchers at Beihang University, working with colleagues at Imperial College London and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, designed and built a quadcopter that works in the air and underwater and includes a suction cup for hitching a ride on a host. Hitching, the team noted, could allow for much longer deployments.

Also, a team of computer scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory announced that they had created a new programming language for hardware accelerators. If adopted by others in the community, the new language (called Exo) could make it much easier for all of the parties involved in off-loading certain parts of an application onto an accelerator, speeding things up for everyone.

Another team at MIT designed and built a portable desalination unit weighing less than 10 kilograms that can remove particles and salts to generate drinking water. The device is small enough to pack in a suitcase, making it easily portable. It can also be powered using a single solar panel, and could sell for just $50. Real-world testing showed it capable of purifying one cup of seawater in approximately 30 minutes.

Teams from several research centers around the world participated in the Indy Autonomous Challenge at this years Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The event pitted life-sized autonomous race cars against one another. Cars in the race drove themselves over 100 miles an hour. Event planners designated all of the cars who raced in the event as winners.

And finally, a team of engineers at Soochow University, working with two colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and another from Harbin Institute of Technology, developed a type of soft robot that can be split into tinier components to pass through small spaces and then reassemble afterward. A video of the tiny robots in action has been named our Top Tech Video of the Year.

More videos like these can be found on our new YouTube channel. Remember to subscribe as we continue to bring you the latest research news for 2023 and beyond.

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4 Ways to Reset BIOS Password




4 Ways to Reset BIOS Password

Getting into the BIOS settings is crucial if you want to modify the boot priority, overclock the  CPU or troubleshoot system-related issues. However, if a password is set and you are unaware of it, this can be quite a hassle when you want to boot into the BIOS or even the operating system. 

If you do know the administrator password, you can reset it by entering the BIOS settings. You can also clear out the BIOS password by clearing the CMOS battery. 

Before going into the password reset process, it is worth knowing the two different password types you can set on the BIOS.  

  • Administrator Password: If this password is set, users have to enter it every time they try to enter the BIOS. It restricts unauthorized access or modification of the BIOS settings. 
  • User Password: You will be asked for the user password before the operating system loads up. This password is also referred to as the System password on some devices. The operating system will not boot up unless you provide the correct user password. 

Table of Contents

Reset the Password From BIOS

If you remember the Administrator password for the BIOS, you can clear or reset it from the BIOS settings.

  1. Restart the computer and press the specific BIOS key for your device when you see the manufacturer logo. The key to enter the BIOS could vary with the manufacturer but it is usually F1, F2, F10, F12, or DEL.
  2. It will ask you for the administrative or user password to access the BIOS. Enter the password.
    Admin password in BIOS
  3. Now, find the section for configuring the BIOS password.
    BIOS settings for password
  4. Navigate to the section and hit enter, then enter the current password. 
    Enter current bios password
  5. When asked for a new password, leave the field empty and select Ok. Do the same for both the Admin and the User Password.
     clear BIOS password
  6. Save and Exit from the BIOS. 
  7. This will clear out the BIOS password. You will now have access to the BIOS without having to enter a password.  

Using Clear CMOS Button

Some new higher-end motherboards come with a CMOS reset button that can revert the BIOS configurations to their factory default. This button is usually located in the back I/O panel of the motherboard. The name of this button can vary with the manufacturer.  You may find it labeled as “ClearCMOS”, “Flash” or “Reset CMOS.” 

  1. Shut down the computer and disconnect all the cables attached to the computer’s case.
  2. Find the CMOS reset button on the back of the case. 
    clear cmos button
  3. Press and hold the button for 15-20 seconds. 
  4. Put the computer back in place and then turn it on.
  5. Using your device-specific BIOS key try to boot into BIOS. See if it asks you for the password. 

If you did not find a CMOS reset button on your computer, you can also use the BIOS jumper to reset the password. The jumper is a series of metal pins located in the motherboard. These jumpers are responsible for opening, restricting, or bypassing an electrical circuit. 

CMOS jumper is a three-pin conductor located in the motherboard near the CMOS battery.  To reset the BIOS password you need to shift the CMOS jumper from its default position. 

  1. Turn off the computer and disconnect all the cables and peripherals connected to it. Now press and hold the power button for about 20 seconds. This will drain the excess power stored in the motherboard. 
  2. Open the side panel of the CPU to gain access to the motherboard. 
  3. Locate the CMOS Jumper. It must be labeled CLRPWDRESETCLRTCCLEARCLEAR CMOS, or similar phrases. 
  4. You will see three pins in the Jumper with the default configuration 1-2.
    BIOS jumper original position 
  5. To reset the BIOS, shift the jumper to position 2-3.}
     shifting jumper to clear the bios password
  6. Wait for a while and move the jumper back to its default position. 
  7. Finally, reassemble the computer, turn on the computer and try to boot into the BIOS. You will not be asked for any passwords 

On the laptops, you will not find the jumpers or Clear CMOS button. Reseating the CMOS battery becomes the only option in that case. The CMOS battery is responsible for retaining the BIOS configurations including its password. When you remove the CMOS battery, there will be nothing to power up the BIOS firmware, and the configurations including the password revert to their factory default.  

For the Laptops, you need to open the back panel to get access to the motherboard and then the CMOS battery. 

Some Laptops come with a soldered CMOS battery which makes it difficult to reset or replace them. In that case, visit the service center for resolving the issue. 

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Does Your Desktop Have Wi-Fi? Here’s How to Find Out




Does Your Desktop Have Wi-Fi? Here’s How to Find Out

The easiest way to tell if your desktop has Wi-Fi is by checking the back side of your chassis for Wi-Fi support. Your desktop might have a built-in Wi-Fi module, a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter, or a USB Wi-Fi receiver installed. Alternatively, you may find a port labeled “Wi-Fi” on the back of the computer.

But there are cases where the Wi-Fi adapter or its driver is disabled in your system. This will restrict the OS from accessing Wi-Fi, leading you to think that the desktop does not have Wi-Fi. So you need to perform several steps to determine if your desktop has Wi-Fi.

Table of Contents

Check Motherboard Manual

Your motherboard user manual contains every detail about the motherboard, its supported component, and how to connect each component. Using the manual, you can check if your motherboard supports Wi-Fi. 

Check System Tray Icon

Check Windows Settings

Network and internet settings in Windows allow you to access and change any network-related settings. This includes Wi-Fi as well. If you do not see Wi-Fi listed on the Network and Internet settings, your desktop does not support Wi-Fi.

  1. Press the Windows + I key to open Settings.
  2. On the left panel click Network & internet.
    netword and internet check wi-fi

Now, on the left panel, you will see a list of network settings. If the list contains Wi-Fi, your desktop has Wi-Fi. Enable it to connect to a network wirelessly.

You will not see Wi-Fi in Windows settings if it is disabled from the Control Panel. In that case, you need to check Network Connections as well.

Check Network Connections

Network connections contain the list of all your system’s built-in or connected network devices. Besides this, you can also disable/enable each device driver, manage its properties and diagnose the device. Using Network connections, you can determine whether your system has Wi-Fi.

  1. Press the Windows + R key to open Run.
  2. Type ncpa.cpl and press Enter to open the Network Connections window.
    open network connections does my pc have wifi
  3. Here, check if Wi-Fi is listed.
    check network connections

To ensure this is not the case, we recommend you check if the device is removed from the Device Manager or disabled from the BIOS.

Check Device Manager

When uninstalling a driver using Device Manager, the OS will not acknowledge the device. Even if the device is connected, you cannot access its functionalities. The same goes for the Wi-Fi driver. 

You cannot access Wi-Fi settings if the Wi-Fi driver is uninstalled or not installed at all.

  1. Press the Windows + X key and select Device Manager.
    open device manager desktop wifi
  2. Right-click on the top of the list where you see the Desktop name.
  3. Click on Scan for hardware changes. By doing this, the Device Manager will automatically check the system for drivers and install them. 
    scan for hardware changes does my pc have wi-fi
  4. Now, Check Network connections to see if you see Wi-Fi.

Check BIOS

BIOS, or the Basic Input Output System, allows users to access and change the settings related to hardware connected to the motherboard. You can also enable and disable Wireless LAN or WLAN using the BIOS. If disabled, your OS will not detect the Wi-Fi adapter.

You need to enable WLAN in the BIOS to ensure that the OS uses Wi-Fi.

  1. Repeatedly press the BIOS key during startup to enter the system BIOS. The BIOS key could be any of the function keys or the delete key.
  2. Navigate and find settings such as, WLANOnBoard WLan Controller or WLAN enable and Enable it.
    disable onboard wi-fi
  3. Save and exit the BIOS.
  4. Boot into the OS and check if the Network Connections displays Wi-Fi.
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How To Reset Ethernet Adapter




How To Reset Ethernet Adapter

Resetting the Ethernet adapter usually involves disabling and re-enabling it. Disabling the adapter unloads the device driver and sets the interface state as Disconnected. It also leads to other device-specific procedures like clearing the ARP table entries.

This is why a basic adapter reset fixes so many networking errors in Windows. If simply restarting the adapter doesn’t help, you can also try a complete reset by resetting and reinstalling the networking components.

Performing a basic reset on your Ethernet adapter will solve various errors (e.g., network protocols missing). Let’s look at some other cases though.

Instead of resetting the Ethernet adapter, disabling the wireless adapter helps with the Err_Network_Change problem. Disabling the Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter can fix DNS errors. Disabling all adapters except the Ethernet adapter can solve the Unidentified Network error.

The point here is that resetting the Ethernet adapter will fix some problems, but resetting or disabling the rest will be more effective for others. Please keep this in mind when troubleshooting your current problem.

Table of Contents

Restart Ethernet Adapter

Do note that your account must be a member of the Network Configuration Operators or Administrators group to reset the Ethernet adapter. 

  1. Press Win + R, type ncpa.cpl, and press Enter.
  2. Right-click your Ethernet adapter and select Disable.
    turn off-ethernet-adapter
  3. Then, right-click it and select Enable.

Windows Settings

  1. Press Win + I and select Network & internet > Advanced network settings.
  2. Disable the Ethernet adapter here, then re-enable it.
  1. Press Win + R, type devmgmt.msc, and press Enter.
  2. Expand the Network adapters section.
  3. Right-click your network adapter and select Disable device.
  4. Press Yes to accept the confirmation prompt.
  5. Then, right-click it and select Enable device.
  1. Press Win + R, type cmd, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
  2. Enter netsh interface show interface and note the interface name of the Ethernet adapter.
  3. Enter netsh interface set interface <interfacename> disable. If the interface name contains spaces, use double quotes as shown in the picture.
  4. Re-enable the adapter with netsh interface set interface <interfacename> enable.
  1. Press Win + R, type powershell, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
  2. Enter Get-NetAdapter and note the interface’s Name.
  3. Enter Disable-NetAdapter -Name <interfacename>. If the interface name has spaces, use double quotes.
  4. Enter Y to confirm the action.
  5. Execute the Enable-NetAdapter -Name <interfacename> command to re-enable the adapter.

When a basic reset isn’t enough, you’ll need to resort to a thorough reset to fix any problems with your Ethernet adapter.

Step 1: Reset Network Components

To start, we’ll reset the Winsock catalog to a clean state. Then, we’ll reset the TCP/IP parameters, which does the same thing as removing and reinstalling TCP/IP would.

  1. Press Win + R, type cmd, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
  2. Execute the following commands:
    Netsh winsock reset
    Netsh int ip reset
  3. Restart your PC and check if your problem is resolved. If not, check the next step.

Step 2: Fix Ethernet Driver

A corrupted Ethernet driver falls among the most common reasons for networking problems. Sometimes, simply updating to the latest driver will fix the problem. In other cases, the latest driver might be the problem and you’ll need to revert to an older stable version.

  1. Press Win + X and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Network Adapters section.
  3. Right-click your Ethernet adapter and select Update Driver.
  4. Select Search automatically for drivers and follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. If auto-update doesn’t help, download the driver from your device manufacturer’s site. 
  6. If they provide a driver installer, use that. But if they provide .inf files, open Device Manager again.
  7. Follow Steps 2-3 and select Browse my computer for drivers.
  8. Select Browse and locate the folder containing the driver files.
  9. Press Next > Ok and follow the on-screen instructions to update the network driver.

As stated, updating to the latest driver will generally fix networking problems. But sometimes, you may need to try out different driver versions until you find a compatible one.

What If Resetting Doesn’t Work?

In rare cases, the adapter keeps getting disabled automatically, or users are unable to turn it back on. If this is happening to you, here’s what we recommend:

  1. Press Win + X and select Device Manager.
  2. In the Network Adapters section, right-click your Ethernet adapter and select Properties.
  3. In the Power Management tab, ensure the Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power option is not enabled.
  4. If you made the change just now, press Ok to apply it.

Aside from this, we’ve mostly seen this problem occur after updating or upgrading Windows. As such, updating to a newer patched version, or reverting to an older stable one is the best course of action here. Installing a compatible driver directly from your device manufacturer, as detailed in the previous section, can also help.

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