How Intel became Thunderbolt from a failure right into a achievement

The 0.33 time may be the charm for Intel and its Thunderbolt technology. A year after introducing Thunderbolt three at Computex 2015, Intel is finally beginning to see fulfillment with its excessive-velocity outside I/O—enough that even doubters may agree it’s triumphing.


You needn’t appearance a ways for signs that Thunderbolt 3 will be successful where its two predecessors failed dismally at the computer. This yr’s top-tier laptops from HP and Dell, as well fashions from MSI, Asus, Razer, and Acer, all prominently feature Thunderbolt three ports.

nearly all the excessive-profile laptops of the last few months have prominently featured Thunderbolt 3 ports.

pc duds: Thunderbolt 1 and a couple of
Thunderbolt seemed plenty greater like a flash inside the pan four years ago whilst it became first introduced. Promising 10Gbps of bandwidth in every direction for a mixed 20Gbps, Thunderbolt without problems eclipsed USB and its 5Gbps within the specsmanship game. Pitched as “one cable to rule all of them,” Thunderbolt should carry PCIe and DisplayPort, and it gave the impression of it might quick eclipse USB 3.0.

In truth, the alternative occurred. computers that supported Thunderbolt can be counted on one hand, and adoption of the same old became even worse.

i can personally attest to that. At Thunderbolt’s rollout, I examined the interface with a Promise Pegasus R4 cupboard and skilled virtually spectacular performance. after I checked returned months later, however, Promise had yet to release windows drivers. That on my own advised me no one cared.

Intel itself didn’t even appear rationale on making it a achievement. To ease the fee of integrating a pricey Thunderbolt chip immediately into its Z77 motherboards, Asus constructed the ThunderboltEX upload-on card, so handiest individuals who wanted the feature would must pay for it. The problem? The ThunderboltEX card in no way acquired driver help. past the eval units teased to the click, it in no way went on sale.

in a single Asus forum, the frustration was obvious as one administrator tried to appease a pissed-off client who’d bought a motherboard specifically for the feature.

“We were not able to get the TB EX card licensed despite our fine efforts, so we have been not able to carry it to market I’m afraid,” the Asus admin stated. “Certification is a vital manner all TB gadgets needed to go through.”

Intel Thunderbolt cables

Thunderbolt 2 cables cost $50 when delivered. They’re still a highly-priced $30 today.

Even worse, Thunderbolt cables driven a ridiculous $50. (The price of the proprietary Thunderbolt chip changed into itself a intently guarded mystery.) the standard’s most effective actual proponent in the ones days become Apple, which used Thunderbolt 1 and a pair of throughout its MacBook pro, Mac pro, and iMacs. The relaxation of the computer global become indifferent.

Given the demanding situations with getting Thunderbolt certified, its excessive prices, and the low call for, you could see why absolutely everyone expected a FireWire-like destiny for it. FireWire became Apple’s excessive-pace interface of the Nineties that went head-to-head with USB and lost. despite the fact that FireWire become technically advanced, USB won on the fee and ubiquity fronts. In that battle, Intel sponsored USB while Apple sponsored FireWire.

USB 3.1 improvements didn’t assist
USB, in the meantime, didn’t stand nevertheless. two years after Thunderbolt first appeared at 10Gbps, USB’s spec doubled to 10Gbps. It additionally became capable of charging high-powered gadgets. right here’s the cherry on top: It adopted a tiny reversible plug known as USB kind C. USB changed into even up to date to permit the wearing of “alternate mode” signals, so a supplier should plumb DisplayPort via a USB C cable.

With all that going for USB 3.1, many puzzled why all people could even bother with Thunderbolt 2 and its funky Mini DisplayPort connector and pricey cables? indeed, with the aid of 2015, most had written off Thunderbolt as any other failure.

Intel’s adoption of USB type C is credited with Thunderbolt’s latest achievement.

thunderbolt 3

USB kind C to the rescue
With Thunderbolt seemingly at the ropes, Intel had one final circulate—one which probable placed the generation on a prevailing direction at ultimate. At final year’s Computex, to the marvel of many, the business enterprise introduced a faster version of the spec referred to as Thunderbolt 3, with hastens to 40Gbps—and it can do it over the brand new USB kind-C connector, as opposed to the funky MDP cable.

Intel essentially uses the identical exchange mode that DisplayPort does to pass Thunderbolt signalling over PCIe. And by using integrating a USB three.1 10Gbps controller into the Thunderbolt three controller, it may absolutely help USB three.1 too.

What Thunderbolt 1 and 2 couldn’t do, Thunderbolt three has finally performed in its vision of “one cable to rule them all.”

A single USB kind C connector could assist: DisplayPort, PCIe, excessive-wattage charging, and USB’s quickest spec.

Even pricing, which become usually a debatable subject matter with Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2, appears to have been nullified. Intel’s public rate for its Thunderbolt three chips is ready $eight, with quantity pricing in the direction of $five, consistent with customers I’ve interviewed. That low pricing has driven down the value of the primary competitor, the Asmedia USB three.1 controller, with one report placing it nicely underneath $3.

numerous OEMs, even though, told me it’s no longer simply the rate that’s modified their thoughts on Thunderbolt 3; it’s the flow to USB-C and giving customers a port that could do all of it.

even as consumers just didn’t supply damns about Thunderbolt 2, carriers are seeing increasing patron hobby in Thunderbolt three, and the feature gives them an smooth manner to distinguish their products.

HP’s Mike Nash, as an example, stated he sees Thunderbolt 3’s important enchantment in company laptops with the intention to allow users plug in a unmarried cable to price and dock it at the same time. Plus the tiny USB-C port lets in for a thinner device profile.

an excellent bigger achievement might be Thunderbolt three’s ability to let a pc run external graphics. In concept (as nobody has shipped an external photographs cabinet yet), this would supply a extremely good-thin computer real gaming chops.

Akitio’s Thunder3 PCIe helps you to run a stupidly speedy PCIe force in an enclosure established the use of Thunderbolt 3.


There are nonetheless doubters
no longer every pc dealer I spoke with thought Thunderbolt three was a slam dunk, although. One vendor, who asked now not to be diagnosed, said it makes sense on laptops but most computers actually haven’t any use for it because they already exceed its talents.

On computer systems, use of the Thunderbolt three chip is uncommon. Surveying the motherboard scene, i have visible Thunderbolt 3 on only one or two models. more value-aware carriers, consisting of Asrock, don’t appear to have any Thunderbolt fashions.

”I wouldn’t say Thunderbolt has won, as we’ve USB 3.1 to struggle away the limited scope of use it had for motherboards—storage,” the seller stated. “Thunderbolt is merely doing the only element it does best, and that’s permit something like a pix dock to be used on a pocket book.”

the seller said demanding situations with getting Intel’s hardware certifications also slowed them down.

Intel’s NUC can use its Thunderbolt 3 to hook up with an outside images cabinet.


A recreation changer
these are all matters Intel is operating on, said Intel’s Jason Ziller, who oversees the era for the chip large. even as unwilling to agree that Thunderbolt 1 and a pair of have been duds, Ziller wholeheartedly concurs there may be been a sea alternate of attractiveness from laptop companies with Thunderbolt three.

“(The USB C port) changed into type of a game changer, and we’re seeing a complete shift in the computer industry on their view of that port,” Ziller stated.

Intel is also commencing a center in Taiwan to approve gadgets faster. Ziller stated a tower may not need Thunderbolt three’s capability proper now, but a small-shape-element or NUC-fashion mini-laptop should benefit from the overall performance and external pictures functionality of Thunderbolt 3.

Has Thunderbolt three gained? Ziller laughed whilst requested.

“That’s your terminology. We’re very pleased with the adoption and the progress it’s made in just a 12 months’s time genuinely. This time, it definitely is the cable that may do all of it.”

DOE Announces $80 Million In Funding To Increase SuperTruck Efficiency

Tighter Fuel Efficiency Standards For Medium And Heavy-Duty Vehicles Announced By Obama

Building on the notable successes of the SuperTruck initiative, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar today announced SuperTruck II, an $80 million funding opportunity, subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology. Sarkar made the announcement at the GreenTruck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sarkar also announced more than $12 million in selections for three new cost-shared projects focused on the research, development, and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“Improving the efficiency of commercial trucks is critical to reducing our petroleum consumption, strengthening our clean energy economy, and further reducing our contributions to climate change,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarkar said. “This new funding will not only accelerate innovation but also foster rapid market adoption of new energy efficient vehicle technologies.”

The Department of Energy launched its SuperTruck initiative in 2010. Vehicles developed under SuperTruck I are Class 8 combination trucks – commonly known as 18-wheelers – that dramatically increase tractor-trailer fuel, engine and drivetrain efficiency through the use of advanced technologies. As the backbone of domestic freight transportation, 18-wheelers haul 70 percent of all freight tonnage.

SuperTruck II projects will research, develop, and demonstrate technologies to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100 percent, relative to a manufacturer’s best-in-class 2009 truck, with an emphasis on technology cost-effectiveness and performance.

Achieving Class 8 truck efficiency increases will require an integrated systems approach to ensure that the various components of the vehicle work together. SuperTruck II projects will utilize a wide variety of truck and trailer technology approaches to achieve performance targets, such as improvements in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and vehicle weight.

  • The recipients of the funding for plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles announced today are: Robert Bosch LLC (Farmington Hills, MI) will receive $5 million to develop and demonstrate a medium-duty plug in hybrid vehicle powertrain that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent.
  • Cummins Corporate Research and Technology (Columbus, IN) will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a Class 6 plug in hybrid delivery truck that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent.
  • McLaren Performance Technologies (Livonia, MI) will receive $2.6 million to develop a Class 6 delivery truck with a scalable, innovative, lightweight, low-cost, and commercially-viable plug-in electric drive system that improves fuel economy by 100 percent.

Obama Shifts Online Strategy On Islamic State

Obama Shifts Online Strategy On Islamic StateWASHINGTON:  The Obama administration on Friday announced a wide-ranging overhaul of its efforts to respond to online propaganda from the Islamic State after months of acknowledgments that it had largely failed in its attempts to counter extremist recruitment and exhortations to violence on social media.

The administration has emphasized that it needs the assistance of some of the nation’s biggest technology companies, and a group of top White House and national security officials flew to California on Friday to plead their case with executives.

In a reflection of just how urgent the White House views the efforts, the discussions involved officials like Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff; Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch; James R. Clapper Jr., director of national intelligence; James B. Comey, the FBI director; and Lisa Monaco, the president’s counterterrorism adviser. They met with Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, as well as top executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google.

“Given the way the technology works these days, there surely are ways that we can disrupt paths to radicalization, to identify recruitment patterns and to provide metrics that allow us to measure the success of our counter-radicalization efforts,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said before the California meeting began.

A task force will be created in the departments of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate the government’s new effort.

The State Department announced the creation of a center to respond to disinformation from extremist groups around the world by highlighting their misdeeds and creating positive images of the West.
After the terrorist attack last year that killed 130 people in Paris, President Barack Obama delivered a series of speeches seeking to reassure the country while demanding rapid changes within the administration to improve responses to jihadi propaganda.

Obama has been speaking for some time about the need for the West to more effectively counter the austere and apocalyptic pronouncements of Islamist extremists. At the United Nations in September, he told world leaders that “ideologies are not defeated with guns; they are defeated by better ideas – a more attractive and compelling vision.”

But the State Department has largely foundered in its efforts to fashion the kind of war room that would effectively counter the propaganda flowing out of the Islamic State, which is widely seen as adept at using social media to recruit and inspire followers.

For help with these challenges, the administration turned Friday to Silicon Valley. “I do have a lot of confidence that those companies that are run by patriotic Americans are not interested in seeing their tools or their technology used by terrorists to harm innocent Americans,” Earnest said.

Those executives, however, are in charge of global corporations whose revenues are increasingly derived from people outside the United States. The executives have long pushed back on demands by governments to censor posts, provide access to user accounts, or hand over the keys to encryption technologies.

If the companies begin to work with the government to monitor and remove posts or create anti-terrorism counternarratives, they might have a harder time resisting similar requests from foreign governments.

“It’s a slippery slope with free speech where if you start making exceptions, where do you stop and where do you draw the line?” said Emma Llanso, a director at the Center for Democracy in Technology, a think tank.

She said the consequence could be an erosion of trust by consumers.That erosion of trust began in the wake of revelations from Edward J. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, who showed previous coordination among some technology companies with U.S. surveillance efforts. Executives are eager to avoid a repeat.

There is also the technological challenge of sifting through vast amounts of user-generated content in different languages on a growing number of social media platforms.

Law enforcement officials for years have expressed frustration that technology companies are increasingly creating products like smartphones with encryption technologies that make it difficult, if not impossible for the government to monitor conversations. But the discussion Friday, while touching on encryption issues, was expected to focus largely on social media and how technology companies could more effectively police their platforms.

Some former top administration officials now work at prominent technology firms, including Jay Carney, a former White House press secretary, who is now a senior vice president at Amazon. Megan Smith, the administration’s chief technology officer, who worked at Google, and Alexander Macgillivray, the administration’s deputy chief technology officer, who worked at Twitter, both attended the meeting Friday in California.

“This meeting is the latest in the administration’s continuing dialogue with technology providers and others to ensure we are bringing our best private and public sector thinking to combating terrorism,” said Melanie R. Newman, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department.

5 Jobs Being Dominated by New Technology

Technology is revolutionising the way we live. But it’s also changing the way we work too. Here are some of the jobs that are still grappling with rapid change.

1. Publishing

The world of publishing is still feeling the effects of the digital revolution. The newspaper and magazine industry still exists in a paper form, but sales tend to be falling across the board. Of course, some magazines are bucking the trend. But most of the major newspapers are seeing their circulation fall year on year. This is being offset by the new opportunities offered by the internet. Advertising is used to generate income. But other newspaper organisations have chosen to employ a pay wall system that means that you can only gain access to content if you pay for it.

2. Piloting

One of the big changes in the world of piloting is the way in which manuals are used in the cockpit. Pilots used to have to flick through huge manuals if they wanted to check a procedure or function. But this year has seen a turn towards mobile devices that are being used to deliver the same content in a much more convenient way. The pilot logbook they use can now also be used electronically. This allows for much greater customisation and quicker calculations.

3. Engineering

The engineering industry has always been on the cutting edge of new developments in the world of technology. Engineers have always faced challenges brought about by changes in technology. If they get stuck in the past and fail to embrace new technology, those companies will be swallowed by the competition very quickly indeed. The biggest change is happening in the way in which designs are being created and planned. Programs that offer computer-aided design are now used to draw engineering plans. They’re used because of the ability they offer to create 3D designs.

4. Teaching

Technology has been moving into the classroom at a rapid rate over the last few years. Teachers are now seeing both the benefits and the drawbacks of using technology in the classroom. One of the problems is the way in which technology can act as a distraction as well as an aid. Another problem is plagiarism. Many schools now ask pupils to submit essays and homework via an online submission system. This increases the risk of plagiarism thanks to the internet. To mitigate this, teachers have to use systems that check for plagiarism.

5. Security

There are many different types of security nowadays, but they’re all being affected by new technology. When we used to talk about security, we were talking about physical security. Government security services had to think about protecting the nation from attacks. And businesses had to secure their business’s premises. And that’s still true. But we now also have to think about cybersecurity. Every business and organisation has to think about the risk posed to them by hackers. New technologies are helping to combat the hackers that want to take down networks and gain access to useful data.

Welcome to the light side of technology as T-3PO takes on the evil techvadar!

This week, T3 is joining the rebel alliance and channeling Jedi master Yoda as we become T-3PO!

That’s right, we’ve rebranded to celebrate the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie and we’ll be bringing you stacks of great content looking at the utopian side of technology.

But what of the dark side? Our sister site techradar has become the evil Empire and will be bringing you everything from the dark side of tech as techvadar!

Both sites will of course be celebrating the Star Wars world – looking at the technology through the films, the impact that Lucas’ world has had on everything from sound to IMAX, from VFX to the design of some of our favourite gadgets.

Here on T-3PO we’ll be taking an overall more wholesome approach, looking at what’s great about the Star Wars universe and byond. We’ll check out the medical tech that will keep us young (and hopefully offer up a replacement hand or two), the self driving cars that will make our roads safer and the holograms that could revolutionise communications.

techvadar, on the other hand, is the evil Empire and will be taking a look at the darkside of technology, from rogue AI to military drones, to government snooping, VR and gaming dystopias and 3D printed guns.

Other features include an exploration into what it would take to build a Death Star or C-3PO, asking the specialists just how they would undertake such a project, while we’ll also be rating all the lightsabers, looking at the Star Wars tech we wish existed and so much more.

We’ll be taking you right up to the movie’s launch and beyond, so check out all we’ve got to offer you on the light side of tech and, if you dare, then step on over to the evil dark side. May the force be with you!

Technology is helping women build their careers without giving up family roles: Axis bank CEO

Hers is actually a corner office. Tucked in one right angle on the top floor of the Axis Bank headquarters is where CEO Shikha Sharma makes some of the most important decisions of the country’s third largest private sector bank. We are meeting after a few years and it’s apparent to me she has spent energies and emotions on transforming the bank to a nifty, young consumer-driven brand. Her day has been a busy one with a public speaking at a tech multinational’s India conference. And it’s only by chance our conversation had a digital bend. Sharma has included technology in all spheres of her influence – from work to personal time management.

 Axis Bank CEO, Shikha Sharma

“I got comfortable with tech earlier on in my career,” she shares when I ask her how the new digital-driven world around us is changing her. “Technology for me is an enabler. There are so many things you need to juggle with in life that I just use tech in very simple ways to keep reminders for me.”

As one of India’s top women CEOs, Sharma has embraced technology in a bid change the approach of Axis Bank towards its customers. “Where banking may go, technology has a big play. How do you provide convenience, customer service, risk management — all bundled in one lot? With tech, you can put a lot of processes in place as these are very difficult to offer all together in a physical space to a customer. Tech helps you provide a balance between customer experience and risk.”

Tech has fundamentally given many the flexibility to work when they want, asserts Sharma. It allows for people to work out of home without taking away from the productivity as it saves on costs for some companies, and travel time and the stress of travel for employees.

“From a workplace perspective, it’s giving women the opportunity to continue to participate in their careers without giving up the other roles as mother or a daughter or daughter-in-law or whatever.”

The new workplace is far more flexible. Attitudes have changed in the new entrepreneur-led organizations and the rise of digital businesses that have a startup-like culture, allowing freedom of ideas, place of work and more. “When we started, there were few role models as women who were able to balance work and home.

“For all of us as women, you don’t want to be a loser in your family role. And therefore, it’s a constant question in your mind by becoming a career woman — are you going to compromise on your family? So having a mentor to go to who is able to balance that well is very important in your ability to stay down that path.”

The role of peers — do they accept women as an equal in the workplace? “Now we have got to the point that people are recognizing having balance in your workforce, having men and women, you get different perspectives and you could actually have a richer decision coming through.

5 technology initiatives that help ensure 26/11 never happens again

The 26/11 Mumbai attacks were one of the most grievous assaults on Indian soil, an incident that challenged the combined efforts of the US, British and Indian anti-terrorism agencies.

26/11, Mumbai, attacks, cyber crime, surveillance, security, technology

With the terrorists displaying unprecedented access and competence in electronic tradecraft, it opened a new need for government agencies to massively up the ante on strategies and practices that effectively monitor and utilise electronics and web technologies to counter this new capability. Post the attacks, the Indian government has launched numerous initiatives to help it better secure its own data, while introducing surveillance systems that can monitor potentially harmful activity:

 1. National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure, aims to bring access to relevant, real-time information—a major obstacle in the path of detecting US terror suspect David Headley’s movement across the country during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009.

The grid has access to 21 sets of databases that are networked to achieve quick, seamless and secure access to key information for intelligence and enforcement agencies.

This ambitious counter terrorism programme uses Big Data and Analytics to study large amounts of information generated from various intelligence and enforcement agencies, simultaneously analysing events to get a better composite picture. This system enables law enforcement agencies to track suspects by monitoring their digital footprints.

2. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS)

CCTNS has successfully tapped into the multiple crime-based networks to facilitate the collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer and sharing of data and information at the police stations and between the police stations and the State Headquarters, syncing it with the Central Police Organisations.

This initiative facilitates effective policing and sharing data of crimes and criminals among 14,000 police stations across all the 35 states and Union Territories of India using a comprehensive and integrated system.

3. Lawful Intercept & Monitoring (LIM) Systems

Although electronic eavesdropping or hacking can yield valuable data, there is every possibility of missing a ‘tantalizing’ clue if the technology is not closely monitored.  Here’s where LIM comes to the rescue: it was deployed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) to closely monitor Internet traffic, emails, web browsing, Skype and any other Internet activity across Indian public data networks.

LIM systems have broad surveillance capabilities with access to all Internet activity that expands beyond IP addresses, email addresses, URLs or emails. It does an in-depth analysis of all Internet traffic using keywords and keyphrases.

4. Network Traffic Analysis (NETRA) system 

As company intranets are mushrooming rapidly, they provide a fertile ground for cyber-terrorism to tap into. It is increasingly important to intercept and analyse internet traffic using pre-defined filters.

NETRA, a software network developed by India’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, helps to gai insight into what type of traffic/network packets or data is flowing through a network.  Apart from detecting suspect keywords and keyphrases in social media, blogs, tweets, instant messaging services, emails, and in other online content, this software can also analyse dubious voice traffic passing through software such as Skype and Google Talk.

5. Central Monitoring System (CMS)

Every conversation you have on your landlines and mobile phones can be heard; some can be recorded too. You make a search on the Internet and it can be tracked. Fiction?

No, it’s now real.

The CMS which ran multiple successful pilot tests in 2013 gives law enforcement agencies  centralised access to India’s telecommunications network. Investigating officers can now listen to or record mobile, landline and satellite calls and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) of anyone within the country. They can read private emails, SMS and MMS and geolocate people via their cell phones, all in real time.

Though this system had looped in several strong criticisms by media, this is a significant breakthrough that could potentially help stall terrorist intentions.

Thinnest plates that can be bent by hand developed, may become newest addition to technology

  • The thin plate made of aluminium oxide.

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed the thinnest platesever that can be picked up by hands and can spring back to original shape even after being bent and twisted.

The plates are thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper and hundreds of times thinner than household cling wrap or aluminium foil, researchers said.

Like cling wrap, comparably thin materials immediately curl up on themselves and get stuck in deformed shapes if they are not stretched on a frame or backed by another material.

Being able to stay in shape without additional support would allow this material, and others designed on its principles, to be used in aviation and other structural applications where low weight is at a premium.

“Materials on the nanoscale are often much stronger than you’d expect, but they can be hard to use on the macroscale,” said Igor Bargatin, professor at University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering in US.

“We’ve essentially created a freestanding plate that has nanoscale thickness but is big enough to be handled by hand. That hasn’t been done before,” said Bargatin.

Other atomically thin films like those made of graphene typically need to be stretched like a canvas in a frame, or even mounted on a backing, to prevent them from curling or clumping up on their own.

“The problem is that frames are heavy, making it impossible to use the intrinsically low weight of these ultra-thin films,” Bargatin said.

“Our idea was to use corrugation instead of a frame. That means the structures we make are no longer completely planar, instead, they have a three-dimensional shape that looks like a honeycomb, but they are flat and contiguous and completely freestanding,” he said.

“It’s like an egg carton, but on the nanoscale,” said Prashant Purohit, an associate professor at the university.

The researchers’ plates are between 25 and 100 nanometres thick and are made of aluminium oxide, which is deposited one atomic layer at a time to achieve precise control of thickness and their distinctive honeycomb shape.

Once finished, the plates’ corrugation provides enhanced stiffness. When held from one end, similarly thin films would readily bend or sag, while the honeycomb plates remain rigid.

This guards against the common flaw in un-patterned thin films, where they curl up on themselves.

The plates could be used to make wings for insect-inspired flying robots, or in other applications where the combination of ultra-low thickness and mechanical robustness is critical.

“The thinnest man-made wing material I know of is made by depositing a Mylar film on a frame, and it’s about half a micron thick,” said Bargatin.

“Our plates can be ten or more times thinner than that, and don’t need a frame at all. As a result, they weigh as little as than a tenth of a gram per square metre,” he said.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.