Google has acquired robotics engineering company Boston Dynamics, best known for its line of quadrupeds with funny gaits and often mind-blowing capabilities. Products that the firm has demonstrated in recent years include BigDog, a motorized robot that can handle ice and snow, the 29 mile-per-hour Cheetah, and an eerily convincing humanoid known as PETMAN. News of the deal was reported on Friday by The New York Times, which says that the Massachusetts-based company’s role in future Google projects is currently unclear.
Archive of ‘Science’ Category
Shop windows don’t have to be a passive experience. As part of PSFK’s Future of Retail Report, they prototyped an interactive digital display that adapts to whoever stands in front of it.
Technology is moving fast these days. REALLY fast. Phones are getting bigger and better. For a reasonable fee the average Joe can now enjoy a 3D experience from the comfort of their home; and now the Circuit Scribe wants to make learning about and creating circuits much, much easier.
A gel pen filled with conductive ink, the Circuit Scribe lets you draw circuits that dry instantly, meaning you could create a working circuit among the notes in your notebook.
At the TEDx conference in Detroit last week, a RoboRoach scuttled across the exhibition floor, pursued not by an exterminator but by a gaggle of fascinated onlookers. Wearing a tiny backpack of microelectronics on its shell, the cockroach zigzagged along the corridor in a twitchy fashion, its direction controlled by the brush of a finger against an iPhone touch screen.
- O2 outlines plans for its 4G launch and fastest growing UK 4G network
- Network to switch on in London, Leeds and Bradford with ten additional cities to follow by the end of the year
- Plans to reach 98% UK population indoor with 2G, 3G and 4G
- 4G on O2 will be available to all new and existing customers on a range of tariffs from £26 a month
- Multi award-winning act to headline at the O2 4G London Launch Gig
NASA is funding research into 3D-printed food. As Quartz reveals, Mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor received a $125,000 grant from the agency to build a prototype 3D printer with the aim of automating food creation. It’s hoped the system could provide astronauts food during long-distance space travel, but its creator has the loftier aim of solving the increasing food shortages around the world by cutting down on waste. The software for the printer will be open-source, while the hardware is based on the open-source RepRap Mendel 3D printer.
The concept is to use basic “building blocks” of food in replaceable powder cartridges. By combining each block, a wide range of foods should be able to be created by the printer. The cartridges will have a lifespan of 30 years, more than long enough to enable long-distance space travel. After proving his system works on a basic level by printing chocolate, Contractor will start his project within the next few weeks by attempting to print a pizza.
if someone invents a 3d printer that prints pizza I’m pretty sure the rules say you win the economy
— T.C. (@LaughingStoic) November 16, 2012
The pizza printer will first print a layer of dough, which will be cooked while being printed, before mixing tomato powder with water and oil to print a tomato sauce. The topping for the pizza will be a nondescript “protein layer.” It’s early days for the project, but if it’s successful it would be a real milestone on the way towards a Star Trek-style Replicator.
Source: [The Verge]
Concerns that the expansion of 4G services in the UK could cause interference for homes using Freeview may have been unfounded.
Tests conducted by at800, the firm set up to troubleshoot the issue, have so far found very few problems.
Tests of around 200,000 homes in the West Midlands and London have uncovered just 15 TV interference issues.
The firm denied that it rendered the money set aside to deal with the problem unnecessary.
“It is important for us to exist so that we can take an appropriate approach to mitigating the effects of 4G depending on where it is rolled out,” said communication director Ben Roome.
Funding for at800 comes from mobile firms to the tune of £180m.
“The mobile firms were obliged to fund us but any money not spent, they do get back,” said Mr Roome.
The firm is now running a trial in Brighton where Freeview is transmitted at frequencies much closer to those for the new 4G services. The area around the city is also far hillier than in previous tests, which could have an impact on interference.
“We have already seen a handful of issues there,” said Mr Roome.
Initially Ofcom had estimated that up to 900,000 homes could experience interference with Freeview, which operates close to the 800MHz frequency that will be used by 4G services.
Engineers can fit filters if there are interference issues.
4G services will begin rolling out in the summer. Existing 4G services offered by EE operate in different frequencies and do not disrupt TV signals.
This Incan girl was sacrificed some 500 years ago has been uncovered perfectly intact, as the freezing temperatures atop a volcano preserved her to the point where it looks as if she could wake up at any moment.
With temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius below zero, the 15-year-old girl, along with a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, were discovered to be perfectly maintained.
Check out this account of it by anthropologist Marta Flores:
Three children, ages 6, 7 and 15, left their towns one day and set off toward the peak of a volcano. Accompanied by Inca priests, they walked for months or even years until they at last reached the Llullaillaco Volcano in northwestern Argentina. There, the priests got them drunk and buried them alive as an offering to the gods. “The Incas selected the two girls and one boy for their beauty and perfection. The girls wore tunics, fitted at the waist, and long braids in their hair. The boy donned a large headdress made of white feathers. The priests buried them with various objects that symbolized life in the communities: miniature gold statues, vessels, sandals and small bags of dried food.
The bodies of the children were initially uncovered in 1999 by a troop of 14 men and women led by Johan Reinhard, a U.S. explorer for the National Geographic Society, climbed 6,700 meters above sea level.
“When we established the final camp, at a height of 6,600 meters, a storm broke,” recalled Christian Vitry, who was on the expedition. “It lasted four days, and the tents were covered in snow.”
With her clothes, skin and hair still in tact, this Incan teenagers is one of the most remarkable feats of human preservation ever seen.
Source: [Elite Daily]
A research team has restored a monkey’s hand function with an artificial neural connection.
Scientists working together from Japanese and American universities may have made a pretty large leap in restoring neural function using a “novel artificial neuron connection” over lesions in the spinal cord of a partially paralyzed monkey. This partially restored its arm-to-brain circuit and allowing greater hand control purely by brainpower.
Google have put their driverless Street View cars to good use after listening to the people of the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The area which was devestated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster in March 2011 is still a no go zone – most badly affected was the township of Namie-machi.
Many of the displaced townspeople have asked to see the current state of their city, and there are surely many people around the world who want a better sense of how the nuclear incident affected surrounding communities.
Working with Google, they were able to drive Street View cars through Namie-machi to capture panoramic images of the abandoned city exactly as it stands today. This Street View imagery is available on Google Maps and the [Memories for the Future] site, so anyone from Namie or around the world can view it.
Source: [Google Blog]
Link: [Street View]