Honda's robotics technology, although among the most advanced for mobility, has come under fire as lacking practical applications and being little more than an expensive toy. The latest example is its walking, talking interactive Asimo robot, which is now acting as a museum guide in Tokyo. In addition to glitches that have interrupted its operation, it lacks voice recognition.
Apple Inc. has applied for a trademark in Japan for "iWatch" as rumors suggest it may be developing a smart wrist watch. The company is rumored to be working on a smart watch that would run on a version of the operating system used by its iPhone and iPad.
A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) has verified that quantum effects are indeed at play in the first commercial quantum optimization processor. The team demonstrated that the D-Wave processor housed at the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center behaves in a manner that indicates that quantum mechanics plays a functional role in the way it works.
Digital systems are an everyday routine for more and more passengers, and even Internet is now available. But pilots are largely cut off from this development with a system that is separate and largely analog. Under development in Germany is a new system that will digitally transmit air traffic and weather communications with the ground and via satellite at high speeds.
Relief may be on the way for airline passengers who can't bear to be separated even briefly from their personal electronic devices. The government is moving toward allowing gate-to-gate use of music players, tablets, laptops, smartphones and other gadgets. Howeveer, restrictions on cellphone calls and Internet use and transmission are not expected to be changed.
This week, Sandia National Laboratories is hosting the seventh annual Western National Robot Rodeo and Capability Exercise, a challenging five-day event that draws civilian and military bomb squad teams from across the country to see who can most effectively defuse dangerous situations with the help of robots. The competition provides an opportunity to practice using robots and new technology in a low-risk, but competitive environment.
Engineers in California have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires by small Segway-like robotic vehicles. Thermal data recorded by the robot’s small infrared camera is maps it onto a 3-D scene created by a pair of stereo cameras, producing a virtual reality picture that can be used by first responders as the robot navigates a building.
In this video, Tim Samaras from the National Geographic Channel Storm Chasers talks about his passion for chasing and studying storm systems. He explains how he used National Instruments’ (NI) LabVIEW and CompactDAQ in a new instrument that is deployed on the ground in front of a tornado. After the storm he uses another NI application, DIAdem, to view the data that was collected.
After China reported quarterly economic growth of 7.7% this week, global markets reacted by falling, wiping out billions of dollars in stock. The reason? Growth came in under the 8% expected by forecasters. The plunge highlighted complaints about the possible inaccuracy of Beijing's official data and the intense, possibly excessive importance traders attach to a handful of Chinese economic indicators.
Facebook Home, the new software that takes over the front screen of a smartphone, is a bit of a corporate home invasion. Facebook is essentially moving into Google's turf, taking advantage of software the search giant and competitor created. Launching April 12, Home will operate on phones running Google Inc.'s Android software and present Facebook status updates, messages, and other content without making the user fire up Facebook's app.
Orlando-based photonics technology acceleration company Open Photonics Inc. and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have announced a partnership to accelerate the commercialization of VTT’s advanced Fabry-Perot visible and infrared spectroscopy and spectral imaging technologies.
A specially-adapted “tactile helmet”, developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield, could provide fire-fighters operating in challenging conditions with vital clues about their surroundings. The helmet is fitted with a number of ultrasound sensors that are used to detect the distances between the helmet and nearby walls or other obstacles. These signals are transmitted to vibration pads that are attached to the inside of the helmet, touching the wearer's forehead.
Engineers have recently developed a portable mapping system—carried in a backpack—that can be used to automatically create annotated physical maps of locations where GPS is not available, such as in underground areas and on ships. The system improves upon algorithms once developed for robots—which are not practical for all environments—and has a built-in allowance for normal human movement, like walking.
Using a low-cost apparatus designed to quickly and accurately measure the properties of handheld laser devices, NIST researchers tested 122 laser pointers and found that nearly 90% of green pointers and about 44% of red pointers tested were out of compliance with federal safety regulations. Often, these pointers emitted more visible power than allowed by law
Singapore company Hoestar PD Technology is working with that country’s leading research organization, A*STAR, to deploy wireless piezoelectric sensors that will track vibrations and stresses that affect the health of machinery such as motors, pumps and generators. The size of a coin, the sensors increase productivity by saving time, reducing manual checking, and offering precision at detecting defects.
A research team in Austria has developed an entirely new way of capturing images based on a flat, flexible, transparent, and potentially disposable polymer sheet. The new imager, which resembles a flexible plastic film, uses fluorescent particles to capture incoming light and channel a portion of it to an array of sensors framing the sheet. With no electronics or internal components, the imager’s elegant design makes it ideal for a new breed of imaging technologies.
There are various boxes today that bring Internet content to TV sets, with popular ones made by Roku and Apple. But Intel Corp. wants to go further and make its box and streaming service a replacement for cable. The company said Tuesday that it will sell a set-top box that brings Internet-delivered movies and shows to a TV set this year, along with a “vastly superior experience” to today’s cable boxes.
In Germany, a project called MEMS2015 is underway which has the ultimate goal of developing the first-ever universal design methodology for microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. The effort, a joint government and industry project coordinated by the Robert Bosch corporation, will improve sensors and actuators, and plug the gaps between electronics and mechanics design, manufacturing, and subsequent integration into products.
Researchers in Japan and Germany have recently demonstrated a device that can focus and steer terahertz beams electrically. Based on an array of metal cantilevers which can be micromechanically actuated by electrostatic forces, the device can create tunable gratings that may be crucial in future terahertz wavelength communication systems.
Advanced electronics are indispensable in modern warfare, but locating and tracking them all on the field of battle is almost impossible. To prevent valuable and strategic technology from falling into enemy hands, DARPA has announced the Vanishing Programmable Resources program, which has the aim of improving “transient” electronics, or electronics capable of dissolving into the environment around them.
Existing optical beamsteering assemblies for technologies like LADAR, which scans a field of view with a laser to determine distance, are typically mechnical, bulky, slow, and inaccurate. In an effort to design a better, scalable technology, DARPA researchers have recently demonstrated the most complex optical phased array ever built onto a 2D chip.
The world's love affair with gadgets—many of which contain hazardous materials—is generating millions of tons of electronic waste annually. Now, Purdue and Tuskegee universities are leading an international effort to replace conventional electronics with more sustainable technologies and train a workforce of specialists to make the transition possible.
Not everything there is “high-tech”, but the annual Consumer Electronics Show is a great place to see the newest and most fanciful products to reach the market each year. From the iPotty for toddlers to the 1,600-pound (725-kg) mechanical spider and the host of glitch-ridden "smart" TVs, the International CES show is a forum for gadget makers to take big—and bizarre—chances.
VPG's new System 8000 StrainSmart data acquisition system features eight software-configurable input channels with RJ-45 connectors. It can accept signals from strain gages or strain-gage-based transducers, thermocouples, or high-level voltage sensors.
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are trying to open the world of tablets to children whose limited mobility makes it difficult for them to perform the common pinch and swipe gestures required to control the devices. In their Access4Kids wireless input device, a sensor system to translate physical movements into fine-motor gestures to control a tablet.