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Silicon Valley keenly awaits latest Lego robot kit

August 19, 2013 9:16 am | by Martha Mendoza, AP National Writer | News | Comments

Few are more excited about Lego's new Mindstorms sets rolling out next month than Silicon Valley engineers. Ostensibly geared toward children age 10 and over, the new Mindstorms will also appeal to professional hackers. The sets will use open source software, Linux, for the first time, and controller apps are integrated for tablets and mobile phones.

Agilent opens ninth calibration center in Americas

August 14, 2013 5:56 pm | News | Comments

This week, Agilent Technologies Inc. launched a new calibration center in Phoenix, Ariz. Owners of Agilent electronic measurement instruments in the area can receive true local OEM calibrations, with measurements performed using OEM procedures for every warranted specification.

New electron beam writer enables next-gen biomedical, information tech

August 13, 2013 10:37 am | News | Comments

Electron beam (e-beam) lithography enables researchers to write very small patterns on large substrates with a high level of precision. In the Nano3 cleanroom facility at the Univ. of California, San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute, a new Vistec e-beam writer is helping to develop nanoscale transistors for integrated electronics, as well as neural probes for brain diagnostics.

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Japan launches talking humanoid robot into space

August 5, 2013 11:04 am | News | Comments

Kirobo—derived from the Japanese words for "hope" and "robot"—was among five tons of supplies and machinery on a rocket launched Sunday from Tanegashima in southwestern Japan. The childlike robot was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata and will communicate with another robot on Earth, according to developers.

Teledyne LeCroy demonstrates world’s first 100 GHz real-time oscilloscope

July 26, 2013 12:04 pm | News | Comments

High speed oscilloscopes are vital tools in the development of high-speed digital networks. Teledyne LeCroy, a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc., this week demonstrated the world's first 100 GHz real-time oscilloscope by successfully acquiring and displaying live signals at 100 GHz bandwidth

Los Alamos lab upgrades Powerwall Theater with visualization projection

July 25, 2013 11:53 am | News | Comments

The Powerwall Theater (PWT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is an innovative facility that enables researchers to view the complex models and simulations they have created using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Recently, PWT was upgraded with 40 double-stacked Christie Mirage 3-D LED projectors that will provide seamless, integrated 3-D visualization.

EU, U.S. to extend cooperation on measurements, standards

July 25, 2013 8:08 am | News | Comments

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week agreed to expand their current scientific cooperation to include new areas of research, such as energy, health care and clinical measurements, and food safety and nutrition.

Using RFID for fiber composites

July 18, 2013 1:48 pm | News | Comments

Antennas that are capable of transmitting radio waves turn components into intelligent objects. Researchers in Germany have now found a way to embed these antennas in fiber composites. As a result, the technology also works with carbon and glass fibers.

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Team develops MEMS pico-projector screen technology for smartphones

July 17, 2013 9:01 am | News | Comments

A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore and OPUS Microsystems Corp., a Taiwan-based company specializing in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) scanning mirror devices, have signed an agreement to refine and develop a MEMS scanning mirror for smartphones applications. The goal is to shrink the MEMS micromirror to allow a pico-projector level of operation.

Distorted GPS signals reveal hurricane wind speeds

July 15, 2013 3:55 pm | by Stephen J. Katzberg and George G. Ganoe, NASA Langley, and Jason Dunion, University of Miami | News | Comments

By pinpointing locations on Earth from space, GPS systems have long shown drivers the shortest route home and guided airline pilots across oceans. Now, by figuring out how messed up GPS satellite signals get when bouncing around in a storm, researchers have found a way to do something completely different with GPS: measure and map the wind speeds of hurricanes.

Honda's robot museum guide not yet a people person

July 3, 2013 9:09 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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 applies for “iWatch” trademark in Japan

July 2, 2013 11:48 am | News | Comments

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. 

Research finds that prototype quantum chip operates as hoped

July 1, 2013 1:51 pm | News | Comments

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.

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New system to transform communications for airline pilots

July 1, 2013 1:27 pm | News | Comments

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.

FAA moving toward easing electronic device use

June 24, 2013 9:09 am | by Joan Lowy and Scott Mayerowitz, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Sandia Labs hosts annual Robot Rodeo

June 19, 2013 12:46 am | News | Comments

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.

Firefighting robot paints 3-D thermal imaging picture for rescuers

June 6, 2013 8:58 am | News | Comments

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.

Chasing Tornadoes for Science

June 3, 2013 2:15 pm | Videos | Comments

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.

China's struggle to measure economy clouds outlook

April 16, 2013 9:32 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

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 barges into Google turf with Home

April 5, 2013 5:58 pm | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

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.

Open Photonics, VTT collaborate on spectral engine technologies

April 3, 2013 3:09 pm | News | Comments

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.  

Sensory helmet could mean firefighters are not left in the dark

March 29, 2013 1:38 pm | News | Comments

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.

Backpack-sized mini-mapper captures intel in tight spots

March 27, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

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.

NIST tests underscore hazards of green laser pointers

March 20, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

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

Wireless sensor diagnoses “stressed” machines remotely

March 20, 2013 10:18 am | News | Comments

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.

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