Tag Archives | Technology

‘Crabster’ Crab Robot Scuttles Out of Korean Lab

Grab a mallet, tongs, and as much butter as you can carry, because the Crabster is on its way. The 1,400 pound ocean-going robot is the brainchild of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, and wasn’t at all designed to dismember you limb from limb before disappearing into the briny depths of an indifferent sea.

Via Popular Science:

What’s that clacking sound? Better read the rest of the article before the Crabster arrives.

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University of Michigan Scientist: Night Vision Contact Lenses Coming Soon

PIC: LColson (PD)

PIC: LColson (PD)

They’re not here yet, but Dr. Zhong says that advances in nanotechnology and night vision tech using the material graphene may open the door to ultra-thin night vision contacts. Oh, and if you want to know more about graphene, you might enjoy reading this.

Via HuffPo:

“We can make the entire design super-thin,” Dr. Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, said in a written statement. “It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone.”

The key to the new technology is a lightweight and super-strong form of carbon known as graphene. Ordinarily, graphene absorbs only about 2.3 percent of light that hits it — not enough to generate a usable infrared signal. But by combining two layers of graphene with an insulator, the researchers were able to boost the signal dramatically. Sensors made of sandwiched graphene can detect the full infrared spectrum, in addition to visible and ultraviolet light.

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Ray Kurzweil Wants to Make Google Sentient

Hal_console

Man’s best friend?

What is smarter than hoovering up the personal information and innermost thoughts of every person on the planet and then stuffing it into a single database?  Creating an artificial intelligence system capable of understanding it.  From The Guardian:

Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find, or at least, rates. It made headlines two months ago, when it bought Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces spectacular, terrifyingly life-like military robots, for an “undisclosed” but undoubtedly massive sum. It spent $3.2bn (£1.9bn) on smart thermostat maker Nest Labs. And this month, it bought the secretive and cutting-edge British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for £242m.

And those are just the big deals. It also bought Bot & Dolly, Meka Robotics, Holomni, Redwood Robotics and Schaft, and another AI startup, DNNresearch. It hired Geoff Hinton, a British computer scientist who’s probably the world’s leading expert on neural networks.… Read the rest

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UT Austin Engineers Build First Nonreciprocal Acoustic Circulator: A One-Way Sound Device

The Conversation

The Conversation (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (FU)

It appears that snoops may soon have access to a powerful tool that may likely be used to abuse privacy.

via utexas

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever circulator for sound. The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.

“Using the proposed concept, we were able to create one-way communication for sound traveling through air,” said Andrea Alù, who led the project and is an associate professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Imagine being able to listen without having to worry about being heard in return.”

This successful experiment is described in “Sound Isolation and Giant Linear Nonreciprocity in a Compact Acoustic Circulator,” which will be featured on the cover of Science in the Jan.

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Inside China’s Internet Addiction Rehab Camps

internet addictionThe New York Times has a short film exploring life inside one of China's hundreds of boot-camp-style treatment centers for electronics-addled youth who spend night and day gaming online, in some cases allegedly wearing diapers to avoid taking bathroom breaks. The camp director compares the internet to "electronic heroin" and warns that the teens "know the internet inside and out, but nothing about human beings." Questions abound: Is China at the forefront of what will become a global epidemic of Compulsive Internet Use? Are computers being scapegoated for problems that are in fact more subtle and complex? Could you survive several months cold turkey?
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Hershey Developing 3D ‘Printable Foods’

HersheyCoContinuing with the meme that any technology Gene Roddenberry and the writers of Star Trek dream up eventually makes its way into our lives, Hershey and 3D Systems Corp. have announced plans for 3D printable foods, reports MarketWatch:

Hershey Co. and 3D Systems Corp. reached a multiyear joint development agreement to explore and develop ways to use 3-D printing technology to produce edible foods, including confectionary treats.

“We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands,” said William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief research and development officer. “Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future.”

Financial terms of the deal weren’t provided.

In a widely seen report, research firm Gartner Inc. last year said the number of consumer 3-D printers globally was set to double and that combined end-user spending on the devices was expected to rise 49% during 2013.

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NSA Can Spy On Computers Even If They Are Not Connected To Internet

NSA-squareYou have to hand it to the hackers at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), they have some devious tricks. The New York Times details their technique for accessing computers that are kept offline:

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.

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The Secrets Your Phone Shares About You

HK TST East Peninsula Centre sidewalk Three 3 Smartphone shop Nov-2012It may not come as a surprise that police and other government agencies can track your location via your mobile phone, but did you realize that many local businesses are doing the same thing or more? Elizabeth Dwoskin reports for the Wall Street Journal that businesses are increasingly installing sensors to track nearby potential customers:

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

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Is Technology Making The World Too Complex?

Pic: Theon (CC)

Pic: Theon (CC)

Can Moore’s law abet neutralization of Buckminster Fuller’s ephemeralization? Will Georges Anderla’s statistical model (coined the information explosion by Robert Anton Wilson) equalize the complexity?

via Aeon

Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits?

Despite the vastness of the sky, airplanes occasionally crash into each other. To avoid these catastrophes, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) was developed. TCAS alerts pilots to potential hazards, and tells them how to respond by using a series of complicated rules. In fact, this set of rules — developed over decades — is so complex, perhaps only a handful of individuals alive even understand it anymore. When a TCAS is developed, humans are pushed to the sidelines and, instead, simulation is used. If the system responds as expected after a number of test cases, it receives the engineer’s seal of approval and goes into use.

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