Powering uphill on your bicycle often comes down to mind over matter. What if, in addition to controlling your protesting thigh muscles, your mind was master of your bike's gear shifter?
That idea is being made flesh in the form of a high-performance concept bicycle that sports a thought-controlled interface.
Electrodes in the rider's helmet pick up neuro-electrical activity. Signals from the helmet are transmitted to an electronic gear shifter mounted under the seat. With training, a person can learn to shift up or shift down simply by thinking it.
Gives "Look Ma, no hands!" new meaning.… Read more
MIT researchers are working on an algorithm that could help reduce the likelihood of airplane collisions in the sky, part of work to overhaul the FAA air traffic system.
The FAA's NextGen overhaul mandates that by 2020 all commercial aircraft broadcast GPS coordinates, which would be more accurate than ground-based radar.
The system uses GPS data to track hypothetical puck-shaped zones around smaller aircraft to keep them a safe distance apart. Thousands of small aircraft were involved in near-misses over the past decade and there were 112 midair collisions, according to MIT.
Researchers at the MIT International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT) based the system on months of real-world flight data. A chief goal was to reduce the frequency of false collision alarms. They decided to use two alerts: a moderate one when flight paths are converging, and a severe alert when a collision is imminent. … Read more
The maker culture can seem exclusive sometimes, but TechShop is helping to bring the underground community to the mainstream, offering classes and monthly memberships to the general public.
In late June, a fourth TechShop location opened in San Jose, Calif., but it's still building up its own storied history. To see what a TechShop is like after it builds its network of makers, CNET toured the 15,000 square-foot San Francisco location, which opened its doors earlier this year.
During our visit, people where taking prototyping into their own hands. An eclectic bunch of members--including policemen, entrepreneurs, and fashionistas--all … Read more
Is it fair to imagine that some people just don't want to know about how certain things are done? If they did, perhaps their irrational side might overwhelm the blinkered side that helps them get through each and every painful day.
Does everyone want to know, for example, that the Boeing 737 in which they are strapped is flying on the detritus of some very fine french fries?
In the last few days, KLM and Thomson Airways, two European airlines, announced that they would be flying a plane or two using cooking oil.
If you're freaked out either by humanoid robots or the thought of dental work, proceed with caution. If both make your skin crawl, you might want to reach for the nitrous oxide.
Showa Hanako, a robotic dental patient out of Japan we told you about last year, has been reborn as Showa Hanako 2. Now the android can not only open and close her mouth, move her tongue, shake her head, blink, cough, sneeze, choke, roll her eyes, and tell her dentist, "Ouch! It hurts!" She can look ultra-realistic doing it.
Jointly developed by Showa, Waseda, and Kogakuin universities and produced by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk, Showa Hanako 2 was created to be a training robot for dental students. But where her elder sister looked like a stiff plastic doll tethered to a dental chair, Showa Hanako 2 looks like a stiff real woman tethered to a dental chair. That's largely because where she used to be made of PVC plastic, she now features silicone skin, tongue, and mouth lining made by Orient Industry, a creator of sex dolls. Needless to say, Orient has a high stake in making realistic-looking and -feeling body parts. … Read more
The Las Conchas wildfire, a 92,735-acre blaze extending around the community and national laboratory of Los Alamos, N.M., often moves faster than the officials who monitor it. That can be frustrating for people who want to see where the fire is burning.
But NASA has an automated answer for the impatient: the MODIS satellite. It records fire data, and the U.S. Forest Service packages it up so Google Earth users can get a rough but useful view of the fire's behavior.
Here's how to take a look. But first, I'll share a sobering NASA photo taken from the International Space Station on Monday, the second day of the fire.
It's a daunting image for anyone like me who knows the area and the scale involved. There are 752 people fighting the fire right now, including four bulldozers, 28 fire engines, and five helicopters. Since the Cerro Grande fire of 2000, which burned hundreds of Los Alamos homes and thousands of acres of Los Alamos National Laboratory property, the lab has taken new fire counter measures including more forest clearing and automatic fire-suppression systems. So far today, physical risks to the lab are lower than earlier in the week, LANL Director Charlie McMillan said. … Read more
IBM has solved two related problems with phase-change memory and now says the fast next-generation data-storage technology will be ready for use in 2016 in servers.
In a paper for the IEEE International Memory Workshop, Big Blue researchers describe how they squeezed two bits of data into each phase-change memory cell rather than just one. Though that's not the first incarnation of this idea, called multilevel storage, the researchers said they've made it practical by sidestepping a problem called "drift" that otherwise causes data errors the longer data is stored.
The engineering advancements help overcome significant barriers in introducing a technology that holds the potential to significantly transform computer designs. Phase-change memory (PCM), could snuggle up alongside conventional dynamic random access memory (DRAM) to improve computer performance in ways that flash memory so far can't. It's not as fast as DRAM, but IBM says it's 100 times faster at reading and writing data than flash memory, its chief competitor today.
IBM's PCM technology isn't yet ready for real-world use, but the improvements in multilevel storage and drift tolerance means the technology should be competitive in 2016 for the server applications IBM has in mind, said Haris Pozidis, one of the IBM Research paper authors.
"Our main application, being in the server business, is enterprise storage and memory applications," Pozidis said. "In the consumer market, the most important attribute is cost per bit. In enterprise applications, the most important attributes are speed, because [PCM will be] sitting close to the main memory where there are lots of transactions per second, and the endurance of device. We must make sure the device can write and read many numbers of times." … Read more
Ericsson yesterday demoed a new version of LTE technology that's 10 times faster than today's current standard and delivers speeds of nearly 1 gigabit per second.
Conducted in the company's home base of Sweden, the demonstration of LTE Advanced was presented to the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS). Using existing commercial hardware, Ericsson was able to use a test frequency provided by the PTS to show off certain features of LTE Advanced for the first time.
One feature of LTE Advanced that Ericsson demonstrated was carrier aggregation, which combines signals from multiple carriers to achieve a … Read more
I'm watching my hometown of Los Alamos, N.M., grapple with yet another massive wildfire, and even though I'm 5,000 miles away, the Internet has given me front-row seats.
It's not pleasant to see--but it's better than the alternative.
I'm not a member of the ignorance-is-bliss camp, particularly when friends and my parents still live there. The Las Conchas wildfire blew up to a size larger than Washington D.C. when it started on Sunday, and on Tuesday morning it reached 60,740 acres; Los Alamos National Laboratory is closed to all but essential … Read more