Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom are unveiling a prototype system they say is designed to learn from its inhabitants, text if security is breached (or a door left unlocked), and now even monitor its occupants' health.
The InterHome, developed in a doll's house, uses a touch-screen control panel that enables online and smartphone monitoring and control from afar.
The house not only incorporates energy-efficient and security features that learn from the occupants' living habits (when lights tend to be on or off where, when the house is empty, etc.), but also a device that … Read more
Using a powerful new camera on the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered what appears to be the most distant object ever observed, a small proto galaxy some 13.2 billion light-years away that dates back to just 480 million years or so after the Big Bang birth of the universe.
The object was found in "deep field" images taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 that combined scores of optical and infrared exposures to capture a cosmic core sample showing nearby and increasingly distant galaxies. Showing up only in infrared light, the proto galaxy appears as … Read more
Intel Labs will invest $100 million in U.S. university research over the next five years, the chipmaker announced today.
Intel will open Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) across multiple universities, focusing on projects in areas "that align with the company's research agenda including visual computing, mobility, security and embedded solutions," the company said.
The new investment model is expected to result in U.S. researchers receiving up to five times more funding from Intel Labs when compared to the investment model Intel has used to date.
Citing President Obama's State of the Union address … Read more
Sonic booms aren't just cheesy ranged weapons that Guile from Street Fighter uses to defend his epic flat-top. They're the result of an aircraft breaking the sound barrier. And they can be loud enough to deafen E. Honda.
The nerve-rattling noise factor has restricted much supersonic travel to the world's oceans, limiting intercontinental flight to sub-Mach speeds. But a series of experiments being conducted by NASA are aimed at enabling a new generation of supersonic crafts that can dampen or even eliminate sonic booms.
The retractable, 24-foot-long spike is mounted to the nose of the aircraft and creates three smaller shockwaves that travel all the way to the ground in parallel instead of building up to a sonic boom. That configuration greatly reduces noise when the aircraft goes Mach 1, or about 760 mph, the speed of sound at sea level. … Read more
Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England say they have identified the gene that helps cancer spread throughout the body, and that finding a drug that deactivates that gene could make treating cancer both easier and more likely to be successful.
The culprit, called WWP2, is an enzymatic bonding agent in cancer cells that attacks the body's natural inhibitors of the spread of cancer.
British researchers plan to launch an android into orbit--not the C-3PO and R2-D2 kind, but an Android smartphone. It's not the first attempt to launch an Android phone into space, but it's the first that's aiming to make a smartphone the brain for an orbital satellite.
The STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) is being made from advanced and off-the-shelf components by Surrey Satellite Technology, a spinoff of the University of Surrey, and the university's Surrey Space Centre. The project has a few stated goals.
The first is to see if a smartphone can function in the hostile environment that is space. It will live in a protective case, and a computer on the satellite will put the phone through a number of tests to determine which components (sensors, video cameras, GPS systems, Wi-Fi radios, and so on) do and don't work in orbit.
If enough parts of the handset pass muster, the custom software will be tested next. If that works as planned, the smartphone will be used to operate parts of the satellite. The phone's cellular radio won't be used, as there are no cell towers in space (yet). Instead, the team will communicate with the phone using the satellite radio technology already in place. That said, some of the phone's other systems--processor, RAM, storage, and camera, just to name a few--will be used.
A camera will likely be outfitted so the controllers on the ground can see the screen. This will allow the scienticians to control the phone with their own custom software packages. The ability to load custom software payloads and its open-source nature is the reason why Android was chosen as the first phone OS for the stars.
The satellite will rely on its own GPS, guidance, and thrusters, but will use the phone as a backup to the main computer. Then, if all goes well, it will take over as the main "brain" and control the satellite's functions. … Read more
editor's notebook SAN FRANCISCO--I had the good fortune this past weekend of attending Compostmodern, a two-day conference here devoted to exploring different ways in which designers can help create a sustainable future. And I'd like to mention a few of the tech- and Internet-related highlights--some of which are new, some of which you, like me, may have missed the first time around. There's a variety of supercool stuff here, so read on.
With child-like eyes staring out from an expressionless face, the Telenoid R1 does look a little creepy. But if Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Japan's Osaka University has his way, a miniature Telenoid that lets you "feel" the presence of the party on the other line could soon replace the cell phones of today. It turns out the future could be just around the corner as the roboticist said a prototype of the mobile "Elfoid" would be ready in a few months.
Speaking today at the sneak preview of the Singapore-based Asia on the Edge festival--an annual showcase of ideas and cultures from Asia--Ishiguro is most regarded for his development of lifelike androids. He has even created a mechanical doppelganger of himself called Geminoid in his bid to understand humans. Ishiguro controls his motorized twin remotely with a motion-tracking Webcam that captures voice, facial expressions, and head movements over a high-speed network.
The most difficult task, he said, is to have a human-like conversation. Ishiguro's surrogate doesn't have the sophisticated capabilities of avatars depicted in the movies, but it produces enough of an estimate to dupe people into regarding the bot as a human.
While his previous creations replicate in detail the features of a real person, the Telenoid simply looks like an overgrown fetus with a bald head and abbreviated limbs. With the minimal design of the Telenoid, this forces people to use their imaginations to make the interaction more personal.
At the same time, Ishiguro is looking at what he calls the maximum design of a human with richer facial expressions and teleoperated by a professional.
Much of Ishiguro's work has provoked deep questions about man, machine, and humanity. With the Elfoid, users can feel the presence of the person on the other line and, when in the hands, becomes "part of your body."
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--Less than six weeks before launch, astronaut Timothy Kopra, injured in a bicycle accident Saturday, was removed from the crew of the shuttle Discovery today and replaced by astronaut Stephen Bowen, a veteran spacewalker who flew aboard the shuttle Atlantis last May. Despite the last-minute crew change, NASA officials say Bowen should be able to complete a hurried round of refresher training in time for blastoff around February 24.
"As anybody would be this close to flight, [Kopra]'s disappointed," chief astronaut Peggy Whitson told reporters. "His crew made very tight bonds and … Read more
Wearables are largely aimed at the person who just wants to maintain a good weight, sleep enough, and maybe get in a little cardio. CNET's Brian Cooley tells you why 2014 could be the breakout year for wearable tech.