The Las Conchas wildfire has spread to part of Los Alamos National Laboratory property and triggered an evacuation of most of the the Los Alamos town residents nearby.
The fire started yesterday in the mountains southwest of Los Alamos and spread rapidly, stoked by winds, dry conditions, and high temperatures. Today, it grew to 49,000 acres and reached LANL's Technical Area 49, a site on the southern border of the lab's 28,000-acre (43 square mile) property.
"Air crews dumped water at the site within the Lab's Technical Area 49 and brought the blaze under … Read more
Add personality to the list of must-have robot vacuum cleaner features. Turns out that showing some emotion makes you a better service robot, even if you're just a motorized disc that cleans floors for a living.
Researchers from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands determined the personality traits (PDF) that people want to see in a robo-vac, then figured out how to make it display those traits using motion, sound, and lights.
People successfully identified the traits in a video of a fake robo-vac (a remote control box on wheels) going through the motions (see the video below).
People readily anthropomorphize objects, and Robo-vac makers can make their products more predictable by deliberately pulling our strings, according to the researchers, adding that if we know what our little helpers are doing and how they're likely to react, we're more satisfied.… Read more
You can't learn to play the guitar like Eric Clapton by doing nothing, but a new system that controls the muscular movements of your hand might be a step in that direction. The question is, will you want to use a device called "PossessedHand?"
Developed by the University of Tokyo and Sony Computer Science Laboratories, the "hand gesture manipulation system" electrically stimulates muscles in your arm that move your fingers. Once specific movements are programmed into a computerized unit kept in a forearm belt, impulses travel through wires to electrodes attached to the arm. Those charges move the necessary muscles and control hand movements--reportedly more accurately than the human brain alone can guide the fingers.
PossessedHand stimulates each muscle with 28 electrode pads, and muscles at different depths in the forearm can be tapped by varying the stimulation level. Developers' experiments indicate that PossessedHand can control the motion of 16 joints in the hand.
The device is being hyped as a way to teach students how to play the guitar and other instruments more accurately. But it could seemingly also help surgeons and other professionals who need to improve finger dexterity as PossessedHand can automatically calibrate for individual uses and specific skills. However, it's still in the experimental stages. … Read more
Engineers searching for ways to redefine the American car, moving away from gasoline engines and toward cleaner battery-powered electric transportation, had a chance to put their designs to the test this weekend on a big-time track, the MAZDA Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. In the coming years, production standards for battery-management systems and charging systems will emerge, and today, these innovators are experimenting with what works and what doesn't, searching for the best new methods with which to manufacture the next generation of vehicles. The ReFuel Clean Power Motorsports Event, now in its third year, gives electric-car builders … Read more
Flames and huge plumes of thick, black smoke shot into the sky Sunday from New Mexico's Jemez Mountains, where the famous lab was originally located atop arid mesas west of Santa Fe to better hide the top-secret Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bomb.
On Sunday afternoon, the fire started in the nearby forest and spread quickly. High winds and weeks without moisture in the Southwest have sparked a number of massive fires throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
There seems to be a strange whiff of honesty swirling around the robot policemen known as red light cameras.
In different parts of the world, authorities are wondering whether there is any real benefit in having them at all. Yes, even financial benefit.
In the home of the automobile--no, not Detroit, Los Angeles--the Police Commission is, according to MSNBC, requesting that red light cameras should be removed before the Lakers and Clippers begin their new season.
You might wonder whether these objections are based on curiously moral grounds. Well, some objectors do, indeed, believe that red light cameras are merely … Read more
A Silicon Valley company is promising to bring more color to LCDs.
Nanosys says it has developed a technology that helps deliver 50 percent more color than what's currently available on existing LCD panels. According to the company's site, "that means richer, more viscerally alive reds, a deeper palette of greens, and vivid blues."
Most importantly, the company says it can deliver better color with technology already being used in tablets, televisions, and other products.
The Green Lantern's Power Ring it ain't, but a ring containing MicroPointing's touchpad is something Q might give 007. With a sensor control area of one square millimeter, the touchpad can easily be embedded in a ring.
Israeli start-up MicroPointing plans to offer the touchpad for embedding in all manner of devices large and small, including smartphones, Netbooks, remote controls, game controls, cameras, steering wheels--anywhere you might want to let your finger do some scrolling.
The touchpad could be on handsets starting in the fourth quarter of next year, according to Avi Rosenzweig, MicroPointing's vice president of business development.
The MicroPointing touchpad works by detecting the force your fingertip produces as it drags across the tiny device's three sensors, according to the company's patent application. The sensors are mounted on tiny posts spaced a few tenths of a millimeter apart--less than the size of a ridge on your fingertip.
The sensors pick up sideways force as your fingertip moves parallel to the touchpad's surface. The company's secret sauce is an algorithm that can pull detailed data from just three sensors, Rosenzweig said.… Read more
A new saliva test developed by geneticists at the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals a person's age within five years, a finding that could have many applications in medicine, at crime scenes, and more.
"With just a saliva sample, we can accurately predict a person's age without knowing anything else about them," says principal investigator Dr. Eric Vilain, a professor of human genetics, pediatrics and urology, in a UCLA news release.