CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Computing is increasingly embedded everywhere, yet the interfaces people use are still largely tied to the original personal computer graphical user interface.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology held an open house to celebrate its 25th anniversary here today, where researchers in the Fluid Interfaces group showed some clues on how people will interact with computers in the not-to-so distant future.
The MIT Media Lab has yielded several computing-related technologies now in daily use by millions of people, including the e-ink interface used on e-books such as the Amazon Kindle, the Guitar Hero video game, and Lego Mindstorms programmable … Read more
For some time now, Google Sky has enabled users to view a wide range of imagery from high-level sources like the Hubble Telescope, NASA satellites, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. But the service has never provided a method for users to view community-created imagery, or to participate in the viewing of live events like eclipses.
On Friday, Google announced a partnership with Slooh, a New York company that offers the public Internet-based access to a global network of observatories, and a diverse and constantly growing collection of telescopic viewing and photography "missions.&… Read more
Starting to nod off behind the wheel? Not if the Integrated Eyetracker can help it.
The compact digital camera system, being developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany, tracks drivers' eye movements. If it spots the peepers shut beyond a user-defined interval, it sounds an alarm to keep the driver from dozing off.
Up to six dashboard-mounted cameras with lenses just 3 to 4 millimeters in diameter keep watch over the motorist, evaluating up to 200 images per second to identify the line of vision, even when a driver's head moves left or right.
Clothes shoppers wanting to experience the 21st-century version of dress-up have until November to try on the new Macy's Magic Fitting Room in the retail chain's New York's Herald Square flagship store.
The company is showing off a 72-inch mirror display that enables you to superimpose clothing on your reflection. The mirror features a multitouch screen that lets you select items such as tops, dresses, bottoms, and coats. After making a choice, the item covers your reflection, making it look like you're actually wearing the garb. Swimming in that shirt? Simply touch the mirror to take … Read more
Energy drinks maker Red Bull, which is sponsoring the effort, said today that it is stopping the program "with immediate effect" pending the outcome of a "multimillion dollar lawsuit" filed earlier this year by a man claiming certain rights to the project.
Working under the auspices of the Red Bull Stratos program, Baumgartner was aiming to be the first person ever to hit supersonic speeds in the atmosphere without the protection of an aircraft around him. The Austria-born daredevil, who … Read more
LONDON--For someone interested in capitalizing on the new era of advanced Web standards, you'd think Google would be a pretty good employer. After all, it's got an up-and coming browser, some of the world's most influential Web applications, and plenty of money to invest in both.
But in the culture of Silicon Valley, sometimes there's a time to strike off on one's own, and that's what Brad Neuberg, a very visible Web programmer at Google, decided to do. He announced his departure on the eve of a speech last week at the Future of Web Apps conference here.
In an interview with CNET afterward, Neuberg said he plans to launch a San Francisco start-up in November focusing on the same suite of Web technology he's been steeped in at Google. He's cagey on details, but he said he plans to focus on Web applications for consumers.
"I drank the HTML5 Kool-Aid," he said, saying it and other Web standards are fueling a new wave of entrepreneurial activity. " I really believe we're starting to see those start-ups. We'll see that accelerate in the next six months to a year and a half."
Plus, he didn't like spending three hours a day commuting from San Francisco to Google's Mountain View, Calif., offices and back for two years and nine months of his life.
"What am I sacrificing? It didn't all fit," he said. "I should be doing what I would do if I won the lottery," so now he's begun trying to gather a group of like-minded folk for the start-up. … Read more
Blacklight is a mammoth $2.8 million shared-memory machine built by SGI for the center. The system comes in two halves, each with 16 terabytes of shared memory. Either half would be the largest such amount of memory so far built, PSC said, and with a bit more programming effort, the … Read more
Virgin Galactic conducted the first piloted gliding flight of its commercial suborbital spaceship, the VSS Enterprise, today, releasing the winged rocket plane from the WhiteKnightTwo mothership at an altitude of 45,000 feet above the Mojave Desert.
With Scaled Composites pilot Pete Siebold and copilot Mike Alsbury at the controls, the futuristic twin-tail spacecraft glided to a touchdown at the Mojave Air and Space Port 11 minutes after its release from WhiteKnightTwo, also known as Eve. The craft was not equipped with a rocket motor for the glide test.
"It was a very important milestone," Richard Branson, founder … Read more
There is something charming about engineers who decide they will alter the world. Just because they can.
So Google's announcement that it has already been testing cars that drive themselves should be met by warm feelings in many of one's more imaginative nerve-endings.
As I grasp this vastly ambitious project, Google is intending that these cars, manned as they are by vast arrays of excellent soft- and hardware, will avoid crashes and allow for fuel savings and more cars on the road (as, deductive reasoning goes, there will be no crashes). They will also allow drivers to get … Read more