When you consider how far the human race has come in just the past 50 years, it's hard not to get a little carried away when fantasizing about what we could be seeing in the near future. There's certainly no shortage of Hollywood blockbusters that harness this imaginative creativity--in fact, I've used several of them for inspiration here. Some of the concepts on this list may seem far-fetched, while others could be just around the corner. Either way, the future of technology is an intriguing subject to mull over. In the spirit of imagination, I've laid … Read more
RoboCup 2007, the international robot soccer, rescue and home chore competition, concluded Sunday night with an awards ceremony, but some are still wondering who won.
The organization used Wikipedia as a central location from which to post results for its different events, but the information from many links remained incomplete as of Monday afternoon. It's left some followers of the event flummoxed.
About 300 teams, comprising 1,700 people from 37 countries, participated in RoboCup 2007, which was held this year at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
The event to promote artificial intelligence and robotics included soccer … Read more
TomTom has filed an eyebrow-raising patent with the European Patent Office for a device that combines GPS navigation information with a live video feed. According to the patent document, "...navigation devices display maps that are, like most maps, a highly stylised or schematic representation of the real world," which, TomTom contends, many people find difficult to translate or understand. To remedy the problem, it proposes a device that works "by superimposing or combining navigation directions over a camera image".
The patent application covers devices that receive an external camera feed, and any devices with built-in cameras, … Read more
Is Apple bringing some semblance of the iPhone's touch screen to a new mouse? Could be, if the mouse described in this patent application spotted by Hrmpf.com ever goes from diagram to final product. In lieu of any mouse buttons--Apple's never been a big fan--the surface of the mouse would be one continuous surface made of an "optically transmissive material" and would feature a "multipoint touch-detection mechanism" that could detect one or more of your fingers.
You'd be able to program certain movements of your fingers--swiping, tapping, rotating--to perform certain actions such … Read more
If you're like me and you're a fan of airplane porn--and who isn't?--then this weekend is a "dream" come true.
On Sunday, which is July 8, or 07/08/07, Boeing will formally unveil its newest uber-plane, the aptly named 787 Dreamliner.
This new plane, which seems to be selling like hotcakes, and which is stealing a lot of thunder from Airbus and its A380, will be able to ferry 210 to 250 passengers as far as 8,200 nautical miles.
The Dreamliner rollout will be a big, fancy shindig at Boeing's Everett, … Read more
The iPhone is here, and it's just what everyone wanted it to be: a brilliant, imperfect device that has enough going for it and enough drawbacks to make everyone happy with their decision.
And that's what matters: everyone being happy with their decision.
Working in the technology journalism industry during this time has taught me a lot about the way life works. The iPhone really won't change anything in your day-to-day life, but it will give people more to look forward to and more ways to think about what really matters.
Here's what matters to me, … Read more
Hydrogen is lightweight and efficient as a fuel. When it burns, you get water as the exhaust, and the fuel cell technology that burns the gas is well developed. The major hang-up has been how to produce hydrogen without needing lots of fossil-derived energy.
Apparently, the way to cheap hydrogen is through aluminum. Purdue researchers earlier this year announced they'd found a way to use aluminum to get hydrogen from water. Today a Chinese ceramicist who did graduate work in Portugal says there's an even simpler way to derive hydrogen. This process uses powdered aluminum at room temperature, … Read more
Taser International, the people who make the stun guns, and iRobot have kicked off a collaboration to develop machines for the military and police agencies that ideally will incapacitate, but not kill, suspects.
Thus, instead of sending a rookie cop into a strip club to break up a fight between a bouncer and a coked-up drummer from a heavy-metal band, the robot can do it for him.
And think of the improvements in crowd control you could achieve at those messy Greenpeace rallies.
The two companies have already integrated a Taser X26 stun gun--also known as "an electronic control … Read more
Maybe it's an extension of our latently adolescent excitement over the pending Speed Racer movie, but we've been thinking a lot about TV shows from the '60s of late, especially of the sci-fi variety. So it was only a matter of time before we got around to full-length features from the era as well.
As others have noted, obvious comparisons can be made between the microscopic submarine in the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage and a minuscule robot that's being developed by Israeli scientists. In both cases, the vehicle is designed to travel through the human bloodstream for … Read more
Twenty teams from high schools across the United States are showing off their inventions this week during the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Odyssey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge. Last fall, each team received a grant of up to $10,000 from the Lemelson-MIT Program to create a solution to a problem they chose.
The three-day event enables students to show off their inventions, which run the gamut from health, safety and environment-oriented gadgets to consumer products and assistance-offering devices.
Click above for more photos of the young 'uns and the products of their intellect.