Question by anonymous: So i have a science fair in february but i need to start getting ideas, any help? I’m really into like engineering like robotics and aeronautics but im not sure on how i can get an experiment on it. I’m open for almost anything, as long as the experiment isn’t to elaborate.
Answer by Former MN Science Teacher –sDgThese science fair sites might help:
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Question by Jordan J: What are some birthday gift ideas for 14 year old boys? In April, I’m turning 14 and I’m writing down my birthday gift list and I can’t think of much stuff. I already got iPad 1 or 2, iPod Touch, and Kindle down so don’t say those. So if you could please give me some gift ideas I would be really grateful!! I also already have an Xbox 360 with Kinect.
Answer by nikPS Vita? PS3? Xbox 360? Depends on what you like to do . ahah
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If Steve Wozniak is worried Microsoft is now more innovative than Apple, the root cause for that concern undoubtedly lies within Microsoft’s network of research labs. Dotted around the globe, from Redmond to India and Asia via the UK, these university-style research institutions are the quiet engines behind innovations such as the Kinect depth camera which translates human movements into computable gestures, and Xbox users’ movements into gameplay.
Another notable Microsoft product that its research arm has played a substantial role in developing is the Bing search engine — with researchers knuckling down to crack problems such as how to compute relevance and design the auction mechanisms underlying search advertising. Microsoft Research has also helped to improve the reliability of the Windows OS via the development of Microsoft’s Static Driver Verifier (which addresses the problem of trusting third-party software – and has made the Blue Screen Of Death a rarity, where once it was a running joke).
From the outside looking in, Microsoft’s research labs look like the jewel in the crown of a corporation founded ice ages ago, in technology terms, helping to ensure that, despite being the grand old daddy of tech — with a former sales chief for a CEO — Redmond continues to be a huge force to be reckoned with in many of the spheres in which it plays.
The labs are “the far seeing eyes of Microsoft,” says Andrew Blake, lab director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, giving the insider’s view. “Our job is to be a cauldron bubbling with ideas and the ideas are there to be plucked out at the right moment,” he tells TechCrunch.
“It’s sort of intrinsically difficult to predict what’s going to be important, so that’s why you have the cauldron bubbling, because let a thousand flowers bloom, let’s just see what happens. You genuinely don’t know what the outcomes are going to be.”
Microsoft spent a whopping $ 9.8 billion on R&D in its 2012 fiscal year but Blake says the labs account for “a small fraction” of that. “We don’t publish our budget but it’s a small fraction of the total spending on research and development,” he says. “I wouldn’t know how to spend [$ 9.8 billion]!”
On a press visit to Microsoft’s Cambridge Research lab, we are shown a glimpse of the huge variety of research projects bubbling away underneath the quiet corporate facade however modest its budget: from projects using machine learning to harness the power of big data to make better predictions about the Earth’s climate; to research into new user interface mechanisms that blend the real and the virtual so you can ‘hold’ a 3D ball of pixels in your hand; to a PhD project recycling Kinect components to fashion a wrist-mounted glove-less finger-motion-capturing device (below); to multidisciplinary research looking at making biological cells programmable using computer software.
If there’s a unifying thread connecting all the diverse projects going on under the Microsoft Research umbrella, it’s the sheer variety of research work being undertaken. This is not a model of corporate research tightly tied to product teams and immediate business aims, as is the case with Research at Google – which has a stated goal to “bring signiﬁcant, practical beneﬁts to our users, and to do so rapidly within a few years at most.”
Microsoft Research is more akin to a university research institution, says Blake, a structure that he argues makes for a far healthier and more sustainable entity. ”It’s clear to us that for a healthy research lab you need to have a renewal mechanism,” he says. “If you simply take people who are used to doing research and being free thinkers and you put a yoke on them, like on the oxen, and have them driving the technology wagon, eventually they get tired and where are they going to get their refreshment from? Where are the new ideas going to come from? So that’s why we have this as an integral part of our structure — right in in our DNA is basic research, and publishing, and going to conferences, and free association with the academic community.”
Blake notes that he has recently finished organising an academic conference in his own area of expertise — computer vision — adding that: “We senior people in Microsoft research, we take our turn doing those things and we publish a lot in those conferences and we have researchers visiting us from other universities and we visit other universities. There’s a lot of that stuff going on which is not that different from what you’d see in a university.”
Of course there are important distinctions to a university. For one thing Microsoft Research is privy to vast quantities of business data — which it can use to its advantage as a research aid. Instead of having to build a mini datacenter, say, to test research into improving the efficiency of data centers, Microsoft Research staff can “go and talk to the people who run the Azure business any time they want and try their ideas out and see if they’re scratching the right itch,” as Blake puts it. (And yes, the lab is working on a research project aimed at improving datacenter efficiency.)
So researchers certainly have relationships with product teams at Microsoft — but products being developed by the business do not limit the research work being undertaken, according to Blake. Information and ideas flow both ways.
“We may get a product group saying look we have got to develop this thing in a set time frame, are you going to help us? And mostly people are pretty keen to try and we find out whether we’ve got anything to help. The business goals come from the business; we are not business people here, we are researchers,” he says.
And then from the other direction: ”We go out there quite a lot and sort of sell our ideas [to the business] but it doesn’t bother us if the ideas aren’t taken up immediately because we kind of think maybe it’s not the right moment,” says Blake. “Business has its own cycles and you can’t do everything in business; you have to focus on whatever is the issue of the day. So it doesn’t put us off if we’ve invented something that we think is great and the business is not quite what they need at that moment.”
In the case of Kinect, says Blake, the Cambridge lab responded to commercial pressure from the business to develop the product by drawing on relevant bits of (in some cases years-old) research to see if they could be made to, well, connect — and that research ultimately went on to form the technological foundation for the commercial product.The Kinect people approached us and because we had ideas at our fingertips we were able to pluck one off the shelf.
“[Prior to the idea for Kinect] we were looking at all kinds of things speculatively, some of the things we never thought they would particularly make products,” says Blake. “But the Kinect people approached us and because we had ideas at our fingertips we were able to pluck one off the shelf – the one that we thought would fit – and it did. And the solution actually surprised us. We had these ideas at our fingertips. We didn’t think those ideas were good for this problem but then we were really under pressure, which we were because there was just a year to work with the Xbox team developing solutions, so we had to place a bet.
“We ended up putting some quite surprising things together but they were things that were in our background and that we had been playing with over years. It would have been no good if somebody had said play with those now. It has to be part of your research experience that you have all these things either at your fingertips or at least in the back of your mind.”
There is one clear influence the business has over the research labs: the type of researchers they choose to hire. “We’re probably not going to hire some analytical chemists because we can’t really see at the moment how that would really impinge on the business – not to say that it’s impossible — but we don’t go out to hire a lot of analytical chemists,” says Blake.
“We hire a lot of people around some of the core disciplines of computing and some of the fringe disciplines of computing and sometimes we go almost outside computing altogether — as with our computational science group, where the primary goal they’re doing is actually the science. But the link to the business is that they’re power users of computation tools, and often their users are stressing our systems so hard that new things get invented. So we have this cluster of areas where we hire expertise that is very broadly related to the business. But then we fire the starting gun and these guys go off and you don’t know what they’re going to come up with.”
Asked which of the current projects going on in the lab he considers most promising, Blake is unwilling to play favourites. “You’re asking me to choose between my favourite children – I cant possibly do that,” he jokes.
“A lot of the ability to do good research is not just deep analytical thinking, which is more how the public probably thinks of research, but with the exercise of good taste — it’s as much about what you choose not to look into, as what you choose to look into,” he says, echoing the Steve Jobs product mantra that ‘deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do’. “Opportunity costs, what looks promising, people use their gut instincts to choose things which they think are going to be exciting. That’s why it’s so critical that I hire the very best research staff because it’s that good taste that is one of the things that you’re bringing into the organisation — so I genuinely would find it very very hard to say what’s going to blossom.”
He is willing to touch on promising areas of research — machine learning being a discipline he believes will play an increasingly important role in building new generations of software systems. Machine learning techniques are already being used to build products — such as the Kinect gesture recogniser (which can determine whether you’re raising your elbow or your knee), and to power the Xbox’s recommendation engine for games, TV and movies (which crunches your viewing data to predict what else you might like). But in an age of big data and increasing complexity, machine learning technology is becoming an imperative for more and more applications.
“One of the very early lessons from artificial intelligence is that programming intelligent behaviour is just too hard — you just can’t capture it,” says Blake. “What’s better is for the software to develop in the way that humans learn, the way animals learn: by example. You show them things and those things get generalised and those generalisations become the software – you don’t actually write the software, not entirely. The critical bits get built automatically through these learning programs.
“We have a group here that does machine learning — it’s about one-fifth of the lab — and now those ideas are sort of spreading outside that group.”In the future maybe what Microsoft will be in is software for generating biological structures, it’s too important for us to ignore.
Specifically, says Blake, machine learning researchers are collaborating with researchers who design programming languages — to explore how software can be developed that can learn and understand uncertainty. ”Now what we’re doing is writing programs which instead of just adding numbers together or dealing with strings actually reasons about probabilities and will estimate how likely things are,” he says. “That’s quite a fundamental capability that we’re pioneers in.”
Asked to look further afield, to consider what Microsoft might be in 10 or 20 years’ time, should it still be around by then, Blake is quick to point out there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead, however farseeing the lab’s eyes or deep and rich its cauldron of ideas. But he does point to the “interface between computing and biology” as a “fascinating area” — and one Microsoft Research is “very involved” with now.
The multidisciplinary nature of this work means researchers with computer science backgrounds are teaming up with biologists. Or, in the case of Microsoft Research principal researcher, Luca Cardelli, have switched their focus from designing programming languages to trying to use computational thinking as a way to unlock biological mechanisms like cell division.
“What Luca and his collaborators have done is they’ve opened up that mechanism a bit further to show a bit more of the detail. But the insight they’ve got has come from computational thinking, if you like, having computational processes and analogy available to express what the cell is doing. And extraordinarily they just published the theoretical paper and at the same time a practical paper. An experiemental paper came out which showed sort of exactly the same thing — but in an experimental setting — so that’s quite a landmark piece of work,” says Blake.
“In the future maybe what Microsoft will be in is software for generating biological structures; it’s too important for us to ignore. We have no idea at the moment whether it makes a business,” he adds. “Some of the things we’re investigating seem way off any kind of business, but who knows whether they might be part of Microsoft’s business in the future.
“I think it’s pretty clear that in 20 years time the intersection of biology and computing will be a big thing… It might be that people are designing drugs by writing programs. Designing them from the ground up and making them out of DNA. They’d just send the programs off to be compiled; the way they’ll do that is they’ll just send them across the web to someone who produces DNA.”
Designing fragments of DNA certainly feels about as far away from churning out the next iteration — or even the next generation — of consumer technology as you can imagine a technology company could be. But Microsoft Corporation is undoubtedly a far stronger, future-proofed business for having such a far-sighted, far-reaching focus.
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Question by 19 year old girl: What are some fund-raising ideas for robotics? To enter the competition, we need around $ 6,000 and we more money to build the robot. Any ideas on how to make a large amount of money ??
Answer by LaynaWell I know car-washes can easily make $ 100-$ 200 on a nice day and if its school related or sponsored than some stores like wal-mart will double all of your profits. Krispy Kreme is also excellent. It seems stupid but it makes cash.
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Ask anyone who has decorated a home or even just one room in a house and they’ll tell you: It’s tough work. The overwhelming variety of pendant light fixtures, farmhouse sinks, transom windows, paint colors and wainscoting patterns make it clear why interior designers get paid to do the job.
People who prefer the do-it-yourself route may find inspiration in HGTV shows or Better Homes and Gardens magazine. But a free digital option is available in Houzz, which works as a website, iPhone app and iPad app.
[ See post to watch video ]
Depending on how you use it, Houzz can work like Pinterest, the idea- and photo-sharing social network, complete with lots of lush photos of designed rooms that users admire and save in personal Ideabooks for reference later. Also like Pinterest, users can follow one another. I followed a few designers and design firms with photos of sample rooms I liked. After following Siemasko + Verbridge, I saw all of the design firm’s activity on the website in a My Houzz section.
Unlike Pinterest, which makes everything public, Houzz Ideabooks and the comments people add to photos in their Ideabooks can be kept private, which I liked.
I’ve been using Houzz (a combination of the words “house” and “buzz”) on the Web and as an app for the past week, and I’ve already learned a lot. I moved into my new place last summer, so flipping through photos of living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens was motivating. I just might add a wallpapered accent wall in my living room if I ever find some spare time.
The Houzz website and apps show rooms designed by professionals, like the architect firm pictured, and identify items in rooms using green tags.
I felt most engaged in the site when I used Houzz.com, where I could read informative discussions among designers and people asking questions about rooms. Answers included details about product pricing, availability and design tips on things like how to combine black and brown in a room (answer: use throw pillows with both colors). The prospect of getting new clients draws designers to Houzz, where they offer free advice.
But the Houzz website holds so much information, it can feel jumbled and overwhelming—especially when compared with the simple, clean interfaces of the free Houzz iPhone and iPad apps.
I especially liked a recently added feature to the site and apps: In photos of rooms, tiny green tags hang from items that have been marked by professionals, and tapping on a tag displays details like where the product can be bought and how much it costs.
I found tags on things ranging from chandeliers to painted walls (a tag on a wall told the name and brand of its paint color). In the Houzz mobile apps, these tags swing back and forth whenever the iPhone or iPad moves—a whimsical touch. Next month, the site will launch Houzz Lightbox, which automatically starts a slide-show mode for scrolling through photos faster.
One source of frustration with Houzz was that certain products I thought about buying, like wallpaper from Schumacher & Co., were only available to people in the design trade. A spokeswoman said 11% of products on Houzz are in this category. But she said more manufacturers are starting to sell to both consumers and professional designers.
While Houzz can be used to motivate people to decorate their own homes, it will also direct them to local interior designers who created an admired room. Each photo of a room includes contact information about who designed it. If you prefer to limit your Houzz to photos of rooms done by designers in your area, you can filter by location. I looked at the D.C. Metro area and found thousands of nearby designers.
Many products used in these designer rooms cost thousands of dollars, but discussions about rooms may help people get ideas for lower-priced alternatives.
Tapping a tag displays details on the product, above. Pictured, a tagged room as seen on an iPad.
I really liked the look of Ochre’s Arctic Pear Chandelier, but by reading the discussion surrounding it, I found out that it cost around $ 5,300. (This information wasn’t readily available because Ochre doesn’t sell directly to consumers.) Another Houzz user suggested a $ 400 alternative from Pottery Barn that looked similar.
Other items are easier to buy. The $ 299 Balencia Folding Chair from Frontgate is clearly marked with a green tag and a link that takes you to Frontgate.com, where you can buy the chair.
I created several Ideabooks where I saved images of rooms I liked. Shortcuts in Houzz let me share photos with friends on Facebook and Twitter, or via email. After any user saves 10 images to an Ideabook, Houzz will start recommending similar images the user might like. These are generated by an algorithm and were in line with my taste.
People who are aware of their design deficiencies and who don’t think Houzz’s do-it-yourself encouragement will help them can open the site’s Professionals section. Here, over 1.3 million suppliers, remodeling and design professionals are listed for hire. These listings can be filtered by category or location.
Whether you are looking for an interior designer or are just looking to find some great decorating ideas, Houzz will help.
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Question by : What are some ideas for a final project for my robotics class using cubloc? I have already used light and music programs. It has to be different.
Answer by Tech MasterReally an interesting project you have chosen, If you search in web you can get a lot, some ideas and projects are here for you, hope this will help you
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Question by : What are the best ideas for the android application markets? I am new to android development , i would like to know which are the best apps which can give me good return if i develop it?
Answer by AnnettI had this idea and wanted to know if it could fly…
This could be a stand alone software or a feature bundled along with an mp3 player, or it could be associated with the mp3 player of user’s choice.
What it would do :
It would communicate with other phones and establish a connection. Suppose a “server” phone has established a link with, say 6 other devices, the server phone would then be able to play a song simultaneously on each and every phone at the same time, giving it a surround sound effect, or just a loud speaker effect.
How ? :
It would sync with other devices over various connectivity platforms like bluetooth, Wifi, etc. It would communicate with devices & establish a link. The server phone would then select a song, each phone will ask the user to locate the song(with exactly the same copy as on the server) on their device if present, else it will be queued to be transfered from the server. Once done, the server device would simply play the song, and each device will start the song at exactly the same time.
If possible, a combination of devices can render a surround sound effect, where the devices are strategically placed, and each device plays only specific frequencies, kind of like how a speaker channels sound.
You will get more ideas from http://www.bestappideas.com
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