NASA’s got some of the sharpest minds in the world (actual, you know, rocket scientists), sure, but they’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes you’ve got to look outside for the best solution to a complicated problem. In recent years, that’s meant the organization has partnered with the likes of SpaceX to help transfer materials to the International Space Station. The desire to look outside has also taken the form of competitions, which, in the past, have sought to improve the efficiency of solar arrays and help better understand the massive amounts of data collected from various missions over a 30-year period.
This latest competition, a partnership with TopCoder, deals with the unspeakably appealing category of space robots, aiming to improve the vision of NASA’s head of menial space station tasks, Robonaut. At present, the ‘bot’s got the sort of sight problems that would have no doubt barred its fleshier counterparts from making their way through the training program.
Source: TopCoderRelated Posts:
Shipping times for Apple’s iPhone 5 have improved from 3-4 weeks, to 2-3 weeks as of today. Times are now one week better for all models of iPhone, including 16 through 64GB of storage and on all carriers. The iPhone 5 expected ship times had dropped to 3-4 weeks as of Tuesday, Sept. 18, a few days after pre-orders began, and remained there until today.
The improvement in ship times indicates that either A) initial demand is dropping off, or that B) Apple has managed to improve its supply chain yield in order to meet demand. Some recent reports suggest that the latter might be more likely, like the Wall Street Journal’s article from mid-October that described the reasons behind iPhone 5 shortages, and suggested progress was being made towards improving the process.
Apple’s iPhone 5 continues to be hard to find in retail stores, and Reuters reported last week that Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said to continue expecting constrained supplies because of continued problems meeting demand, but analyst estimates last week suggested we’d see supply and demand balance improve. An jump to to 2-3 weeks, while still not ideal for those hoping to get their hands on a device quickly. should come as a welcome surprise to anyone who was hoping to have the device delivered in time to wrap it up as a holiday gift this season.Related Posts:
You can thank the WiFi alliance for a number of things, and soon you can add TDLS to that list. That’s Tunneled Direct Link Setup, if you were wondering, and it’s a standard for creating direct links between devices. If this sounds familiar, that’s understandable, but TDLS has its own tricks, like working in the background of a network to optimize performance, and it can even work over a WiFi Direct connection. For example two compliant devices can measure the signal strength on the network, and determine if a direct link would be better or not. TDLS also allows devices to communicate at the fastest standard available (802.11b / g / n etc.) even if this is superior to that available on the rest of your hardware. As this is a client-based protocol, you won’t need to upgrade your access point either. If this hasn’t got implications for better media streaming written all over it, we don’t know what has. Especially as the certification is available to TVs, tablets, phones, cameras and gaming devices. There’s only a handful of test products sporting the official approval at this time, but with names such as Broadcom, Marvell and Realtek in the mix, it shouldn’t be long before it starts finding its way into front rooms and pockets proper.
Question by Best Answer: Could a computer write software and improve itself copy itself and with the help of robotics.? I think that we are nearing the point where human driven design is necessary. If we can create a software program that can learn it can design , build, and do all work.
Answer by Andyno way, computers still need human use to work they can and do do stuff on there own its just in the backgrond such as reorgasnieing files when u open it but they wouldn’t be able to ‘deciede’ what to do on there own
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Those goggles you see above aren’t for stylish looks while playing dodgeball — they’re the keys to a potentially important discovery about short-term memory. Duke University‘s Institute for Brain Sciences found that subjects playing catch with goggles simulating strobe lights were noticeably better at memorizing information during tests, even a full day after playtime was over. It’s not hard to see why: with a limited amount of time to see that incoming ball, participants had to more vividly remember brief scenes to stay on top of the game. We don’t yet know if there’s any kind of long-term boost, so don’t get your hopes up that strobe lights are the shortcuts to permanent photographic memory. Still, the findings suggest that frequent nightclubbers might be on to something… or, at least, have a better idea of where they left their keys the morning after.
[Image credit: Les Todd, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences]
Website: www.householdhacker.com In today’s episode, we show you how to craft a directional antenna to improve your Xbox 360 wireless connection. This will reduce latency (ping times) and improve your general connection if your router signal is weak. You will need 1) Roll of clear tape 2) Aluminum Foil 3) Empty chip bag 4) SporkDisclaimer: As with this experiment and all other HouseHold Hacker videos. We cannot be held responsible for damage or mistakes made if attempting the experiments. These projects are for demonstration purposes only and should not be attempted at home. Video Rating: 4 / 5Related Posts:
If we were Tim Cook, we wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation of wasting some of that $ 100 billion on something extravagant, like a crystal iPhone dock or private theme park. Instead the boys in Cupertino remain dogged in quietly acquiring start-ups and hoping no-one notices. Chomp is the latest technology company whose staff will find themselves with a pass for the Infinite Loop car park. It’s an app discovery business with technology reportedly far in advance of the App Store’s current keyword-based search and given that there are 500,000 apps, it’s unsurprising that people aren’t finding what they need. You may recall that Chomp powered Verizon’s Android searches too, a situation we don’t expect to last very long as soon as it’s time to renegotiate that contract. The companies will be mixing their sauces together in the hope of making some good goulash, although as usual, we don’t expect to get a taste for a while.
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Sony has announced a new line of image sensors that will, in all likelihood, end up in dozens of smartphone models. The improvement is not in megapixels, which have more or less hit a ceiling, but in the actual layout of the light-sensitive wells that make up the pixels in the image.
The new sensors have, in addition to the usual red, green, and blue-filtered pixels, an unfiltered pixel element as well that will accept any wavelength of light. It can’t be used to determine color, but it will add (they say) to both sensitivity and brightness. Essentially what they’re doing is including a hard luminance-detecting element. This is good, much more accurate than taking the average from the RGB elements, and should in fact make low-light photography significantly better.
The press release shows off an improved low-light shot (seen above) and a video where an “HDR” function is used to reduce blowouts and even out exposure. By decoupling the color from the luminance measurements, more latitude is given to the image processor to create an image within clipping boundaries.
The idea isn’t new; in fact, LCDs already exist that use the image-producing (as opposed to capturing) variant of this. Sharp’s “Quattron” TVs have a fourth, yellow pixel that adds to both brightness and warmth. It’s different, of course, but the principle is similar.
And interestingly, Sony isn’t the first to do this, or at least they are not the first to attempt it: Kodak, the poor dears, were granted a patent for this very thing in 2007. It’s very likely that Sony developed this independently, but may have had to license the technology from Kodak in order to actually sell this type of sensor. Given how aggressively Kodak has been pushing its patents in the last year, the timing seems unlikely to be a coincidence — but it is not stated one way or the other. Sony says, however, that the technology was unfeasible until they designed this new chip around it, which reduces the area needed for a photosite and presumably enables higher pixel density.
Don’t expect any devices to ship with these new RGBW sensors for a while: the first 13-megapixel sensors will be shipping in June, and 8-megapixel ones in August. So phones and cameras using this technology likely won’t be appearing until the end of 2012. Something to look forward to.
It’s no secret that batteries are holding back mobile technology. It’s nothing against the battery companies, which are surely dedicating quite a lot of R&D to improving their technology, hoping to be the first out of the gate with a vastly improved AA or rechargeable device battery. But battery density has been improving very slowly over the last few years, and advances have had to be in processor and display efficiency, in order to better use that limited store of power.
Researchers at Northwestern University claim to have created an improved lithium ion battery that not only would hold ten times as much energy, but would charge ten times as quickly.
It’s probably safe to call it a breakthrough.
Inside Li-ion batteries, there are innumerable layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Lithium ions fill the spaces between these layers, and when the battery is being charged, these atoms must creep their way physically to the edge of the sheet in order to get down to the next layer and make room for more ions. The rate of recharge is limited by how fast these ions can go from layer to layer. One solution tried before was replacing the carbon sheets with silicon, which for some chemical reason can hold many times the lithium ions — but the silicon would expand and contract with the charge cycles, quickly breaking.
Professor Harold Kung, researcher at NWU and lead author of the paper (published this month in the journal Advanced Energy Materials), has discovered not just one, but two techniques for improving this charge process. His lab decided to combine the strengths of both materials, carbon and silicon, by populating the area between the graphene sheets with silicon nanoclusters. These little clusters greatly increase the amount of ions that can be kept in the battery, and because they are small and the graphene is flexible, their size changes are manageable. Thus, the charge capacity of the battery was improved by, Kung says, a factor of ten.
But that’s not all. Kung’s lab also thought of perforating the graphene sheets, allowing ions to take a “shortcut” to the next layer. They call these 10-20nm holes “in-plane defects,” and they essentially rust them out. The result? Charging is ten times faster.
A possible downside is a faster degradation process; after 150 charges and discharges, the batteries showed only a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed. Of course, those 150 charges would be the energy equivalent of 1500 charges of today’s batteries.
Naturally this huge leap in battery power and efficiency won’t be in your phones next week; they estimate they could be on the market in three to five years — cold comfort to iPhone 4S owners who are only getting seven or eight hours of on time. But the process is changed enough that existing manufacturing techniques are likely insufficient.
The full paper, In-Plane Vacancy-Enabled High-Power Si-Graphene Composite Electrode for Lithium-Ion Batteries, is available to subscribers here.
Take it from a former retail drone: trying to give customers a good shopping experience can be tough when you have to jostle with other employees for open computers. In-store networks are slow, and more often than not, the computers are even slower. It’s enough of a process that a once free-flowing conversation can dry up into an awkward silence while the computer struggles to find the widget in question.
Thankfully, hardware retailer Lowe’s has decided to do something about that lackluster experience: they have (among other things) purchased 42,000 iPhones to make their employees walking, talking sources of home improvement information.
The purchase is partially in response to a similar move made by their orange rival Home Depot. Last year, Home Depot spent $ 60 million on a fleet of Motorola mobile devices that were meant to keep employees with customers and out of the computer line. Lowe’s has similar hopes for their iPhones: they will allow employees to perform on-the-go product lookups, check stock, and pull up instructional videos for customers. Each Lowe’s location is slated to receive 25 iPhones, but the rollout schedule has yet to be announced.
Lowe’s wants to expand the capabilities of their in-store iPhones, assuming this first rollout goes well. The iPhones presumably lock out certain features to reduce the amount of employee shirking that’s possible, so mundane features on the short list include mobile calling and email. Lowe’s also hopes to add the ability to ring up purchases directly from the phone a la Square.
According to Lowe’s CIO Mike Brown, the plan is to “[play] catch-up with the customer psyche,” which shines a bit of light on the company’s choice of mobile device.
The iPhone is, for better or worse, a status device — the “cool” alternative to Home Depot’s own Motorola handhelds. The company’s recent move to replace CRT displays with flat panels and installing WiFi in stores also point to a new strategy for them. It looks like Lowe’s is trying to fight a war of positioning: they want to assume the role of the modern, forward-thinking hardware store. Whether or not it’ll pan out has yet to be seen, but they at least deserve some credit for trying to keep the retail run-down to a minimum.