A start-up company says it has developed a navigation system that is cheap enough to bring robots to the mass-consumer market. Read the story at News.com.
Geek stuff Archive
The doctrine that computing power doubles every 18 to 24 months has been considered gospel for the past three decades. Now it may be time for a new look.
Honda unveiled on Wednesday an improved version of its two-year-old robot, which can now do much more than ring the famed opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as it did in February this year. The new model, which Honda plans to begin leasing next month, can greet and recognize people, as well as perform advanced commands such as moving in the direction indicated by reading hand gestures. A small step closer to more functional AI and Robotics.
It could have been an "X-Files" episode: More than 20 years ago, U.S. airmen reported seeing a "strange glowing object" near a British air base. Before this week, the document has only been seen by about 20 people who requested access to it through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Update: Stop being a pain, ok? Read Rule No8 before posting too.
"Researchers at Microsoft's Media Presence Lab are developing a "virtual brain," a PC-based database that holds a record of an individual's complete life experience. Called MyLifeBits, the project aims to make this database of human memories searchable in the manner of a conventional search engine." Read the report at NewsFactor.
"Miniscule mobile telephones, tiny electronic organizers and portable DVD players are nice. But they'd be so much less cumbersome if they were surgically implanted under your skin. The chip, called the VeriChip, is about the size of a grain of rice, carries a number that identifies you and, the company says, may eventually provide a way to make sure that only the right people gain access to secure sites, corporate offices or even personal computers. The chip could also carry access to personal data, like medical information." Read the (enthusiastic!) article at NYTimes. Our Take: Implantable chips? Over my dead body. I have hard time liking the tooth implants already.
Workrave is a free program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Something possibly very important for all us (computer maniacs) OSNews readers. The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit. Refer to the feature comparison for a complete list of features, and how the program performs with respect to other programs on the market. Currently, the program runs on GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows .
"For over twenty years scientists have been dreaming about creating a real P.A.D.D., the slate device that the inhabitants of Star Trek used to record and access data as they moved around the starship Enterprise. There have been attempts to duplicate it over the years, but the Tablet PC may be the first successful incarnation. Some of this is timing - consumers are demanding more from their computers, and they want what the Tablet offers. The other reason is research - years of hard work and data gathering have made the Tablet PC possible." Read the article at Microsoft Research.
Gartner analysts took out their crystal balls and came up with a list of ten predictions that will impact enterprise businesses. The predictions cross over technology, economics, and social boundaries over that will morph during the next eight years. Read the article at ZDNet.
Unanswerable questions of our time, number one: If you're so smart, why ain't you rich? And number two: If your new PC's so much better than your old one, how come it don't work properly? Having a gigabyte of fast memory and a 2GHz processor is, for a computer, like having a Mensa-grade IQ is for us humans: looks great on paper but in practice it just means you get into more trouble faster. Read the editorial at ZDNet.
In the run up to the launch of PlayStation 2, Sony set out its ultimate vision for gaming technology. In a series of commercials run in the United States, the PlayStation 2 was hailed as a step in the evolution of the surgically implanted PlayStation 9 controller, tipped to hook up to the a transparent glassy globe which is the console through the retina.
People linking their brains together to form a global collective intelligence. Humans living well beyond 100 years. Computers uploading aspects of our personalities to a network. These could all happen this century with the proper investments in technology, according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce.
Computers of the future could be controlled by eye movements, rather than a mouse or keyboard. Scientists at Imperial College, London, are working on eye-tracking technology that analyses the way we look at things. The team are trying to gain an insight into visual knowledge - the way we see objects and translate that information into actions. Read the report at BBC News.
"Day after day since 1984, teams of programmers, linguists, theologians, mathematicians and philosophers have plugged away at a $60 million project they hope will transform human existence: teaching a computer common sense. They have been feeding a database named Cyc 1.4 million truths and generalities about daily life so it can automatically make assumptions humans make: Creatures that die stay dead. Dogs have spines. Scaling a cliff requires intense physical effort." Read the interesting article over at CNN.
"Robots that can climb stairs, crawl over ditches, survive three-story falls—and pester people who ignore your e-mails. Morticia is quite the capable robot. She can scramble over the outback at about 15 kilometers per hour, climb stairs, survive a 10-meter drop onto a concrete floor and even navigate underwater. Not bad for a little critter that’s less than 20 centimeters high and 65 centimeters long—about the size of a small suitcase." Read the rest of the interesting report at TechReview.
What the future holds? "The director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab says the age of smart, mobile machines is already beginning. You just have to know where to find them—say, in oil wells." Read the Q&A with Rodney Brooks at TechReview. "Computer scientists are developing systems that can enhance and enrich a user's view of the world. What will computer user interfaces look like 10 years from now?" Read the interesting analysis at ScientificAmerican.
"Canadian scientists have opened a powerful computing lab they said will help speed up research into diseases like cancer and diabetes by allowing researchers to view three-dimensional models of cells in a room similar to the holodeck in the Star Trek television series. The $3.7 million University of Calgary facility is a step ahead of the handful of other virtual-reality labs used in such research because users for the first time can build models on their own computers, rather than be tied up for days or weeks programming at the site, officials said." Read more about the Java3D-based system at ZDNews.
IDriveX (Apple employee) was recently lucky enough to visit the set of "Star Trek: Enterprise" whilst filming was in progress. He met the cast, toured the set and found out some closely-guarded secrets - the ship is powered by Macintosh computers and a light switch. Read his report at TrekToday and check some pictures in his web site showing the Apple G4 Cubes powering the monitors in the Enterprise starship (the interactive futuristic UI of Enterprise is written in.. Macromedia Director running under MacOS).
From ArsTechnica: "...I figured I'd show you guys what next-generation, avante garde computer design would probably look like were Jobs and Co. to be swallowed up in an earthquake or choke on their granola or something. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on these monstrosities: Intel's Concept PC Gallery , part of their Ease of Use Initiative. The fellow Mac user who sent me these aptly quipped, "Looks like they were designed people who were laughed straight out of Infinite Loop during their job interviews." A few of them actually look like they were designed by Georgia O'Keefe. (Ok, I'll concede that there are one or two interesting designs in there.)"
Saw that linked over from GeekNews: "Yes, that computer you see in the christmas tree is the actual one serving this web page and music! It is a Pentium 100 with 64MB RAM, running Red Hat Linux 7.2." Another interesting mini-report at Geeknews was about the ex-3Dfx employees, their loyalty and support (by releasing new drivers, working on them on their spare time!) to the history of 3Dfx and the never-released Voodoo5-6000 model, which had 128 MB of SDRAM on it.