Sep 19

Angee. The new (security) kid on the block.

AngeeA new company based in San Francisco has combined a computer, a home security system, and a personal assistant into a single device called Angee. The unit can be managed remotely and is able to send out alerts to owner’s smartphones, and features an HD video camera for both day and night use. Once set up, Angee gets to know the habits of family members, activating and deactivating as appropriate. In addition, its video camera revolves around its axis to provide full 360-degree surveillance of the area it is located in, as well as using several passive infrared motion-sensing tags. These tags are small discs that can be attached to doors and windows anywhere in the home, providing complete surveillance coverage. Angee can also be untethered from its power supply as it contains an integrated rechargeable battery which keeps it operating for another eight hrs without external power – also useful in the event of a power cut.  Angee identifies unusual events using a variety of parameters, including motion, access to the home, alterations in background sound, and voice recognition. The device also keeps track of family members in the home via their Bluetooth signal being emitted by their cell phones and by their voices. If Angee senses troublesome activity when homeowners are away, an alert is sent out through WIFI and the internet followed by video streaming from the device. It doesn’t stop there, with Angee including other neat features for example, if rain is forecast, Angee notifies house members to close the windows. Now all we need it to do is actually close the windows itself…maybe a future iteration!

Aug 27

Self-Sealing Resin Could Provide an Answer to Threats from Space Debris

A threat that all spacefarers fear is that from speeding orbital particles breaching the hulls of their spaceships. However, scientists might be on their way to solving this problem through the use of a new self-healing material. Developed by a group from the University of Michigan in collaboration with NASA, the novel material is comprised of thiol-ene-trialkylborane resin interposed between 2 polymer panels. Provided that the resin is held in the airtight area between the panels and out of contact with the air, it remains in its fluid form. However, the moment either of the panels are punctured by a speeding projectile such as space debris, the resin oozes from the opening and polymerizes in under a second upon contact with the air. Consequently, a strong airtight plug is formed by the resin at the point of the breach. It is expected that this new innovation will be eventually applied to ‘at-risk’ areas on the hulls of space vehicles and astronaut living spaces. In addition, since both the resin and the panels happen to be both clear, it is hoped that they can also be adapted to replace the windows in spacecraft portholes to create much safer spacecraft overall. The scientific study was recently published in the journal ACS Macro Letters.

Aug 11

Humanized Robots

Robotics studies are moving along at such a quick pace these days that it is often tough to identify the significant turning points in the development of this modern technology. One significant step forward is a new robot being developed at MIT called Hermes. Like other robots, it’s completely made of inorganic materials and electronics, but its actions as well as its reflexes are human as it is controlled by a human operator. In order to acheive this, the robot feeds back relevant information concerning its equilibrium and spacial positioning in real-time so the human controller has the ability to readjust his/her feet and physical body accordingly. That human-generated data in turn is then relayed in real-time back to the robot, thus keeping it balanced. This technique addresses one of the major issues for humanoid robots ie. keeping upright on both feet is no mean feat. Simply put, the reflexes of the machine to a changing surface or from poke in the rear are essentially human. In addition, the mechanical graspers of Hermes are also special. These three-fingered claws can easily pick up objects, crush tin cans or even pour coffee. Utilizing joysticks designed into the human exoskeleton, the human controller is able to grab items in front of the robot as well as interact with the environment with more precision compared to a machine of this type would normally have. There are plenty of benefits to having a human controller command a robot, as the machine can take advantage of hundreds of years of human brain evolution. In return, the human can take advantage of the robot’s resilience by being able to stay out dangerous situations for example, after a natural catastrophe or travel to another world. To top it all off, the robot also comes with is a 3D headset that makes it possible for the human controller to see whatever in front of Hermes. Whether attempting to maneuver through a set of enclosures or trying to pick things off the floor, it gives the operator a greater feeling of awareness of the robot’s environment.

Aug 06

The New Cool kid on the Block

NipiA new Kickstarter project has recently been launched for the Nipi Cooler, a cold store cooler with a twist. The Nipi Cooler has 47 litres of cooling space, which can fit up to 70 tins of your favorite beverage, but additionally it also has 1,000 lumens worth of interior and exterior LED lighting. Not only that but the Nipi Cooler also comes with its very own photovoltaic panels, although oddly these aren’t employed for chilling process. Instead the contents of the Nipi Cooler are maintained at low temperatures using a double-insulated cover and extra-thickness walls. The photovoltaic panels supply enough peak energy to power the LED lights as well as several digital gadgets, such as smartphones or stereo speakers. The solar panels can be positioned on the cooler’s external lid or installed adjacent to the Nipi Cooler. It is also possible to attach more panels to boost power output. Excess energy generated is stored in a 14,000 mAh lithium battery, with a 2nd battery available as an optional extra. There are 2 USB interfaces on the cooler’s exterior for charging gadgets and a further 2 ports within its dry lockable storage space designed for storage of valuables. A full battery can charge a cell phone seven times before becoming depleted itself, and it take no more than an hour to fill a cell phone when also using the solar panel. To top it all off, the Nipi Cooler also sports cup holders, cutting board and its extra-large wheels for off-road use. Looks like just what one needs for the next BBQ party!

Jul 30

Is Someone Else Driving Your Car?

JeepIf you drive a late version vehicle, driver-assist technology currently operates a great deal of it on your behalf. Yet if that car is hooked up to the internet also, as many are, you could be giving a scary level of control to hackers.

A pair of computer jocks have put on a remarkable demonstration by logging right into a Jeep Cherokee’s computer system from another location, while it was being operated and methodically taking control of the automobile’s functions. First, they hit him with freezing air from the air-conditioning system, then they blasted him through the stereo at full volume. They also beamed an image of themselves to the automobile’s computer screen as well as turning on the windshield wipers at maximum speed, at the same time as squirting cleansing fluid onto the windscreen making it hard to see.

However these were merely warmups to the main event– subsequently, they took control of the motor and turned it off totally, leaving the driver powerless and drifting on the freeway as traffic flashed past all around him. Then, as soon as he was off the freeway, they demonstrated how they might entirely take control of the brakes as well as the steering of the vehicle– only at slow-moving speeds and backwards this time, but they’re working on uncovering new exploits each day.

The two computer jocks, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, had formerly demonstrated comparable abilities when plugged into an auto’s on-board diagnostics port, however this time around they broke in from their own room, making use of an exploit they’ve identified in the Jeep’s internet-enabled entertainment system. They think it’s an exploit that ought to work on most internet-connected late design Chryslers – all they need is the automobile’s IP address and they’re in. Scary stuff!

Dec 30

Greenhouse on Water

JellyFish BargeItalian design studio Studiomobile has teamed up with the University of Florence to create a prototype drifting greenhouse. The Jellyfish Barge runs off-grid and makes its own fresh water through an onboard system of solar distillation.

The Jellyfish Barge consists of a glass greenhouse underpinned by a wood infrastructure. It can additionally be connected to virtually any number of other Jellyfish Barge systems making a larger overall structure. Inside the greenhouse, water for crops is generated utilizing solar energy stills.

The greenhouse can use the water it sits on for irrigation, whether that happens to be fresh water, ocean water, and even polluted water. The water is made useable for irrigation by treating it with 7 solar stills.

There’s also a rainwater catchment device aboard and Studiomobile claims the Jellyfish Barge can generate around 150 liters of fresh water each day.

The Jellyfish Barge includes hydroponic equipment too, that Studiomobile states is quite effective and can save approximately 70 percent more water compared to conventional hydroponic systems. This system can easily make use of around 15 percent seawater in order to enhance performance. The automatic system provides distant monitoring and also management of the hydroponics.

Studiomobile says that one Jellyfish Barge can produce adequate food to sustain two households.

Sep 29

Is Your Smart Phone Secure?

smartphone lockSmart phone users are wising up to the possible security threats of unencrypted text messaging as well as becoming cautious of government encroachment into their daily lives. In addition, some employees need encrypted telephone calls for information-sensitive company business while others simply do not appreciate the thought of intruders spying on their private lives. In response to these various threats, increasing numbers of apps are being created for both iOS and Android (and even, in some cases, the personal computer) to secure mobile transmissions, both for text messaging as well as for phone calls.

 

If you are looking for Text Messaging encryption apps, then check these out:

And for telephone call encryption, the following are some of the more popular ones:

 

 

Sep 22

Gelsight Sensor for Robots

Robot armScientists at MIT and Northeastern College have integrated a visual sensing unit, known as the GelSight sensor, into the manipulator arm of a robot. They utilized the GelSight sensing unit to image a USB symbol on a standard plug. For it to do this with even more accuracy, the cube-shaped sensing unit used 4 LEDs, each from a different angle. By examining the relative levels of the LED light on numerous parts of the USB icon, the sensing unit was able to determine the plug’s three-dimensional placement relative to the robot’s gripper. The bot then relocated the plug end of the cord over to a USB outlet and properly inserted it. Without the sensing unit, the robot could not insert the plug, as it could not figure out the USB plug’s orientation. This is the main reason why robots usually have to have items exactly set in place beforehand. The GelSight sensor might enable robotics to be a lot more versatile when maneuvering objects in the future.

Mar 02

New York City’s New Transport Idea

East River SkywayA strategy is being proposed to alleviate the over-crowding of New York City’s current transport facilities with a cable car solution much like London’s Emirates Air Line. The East River Skyway proposition pictures an express city gondola that would certainly provide travelers speedy transportation from Manhattan to Queens, decreasing trip times as well as offering an awesome bird’s-eye view of The Big Apple’s skyl

Jan 21

Squid Skin Promises Future Advances in Screen Tech

squidResearchers have long admired the squid’s capacity to pick up the colour of its environments, then immediately transform its very own skin pigmenting it so as to camouflage itself. Therefore, a several programs have actually tried to develop synthetic substances that are equally able to alter colour on demand. Among the most recent investigations, being led by associate lecturer Stephan Link at Rice College, could eventually lead to enhanced LCD screens.