mpthompson writes "Via RoboticsTrends' newsletter, RTS Lab in Tehran is developing Pars which is an aerial rescue robot quadcopter designed to save potential drowning victims. The ship-based quadcopter responds instantly when alerted to potential victims in the ocean, locating them with thermal imaging sensors, and dispensing life preservers directly over them. The current prototype carries one life preserver, but they are working on a new model to carry three life preserver rings. Future models may dispense up to 15 self-inflating rings. A launching platform for use on ships has been designed, but more intriguing is an idea for a remote stand-alone launching platform. It's good to see innovative robot tech coming from a country that is not normally well covered in Western media." Link to Original Source top
Biden Pledges More Efforts Against Internet Piracy
mpthompson (457482) writes "Just days after four Pirate Bay defendants were found guilty in Sweden, Vice President Joe Biden warned of the harms of Internet piracy at a private event organized by the MPAA in Washington, D.C. At the gala dinner on Tuesday evening, Biden lauded Hollywood, assailed movie piracy, and promised film executives that the Obama administration would pick "the right person" as its copyright czar. Biden also singled out Canada for criticism for not signing the treaty that led to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or placing other anti-circumvention restrictions on its citizens." top
mpthompson writes "A retired professor of physics at Oxford University, Josh Silver, is on a quest to help the world's poor see better. Intended for the poorest regions of the world where the optician to population ratio is 1:1000000, Silver has developed a pair of very inexpensive adaptive glasses which are "tuned" by the wearer to correct his or her own vision. The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane between tough outer plastic lenses, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. Some 30,000 pairs of his spectacles have already been distributed in 15 countries and next year a trial is set to begin in India which will distribute 1 million more pairs of glasses to the poor. His hope is to reach up to 100 million pairs annually and reach a billion of the world's poorest people by 2020. The implications of bringing glasses within the reach of poor communities are enormous, allowing people access to education and work that would otherwise be out of reach due to poor eyesight." Link to Original Source top
mpthompson (457482) writes "In this Technology Review article a Texas startup, EEStor, says that it has taken a big step toward high-volume production of an ultracapacitor-based energy-storage system that, if claims hold true, would far outperform the best lithium-ion batteries on the market. Despite skepticism in the research community, EEStor claims its system will have more than three times the energy density of the top lithium-ion batteries today, be safer, longer lasting, and have the ability to recharge in less than five minutes." top
mpthompson (457482) writes "According to Embedded.com beyond the robust growth, glitzy new high-end displays and marketing frenzy lurks the dirty little secret of HDTV: An unsettling number of sets are returned to the retail outlets where they are purchased. Consumers are often wowed by the performance of HDTVs displaying slow-moving, brightly colored video on the showroom floor, but are disappointed by the performance of the set when they get it home. There are many factors at play, but consumer confusion over jargon laden HDTV technology seems to be the major culprit. Manufacturers also blame the compression technologies used by cable and satellite providers to jam as many channels into their bandwidth as possible for consumer dissatisfaction. Is Joe Six-Pack really ready for digital TV?" top
mpthompson (457482) writes "I'm not sure what to make of this project, but others may be interested in a proposal to place a giant 300 meter Geostationary Banana over the Texas skies as part of an art intervention project in 2008. The helium filled bamboo and balsa banana will float between the high atmosphere and Earth's low orbit. For one month the banana will be clearly recognizable and visible both day and night from the ground. The one question I have is why does Texas get all the fun?" Link to Original Source top
mpthompson writes "Samsung has partnered with a Korean university to develop a robotic sentry equipped with a 5.5mm machine gun. Meant for deployment along the DMZ between North and South Korea the $200,000 robot employs sophisticated pattern recognition software for targeting humans. No three laws here, but the robot does include a speaker that can be used to politely issue a warning before taking the target out. The promotional video is both scary and funny at the same time."