New and Emerging Technology News part 131 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Friday, 31 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 131

Logitech's Wireless Touchpad supports multi-touch gestures on a Windows 7 PC
Apple released its Magic Trackpad in July 2010 but it wasn’t until the release of Lion a year later with its support for multi-touch gestures borrowed from iOS that the device really came into its own. With Windows 8 also set to embrace touch in a big way Logitech has provided a way for Windows 7 users to get is some early Windows touch experience with the Logitech Wireless Touchpad.  Read More
The 2011 Chevy Equinox comes with active noise cancelation technology to combat the noise ...
Charged with the task of getting the fuel economy of the 2011 Chevy Equinox down to 32 mpg on the highway and beat out the 28 mpg-rated Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, GM engineers employed some rather unconventional fuel efficiency technology – active noise cancellation (ANC). By using the same technique used in noise cancelling headphones, the team was able to let the Equinox’s engine run at a more fuel efficient rpm without the associated low frequency noise and achieve what GM claims is segment-leading fuel economy.  Read More
According to Intel, laptops have become more affordable in emerging markets
It wasn't that long ago that putting aside enough cash for a laptop would entail an extended period of penny pinching for most people. As is the nature of technological change, as the years have gone by the computing power of the average laptop has increased while their size and cost has decreased. Data released by Intel at its 2011 Investor Meeting shows just how much more affordable the average laptop is these days for people in various parts of the world.  Read More
Diamond Planets, good headlines, public opinion and the carbon lobby
Matthew Bailes is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and was one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of the diamond planet which received widespread news coverage over the last few weeks. In a well-penned article, Bailes discusses the reaction to the discovery and raises some very interesting questions about the way the scientific method is used and abused by the media.  Read More
Volkswagen is set to debut the Beetle R, a high-performance design study of its existing B...
If you're one of the people who bemoan how Volkswagen's "new" Beetle has strayed from the original's simple, utilitarian nature ... well, you might want to stop reading now. The German automaker is debuting its high-performance Beetle R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. Currently still a design study, it was created at the Volkswagen R GmbH facility, which in the past was the birthplace of R versions of the Golf and Scirocco. The Beetle R is based on the existing turbocharged Beetle 2.0 TSI and sports some unique design features.  Read More
A newly-developed gel could make lithium batteries cheaper and more damage-tolerant, and a...
Lithium-ion batteries have certainly been a boon to electronic devices, offering much longer run times than their alkaline counterparts. There is still room for improvement, however. Existing lithium batteries can short circuit, they don't stand up to damage, and they can only be made in a limited variety of shapes. Now, scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a polymer gel that could be used to make lithium batteries with none of those shortcomings - plus, they should be cheaper.  Read More
The Car Connectivity Consortium is set to unveil the first products utilizing its MirrorLi...
Smartphones have become a large part of many peoples' daily lives, while computer-based in-vehicle infotainment systems are on their way to becoming standard equipment in all new vehicles. While there are some smartphone apps that are able to interact with some in-car systems, for the most part the two have been leading separate existences. The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), however, wants to change that. The group, which contains high-profile member companies from the automotive and mobile communications industries, has established a new technical standard for two-way communications between in-dash displays and applications running on smartphones. It's named MirrorLink, and the first products utilizing the standard will be unveiled this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.  Read More
Hallway of capsules at 9h Capsule Hotel, Kyoto (image from 9h)
A "capsule hotel" is Japan's solution for cheap accommodation for guests primarily wanting to sleep and nothing else. Though the idea sounds similar to a hostel, the sleeping quarters consists of "capsules" measuring approximately 2m x 1m x 1.25m/6.5ft x 3.3ft x 4ft (that's not much bigger than a coffin) and stacked next to and on top of one another. A separate section of the hotel houses the public bathing facilities, lockers for personal belongings and if you are lucky a restaurant or vending machine. It is also common to find men- or women-only capsule hotels, however they are predominantly used by men.  Read More
Utilizing Augmented Reality technology, the Touch Vision Interface enables seamless touch ...
Developed by the Teehan+Lax Labs team, the Touch Vision Interface is an interesting idea that looks at using a smartphone's camera to manipulate other screens such as LCD monitors, laptops or TVs. Using the onboard camera, the system would send touch input coordinates in real time from the smartphone's touchscreen to a video feed displayed on the secondary screen.  Read More
The EXO is an electric personal watercraft, which riders lie on in a prone position
Of the various water toys for big boys that were unveiled at last week’s Cannes Boat Show, one of the more intriguing was the EXO, from French company EXOCONCEPT. Perhaps the best way of describing it would be to say that it’s like an electric Jet Ski, but the rider lies down on top of it in a prone position, instead of sitting on it.  Read More

Maserati's Kubang SUV - more details
We covered Maserati's new sport luxury SUV prior to the announcement at IAA in Frankfurt earlier this week, but there's bit more info plus a lot more pics available.  Read More
A Cornell robot successfully identifies a keyboard within a cluttered room
If we're ever going to have robot butlers, then they're going to have to learn how to figure things out for themselves. After all, if you have to reprogram the robot for every slight variation on a task, you might as well do it yourself. Scientists at Cornell University's Personal Robotics Laboratory are tackling the formidable challenges posed by "machine learning" by programing robots to observe new situations and proceed accordingly, based on what they already know from the past.  Read More
Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock at IDC 2011 (Image: DailyTech)
Thunderbolt definitely seems to be gaining momentum with another peripheral for the high-speed interface rearing its head. Spotted by DailyTech at this week's 2011 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, the Thunderbolt Express Dock from Belkin connects with a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to provide the same docking station capabilities found on Apple's recently announced Apple Thunderbolt Display (but without the 27-inch monitor).  Read More
The Climate Reality Project has just kicked off its '24 Hours of Reality' live streamed ev...
The Climate Reality Project (formerly known as the Alliance for Climate Protection) has just kicked off its "24 Hours of Reality" live streamed event. The presentation runs 24 hours, is available live in 13 languages, and is the beginning of a worldwide campaign to present the latest information about the climate crisis and reject misinformation.  Read More
A scientist uses STAN to calibrate a four-camera 3D TV system(Photo: KUK Filmproduktion)
When it comes to producing 3D TV content, the more cameras that are used to simultaneously record one shot, the better. At least two cameras (or one camera with two lenses) are necessary to provide the depth information needed to produce the left- and right-eye images for conventional 3D, but according to researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, at least four cameras will be needed if we ever want to achieve glasses-free 3D TV. Calibrating that many cameras to one another could ordinarily take days, however ... which is why Fraunhofer has developed a system that reportedly cuts that time down to 30 to 60 minutes.  Read More
The Sphero smartphone-controlled ball is now available for preorder, and should be in stor...
Of all the products on display at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, one that drew a particularly large number of spectators was ... a ball. Not just any ball, mind you. Developed by Colorado-based tech firm Orbotix, Sphero is a self-propelled rolling ball that users remotely control via Bluetooth, using an app on their smartphone. While it was still in the prototype stage when we last saw it, Sphero has now been redesigned for the retail market, and is available for preorder.  Read More
HTC's 4.3-inch Sensation flagship smartphone will soon be available in an upgraded version...
Introduced back in May, HTC's 4.3-inch Sensation flagship smartphone will soon be available in an upgraded version, in the form of the Sensation XE. It comes as the first product from HTC to be manufactured in partnership with Beats Electronics. Featuring Beats Audio technology and a remote-equipped pair of Beats by Dr. Dre earphones, the Sensation XE packs a faster dual-core 1.5GHz CPU and a higher capacity 1730 mAh battery.  Read More
This artist's impression shows the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, launched on Sept. ...
NASA has recently announced that an out-of-control, retired satellite will come crashing into the earth's surface "sometime" towards the end of September. Furthermore, the satellite, which is about the size of a school bus and weights over 6 tonnes (6.6 tons), will impact the earth in an unknown location between Canada and South America. The exact time and location will remain a mystery until two hours before the event, and that's with six thousand miles (10,000 km) of uncertainty.  Read More
Illac Diaz (right) in a home equipped with one of his Solar Bottle Bulbs(Photo: Isang Litr...
Perhaps you’ve performed that old camping trick before, where you created a lantern by shining a flashlight into a water-filled bottle. While that may have helped you find your marshmallows in the dark, imagine how much brighter that bottle would have been if it were lit directly by the Sun. Bright enough, it turns out, that it could brilliantly light up the interior of a one-room house. That’s the idea behind the Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project – it’s bringing daytime indoor lighting to the homes of the poor in the Philippines, by installing water-filled plastic pop bottles through holes in their roofs.  Read More
Land Rover has taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Sport Concept in Frankf...
Land Rover has taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Concept in Frankfurt ... and it has a stablemate - the convertible DC100 Sport. The Concepts are intended to float new ideas and spark debate on the design of the next-gen Defender which is slated for production 2015. Land Rover has also tossed-up some interesting possibilities as to what sort of high-tech kit might find a home in future models.  Read More
 
The Windows 8 Start screen borrows heavily from Windows Phone 7
Microsoft previewed the next version of its Windows OS in June at D9 and a few more details leaked out shortly after that, but the biggest reveal came this week with Microsoft giving a preview of Windows 8 to kick off its Build conference, followed by the Developer Preview hitting Microsoft servers for anyone to download. With the surge in popularity of touchscreen devices over the past few years the new OS is designed to run on a wider variety of devices and chipsets and embraces touch and apps in a big way with the new "Metro style" interface.  Read More
Volvo Concept You
Among the huge list of Concept Cars taking to the revolving stage in Frankfurt this week is Volvo's Concept You. Put forward as a design study for the company's next large sedan, the You takes on an elongated "fastback profile" and crams some ambitious tech ideas into the cockpit while piling on the luxury trimmings, from suede roof lining all the way down to wooden floors covered in hand-tufted carpet.  Read More
Oshkosh Defense's new light combat vehicle, the L-ATV, could replace the U.S. Military's H...
Much as Hummer-owners may like to speak of their vehicles' military pedigree, the fact is that the U.S. Army now wants to replace its Humvees with vehicles that are better suited for use in war zones, particularly when it comes to protecting occupants. One potential Humvee-replacement has just been announced by Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense - the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle or L-ATV.  Read More
Sony has held a press conference to outline the PS Vita's release date, as well as a lineu...
Sony has used this week's Tokyo Game Show 2011 exhibition to outline more details of its next handheld gaming console, the PS Vita. The announcement included a lineup of titles and accessories to be available at the launch date, which is set for December 17 in Japan.  Read More
The Owl 360 is a rearview camera and monitor system for bicycles
What do cars have that bicycles don’t? Lots and lots of things, actually, but one of those is a rearview mirror. While both cyclists and drivers have to shoulder check when changing lanes, cyclists additionally have to twist all the way around in order to see what’s directly behind them. Helmet- and handlebar-mounted side mirrors are certainly one way to minimize that twisting, but for people who like stuff, there’s another – mini rearview camera and monitor systems. Cerevellum has just started taking orders for one called the Hindsight, which now has a competitor known as the Owl 360.  Read More
Dyson has unveiled a room-heating version of its Air Multiplier bladeless fan, named the D...
Introduced in 2009, Dyson’s Air Multiplier bladeless fan is still probably the trendiest, most unique device one can buy for moving cooling air around a room. Today, the British company announced that consumers will now be able to use that same bladeless technology for heating a room, in the form of the Dyson Hot fan heater.  Read More
The Digital Origami Emergency Shelter was inspired by a single water molecule and is made ...
Australian architecture firm LAVA exhibited its inhabitable "Origami Cave" as part of The Emergency Shelter exhibition, which was held in Sydney earlier this month. The exhibition featured architects from around the globe including Ateliers Jean Nouvel, PTW Architects, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, Cox, Koichi Takada Architects, Sou Fujimoto and Terunobu Fujimori. Each architect was asked to create a shelter that would not only protect people from the elements during an emergency situation, but would also provide a space that was secure and comfortable in the aftermath of a disaster.  Read More
Running Android 2.3, the new Walkman comes with 4.3-inch WVGA (480x800) touchscreen and po...
Sony has taken the wraps off its first Android-based Walkman media player - the Z-1000. Running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), Sony's would-be iPod touch rival comes well spec'd with its 4.3-inch WVGA (480x800) touchscreen, NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core CPU platform and 512MB of RAM.  Read More
The 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1
Yamaha's R1 will gain a six-mode MotoGP-developed Traction Control System (TCS) for the 2012 model year, along with a new ECU (Engine Control Unit) with new mapping. It's the only real change to the R1 for next year though, and Yamaha's premier sports bike will again be the heaviest of the liter bikes.  Read More
The Space Launch System (SLS) is designed to expand man's reach in the solar system (Image...
With the curtain coming down on its Space Shuttle Program, NASA has set its sights on the future with the announcement of a heavy-lift launch vehicle that is designed to take man beyond the moon to explore near-Earth asteroids, Mars and its moons, and beyond. Dubbed the Space Launch System (SLS) its configuration harks back to the Saturn V rocket-based systems employed to propel Apollo astronauts to the moon but also incorporates technology developed in the Shuttle Program.  Read More

Sonnet's US$150 EchoExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter
The flow of Thunderbolt peripherals onto the market definitely seems to be building steam with this latest example from Sonnet bringing expanded connectivity options to those with machines packing Apple's new I/O technology. Sonnet's US$150 EchoExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter uses a PCIe interface to link a range of existing peripherals such as USB 3.0, FireWire 800, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet and high speed memory cards through a single Thunderbolt port.  Read More
Fisker Surf
Shown for the first time at IAA in Frankfurt last week, the Fisker Surf is a luxury/sports "shooting brake" or station wagon, built on the same base as the Fisker Karma (electric drive with gas-engined range extender), though the Ferrari FF look makes it a lot easier on the eye. The Surf can be expected in showrooms in the first half of 2013 with a price tag in the low six figures.  Read More
A new system that puts smartphones into 'subconscious mode' could boost battery run times ...
University of Michigan researchers have proposed a new power management system for smartphones that could dramatically improve battery life. Working with doctoral student Xinyu Zhang, computer science and engineering professor Kang Shin has created a proof-of-concept system known as E-MiLi, or Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening, that addresses the energy waste that occurs when "sleeping" phones are looking for incoming messages and clear communication channels. For users on the busiest networks, it could extend battery life by up to 54 percent.  Read More
ARCHOS has announced September availability for the first of its new G9 Android tablets, w...
ARCHOS has confirmed release dates and pricing for its new breed of G9 Android Tablets, which hold the promise of satisfying mobile storage junkies thanks to spacious HDD options being available. The only change to the specs announced in June is that the new ARCHOS tablets will launch with Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) instead of 3.1.  Read More
New Prius Family - Prius, Prius  and Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota is gearing up for a worldwide onslaught of hybrid vehicles in 2012 - part of a strategy to put out no less than ten new hybrids by 2015. The company has already begun launching hybrid versions of the Yaris light platform, the Auris/Corolla hatch and the medium Camry sedan in larger markets across the world - Japan, Europe and the US. But the most prominent (and branding wise the most important) is the expanded Prius family - Prius, Prius+ and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.  Read More
The PowerWheel and SlowWheel (hub pictured here) are resistance training wheels for road r...
... and why on Earth, you may ask, would you want to go slower? Well, because it requires more effort to make a slow bike go fast, and the more effort you put into your training rides, the faster you’ll go when you swap in a regular front wheel on race day. That’s the idea behind the new PowerWheel and SlowWheel, made by TriSport Devices.  Read More
Panasonic's EVOLTA swimming, cycling and running robots will be attempting to complete the...
While the Energizer Bunny may get all the fame, Panasonic's "Mr. Evolta" robot actually gets out and does things. In 2008, powered by two of the company's AA EVOLTA alkaline batteries, the 17 centimeter (6.69 inch)-tall robot climbed up a 1,640 foot (500 meter) rope suspended in the Grand Canyon. The following year, pedaling a miniature tricycle, he completed the "24 Hours of Le Mans" endurance challenge. Last year, he took a leisurely 500-kilometer (311-mile) stroll along the highway from Tokyo to Kyoto. This year's challenge is a little different - there will be three EVOLTA robots, and they will be teaming up to complete the 230-kilometer (143-mile) Ironman Triathlon circuit in Hawaii.  Read More
The Velella Research Project's Aquapod, adrift off the coast of Hawaii
There are a number of reasons that many people are opposed to fish farming. Among other things, they claim that the caged fish release too much concentrated waste into the surrounding waters, too many antibiotics and anti-algal chemicals are used, the ecological balance is upset when non-native fish escape from their pens, and strain is put on populations of local fish that are captured for use in feed for carnivorous farmed fish. Unfortunately, wild-fish-capturing methods such as drift net fishing and bottom trawling have big problems of their own. A new system that involves raising fish in mesh spheres that float in the open ocean, however, is claimed to sidestep many of the drawbacks of traditional marine aquaculture. The Velella Research Project is pioneering the technology.  Read More
The MEMS energy harvesting device created by MIT researchers can generate 100 times as muc...
The advantages of wireless sensors to monitor equipment and structures in remote locales are obvious, but are lessened significantly if their batteries need to be regularly changed. We’ve seen a number of microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, that harvest energy from the environment, such as ambient light and radio waves and vibrations. Now MIT News is reporting the development of a new piezoelectric device that is about the size of a U.S. quarter and can generate 100 times as much power as similarly sized devices.  Read More
The iCHELLs created by a team from the University of Glasgow could be the first step on th...
All life on Earth is carbon-based, which has led to the widespread assumption that any other life that may exist in the universe would also be carbon-based. Excluding the possibility of elements other than carbon forming the basis of life is often referred to as carbon chauvinism and researchers at the University of Glasgow are looking to overcome this bias and provide new insights into evolution by attempting to create “life” from carbon-free, inorganic chemicals. They’ve now taken the first tentative steps towards this goal with the creation of inorganic-chemical-cells, or iCHELLS.  Read More

The MUTE concept electric coupe includes a built-in range extender, features interesting i...
Electric vehicle concepts, prototypes and production models are everywhere at the moment. Enter into any discussion on the subject and you're likely to come across a few common threads, such as range anxiety, prohibitive cost and charging inconvenience. A collaborative project involving 200 assistants and students across 20 departments at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) is hoping to address many of those fears with its MUTE concept - a lightweight, sporty two-seater electric coupĂ© designed from the ground up with three main factors in mind: efficiency, low overall cost and safety.  Read More
The NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is now expected to crash on Friday 23 ...
NASA employees are now holding their breath as the 6.6 ton (6 tonne) out-of-control Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is falling faster than previously expected. Yesterday, NASA announced that the decommissioned satellite is most likely to crash into the earth's surface on Friday 23 September ... give or take a day.  Read More
A new study suggests that exposure to titanium oxide nanoparticles causes rainbow trout to...
In just the past few years, nanotechnology has brought technological advances in almost every field imaginable – patches that regenerate heart tissue, water-powered batteries and better biofuels are just a few examples. As with just about any new technology, however, concerns have been raised regarding its safety. We’ve never experienced anything quite like it before, so how far should we trust it? According to a recent study conducted at the University of Plymouth, the answer to that question might be “Not very far.” In tests on rainbow trout, titanium oxide nanoparticles were found to cause damage to the brain and other parts of the central nervous system.  Read More
The HeadsUp wireless gear alert system is designed to keep this sort of thing from happeni...
If you've just completed a three-hour bike ride and an hour's drive home, it's entirely possible that once you're finally pulling up into your driveway, the fact that your bike is mounted on the roof of your car might not be the first thing on your mind. If you don't have a garage, that's no big deal, but if you do ... well, you could just proceed to drive into it out of habit, and end up smashing your bike against the bottom of its raised door. That's what cyclist Tom Reiber did on one memorable occasion, and it prompted him to invent the HeadsUp wireless gear alert system.  Read More
Bose has updated its wireless speaker lineup with the Bluetooth-enabled SoundLink
Bose has updated its wireless speaker lineup with a new Bluetooth-enabled portable unit. Featuring an integrated cover which doubles as a stand, the Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker is tailored for outdoor use with a built-in lithium-ion battery delivering up to eight hours of playback (make that three hours if you crank it to 11) and a shock-resistant shell/stand that's designed to withstand salt-fog, sand, or moisture.  Read More
The carbon-fiber-heavy - or rather, light - Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
At the worldwide preview of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann also announced the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento (Sixth Element) will be going into production. But don’t bother counting your pennies because the production run is limited to just 20 cars and all have already been spoken for.  Read More
Innotrends has unveiled its Ca-Fi Android 2.3-based infotainment multimedia system powered...
Hong-Kong-based Innotrends has unveiled its Ca-Fi Android 2.3-based infotainment system for in-car use. Tailored for 2-DIN dashboards and running on a 1.2GHz Cortex A8 CPU and 512MB of RAM, Ca-Fi features 6.2-inch 800 x 480 (resistive) touchscreen, a 3G modem to surf the web, GPS to handle in-car navigation apps, Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and 4x45W audio output.  Read More
Open Suseok resembles an alien spaceship or an enormous pebble perched at the end of the p...
This futuristic design by Australian architects Lacoste+Stevenson was submitted for the Busan Opera House competition. Resembling an enormous pebble perched at the end of the promenade (or an alien spaceship), the design dubbed "Open Suseok" hopes to resonate with the Korean tradition by drawing inspiration from local stone art (or Suseok).  Read More
Artist's concept illustrating Kepler-16b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two...
In news that conjures up visions of Luke Skywalker looking wistfully at the twin sunset of Tatooine accompanied by a stirring John Williams score, NASA's Kepler mission has detected the first planet orbiting two stars. The circumbinary planet, dubbed Kepler-16b, is some 200 light-years from Earth and, though gaseous and not thought to harbor life, its discovery broadens the opportunities for life in our galaxy according to Kepler principal investigator William Boruckias, because most of the Milky Way's stars are part of binary systems.  Read More
The F 125! research vehicle is a glimpse of 2025 motoring from Mercedes-Benz
To celebrate 125 years of the automobile, Mercedes-Benz has provided a glimpse of where it sees things heading in the future with its F 125! research vehicle. Although it isn't so ambitious as to attempt to predict what cars will look like in another 125 years, the German automaker has decided to look a little further afield than usual. Previous research vehicles have generally looked ahead one vehicle generation, which is roughly seven to eight years, but with a newly developed hydrogen fuel cell system, gesture controls, and range of 1,000 km (621 miles), Mercedes says the F 125! looks forward more than two generations to the year 2025 and beyond.  Read More

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