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Dodge introduces Industry-First Wireless Charging Mat

April 16th, 2012

Dodge introduces Industry-First Wireless Charging Mat

Dodge unveils the 2013 Dart with an integrated wireless charging mat for mobile devices. Keeping the inside of your car looking neat and clean can be a hassle, especially if you have auxiliary cables, iPod cables and phone charging cables all over the place. Luckily for all of the folks who have to charge their phones in the car, Dodge has just unveiled an industry-first option in the company’s new sedan, the 2013 Dart.

Customers who purchase the 2013 Dart will have the dealer-installed option of a wireless charging station in front of the vehicle’s gear shifter. Using induction charging, the system allows users to charge their smartphones wirelessly by placing them on the mat. The smartphone will require a special case but the dealership will include one with the installation.

Dodge introduces Industry-First Wireless Charging Mat

The charging mat option is priced at $199.99, but customers will also have to pay an additional installation fee depending on the dealer. Although having a wireless charging mat isn’t a necessity, this is one convenience we’re hoping other car companies will consider.

SOURCE via Digital Trends

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Massive solar tower to power Las Vegas at night

April 16th, 2012

Massive solar tower to power Las Vegas at night

SolarReserve, a developer of large-scale solar power projects announced earlier this year that it has completed the central piece in its Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. The company finished construction of its 540-foot solar tower that will deliver 110 megawatts of energy with approximately 10 hours of storage. When completed, the project is estimated to power 75,000 homes during its peak electricity periods.

Over the remaining course of the project’s construction, a massive field of 10,000 sun-tracking mirrors the size of billboards will be built around the tower. These heliostats will reflect sunlight onto a 100-foot receiver located on top of the tower, storing energy with the tower’s advanced molten salt storage system.

According to the company, the Crescent Dunes Solar Project will expend over $10 million per year in salaries and operating costs. The project will officially be ready sometime in late 2013, until then head on over to SolarReserve’s webpage for more information and updates on progress.

SOURCE via CNET

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IBM patents idea to make the entire floor a multitouch area

April 16th, 2012

IBM patents idea to make the entire floor a multitouch area

IBM has filed a patent for an intelligent multi-touch floor that is used to identify objects and react to certain events. IBM says that the floor could recognize emergencies by measuring heart rates of people lying on the floor or act as an alarm system when home intrusions are detected.

The basic idea is simply to enable a room-sized multi-touch surface with “numerous sensors to identify shapes.” When an object is detected, the system compares it to a record in a connected database. The database will also determine actions that are executed by a computer system.

Particularly interesting is the security feature, which would allow registered people to walk on the floor without any actions to be taken, while unregistered “objects” would trigger an alarm to sound and police authorities to be called. Similarly the floor could react with 911 calls in the case of emergencies, or plain notifications on standard events: For example, the system could switch on lights or other electronics when someone enters a room.

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Toray unveils new self-repairing film for devices, fixes scratches in under 10 seconds

April 10th, 2012

Toray unveils new self-repairing film for devices, fixes scratches in under 10 seconds

Toray’s advanced film department has finished its new self-cure coating and is set to start using it as a decorative layer on a series of as-yet unannounced notebooks. Fortunately, the company is already chasing down more pervasive uses on smartphones and touch-panels. The science involves a wet coating method that adds a special recovering layer to PET film. Alongside that healing factor, the layer responsible also throws in some elastic and cushioning properties. During Toray’s demonstration (what, no video?) scratches made with a metal brush apparently repaired themselves, resulting in the rehabilitated glossy surface you see above. According to the Japanese manufacturer, the ability to heal improves at lower temperatures, but room temperature is apparently enough to make scratches disappear in 10 seconds or less — more than fast enough to differentiate Toray’s offering from existing solutions. The film can repair itself around 20,000 times in succession, although if pierced beyond the layer, it’s — unsurprisingly — unable to recover any damage done. The screen is also softer than the typical protective surfaces found to devices. Maybe Toray and Gorilla Glass should get together. GorillToray?

SOURCE via NikkeiBP

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Researchers create incredibly thin solar cells flexible enough to wrap around a human hair

April 5th, 2012

Researchers create incredibly thin solar cells flexible enough to wrap around a human hair

You’ve probably heard that the sun is strong enough to power our planet many times over, but without a practical method of harnessing that energy, there’s no way to take full advantage. An incredibly thin and light solar cell could go a long way to accomplishing that on a smaller scale, however, making the latest device from researchers from the University of Austria and the University of Tokyo a fairly significant discovery. Scientists were able to create an ultra-thin solar cell that measures just 1.9 micrometers thick — roughly one-tenth the size of the next device. Not only is the sample slim — composed of electrodes mounted on plastic foil, rather than glass — it’s also incredibly flexible, able to be wrapped around a single strand of human hair (which, believe it or not, is nearly 20 times thicker). The scalable cell could replace batteries in lighting, display and medical applications, and may be ready to be put to use in as few as five years. There’s a bounty of physical measurement and efficiency data at the source link below.

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LG unveils flexible plastic e-paper display, aims for European launch next month

March 29th, 2012

LG unveils flexible plastic e-paper display, aims for European launch next month

LG has made no secret of its fondness for flexible e-paper, but those dreams became a reality today, with the announcement of a six-inch display that promises to “revolutionize the e-book market.” The malleable plastic display sports a resolution of 1024 x 768 and can bend at an angle of up to 40 degrees. At just 0.7 millimeters thick, it’s about one-third thinner than similarly-specced glass displays, and weighs in at 14 grams — about half the weight of its glassy competition. LG also claims that the display is super durable, as evidenced by a series of successful drop tests from a height of 1.5 meters. The plan going forward is to supply the display to ODMs in China, in the hopes of bringing final products to Europe by “the beginning of next month.”

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Freescale intros Vybrid controller line, weds ARM A5 and M4 cores for an asymmetrical bang

March 29th, 2012

Freescale intros Vybrid controller line, weds ARM A5 and M4 cores for an asymmetrical bang

Making good on its word, Freescale’s line of Vybrid controllers is now ready for prime time multiprocessing. That asymmetrical setup, announced last October, takes the high / low approach we’ve seen gradually crop up in computing, pairing an ARM Cortex A5 and Cortex M4 in uneven, albeit harmonious CPU matrimony. The company’s not targeting this new platform at consumers, though, as that market’s already being served by the likes of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3. No, this controller arrangement’s headed directly for the industrial sector, where medical, point-of-sale and smart energy equipment can benefit from the cores’ decreased power demands and ability for real-time control.

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NEC’s tactile touchscreen nudges at the future

March 28th, 2012

NEC's tactile touchscreen nudges at the future

A touchscreen’s fatal flaw is its lack of feedback: imagine the satisfaction if you could feel those Angry Birds as they flew across the screen. NEC and the Tokyo Institute of Technology wanted a simpler solution to tactile displays than Senseg’s electrostatic-field based tech. Instead, this device uses a wire (yup) anchored on each corner of the display — when force is shown on screen, it jerks the screen in the corresponding direction. You can see it in action after the break, accompanied by the restful tones of Diginfo’s narrator. If there’s a better way to start a week, we don’t wanna know about it.

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AT&T Labs, Carnegie Mellon investigating steering wheels with haptic feedback for navigation

March 27th, 2012

AT&T Labs, Carnegie Mellon investigating steering wheels with haptic feedback for navigation

Any device or system that draws a driver’s attention away from the road is inherently distracting, but some navigation systems are better than others. Now, AT&T Labs is said to be hard at work developing a steering wheel with haptic feedback that may allow more drivers to keep their eyes off of the center console screen.

According to MIT’s Technology Review, the system uses 20 small actuators to to create a pattern of vibrations in the wheel. When the wheel buzzes clockwise, the driver is meant to turn to the right, while counterclockwise vibrations suggest turning left. The company’s research indicates that when the system is used with standard audio and visual cues, inattentiveness in younger drivers drops by around 3.1 percent.

Researchers defined “inattentiveness” as time spent looking away from the road in driving simulations. The haptics had no impact on older drivers, but a separate study by Carnegie Mellon indicated drivers over the age of 65 could see their inattentiveness drop by around four percent.

Even with the promising results, it will likely be years before a similar system could be adopted by automakers, if it ever reaches the market at all.

SOURCE via Technology Review

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Watson partners with Memorial Sloan-Kettering for some cancer research

March 23rd, 2012

Watson partners with Memorial Sloan-Kettering for some cancer research

Supercomputers at the forefront of medical practice? The notion is by no means a stretch of the imagination. Yet, research of this kind mostly goes unnoticed — that is, unless the computational wizardry handholding these advancements belongs to Jeopardy!’s AI king. That’s right, Watson, IBM’s bold-face named powerhouse of silicon wizardry, will be made available as a development tool for oncologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering to deliver “individualized cancer diagnostic and treatment recommendations” derived from the center’s case note database. Drawing upon that raw processing power, field practitioners will purportedly have access to a wealth of the latest therapeutic advances which would, normally, take too long to spread outside of specialized facilities. The agreement is not the first of its kind, as this time last year IBM had announced a similar partnership with Columbia University, although no further news has come from that union. MSKCC, for its part, does have concrete plans to move its small pilot program forward, with a target launch set for later this year and plans to expand the project’s reach by end of 2013.

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