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The term ‘smartphone’ may be a tad misleading according to the recently published New York Times article, “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime”. This is to say that frequent use of digital media can disrupt your brain’s downtime - a necessary component of internalizing information. Without this downtime, the brain has no chance to process information previously learned, resulting in cluttered, inattentive minds.

Chances are there are more than a few of you reading this article while accomplishing some cardio riding your local gym’s indoor bike, or while in class when you really should be listening to your professor’s first lecture of the semester (but don’t stop reading now on account of that!). While having a digital device handy is excellent for spicing up mundane moments, or for capturing your mind away from the tedium of exercising, it does come at a price.

Click to continue reading Are smartphones dumbing us down?

Read More | New York Times

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Cortana Hologram

Imagine, if you will, sitting in the local coffee shop waiting for your ever so tardy girlfriend to show up before your lunch break ends. Suddenly, she is right in front of you, only not in the way you had hoped. It’s a hologram, beaming straight from your cellphone right before your eyes. Her digital representative a fully rendered three dimensional image of her informing you that she will be there in 5 minutes. No, this is not science fiction - it’s the future. And the future is eye popping.

With the demands of technology growing by the second, our everyday bandwidth needs are increasing exponentially. Cisco and Verizon are both anticipating a quadruple increase in bandwidth requirements by the year 2014! This tremendous surge in our bandwidth needs can be attributed largely in part to the burgeoning 3D television market, as well as the growing use of streaming HD video.

Click to continue reading Hologram broadcast a reality in ten years?

Read More | Cnet


Sick of entering a PIN every time you turn on your phone? Want something a bit more futuristic to go with the vastly improved OS of your smartphone? The University of Manchester has the answer - facial recognition.

In order to keep your identity safe in the very likely situation of misplacing your phone, the University of Manchester has created a sophisticated facial recognition technology called the Active Appearance modeling technique that locks in and tracks twenty-two of your facial features, even when upside down. The facial recognition technology was created as a way to access social media sites securely through your smartphone, but no word yet as far as how quickly it works in action. Check out the video after the jump.

Read More | Manchester

3D Express CoachWhat do you do when you see a bus in the middle of the road? Drive through it, of course! Try that in America and you won’t be around to see the results, but China may have the answer.

The Chinese engineer firm, Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment, is hard at work on a new transportation system, called the ‘3D Express Coach’, that will allow road traffic to drive straight through their buses. This new bus design comes as a result of high traffic that has plagued China for some time now, to which the firm claims the 3D Express Coach will cut down on by 30 percent. The bus travels around 37 mph, and can transport over 1400 passengers.

Furthermore, to keep the risk of accident down, the 3D Express Coach will have alarms for cars travelling too close, or to signal when the bus is turning. As well as inflatable escape ladders à la the ones aboard airplanes to assist during emergencies. Construction on the 3D Express Coach will start later this year, with a pilot scheme in Beijing’s Mentougou District beginning in the meantime.

Read More | Daily Mail via CrunchGear


Invisibility cloakThe future of stealthily cloaked super soldiers running around with nano machines injected in their bodies is closer than we think, thanks to Elena Semouchkina. Elena is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, who has found a way to cloak objects by using carefully thought out materials and shapes to produce the magnetic resonance necessary to bend infrared light around objects.

While not yet able to do so in visible light, Elena’s team has found a way to cloak metallic cylinders using metamaterials made of chalcogenide glass. “Starting from these experiments, we want to move to higher frequencies and smaller wavelengths,” states one researcher.

While far from being perfected, Elena’s new theory in cloaking puts us in the ball park for a stealthy future. Perhaps we will bear witness to the implementation of the practical usage of cloaking devices in the near future. Solid Snake, eat your heart out.

Read More | MTU.Edu

Sakshat tabletIn a recent announcement by India’s Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, (who subsequently can now be referred to as ‘The Indian Steve Jobs’) an innovative tablet PC is headed for the market in 2011 - with a retail price of only 15 dollars! The remarkable device, dubbed Sakshat, is made with students in mind, acknowledging the problem of high cost devices essential to a higher education. Developed by the Indian Institute of technology and the Indian Institute of Science, Sakshat costs a mere $30 to manufacture. While even at such an astonishing price already, Sibal seems hopeful that it can be lowered to an unheard of $10.

Click to continue reading Sakshat: The $15 Tablet PC for Students

Read More | IBN Live

Lockheed Martin HULC

Lockheed Martin has at least brought us into the era of exo-skeleton suits with their Human Universal Load Carrier, or ‘HULC’ for short. HULC works by transferring weight carried on the soldier to the ground by way of its titanium (sorry, no adamantium just yet) legs. While the exo-skeleton itself weighs about 53 pounds, it also manages to transfer its own weight so the user hardly notices the exo-suit is there. The suit is also tauted as having a wide range of natural movements, managed by an inboard computer that mirrors every movement of the wearer. This means that soldiers can run, jump, and crawl without being restricted by the exo-skeleton. HULC allows for the soldier to move heavy loads across rugged terrain without breaking so much as a sweat, hence the name ‘HULC’ (Hulk). We don’t know if this name was intentional, but the similarities are striking. Perhaps we can get some adamantium claws and regenerative shields too while we’re at it, Lockheed?

Check out a video after the break.

Click to continue reading Lockheed Martin HULC Military Exo-skeleton


Planet Earth Life Blu-ray sale

Earth Day 2010 is here, and the Discovery Channel Store has an amazing deal that we had to let you in on to celebrate the occasion—you can get both the Planet Earth series and the Life series as a Blu-ray set for $50. Shipping is $4, so for $54 total, you get both documentary series on Blu-ray, which would normally cost $169.90 in total. It’s basically a steal, the visuals are jaw-dropping, and it’s a bit more Earth Day-ish than Avatar.

Read More | Planet Earth + Life Deal

Beer Stein of Science Dewar FlaskIf you’re a child of the 80’s like me, some of your fondest memories revolve around movies like ‘Real Genius’ or Hughes-ian bits of brain candy like ‘The Breakfast Club’ or, better yet, ‘Weird Science’.  Oh, for the halcyon days of wrist-watch calculators and pocket protectors—when nerds first began to rattle the bars of their cages and shout their skinny-armed superiority from atop a mound of servers—the true first days of ‘nerd-chic’.  These beer-steins of science are hand-crafted from Pope Scientific bench top dewar flasks which should ring-true for any hard core science geeks out there and help you drink your way back to your childhood.  So strap a bra to your head, fire a laser through the wall, and fill your favorite college prof’s house with popcorn. Then get trashed in the name of SCIENCE!!!!


Description

Today, Touch International is releasing its -compatible Multi-Touch Analog Resistive (MARS) Touch Screen Module.  The MARS module supports 10-finger touch and is easily modifiable, featuring superior drift-free performance, outstanding optical clarity and a fast and accurate response time, it also allows for True Touch Gesture and palm rejection while working with bare/gloved/bear-gloved fingers or a pointing device.  The MARS module can also transform to a virtual keyboard or even a touch-screen piano as well.  Don’t worry, I’m sure that you can figure out a way to play Scrabble on Facebook with it as well.  Just remember to wipe your hands before use, Cochise; can you imagine if you had to actually view a computer screen through the grime you’ve accumulated on your mouse pad?  It would be like trying to look through frosted-glass, or the windshield on your moldy ‘82 Buick Regal.  Don’t lie, we’ve seen you driving it.


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