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Robotics

Satellites Mating Via Robotic Arm 91

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-one-way-to-do-it dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "The launch of the Orbital Express mission, with its two satellites ASTRO and NextSat, the first one servicing the other, was widely covered a month ago. But what is happening in space now? In 'Robotic satellite servicer rehearsal underway in orbit,' Spaceflight Now reports about the progress done. A week ago, the two satellites were able to link to each other to operate the first transfer of hydrazine fuel from ASTRO's propellant tanks into NextSat. This weekend, ASTRO's ten-foot-long robotic arm is going to be used to move objects to NextSat. But what does it mean for international satellite operators when they need help with their space birds? Will they use a system designed for U.S.'s DARPA? "
Graphics

3-D Virtual Maps For the Blind 50

Posted by kdawson
from the see-me-feel-me dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes to let us know about research into producing palpable maps for the blind. Scientific American has the story of Greek researchers who produce 3D "haptic" maps that "use force fields to represent walls and roads so the visually impaired can better understand the layout of buildings and cities." Two separate systems produce haptic output from standard video and from 2D maps. The systems have been tested on a small number of users. Currently the devices that interpret the "force fields" for sight-impaired users are not portable, and so the systems are most appropriate for doing research before, e.g., visiting a new city.
Education

+ - Mexico displays giant electronic teaching sceens

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It what is believed to be the most ambitious project of its kind in the world. In a program called Enciclomedia, giant electronic screens have been attached to the walls of about 165,000 Mexican classrooms. Some five million 10 & 11 year-olds now receive all their education through these screens. From maths to music, from geography to geometry, black and white boards have given way to electronic screens. During a biology lesson we watch as pupil after pupil comes to the screen to piece together the human body... electronically. One boy taps his finger on the screen and brings up the human heart. He then slides his finger across the screen, taking the heart with him and places it where he thinks it belongs on the body located on the other side of the screen."
Patents

Amazon Using Patent Reform to Strengthen 1-Click 71

Posted by Zonk
from the song-and-dance-routine dept.
theodp writes "As some predicted, lawyers for Amazon.com have recently submitted 1-Click prior art solicited by Tim O'Reilly under the auspices of Jeff Bezos' patent reform effort to the USPTO, soliciting a 'favorable action' that would help bulletproof the patent. Last June, an Amazon lobbyist referred to deficiencies with the same prior art as he tried to convince Congress that 1-Click was novel, prompting Rep. Howard Berman to call BS."
Music

RIAA Arrests Pro Artist for Making Mixtapes 426

Posted by Zonk
from the you-are-doing-this-all-wrong dept.
Maximum Prophet writes "The RIAA is now going after mixtapes; specifically, the well-known mixtapes of rap artist DJ Drama. From the article: 'On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protégé. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for.' The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix. Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture. His arrest is confusing on several levels."
Technology

Toyota Creating In-Vehicle Alcohol Detection System 507

Posted by Zonk
from the car-is-smarter-than-you dept.
srizah writes "Toyota is developing an Alcohol Detection System that can detect drunken drivers and would immobilize the car when it detects excessive alcohol consumption. From the article: 'Cars fitted with the detection system will not start if sweat sensors in the driving wheel detect high levels of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream, according to a report carried by the mass-circulation daily, Asahi Shimbun. The system could also kick in if the sensors detect abnormal steering, or if a special camera shows that the driver's pupils are not in focus. The car is then slowed to a halt, the report said.'"
Christmas Cheer

The Physics of Santa 172

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tachyons-and-jeffries-tubes-oh-my dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "If you don't believe that Santa Claus can deliver presents to millions of homes in a single night, Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), explains that Santa's society of elves has an understanding of physics and engineering that exceeds our own. In fact, Santa Claus and his crew really can deliver presents in one night because of their advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer science. For example, he doesn't carry presents. He uses a nano-toymaker to fabricate toys grown atom by atom inside the children's homes. Very entertaining reading... Here is a link to additional details and pictures of Santa and his elves flying over New Zealand."

Open Source Laser Business Opens In New York 96

Posted by kdawson
from the burn-baby-burn dept.
ptorrone writes "If you can't stand the idea of a cookie-cutter laptop and you live in New York City, you have a new option: laser-etching. Phil Torrone, an editor at Make magazine, and Limor Fried, a former fellow at the tech-focused art studio Eyebeam R&D, are working together on Adafruit Laser Services, a new, by-appointment-only business in Manhattan that etches custom artwork onto customers' laptops, iPods, cell phones, and other gadgets." The entire business will be open source. From the Adafruit Laser Services site: "We are publishing how to use the high powered laser system, set up, techniques, business practices and templates. You could start your own laser business, we'll even help you."

FCC Meets To Investigate Cookie Abuse 159

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cookie-monsters dept.
PreacherTom writes to tell us BusinessWeek is reporting that the FCC and the Center for Digital Democracy plan to meet in order to discuss abuses with regard to cookies. From the article: "Online advertisers have a sweet tooth for cookies. Not the kind you bake, but the digital kind — those tiny files that embed themselves on a PC and keep tabs on what Web sites are visited on which machines. But cookies could have a bad aftertaste for consumers. Privacy advocates say the files are being force fed in large quantities to computer users, and they're demanding that the government put some advertisers on a diet."

Dvorak On Microsoft/Novell Deal 218

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-all-wear-party-hats dept.
zaxios writes, "John C. Dvorak has weighed in on the recent Novell-Microsoft pact. Among his insights: 'Microsoft has been leery of doing too much with Linux because of all the weirdness with the licenses and the possibility that one false move would make a Microsoft product public domain at worst, or subject to the GPL at best.' But now, 'the idea is to create some sort of code that is jammed into Linux and whose sole purpose is to let some proprietary code run under Linux without actually "touching" Linux in any way that would subject the proprietary code to the GPL.' According to Dvorak, it's only a matter of time before Linux is 'cracked' by Microsoft, meaning Microsoft figures out a way to run proprietary code on it."

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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