Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Intelligent cars will report accidents to authorities

The UK's Telegraph paper has a report on how computer scientists are developing intelligent cars fitted with aircraft-style black boxes that can send video footage and information about driving behaviour during accidents to the police and insurance companies:

An electrical car with Intel Connected Car applications
An electrical car with Intel Connected Car applications sits on display at the Intel Research Day in Mountain View, California Photo: KIM WHITE
The car, which is being developed by researchers at computer chip giant Intel, will record information about the vehicle speed, steering and braking along with video footage from inside and outside the vehicle.
This would be automatically sent to police and insurance companies in the event of an accident to make it easier to determine the cause of car crashes and identify the person responsible.

The device forms part of an intelligent car envisaged by researchers at computer chip giant Intel. They are developing technology that will transform cars into smart vehicles that are able to detect dangers on the road and even take over control from motorists. They have been in discussions with car manufacturers about developing cars that are permanently connected to the internet and other vehicles using wireless technology.
Camera systems that can recognise street signs and then take over control of a car if the motorist tries to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, for example, are being developed for use in vehicles.

On board sensors will also be able to detect pot holes in the road and report their location to road maintenance authorities as the car is moving.

Read more at - 'Intelligent cars will report accidents to authorities'


Monday, July 26, 2010

Now Scientists Read Your Mind Better Than You Can

Here we are again - back at the brain-reading mode of technology: the advertisers just can't wait to get further into our heads!!

Brain scans may be able to predict what you will do better than you can yourself, and might offer a powerful tool for advertisers or health officials seeking to motivate consumers, researchers said on Tuesday. They found a way to interpret "real time" brain images to show whether people who viewed messages about using sunscreen would actually use sunscreen during the following week. The scans were more accurate than the volunteers were, Emily Falk and colleagues at UCLA reported. People were right about themselves just half the time; based on brain scans, the researchers predicted 75% of behavior correctly.

Read more over at - 'Now Scientists Read Your Mind Better Than You Can'


Friday, July 23, 2010

World's Most Advanced Electric Motorcycle

Here's some latest news on the 'drive' towards better and more efficient EV machines... this one's quite a burner!!

This is the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, a race bike built by a tiny Oregonian company focused on pushing the limits of electric performance to the absolute max. It packs 10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius and 2.5 times the torque of a Ducati 1198 into a package that looks like something out of a 24th-century Thunderdome.

Tomorrow it will race in the Isle of Man TT, the toughest motorcycle race in the world. The technology at work is so advanced, so unprecedented, that we may be looking not just at the future of motorcycles, but of all electric vehicles.

The reason the all-electric race bike is here, 4,600 miles from its home in Portland, Oregon, is to prove itself. Ever since 1907, the Isle of Man TT has been the race for bike manufacturers and riders to show their mettle to the public. The thinking goes that if you can lap its 37.7 miles of tiny, twisty back roads with an average speed in excess of 100 MPH, you or your bike become indisputably proven. Well over 200 riders and a handful of spectator’s have been killed trying to do just that.

Read more at - World's Most Advanced Electric Motorcycle 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Power from thin air

Well, Tesla is never far away from modern communications...and his wireless technology has been trying to emerge into markets for quite some time now... here's some latest news on this:

A little over a century ago, the inventor Nikola Tesla drew up ambitious plans to transmit electrical power without wires. He carried out a series of experiments in which electric lights were illuminated via electrostatic induction, by connecting them to metal sheets suspended in a strong electric field produced by a distant transmitter. In 1898 he proposed a “world system” of giant towers that would form both a global wireless communications network and a means of delivering electricity over large areas without wires.

The construction of the first such tower, the Wardenclyffe Tower, on Long Island, began in 1901. Tesla’s backers included the financier J.P. Morgan, who invested $150,000. But before the tower was completed, Morgan and the other backers pulled out. They worried that the delivery of electricity through the air could not be metered, and there would be nothing to stop people from helping themselves. 

But has Tesla had the last laugh after all? Today several firms—including Fulton Innovation, eCoupled, WiTricity and Powercast—are pursuing various technologies that deliver electrical power without wires (though over shorter distances than Tesla had in mind). WiTricity has demonstrated the ability to send enough energy across a room to run a flat-screen television using its approach, called “resonant magnetic coupling”. This is different from Tesla’s approach, but the firm’s founders have acknowledged his pioneering work.

Read more at - 'Power from thin air'


Monday, July 19, 2010

San Francisco passes cell phone radiation law

Now here's good news for people worried about mobile phone radiation and its potential harmful affects - San Francisco has become the first city in the US to require mobile phone retailers to post radiation levels next to the handsets they sell. Yet will it really change the industry, or just appease in the short-term?

The board of supervisors, or council, voted 10-1 to approve the measure."This is about helping people make informed choices," said the law's chief sponsor, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell.The mobile phone industry has pointed to studies that it says show mobile phone radiation was not harmful to people. 

It has fought similar legislation in California and Maine, and defeated the bills in both states.The Federal Communications Commission has adopted limits that set out safe exposure to these kinds of emissions.
The measurement defines the amount of radio waves that people can safely absorb into their bodies when talking on a mobile phone.

Some researchers have claimed such emissions can be linked to cancer and brain tumours but there remains little scientific consensus on the matter."This is not about discouraging people from using their cell phones," said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has said he will sign the legislation into law.

Read original post - 'San Francisco passes cell phone radiation law'


Friday, July 16, 2010

Surveillance system monitors conversations

An intrusive surveiilance system has been trialled in the UK without, until now, the public knowing of it - nothing new there...except that this system has a way of intruding into your street conversations:

The technology, called Sigard, monitors movements and speech to detect signs of threatening behaviour.
Its designers claim the system can anticipate anti-social behaviour and violence by analysing the information picked up its sensors.
They say alerts are then sent to police, nightclub bouncers or shop security staff, which allow them to nip trouble in the bud before arguments spiral into violence.The devices are designed to distinguish between distress calls, threatening behaviour and general shouting. The system, produced by Sound Intelligence, is being used in Dutch prisons, city centres and Amsterdam's Central Rail Station. 

Coventry City Council is funding a pilot project which has for six months and has installed seven devices in the nightlife area on the High Street. Dylan Sharpe, from Big Brother Watch, said: "There can be no justification for giving councils or the police the capability to listen in on private conversations."There is enormous potential for abuse, or a misheard word, causing unnecessary harm with this sort of intrusive and overbearing surveillance."

Read more at - 'Surveillance system monitors conversations'


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Charging motorists per mile 'inevitable'

The issue of pay-as-you-drive motoring has been put back in the spotlight with this report from the RAC which considers the outcome as 'inevitable':

Charging motorists for each mile they travel is "inevitable" if future traffic gridlock is to be avoided, a report from the RAC Foundation said today.A "pay-as-you-go" system could be the answer to congestion, said the report from the foundation's director Professor Stephen Glaister. 

What was needed was a fundamental shift in the way England's roads were managed and paid for, he said.
The launch of the report coincided with an Ipsos Mori report for the RAC Foundation which showed that 58% of drivers agreed that a per-mile, pay-as-you-go system across all roads would make them think about how much they drive. 

Prof Glaister's report identified a series of problems facing road users and governments in the future.
These included a lack of vision for the road network, a 33% increase in traffic by 2025 and reduced spending on road infrastructure because of financial and political constraints.He said a system of charging motorists per mile travelled had to come with:
:: A cut in fuel duty and road tax;
:: A governing body to develop and implement a long-term strategy for maintaining and enhancing the road network;
:: A guaranteed sum of revenue put aside to pay for the work and a regulator to ensure the work was done efficiently;
:: More reliable journey times and compensation for delays.

Read original post - 'Charging motorists per mile 'inevitable' says RAC'


Monday, July 12, 2010

Car for blind drivers under development

The UK Telegraph has a post on how researchers think they will have a car on the road next year that can be driven by blind people. Although it uses nonvisual interfaces you have to ask yourself - would this be suitable for fast-reaction driving in such cities as London, New York, Istanbul, etc?? It's one thing to have developed the technology, its quite another to put it into real-time practice in some of the most difficult circumstances. Read on:

The National Federation of the Blind and Virginia Tech say they hope to demonstrate a prototype equipped with technology that helps a sightless person to get behind the wheel in 2011.The technology, called nonvisual interfaces, will guide its driver through traffic by transmitting information about nearby vehicles or objects.
Vibrating gloves or streams of compressed air directed behind the wheel are among the options for communicating the information needed to avoid collisions and reach a destination.Advocates for the blind describe the scheme as a "moon shot," drawing parallels with President John F. Kennedy's pledge to land a man on the moon."We're exploring areas that have previously been regarded as unexplorable," said Dr. Mark Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "We're moving away from the theory that blindness ends the capacity of human beings to make contributions to society." 

Mr Maurer first came up with the idea that the blind could drive about a decade ago when he launched the organisation's research institute. "Some people thought I was crazy, and they thought, 'Why do you want us to raise money for something that can't be done?' Others thought it was a great idea," Mr Maurer said. "Some people were incredulous. Others thought the idea was incredible."

Read original post at - 'Car for blind drivers under development'


Friday, July 09, 2010

Yike Bike!

Crikes, yikes - it's cool! It's the new design-gadget Yike Bike...the world's first super light electric folding bike (according to Yike, of course...). It's a must see bike design - go to their webpage below to see the pics... they say that:

The world's most lightweight electric bike folds down into something the size of a backpack. Its designers wanted to create something that could dramatically change urban transport, enabling city dwellers a fast, safe and easy way to navigate their environment. You might not wish to ride it to work on snowy days, but for elegant design...


See the Yikebike homepage


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Big Changes in Online News Consumption

Gather, the leading demand-driven media company, today released results of a survey conducted to understand how 'people are consuming news and engaging around breaking news stories. More than 1,450 individuals of various ages, backgrounds and political affiliations answered questions about how they get news, how they respond to breaking news stories, and where, and if, they share and discuss news online'. Further,

Nearly half (49%) of all adults consider the internet their primary source for news, there is a shift in what people are doing with that news - nearly 80% of adults ages 18+ are actively sharing news stories online. However, the manner in which people share news online varies greatly based on their age - while 68% of those aged 45 and older share news primarily via email, 54% of those under the age of 45 share news primarily via Facebook, and a full 90% of respondents 24 years and younger use Twitter and Facebook to share news (double the respondents 40+).

Read more at 'Big Changes in Online News Consumption'


Monday, July 05, 2010

Radiation risks cited in full-body airport scans

More controversy surrounding the use of full-body airport security scanners. This recent post explains how

Full-body airport security scanners manufactured by Rapiscan Inc. expose the skin to high radiation levels that may lead to cancer and other health problems, according to researchers from the University of California, San Francisco. Particularly at risk, the researchers said, are travelers who are pregnant, elderly or have weakened immune systems. The machines emit X-ray energy levels that would be safe if they were distributed throughout the body, but a majority of that energy is delivered to the skin and underlying tissue at levels that "may be dangerously high," the researchers wrote last month to the White House Office of Science and Technology. Officials with the Department of Homeland Security defended the use of Rapiscan's backscatter machines. The amount of energy emitted from the machines is equal to two minutes in flight at cruising altitude, said Dr. Alex Garza, chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

Read original post - 'Radiation risks cited in full-body airport scans'


Friday, July 02, 2010

'Imaginary' Interface Could Replace Screens and Keyboards

TechNewsDaily has a recent post discussing how researchers are experimenting with a new interface system for mobile devices that could replace the screen and even the keyboard with gestures supported by our visual memory:

Called Imaginary Interfaces, the German project uses a small, chest-mounted computer and camera to detect hand movements. Unlike Tony Stark in Iron Man, who manipulates holographic elements in his lab with his hands, users conjure up their own imaginary set of graphical interfaces. For example, people can manually draw shapes and select points in space that have programmed functions, such as a power switch or a "send" key, for example.

This interface could allow people to use gestures during phone calls, much as they do in face-to-face conversations, while eliminating traditional hardware elements.

"We definitely envision a system like this replacing all input for mobile devices," said Sean Gustafson, a research student at the Hasso Plattner Institute at Potsdam University in Germany and lead author of an upcoming study on the Imaginary Interfaces concept.

Read more at ''Imaginary' Interface Could Replace Screens and Keyboards'