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Input Devices

$5 Sensor Turns LCD Monitors Into Touchscreens 98

Posted by timothy
from the later-comes-the-voice-control dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from ExtremeTech: "Researchers at the University of Washington's aptly named Ubiquitous Computing Lab can turn any LCD monitor in your house into a touchscreen, with nothing more than a $5 sensor that plugs into the wall and some clever software." The system works by measuring changes that your hand creates in the electromagnetic signature of the monitor. Surprisingly, it offers some pretty fine-grained detection, too: "full-hand touch, five-finger touch, hovering above the screen, pushing, and pulling." The "$5 sensor" part is mostly theoretical for now to those of us who don't live in a lab, though; on the other hand, "co-author Sidhant Gupta tells Technology Review that the $5 sensor uses off-the-shelf parts, and the algorithms are included in the paper, so it would be fairly easy for you — or a commercial entity — to recreate the uTouch system."
Power

Maryland Team Hopes To Nab $250k Prize For Leg-Powered Copter 33

Posted by timothy
from the go-terps dept.
daltec writes "The $250,000 American Helicopter Society Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition prize, unclaimed since 1980, is now closer than ever to being won. With flights up to ten feet in altitude and lasting over 65 seconds, the prize's strict requirements (thought by many to be impossible to satisfy) have all been met — but not on the same flight. Two teams — AeroVelo in Canada and Gamera II at the University of Maryland — are tantalizingly close to claiming the prize. The Gamera team will be making its latest attempt this weekend."
Data Storage

Btrfs Is Getting There, But Not Quite Ready For Production 268

Posted by timothy
from the delicious-on-popcrnfs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Btrfs is the next-gen filesystem for Linux, likely to replace ext3 and ext4 in coming years. Btrfs offers many compelling new features and development proceeds apace, but many users still aren't sure whether it's 'ready enough' to entrust their data to. Anchor, a webhosting company, reports on trying it out, with mixed feelings. Their opinion: worth a look-in for most systems, but too risky for frontline production servers. The writeup includes a few nasty caveats that will bite you on serious deployments."
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Setting Up a System Integration Room At VAR? 70

Posted by timothy
from the don't-forget-all-the-little-screwdrivers dept.
o2binbuzios writes "Due to an office move, I have a chance to do a clean-sheet design for an integration room at a fairly large VAR ($100M+ ). I'm looking for some ideas or best practice to support 100-120 square meters (~50 x 30 ft). I'm particularly interested in ideas around efficient workflow, ways to manage cabling and electrical, and 'environmental' solutions that make it a pleasant place to work. There will be a central bench with 6-8 stations (3-4 per side) with engineers and techs who may be configuring stacks of up to 10 devices at a time that could range from servers, to network elements, to SAN & NAS devices and more. I've been looking for a paper that seems like it must exist — but I'm happy to gather good ideas one at a time or in bunches here on Slashdot."
Input Devices

Texas Company's Antique Computers Are For Production, Not Display 289

Posted by timothy
from the commute-by-horseback-numb-with-ether dept.
concealment writes "Sparkler Filters up north in Conroe [Texas] still uses an IBM 402 in conjunction with a Model 129 key punch – with the punch cards and all – to do company accounting work and inventory. The company makes industrial filters for chemical plants and grease traps. Lutricia Wood is the head accountant at Sparkler and the data processing manager. She went to business school over 40 years ago in Houston, and started at Sparkler in 1973. Back then punch cards were still somewhat state of the art." See kottke.org for an eye-popping view of one of the "programs" — imagine debugging that.
IBM

IBM Robotic Coworker Will Help Engineers Fix Broken Systems 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the little-electric-friend dept.
coondoggie writes "When it comes to fixing broken systems, especially in remote locations, engineers could soon turn to a new mobile robotic system IBM is developing that could help them more easily find the broken equipment, offer up information about the system and provide real-time visual support from supervising experts. The mobile maintenance, repair and operations prototype includes an application that lets a supervisor monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site, and a robotic arm coupled with a camera system, a microphone and laser pointer."
China

China Slows Nuclear Expansion 78

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the secretly-invented-fusion dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Hui Zhang and Shangui Zhao describe China's decision to move ahead with nuclear power. Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, China slowed its rapid expansion of nuclear power and undertook a major reevaluation of safety practices. The government has now resumed approval of new nuclear power projects, and is cautiously moving forward. Good description of safety issues that remain." They are suspending in-land construction, and are aiming at 58GWe instead of 80GWe of generation capacity by 2020. It's still more than the 40GWe they planned to build under their 2007 plans.
AMD

AMD Radeon HD 7990 Released: Dual GPUs and 6G of Memory for $1000 189

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the faster-than-a-voodoo-4 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today AMD has officially unveiled its long-awaited dual-GPU Tahiti-based card. Codenamed Malta, the $1,000 Radeon HD 7990 is positioned directly against Nvidia's dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690. Tom's Hardware posted the performance data. Because Fraps measures data at a stage in the pipeline before what is actually seen on-screen, they employed Nvidia's FCAT (Frame Capture Analysis Tools). ... The 690 is beating AMD's new flagship in six out of eight titles. ... AMD is bundling eight titles with every 7990, including: BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution." OpenGL performance doesn't seem too off from the competing Nvidia card, but the 7990 dominates when using OpenCL. Power management looks decent: ~375W at full load, but a nice 20W at idle (it can turn the second chip off entirely when unneeded). PC Perspective claims there are issues with Crossfire and an un-synchronized rendering pipeline that leads to a slight decrease in the actual frame rate, but that should be fixed by an updated Catalyst this summer.
Robotics

Teachable Robot Helps Assemble IKEA Furniture 88

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the next-step-world-domination dept.
cylonlover writes "Teaching a robot how to deal with real-world problems is a challenging task. There has been much progress in building robots that can precisely repeat individual tasks with a level of speed and accuracy impossible for human craftspeople. But there are many more tasks that could be done if robots could be supplied with even a limited amount of judgment. A robotics group led by Professor Sylvain Calinon at the Italian Institute of Technology is making progress in solving this problem and has developed a robot whose purpose in life is to help a person build an IKEA table."
Power

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the public-to-forget-about-it-within-40-months dept.
mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."
Cloud

BitTorrent Opens Up Its Sync Alpha To the Public For Windows, Mac, and Linux 49

Posted by Soulskill
from the solutions-in-search-of-problems dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent on Tuesday announced it has released its file synchronization tool Sync into open alpha. You can download the latest version now for Windows, Mac, and Linux over at labs.bittorrent.com. The company first announced its Sync software back in January, explaining at the time that it uses peer-to-peer technology to synchronize personal files across multiple computers and devices."
Transportation

Will Future Tesla Cars Use Metal-Air Batteries? 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the powered-by-the-tears-of-oil-execs dept.
thecarchik writes "Most advocates and industry analysts expect lithium-ion batteries to dominate electric-car energy storage for the rest of this decade. But is Tesla Motors planning to add a new type of battery to increase the range of its electric cars? Tesla has filed for eight separate patents on uses of metal-air battery technology (for example, #20120041625). The metals covered for use in the metal-air battery are aluminum, iron, lithium, magnesium, vanadium, and zinc. Metal-air batteries, which slowly consume their anodes to give off energy, hit the news last month when Israeli startup Phinergy demonstrated its prototype battery and let reporters drive a test vehicle fitted with the energy-storage device. Mounted in a subcompact demonstration car, Phinergy's aluminum-air battery provides 1,000 miles of range, it said, and requires refills of distilled water (which acts as electrolyte in the cells) about every 200 miles."
Robotics

Noodle Robots Replacing Workers In Chinese Restaurants 531

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-can-go-wrong-nothing-can-go-can-go dept.
kkleiner writes "Recently developed noodle-making robots have now been put into operation in over 3,000 restaurants in China. Invented by a noodle restaurant owner, each unibrow-sporting robot currently costs 10,000 yuan ($1,600), which is only three months wages for an equivalent human noodle cook. As the cost of the robot continues to drop, more noodle shops are bound to displace human workers for the tirelessly working cheaper robots."
Android

BeagleBone Black Released With 1GHz Cortex-A8 For Only $45 142

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the waiting-for-eoma-68 dept.
DeviceGuru tipped us to the release of the latest single board computer from Beagle Board. It's been two years since the previous BeagleBone was released, and today they've released the BeagleBone Black (including full hardware schematics) at a price competitive with the Raspberry Pi ($10 more, but it comes with a power brick). Powered by a Cortex-A8, it has 512M of DDR3 RAM, 2G of onboard eMMC, two blocks of 46 I/O pins, a pair of 32-bit DSPs, the usual USB host/client ports, Ethernet, and micro-HDMI (a much requested feature). Support is provided for Ångstrom GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, and Android out of the box. Linux Gizmos reports where some of the cost savings came from: "According to BeagleBoard.org cofounder Jason Kridner, interviewed in a Linux.com report today, cost savings also came from removing the default serial port as well as USB-to-serial and USB-to-JTAG interfaces, and including a cheaper single-purpose USB cable. (Three serial interfaces are available via the expansion headers.) In addition, the power expansion header for battery and backlight has been removed."
China

China Leads in "Clean" Energy Investment 313

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the for-some-definitions dept.
derekmead writes "According to a new study (PDF) from Pew Charitable Trusts, China was the world leader in clean energy investment in 2012. The U.S., meanwhile, saw its grip loosen on many of the clean energy technologies it developed. According to the research, total clean energy investment totaled $269 billion worldwide last year, a decline from 2011's record high of $302 billion. However, clean energy investment in the Asia and Oceania markets grew by 16 percent to $101 billion. In terms of investment — which is an indicator that a country or region has offered compelling projects, struck a good regulatory balance, and has a strong economy — that makes Asia the epicenter of the global clean energy market. The Pew researchers thus labeled the U.S. clean energy sector as 'underperforming,' largely for a trio of reasons. First, China's boom and manufacturing prowess has taken investment away from the U.S.. Second, the U.S. regulatory environment for clean energy is horrifically unstable (as is the regulatory environment as a whole) as politicians battle over budget rhetoric. Finally, the U.S. has failed to capitalize on its innovation prowess and develop its clean energy manufacturing sector to its full potential." They do not count nuclear as clean, but including nuclear would only widen China's lead over everyone else (they almost have their first new AP1000 ready and are building lots more).
AMD

64-bit x86 Computing Reaches 10th Anniversary 332

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the long-live-athlonmp dept.
illiteratehack writes "10 years ago AMD released its first Opteron processor, the first 64-bit x86 processor. The firm's 64-bit 'extensions' allowed the chip to run existing 32-bit x86 code in a bid to avoid the problems faced by Intel's Itanium processor. However AMD suffered from a lack of native 64-bit software support, with Microsoft's Windows XP 64-bit edition severely hampering its adoption in the workstation market." But it worked out in the end.
Power

IBM Models Human Blood System To Build Solar Power Prototype 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the solar-in-your-veins dept.
coondoggie writes "IBM today said its researchers are developing a solar power system that concentrates solar radiation 2,000 times by using a human-blood supply modeled way of cooling and converting 80% of Sun's heat into useful energy. IBM says the system can also desalinate water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where such systems are often in short supply."
Power

USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
Lucas123 writes "While news stories have focused on the upcoming jump from 5Gbps to 10Gbps for USB SuperSpeed, less talked about has been the fact that it will also increase charging capabilities from 10W to 100W, meaning you'll be able to charge your laptop, monitor, even a television using a USB cord. Along with USB, the Thunderbolt peripheral interconnect will also be doubling it throughput thanks to a new controller chip, in its case from 10Gbps to 20Gbps. As with USB SuperSpeed, Thunderbolt's bandwidth increase is considered an evolutionary step, but the power transfer increase is being considered revolutionary, according to Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). 'This is going to change the way computers, peripheral devices and even HDTVs will not only consume but deliver power,' Ravencraft said. 'You can have an HDTV with a USB hub built into it where not only can you exchange data and audio/video, but you can charge all your devices from it.'"
Input Devices

Omnidirectional Treadmill: The Ultimate FPS Input Device? 292

Posted by timothy
from the pricey-but-cool dept.
MojoKid writes "The concept of gaming accessories may have just been taken to a whole new level. A company called Virtuix is developing the Omni, which is essentially a multidirectional treadmill that its creators call 'a natural motion interface for virtual reality applications.' The company posted a video showing someone playing Team Fortress 2 and using the Omni along with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. You can see in the video how much running and movement this fellow performs. With something like the Omni in your living room, you'd likely get into pretty good shape in no time. Instead of Doritos and Mountain Dew, folks might have to start slamming back Power Bars and Gatorade for all night gaming sessions."
Facebook

Facebook Revealed As Behind $1.5B "Catapult" Data Center In Iowa 82

Posted by timothy
from the not-the-drug-flinging-kind dept.
Earlier this month, an article raised the question of who owns the giant data center being built in Altoona, Iowa. Today, the Des Moines Register has an answer, gleaned from "legislative sources." The giant facility, estimated to cost $1.5 billion when construction is complete, is to house a data center for Facebook. The article lists various attributes the site has to make it attractive for all that data, including access to transportation, extensive network infrastructure, and relatively low risk from natural disasters.
AI

Perceiving Robotic Industrial Arm Inches Toward Autonomy 22

Posted by timothy
from the creepy-but-cool-and-vice-versa dept.
kkleiner writes "Willow Garage spinoff IPI has developed a visual system for its line of robotic arms that enable the machines to perceive a specific object in the midst of random ones. On-site videos show the 'sensing' robots analyzing stacks of random boxes, selecting certain ones, and tossing them to a human handler. The software is also used in an automated box unloader that requires no human supervision."
Hardware

Utility Box Exposed As Spy Cabinet In the Netherlands 179

Posted by timothy
from the all-an-elaborate-dream dept.
First time accepted submitter thejezus writes "A spy cabinet has been exposed on a public road in The Hague, the Netherlands (Google translate here). The cabinet was disguised as telecom-cabinet and was detected by the maintenance crew of Ziggo (a triple-play provider) because it was not listed as a property of the company. Upon opening, it was revealed the cabinet contained a camera and UMTS equipment. Later that day, the cabinet disappeared. 1984 much?"
Cloud

The Eternal Mainframe 225

Posted by timothy
from the next-week-client-server-revisited dept.
theodp writes "In his latest essay, Rudolf Winestock argues that the movement to replace the mainframe has re-invented the mainframe, as well as the reason why people wanted to get rid of mainframes in the first place. 'The modern server farm looks like those first computer rooms,' Winestock writes. 'Row after row of metal frames (excuse me—racks) bearing computer modules in a room that's packed with cables and extra ventilation ducts. Just like mainframes. Server farms have multiple redundant CPUs, memory, disks, and network connections. Just like mainframes. The rooms that house these server farms are typically not open even to many people in the same organization, but only to dedicated operations teams. Just like mainframes.' And with terabytes of data sitting in servers begging to be monetized by business and scrutinized by government, Winestock warns that the New Boss is worse than the Old Boss. So, what does this mean for the future of fully functional, general purpose, standalone computers? 'Offline computer use frustrates the march of progress,' says Winestock. 'If offline use becomes uncommon, then the great and the good will ask: "What are [you] hiding? Are you making kiddie porn? Laundering money? Spreading hate? Do you want the terrorists to win?"'"
Hardware Hacking

Happy Hardware Freedom Day 35

Posted by timothy
from the next-year-more-notice dept.
Blug_fred writes "For the first year the Digital Freedom Foundation (ex-SFI) is organizing Hardware Freedom Day. With 66 events worldwide split over 36 countries, they are not yet covering the whole world but it is a good start. So if you have always been wondering about hacking your own stuff, be it a piece of wood or some more complex electronic gears then it is time to join an open door day type of event. Sixty-six events is definitely less that the total number of hackerspaces around the world and you can check for other events happening in a hackerspace near you if none are celebrating today. Hopefully they will join the movement next year."
Portables

Ars Reviewer is Happily Bored With Dell's Linux Ultrabook 181

Posted by timothy
from the best-way-to-be-bored dept.
Ars Technica reviewer Lee Hutchinson says that Dell's Ubuntu-loaded 13" Ultrabook (the product of "Project Sputnik") is "functional," "polished," and (for a Linux laptop) remarkably unremarkable. "It just works," he says. Hutchinson points out that this is a sadly low bar, but nonetheless gives Dell great credit for surpassing it. He finds the Ultrabook's keyboard to be spongy, but has praise for most elements of the hardware itself, right down to (not everyone's favorite) the glossy screen.
Businesses

Blackstone Drops Dell Bid, Cites Declining PC Market 137

Posted by timothy
from the we-didn't-want-that-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Blackstone Group has notified Dell's board that it has ended its bid for the company after performing 'due diligence' on Dell's books. The private equity firm gave two reasons for its withdrawal in a letter to the special committee of the board reviewing privatization offers: the 'unprecedented 14 percent market decline in PC volume in the first quarter of 2013' and 'the rapidly eroding financial profile of Dell.' IBM's recently announced intention of withdrawing from the x86 server market may have also spooked investors. Blackstone was one of two outside bidders that emerged after founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners announced a deal to take the company private for $24.4 billion. The remaining bidders did not comment on Blackstone's withdrawal; however, the Bloomberg piece notes that Dell's original deal with Silver Lake Partners contains language preventing the latter from backing out."
Transportation

The FAA Will Let Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Fly Again 32

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-must-haul-chuck-yeager-around dept.
derekmead writes "Having completed intense review of the aircraft's flight systems and functionality, component reliability, two weeks ago Boeing completed testing on the last item on its list, the plane's battery housing. The FAA on Friday approved the new system. That means the 787, which Boeing has continued to build while new battery solutions were developed, will now be able to resume regular flights as soon as workers are able to carry out an overhaul of the planes that need the upgrade. 'FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane,' Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, said in a news release announcing the approval."
Displays

Did B&N Pass On the 6.8" E-ink Screen That Kobo Snapped Up? 132

Posted by timothy
from the branching-paths-of-could-have-been dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Rumor has it that the new high resolution E-ink screen on the Kobo Aura HD was originally intended for another ereader maker. Inside sources have told me that B&N had first claim on the initial production run of 300,000 6.8' screens, only B&N decided to pass. If this rumor is true then this was the screen that B&N would have used on their new ereader this year. Can you imagine what a Nook Glow HD would have been like? I think it would be the next best thing to a 7" Android tablet with an E-ink screen. It's a shame we might never see it." While flying cars are still on my wishlist, daylight readable screens for more portable devices are even higher up the list.
IBM

IBM In Talks To Sell x86 Server Business To Lenovo 202

Posted by timothy
from the biggish-blue dept.
FrankPoole writes "According to CRN, IBM is in serious negotiations to sell its low-end x86 server business to Lenovo, which is looking to grow its server revenue. If the deal goes though, it will be the second time in eight years that Big Blue has exited a major hardware business and sold the operation to Lenovo. IBM sold its PC business to Chinese computer maker in 2005."
Power

World's Largest Ocean Thermal Power Plant Planned For China 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the harvesting-heat-waves dept.
cylonlover writes "Lockheed Martin has been getting its feet wet in the renewable energy game for some time. In the 1970s it helped build the world's first successful floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system that generated net power, and in 2009 it was awarded a contract to develop an OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii. That project has apparently been canceled but the company has now shifted its OTEC sights westward by teaming up with Hong Kong-based Reignwood Group to co-develop a 10 MW pilot plant that will be built off the coast of southern China."
Facebook

Facebook Letting Everyone See How Much Data-Center Power It Consumes 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-numbers dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook has added real-time dashboards for measuring the efficiency of its data centers' internal power and water use. Two dashboards monitor the company's Prineville, Ore. (here) and Forest City, N.C. data centers (here), measuring both the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Water Usage Effectiveness of those facilities, in addition to the ambient temperature and humidity. So far, visitors to the Prineville and Forest City dashboards only see a limited snapshot of the Facebook data: the display only covers 24 hours, and is delayed by 2.5 hours on both sites. Facebook also hasn't disclosed how many servers the data represents, which could conceivably be used by competitors to get a sense of the social network's total computing power. The company said that once its data center in Luleå, Sweden, comes online, Facebook will begin adding data from that location, as well. Although Facebook said it provided the information out of a sense of openness, the data—showing PUEs of about 1.09 for both facilities as of press time—is a bit of a boast, as well; as recently as 2011, Uptime Institute said that the average data center's PUE was approximately 1.8. So far, Facebook hasn't said whether it will provide access to the dashboards via an API, so third parties can get a better sense of how Facebook is managing power and water use over time, and through various seasons of the year."
Android

Google Leak Hints At an Android Game Center With Multiplayer Support 44

Posted by timothy
from the androids-are-everywhere dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google appears to be preparing the launch of a game center for Android with an unknown name. It looks like the new hub will sport a slew of features, including multiplayer support, in-game chat, lobbies, leaderboards, and achievements. The leaked information come to us courtesy of Android Police, which amusingly stumbled on the details by tearing apart the apk file for MyGlass, the Google Glass companion app that launched earlier this week. The feature list was hidden within, though it's not clear if this was done on purpose to build hype or entirely by accident." While on the topic of Google-branded Android hardware speculation, this wishlist at The Full Signal makes some feature-list pleas for the rumored Nexus 5.
Japan

Iron Man 3 To Debut As a 4DX Film In Japan 158

Posted by timothy
from the wait-for-it-to-hit-the-basement dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Marvel's Iron Man 3 will debut in select Japanese theaters later this month employing the 4DX system for the first time. Developed by South Korea's largest movie chain operator, the CJ Group, 4DX-equipped theaters deliver smells, seat motions, and additional effects such as strobe lights and fog, all in sync with events as they appear on the screen. Beyond South Korea, this full immersion approach to cinema is already in operation in countries such as Israel, Mexico, Brazil, and China."
Advertising

Google Forbids Advertising On Glass 274

Posted by timothy
from the ban-those-stupid-foam-markers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Contrary to widespread thought, Google Glass will not be an advertising platform: 'Google Inc has lately told app developers that they are not allowed to present ads to Google Glass users and they are also not permitted to sell users' personal and private information for the fulfillment of advertising needs. The internet company has explicitly and openly said that the Glass platform should and must be clean and clear of any ads whatsoever, because the technology is designed to facilitate internet browsing and other related activities, therefore, the featured podium cannot be used to advertise products as it will cause the user experience to diminish.' Seems like Google is going for hardware-only revenue on this one." You're not supposed to resell the Glass hardware, either.
HP

HP To Package Leap Motion Sensor Into — Not Just With — Some Devices 54

Posted by timothy
from the unhand-me-sir dept.
cylonlover writes "It hasn't even been released yet but the Leap Motion could already be considered something of a success – at least with PC manufacturers. Following in the footsteps of Asus, who announced in January that it would bundle the 3D motion controller with some of its PCs, the world's biggest PC manufacturer has joined the gesture control party. But HP has gone one step further, promising to build the Leap Motion technology into some future HP devices." (See this video for scenes of users scrabbling with their hands in empty air, and get ready for more of it.)
Earth

Coral-Repairing Robots Take a Step Closer To Reality 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-rebuild-it dept.
Zothecula writes "Since humans are responsible for much of the damage to coral reefs, it makes sense that we should try and help repair them. That's exactly what a team from the Herriot-Watt University's Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology is attempting to do with the development of underwater "coralbots." Now anyone can add their support to this worthy effort with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign that will help make the robots a reality."
Power

Researchers Report Super-Powered Battery Breakthrough 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-will-they-be-in-my-phone dept.
another random user writes with news that researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are reporting a breakthrough in battery technology. They say: "With currently available power sources, users have had to choose between power and energy. For applications that need a lot of power, like broadcasting a radio signal over a long distance, capacitors can release energy very quickly but can only store a small amount. For applications that need a lot of energy, like playing a radio for a long time, fuel cells and batteries can hold a lot of energy but release it or recharge slowly. ... The new microbatteries offer both power and energy, and by tweaking the structure a bit, the researchers can tune them over a wide range on the power-versus-energy scale (abstract). The batteries owe their high performance to their internal three-dimensional microstructure. Batteries have two key components: the anode (minus side) and cathode (plus side). Building on a novel fast-charging cathode design by materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun’s group, King and Pikul developed a matching anode and then developed a new way to integrate the two components at the microscale to make a complete battery with superior performance. With so much power, the batteries could enable sensors or radio signals that broadcast 30 times farther, or devices 30 times smaller. The batteries are rechargeable and can charge 1,000 times faster than competing technologies – imagine juicing up a credit-card-thin phone in less than a second. In addition to consumer electronics, medical devices, lasers, sensors and other applications could see leaps forward in technology with such power sources available."
Power

Harvard Grid Computing Project Discovers 20k Organic Photovoltaic Molecules 125

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the by-your-powers-combined dept.
Lucas123 writes "In June, Harvard's Clean Energy Project plans to release to solar power developers a list of the top 20,000 organic compounds, any one of which could be used to make cheap, printable photovoltaic cells (PVCs). The CEP uses the computing resources of IBM's World Community Grid for the computational chemistry to find the best molecules for organic photovoltaics culled the list from about 7 million. About 6,000 computers are part of the project at any one time. If successful, the crowdsourcing-style project, which has been crunching data for the past two-plus years, could lead to PVCs that cost about as much as paint to cover a one-meter square wall." The big thing here is that they've discovered a lot of organic molecules that have the potential for 10% or better conversion; roughly equivalent to the current best PV material, and twice as efficient as other available organic PV materials.
Advertising

Samsung Accused of Paying For Negative HTC Reviews 112

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-not-kosher dept.
judgecorp writes "Samsung Taiwan has been accused of paying to have negative reviews of HTC products put online by students who recommended Samsung devices instead. The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission is investigating Samsung's advertising agency in Taiwan, and Samsung Taiwan has responded by cancelling all Internet marketing."
Displays

Google Glass Specs Hit the Web 198

Posted by timothy
from the for-your-fashion-needs dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google has issued the specifications for its spectacles. The search-engine giant's Google Glass, an augmented-reality headset that allows wearers to view information on a tiny screen embedded in one of the lenses, features a camera capable of snapping 5-megapixel photos and 720p video. That aforementioned screen, in the words of Google's just-released specs sheet, "is the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away." Google Glass is compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone. Its MyGlass app, which enables SMS messaging and GPS, requires a companion device running Android 4.0.3 (the "Ice Cream Sandwich" build) or higher. Google claims the battery will provide a "full day of typical use," although the company warned in the specs sheet that certain functions—most notably video recording and Hangouts—could drain the battery faster. Despite those neat features, Google Glass also raises some thorny questions about surveillance culture, and whether people really want whole crowds recording every moment of our collective lives. But those are the sort of conundrums that will only become more clear when Google Glass is actually released sometime later this year."
Power

U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Receives $2 Billion From Japanese Banks 185

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the moar-power dept.
kkleiner writes "The Bank of Tokyo has invested $2 billion into Cape Wind, the 130-turbine wind farm that is inching closer to becoming a reality. The project is vying to the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. after a decade-long campaign mired by red tape in order to receive approval. Proposed to be installed in Nantucket Sound, the wind farm is estimated to have a capacity of 468 megawatts."
Android

Ouya Performance Not Particularly Exciting 305

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the indrema-repeats-itself dept.
hypnosec writes "Results of recent benchmark tests reveal that Ouya is not up to the mark and there are over 70 other ARM devices that perform better than the gaming console. Futuremark, which is known for its benchmarks like 3DMark and PCMark, benchmarked mobile devices and the Tegra 3 powered Ouya has been ranked 73rd." Of course, most of the those devices cost a lot more than $100 without carrier subsidies.
Power

Memory Effect Discovered In Lithium-Ion Batteries 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-little-less dept.
rwise2112 writes "Lithium-ion batteries have long been thought to be free of the memory effects of other rechargeable batteries. However, this appears to be not the case. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, together with colleagues from the Toyota Research Laboratories in Japan have now discovered that a widely-used type of lithium-ion battery has a memory effect."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Preserve a "Digital Inheritance"? 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
First time accepted submitter ron-l-j writes "The last few months a digital inheritance idea has been floating around in my head, and I am sure the thought has crossed your mind as well. With Google talking about the inactive account program it made me wonder, how do I make sure my children get my iTunes, and amazon movies? I have plenty of mp4 movies on my server that will just set itself to admin with no password after I do not log in within a 6 month time frame. But what about the huge amount spent on digital content every year? What's the best way to make sure your "digital inheritance" gets passed down?"
Microsoft

Microsoft Working With Suppliers on Designs for Watch-Like Device 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the wind-it-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that Microsoft may be working on a smartwatch. "The modern smartwatch market hardly even exists, and yet it's already starting to feel very crowded. Hot on the heels of plans (official and otherwise) from Apple and Samsung, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft has also been shopping around for parts to build a 'watch-style device.' While details are scarce as to what that would entail, unnamed supplier executives tell the newspaper that Microsoft has been asking for 1.5-inch touchscreens. We wouldn't count on seeing an ultra-small Surface anytime soon, however -- these executives say they've visited Microsoft's campus, but they don't know whether the Windows developer is fully committed to its wrist-worn endeavor or just experimenting. If the project exists at all, of course. Still, there's finally a glimmer of hope for anyone who's still mourning the loss of their beloved SPOT watches."
Editorial

The Hacker Lifecycle 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the pollination-fertilization-budding-and-dispersal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Hacker Benjamin Smith deconstructs the cycle of education, production, and rest that will be familiar to many software and hardware engineers. He breaks it down into four steps: 1) Focused effort toward a goal, 2) structured self-education, 3) side-projects to sharpen skills, and 4) burnout and rest. He writes, 'As my motivation waxes at the beginning of a cycle, I find myself with a craving to take steps towards that goal. I do so by starting a project which focuses on one thing only: building a new income stream. As a result of this single-mindedness, the content or subject of the project is often less interesting than it otherwise might have been. ... [Later], I almost always decide to teach myself a new technical skill or pick up some new technology. ... This is usually the most satisfying period of my cycle. I am learning a new skill or technology which I know will enhance my employability, allow me to build things I previously could only have daydreamed about, and will ultimately be useful for many years to come. ... [In the burnout phase], I'll spend this period as ferociously devoted to my leisure activities as I was to my productive tasks. But after a few months of this, I start to feel an itch...'"
Businesses

Why PC Sales Are Declining 564

Posted by timothy
from the people-pretty-satisfied-mostly-for-the-price dept.
First time accepted submitter Benedick writes "I have a four year old desktop and a three year old notebook. Why haven't I upgraded to a new machine? Because they still work great. PC sales aren't declining because of Windows 8. They are declining because our PCs are so good, they last a lot longer. Will Oremus of Slate explains it better than I can."
Hardware

Rhombus Tech 2nd Revision A10 EOMA68 Card Working Samples 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the hardware-in-compliance dept.
lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech and QiMod have working samples of the first EOMA-68 CPU Card, featuring 1GByte of RAM, an A10 processor and stand-alone (USB-OTG-powered with HDMI output) operation. Upgrades will include the new Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, the pin-compatible A20. This is the first CPU Card in the EOMA-68 range: there are others in the pipeline (A31, iMX6, jz4760 and a recent discovery of the Realtek RTD1186 is also being investigated). The first product in the EOMA-68 family, also nearing a critical phase in its development, will be the KDE Flying Squirrel, a 7-in, user-upgradeable tablet featuring the KDE Plasma Active operating system. Laptops, desktops, game consoles, user-upgradeable LCD monitors and other products are to follow. And every CPU that goes into the products will be pre-vetted for full GPL compliance, with software releases even before the product goes out the door. That's what we've promised to do: to provide Free Software developers with the opportunity to be involved with mass-volume product development every step of the way. We're also on the look-out for an FSF-Endorseable processor which also meets mass-volume criteria, which is proving... challenging."
Power

A Tale of Two Tests: Why Energy Star LED Light Bulbs Are a Rare Breed 314

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other dept.
cylonlover writes "Just over a week ago Gizmag reported that Philips' 22 W LED light bulb, designed as a like-for-like replacement of a 100-W incandescent light bulb, was the first LED bulb of its type to receive the stamp of approval from Energy Star. But looking at the Energy Star requirements reported by Philips in its press release, it seemed a little strange that Philips' product is the only one to have been certified – given that products long on the market appear, at face value, to meet those requirements. Since then, Gizmag has spoken to LED light bulb makers Switch Lighting and other industry players to find out why they're apparently playing catch-up."
Graphics

Jolla Ports Wayland To Android GPU Drivers 90

Posted by timothy
from the cross-platform-the-hard-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Jolla Sailfish OS engineer has ported Wayland to run on Android GPU drivers. The implementation uses libhybis with the Android driver so that the rest of the operating system can be a conventional glibc-based Linux operating system, such as Mer / Sailfish OS. The code is to be LGPL licensed. The reported reasoning for making Wayland support Android GPU drivers was difficulty in ODM vendors not wishing to offer driver support for platforms aside from Android."

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