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AI

Robot Dominates Air Hockey, Adapts To Opponents' Playing Style 49

Posted by timothy
from the bet-on-the-robot-kid dept.
colinneagle writes "Researchers at Chiba University in Japan have developed a robot that could frustrate teenagers worldwide with its impressive air hockey skills. What's remarkable about this air hockey-playing robot, which is not the first of its kind, is that it can sense human opponents' playing styles and adapt to defend against them. The key is how the computer controlling the robot views its opponent — at a speed of 500 frames per second. From there, the robot uses a three-layer control system to determine motion control, when it should hit the puck, defend its goal or stay still, and a third that determines how it should react to its opponent's playing style."
Transportation

Volvo's Electric Roads Concept Points To Battery-Free EV Future 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-holding-out-for-mr.-fusion dept.
Zothecula writes "While quick charging technology installed at strategic points along a planned route might be a good fit for inner city buses, it's not going to be of much use to electric vehicles that stop infrequently. Volvo sees our future long-haul trucks and buses drawing the juice they need from the road itself, making large onboard batteries a thing of the past. 'The two power rails/lines run along the road's entire length. One is a positive pole, and the other is used to return the current. The lines are sectioned so that live current is only delivered to a collector mounted at the rear of, or under, the truck if an appropriate signal is detected. As an additional safety measure, the current flows only when the vehicle is moving at speeds greater than 60 km/h (37 mph). "The vehicle is equipped with a radio emitter, which the road segments can sense," explains Volvo's Per-Martin Johnansson. "If an electric vehicle passes a road segment with a proper encrypted signal, then the road will energize the segments that sense the vehicle.'"
Data Storage

Facebook's Newest Datacenter Relies On Arctic Cooling 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the mountains-of-madness dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "One year and seven months after beginning construction, Facebook has brought its first datacenter on foreign soil online. That soil is in Lulea, town of 75,000 people on northern Sweden's east coast, just miles south of the boundary separating the Arctic Circle from the somewhat-less-frigid land below it. Lulea (also nicknamed The Node Pole for the number of datacenters in the area) is in the coldest area of Sweden and shares the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska, according to a local booster site. The constant, biting wind may have stunted the growth of Lulea's tourism industry, but it has proven a big factor in luring big IT facilities into the area. Datacenters in Lulea are just as difficult to power and cool as any other concentrated mass of IT equipment, but their owners can slash the cost of cooling all those servers and storage units simply by opening a window: the temperature in Lulea hasn't stayed at or above 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours since 1961, and the average temperature is a bracing 29.6 Fahrenheit. Air cooling might prove a partial substitute for powered environmental control, but Facebook's datacenter still needed 120megawatts of steady power to keep the social servers humming. Sweden has among the lowest electricity costs in Europe, and the Lulea area reportedly has among the lowest power costs in Sweden. Low electricity prices are at least partly due to the area's proximity to the powerful Lulea River and the line of hydroelectric dams that draw power from it."
Hardware

Dell's Haswell-Powered Alienware X51 R2 SFF, a PC Gamer's Console Alternative 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-play dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell recently introduced their Alienware X51 series of small form factor gaming PCs but until now, squeezing in components that were powerful enough for the enthusiast gamer was a significant thermal challenge. Intel's recent Haswell Core processor release, as well as NVIDIA's GeForce 670 series graphics cards have changed the game considerably though. The X51 R2 is shaped similar to to an Xbox 360 Slim, and though it's slightly larger, it would be right at home in a living room setting. Alienware is also bundling Steam Big Picture mode installations with systems as well. Performance-wise, with its latest CPU and GPU upgrades, the system is over twice as fast as the first generation X51, again thanks to Haswell and upgraded NVIDIA GeForce graphics. The console-sized PC is capable of running virtually any current gen DX11 title at full 1920X1080 HD resolution and high image quality settings."
Hardware

World's Smallest Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 Module? 42

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-in-your-ear dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Variscite has unveiled what it claims is the world's tiniest Cortex-A9 system-on-module, measuring 52 x 17mm. The Linux- and Android-compatible DART-4460 board is based on a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, is available with up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, and can run at 400MHz on just 44mA. The module provides interfaces for display (HDMI, RGB, DSI), wireless (Bluetooth, WiFi), audio, camera, USB, and more, and it consumes as little as 5mA in suspend and 44mA while running from a 3.7V battery at 400 MHz, according to Variscite. And in case you were wondering, the iconic Gumstix form-factor is 12 percent larger, at 58 x 17mm."
Upgrades

Intel Removes "Free" Overclocking From Standard Haswell CPUs 339

Posted by timothy
from the first-one's-no-longer-free dept.
crookedvulture writes "With its Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, Intel allowed standard Core i5 and i7 CPUs to be overclocked by up to 400MHz using Turbo multipliers. Reaching for higher speeds required pricier K-series chips, but everyone got access to a little "free" clock headroom. Haswell isn't quite so accommodating. Intel has disabled limited multiplier control for non-K CPUs, effectively limiting overclocking to the Core i7-4770K and i5-4670K. Those chips cost $20-30 more than their standard counterparts, and surprisingly, they're missing a few features. The K-series parts lack the support for transactional memory extensions and VT-d device virtualization included with standard Haswell CPUs. PC enthusiasts now have to choose between overclocking and support for certain features even when purchasing premium Intel processors. AMD also has overclocking-friendly K-series parts, but it offers more models at lower prices, and it doesn't remove features available on standard CPUs."
Data Storage

SSDs: The New King of the Data Center? 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the feeling-solid dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Flash storage is more common on mobile devices than data-center hardware, but that could soon change. The industry has seen increasing sales of solid-state drives (SSDs) as a replacement for traditional hard drives, according to IHS iSuppli Research. Nearly all of these have been sold for ultrabooks, laptops and other mobile devices that can benefit from a combination of low energy use and high-powered performance. Despite that, businesses have lagged the consumer market in adoption of SSDs, largely due to the format's comparatively small size, high cost and the concerns of datacenter managers about long-term stability and comparatively high failure rates. But that's changing quickly, according to market researchers IDC and Gartner: Datacenter- and enterprise-storage managers are buying SSDs in greater numbers for both server-attached storage and mainstream storage infrastructure, according to studies both research firms published in April. That doesn't mean SSDs will oust hard drives and replace them directly in existing systems, but it does raise a question: are SSDs mature enough (and cheap enough) to support business-sized workloads? Or are they still best suited for laptops and mobile devices?"
Hardware

Computer Memory Can Be Read With a Flash of Light 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the whose-bright-idea-was-this dept.
ananyo writes "A new kind of computer memory can be read 10,000 times faster than flash memory using pulses of light, taking advantage of principles used in solar panel design. Researchers built the prototype device using bismuth ferrite. In conventional computer memory, information is stored in cells that hold different amounts of electric charge, each representing a binary '1' or '0.' Bismuth ferrite, by contrast, and can represent those binary digits, or bits, as one of two polarization states, and, because of its photovoltaic properties, can switch between these states in response to visible light."
Portables

Half a Billion PCs To Ship In 2013, As Desktops and Laptops Dip But Tablets Grow 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-keep-the-lights-on-for-another-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets) is expected to see almost half a billion units ship this year, 493.1 million to be exact, representing 7 percent year-on-year growth. Unsurprisingly, the key driver behind this growth will be tablets, accounting for 37 percent of the overall market and seeing 59 percent growth to 182.5 million units. The latest estimates come from Canalys, an independent analyst firm. Nevertheless, it's worth emphasizing that these are estimates, though they do line up with what the broader industry is seeing: desktops are down, laptops are down, but tablets are up."
Data Storage

Will PCIe Flash Become Common In Laptops, Desktops? 372

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-the-singularity-gets-here-first dept.
Lucas123 writes "With Apple announcing that it is now using PCIe flash in its MacBook Air and it has plans to offer it in its Mac Pro later this year, some are speculating that the high-speed peripheral interface may become the standard for higher-end consumer laptops and workplace systems. 'It's coming,' said Joseph Unsworth, research vice president for NAND Flash & SSD at Gartner. The Mac Pro with PCIe flash is expected to exceed 1GB/sec throughput, twice the speed of SATA III SSDs. Apple claims the new MacBook Mini got a 45% performance boost from its PCIe flash. AnandTech has the Air clocked in at 800MB/s. Next year, Intel and Plextor are expected to begin shipping PCIe cards based on the new NGFF specification. Plextor's NGFF SSD measures just 22mm by 44mm in size and connects to a computer's motherboard through a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface. Those cards are smaller than today's half-height expansion cards and offer 770MB/s read and 550MB/s write speeds."
AMD

AMD Making a 5 GHz 8-Core Processor At 220 Watts 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the numbers-getting-bigger dept.
Vigile writes "It looks like the rumors were true; AMD is going to be selling an FX-9590 processor this month that will hit frequencies as high as 5 GHz. Though originally thought to be an 8-module/16-core part, it turns out that the new CPU will have the same 4-module/8-core design that is found on the current lineup of FX-series processors including the FX-8350. But, with an increase of the maximum Turbo Core speed from 4.2 GHz to 5.0 GHz, the new parts will draw quite a bit more power. You can expect the the FX-9590 to need 220 watts or so to run at those speeds and a pretty hefty cooling solution as well. Performance should closely match the recently released Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell processor so AMD users that can handle the 2.5x increase in power consumption can finally claim performance parity."
Operating Systems

XP's End Will Do More For PC Sales Than Win 8, Says HP Exec 438

Posted by timothy
from the grass-was-always-greener dept.
dcblogs writes "Hewlett-Packard executives say that the coming demise of Windows XP next year may do what Windows 8 could not, and that's boost PC sales significantly. 'We think this will bring a big opportunity for HP,' said Enrique Lore, senior vice president and general manager of HP's business PCs. Lore was asked, in a later interview, whether the demand for XP replacement systems could help sales more than Windows 8. His response was unequivocal: 'Yes, significantly more, especially on the commercial side,' he said. Lore said 40% to 50% of business users remain on XP systems."
Sony

Sony's PS4 To Have Less Stringent DRM Than Microsoft's Xbox One 509

Posted by timothy
from the waiting-for-it-to-hit-goodwill dept.
Tackhead writes "E3 is turning into Bizarro World this year. Sony has not only promised that the PS4 will support used games without an online connection, they trolled the Xbox folks hard with this Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video. Compounding the silliness, and hot on the heels of the political firestorm surrounding Donglegate, Microsoft went for rape jokes during their Xbox presentation." Similarly, onyxruby writes "The Verge covers how Sony has crafted policies explicitly to make the PS4 consumer friendly to the public. They make the case that the PS4 will be superior in nearly every way [to the Xbox Next] by not requiring an Internet connection, not restricting used games, supporting indie developers and selling for $100 cheaper than the Xbox One." And if you're interested in the guts rather than the policies or the politics, Hot Hardware has a comparison of the internals of both of these new offerings.
Internet Explorer

Microsoft Boasts of Tiny Energy Saving With IE 243

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the grasping-for-microwatts dept.
judgecorp writes "Microsoft has sponsored research that indicates that its Internet Explorer browser uses less power than the competition, Firefox and Google (there's no explanation of what causes the difference). However, the difference in power use is not really significant — it's about one Watt when browsing. Browsing for 20 hours at this rate, the IE user would save enough power to make a cup of tea, compared with Firefox and Chrome users. That Microsoft commissioned and published the report seems to indicate a certain desperation to Microsoft's IE marketing efforts."
Robotics

India To Develop Military Robots For Warfare 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the robot-wars dept.
WoodenKnight writes "Indian DRDO chief Avinash Chander has told reporters that development of robotic soldiers would be one of his 'priority thrust areas', saying that 'unmanned warfare in land and air is the future of warfare.' He foresees robotic soldiers assisting human soldiers initially but, he hinted at forward-position deployment of such robots. He gave a timeline of at least a decade for the project to see any practical use but said a number of labs in India are now working on this."
Power

Decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Plant May Take Decades 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-game dept.
gkndivebum writes "Southern California Edison has elected to decommission the San Onofre nuclear plant after a failed effort to upgrade the steam generation system. 'Nuclear economics' is the reason stated for the proposed decommissioning. Other utilities operating nuclear power plants in the US likely face similar decisions when it comes to weighing the costs of upgrading older facilities. Allowing the reactors to remain in 'safe storage' for a period of up to 60 years will allow for radioactive decay and lower radiation exposure for the workers performing the demolition."
Portables

Dell's New X18: 5 Pounds, 18 Inches 138

Posted by timothy
from the that-sounds-like-a-weird-baby dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell recently combined two trending PC design styles into a single system and called it the XPS 18 Portable All-In-One Desktop. The machine has all the power of an AIO desktop system and some of the portability of a tablet. To be clear, Dell isn't suggesting you'll want to tote this thing across town in ways that you might use an iPad. It's portable in that you can snatch up the 18.4-inch Full HD display from your home office and take it to the living room to switch gears from Google Docs to gaming with the kids, or take it upstairs for some late night surfing before bed. ... The main attraction, however, is that the PC itself is a portable display featuring an 18.4-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080 resolution and full touch support. Performance-wise the XPS 18 holds its own versus mainstream all-in-one touch PCs, but with added ability to pick the 5 pound system up go virtually anywhere with it on a moment's notice."
Operating Systems

FreeBSD 8.4 Released 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
kthreadd writes "The FreeBSD project has released version 8.4 of the free operating system with the same name. Highlights of this version include GNOME 2.32.1, KDE 4.10.1. In this release, focus has been put on improving stability and storage capability. The ZFS filesystem has been updated to support feature flags for ZFS pools, asynchronous destruction of ZFS datasets, LZ4 compression and ZIO NOP-write optimization. Also, support has been added for all shipping LSI storage controllers."
Data Storage

NSA Building $860 Million Data Center In Maryland 177

Posted by timothy
from the indifferent-to-your-objections dept.
1sockchuck writes "As its current data collection makes headlines, the National Security Agency is continuing to expand its data storage and processing capabilities. The agency recently broke ground on an $860 million data center at Fort Meade, Maryland that will span more than 600,000 square feet. The project will provide additional IT capacity beyond the NSA's controversial Utah data center. The new facility will be supported by 60 megawatts of power and use both air-cooled and liquid-cooled equipment."
Businesses

Lenovo Announces Grand Opening of US Manufacturing Facility 153

Posted by timothy
from the unstealing-our-jobs dept.
Kohenkatz writes "Chinese PC maker Lenovo had a ceremony [Wednesday] to mark the official grand opening of their new manufacturing facility in Whitsett, North Carolina. The 240,000-square-foot facility, located approximately 10 miles east of Greensboro, NC, was already being used as a Logistics Center, Customer Solutions Center, and National Returns Center, and is now also being used for Production. While actual line operations began in January 2013, the facility is on track to reach full operation by the end of June. The facility is equipped to build several types of Think-branded products, including desktops, tablets, and ultrabooks. Note that due to the extensive use of automation, the factory only adds 115 manufacturing jobs at the facility."
Power

New All-Solid Sulfur Based Battery Outperforms Lithium Ion 322

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-the-power dept.
olsmeister writes "The new all-solid battery design uses solid sulfur and lithium, and outperforms existing lithium-ion batteries with four times the energy density. The battery can maintain a capacity of 1200 milliampere-hours per gram after 300 charge-discharge cycles. More work needs to be done, but one would think this new technology could have applications in renewable energy storage, electric cars, and consumer electronics."
Power

Sony Touts 25 Hour Battery Life For Haswell-Equipped Vaio Pro 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-day-long dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sony claims that both the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models of its Haswell-equipped Vaio Pro ultrabooks are the world's lightest. The 11.6-inch model weighs in at 1.9lb (0.87k , where as the 13.3-incher is a little heavier at just 2.33lb (1.06kg). But it's the battery life on offer here that really makes the new Pros stand out. The 11.6-inch Vaio Pro offers 11 hours of battery life as standard, while the 13.3-inch achieves 8 hours. However, Sony is also offering a sheet battery you can connect to the base of the ultrabooks. On the 13.3-inch Pro that increases battery life to 18 hours, but on the 11.6-inch you get a true day-long amount of juice with 25 hours of battery life claimed."
Classic Games (Games)

Retro Gaming With Raspberry Pi 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-your-own-roms dept.
coop0030 writes "Thanks to the affordable Raspberry Pi and some clever software, anyone can re-create the classic arcade experience at home. Adafruit brings the genuine 'clicky' arcade controls, you bring the game files and a little crafting skill to build it. Classic game emulation used to require a well-specced PC and specialized adapters for the controls, so it's exciting to see this trickle down to a $40 system. Also, a video of the game system is on YouTube."
Power

900 Ton Containment Vessel Bottom Head Installed At Vogtle 3 123

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the awe-inspiring-scale dept.
Yesterday, Georgia Power announced that they successfully lifted the first part of the Vogtle Unit 3 containment vessel into place. From World Nuclear News: "The component — measuring almost 40 meters wide, 12 meters tall and weighing over 900 tons — was assembled on-site from pre-fabricated steel plates. The cradle for the containment vessel was put in place on the unit's nuclear island in April. The completed bottom head was raised by a heavy lift derrick and placed on the cradle on 1 June, Georgia Power announced." Georgia Power has a pretty cool gallery of high resolution construction photos (the bottom head is the background on my XBMC machine). Below the fold there is a video of the crane moving the bottom head into place.
AMD

AMD Launches New Richland APUs For the Desktop, Speeds Up To 4.4GHz 153

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the keeping-up-with-the-intels dept.
MojoKid writes "AMD recently unveiled a handful of mobile Elite A-Series APUs, formerly codenamed Richland. Those products built upon the company's existing Trinity-based products but offered additional power and frequency optimizations designed to enhance overall performance and increase battery life. Today AMD is launching a handful of new Richland APUs for desktops and small form factor PCs. The additional power and thermal headroom afforded by desktop form factors has allowed AMD to crank things up a few notches further on both the CPU and GPU sides. The highest-end parts feature quad-CPU cores with 384 Radeon cores and 4MB of total cache. The top end APUs have GPU cores clocked at 844MHz (a 44MHz increase over Trinity) with CPU core boost clocks that top out at lofty 4.4GHz. In addition, AMD's top-end part, the A10-6800K, has been validated for use with DDR3-2133MHz memory. The rest of the APUs max out at with a 1866MHz DDR memory interface." As with the last few APUs, the conclusion is that the new A10 chips beat Intel's Haswell graphics solidly, but lag a bit in CPU performance and power consumption.
Security

European HbbTV Smart TV Holes Make Sets Hackable 39

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the all-the-better-to-spy-on-you dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Vulnerabilities in Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV television sets have been found that allow viewers' home networks to be hacked, the programs they watched spied on, and even for TV sets to be turned into Bitcoin miners. The laboratory attacks took take advantage of the rich web features enabled in smart TVs running on the HbbTV network, a system loaded with online streaming content and apps which is used by more than 20 million viewers in Europe."
Input Devices

Quadcopter Guided By Thought — Accurately 79

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-one-expected-the-hawking-quadcopter-attack dept.
ananyo writes "A toy quadcopter can be steered through an obstacle course by thought alone. The aircraft's pilot operates it remotely using a cap of electrodes to detect brainwaves that are translated into commands. Ultimately, the developers of the mind-controlled copter hope to adapt their technology for directing artificial robotic limbs and other medical devices." From the paper (PDF) abstract: "... we report a novel experiment of BCI controlling a robotic quadcopter in three-dimensional (3D) physical space using noninvasive scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) in human subjects. We then quantify the performance of this system using metrics suitable for asynchronous BCI. Lastly, we examine the impact that the operation of a real world device has on subjects’ control in comparison to a 2D virtual cursor task. Approach. ... Individual subjects were able to accurately acquire up to 90.5% of all valid targets presented while traveling at an average straight-line speed of 0.69 m s^(1)." This also appears to be the first time a Brain-Computer Interface was used to operate a flying device in 3D space. Also, there are several additional videos showing people operating the quadcopter.
The Internet

Vint Cerf: Data That's Here Today May Be Gone Tomorrow 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the tell-that-to-my-stack-of-punchcards dept.
dcblogs writes "Vinton Cerf is warning that digital things created today — spreadsheets, documents, presentations as well as mountains of scientific data — may not be readable in the years and centuries ahead. Cerf illustrates the problem in a simple way. He runs Microsoft Office 2011 on Macintosh, but it cannot read a 1997 PowerPoint file. 'It doesn't know what it is,' he said. 'I'm not blaming Microsoft,' said Cerf, who is Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist. 'What I'm saying is that backward compatibility is very hard to preserve over very long periods of time.' He calls it a 'hard problem.'" We're at an interesting spot right now, where we're worried that the internet won't remember everything, and also that it won't forget anything.
Input Devices

Wi-Fi Signals Allow Gesture Recognition All Through the Home 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the physical-input-devices-are-passe dept.
vinces99 writes "Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air and your lights will power down. Want to change the song playing on your music system in the other room? Move your hand to the right and flip through the songs. University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. They have shown it's possible to use Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras. By using an adapted Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronics and household appliances from any room in the home with a simple gesture."
Printer

Dreambox: the World's First 3D Printing Vending Machine 97

Posted by timothy
from the wake-up-covered-in-plastic-goo dept.
coolnumbr12 writes "Frustrated by the lack of access to 3D printers at their school, three recent graduates from UC Berkeley have installed Dreambox, the world's first '3D printing vending machine,' on their campus. Dreambox gives everyone access to the 3D printer for a small fee, allowing them to print objects from their own designs or from an online store. The creators hope that it will help democratize 3D printing and help more people realize the technology's potential."
Robotics

Footage Reveals Drone Aircraft Nearly Downed Passenger Plane in 2004 206

Posted by timothy
from the statute-of-limitations dept.
Newly released footage, writes reader Wowsers, shows that in 2004 "A German drone aircraft was within meters of bringing down a passenger aircraft with 100 people on board. The link shows stills from onboard the drone. The incident had been hushed up for nine years, and is creating waves in Germany now the footage has been leaked out."
Android

New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android 126

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the double-the-vendor-lockin dept.
taz346 writes "Asus has unveiled a new 11.6-inch tablet/laptop that runs both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean side by side, the BBC reports. The firm said 'users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a "smooth transition" between each mode.' Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."
Robotics

IBM Uses Roomba Robots To Plot Data Center Heat 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the temp-bots dept.
judgecorp writes "IBM is using robots based on iRobot Create, a customizable version of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, to measure temperature and humidity in data centers. The robot looks for cold zones (where cold air may be going to waste instead of being directed to the servers) and hotspots (where the air circulation may be breaking down. IBM is putting the robots to commercial use at partners — while EMC is at an early stage on a strikingly similar project."
Robotics

Ask Slashdot: How To Begin Simple Robotics As a Hobby? 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-in-the-lab dept.
First time accepted submitter nedko.m writes "I would describe myself as more of a 'software guy' rather than somebody who likes to play with hardware much, but I've wanted to start doing basic robotics projects as a hobby for quite a while now. However, I was never sure where to start from and what the very first steps should be in order to get more familiar with the hardware aspects of robotics. For instance, I would like to start off with a simple soccer robot. Any suggestions on what low-budget parts should I obtain, which would provide me, subsequently, extensibility to a bit more elaborate projects?"
China

Full Details Uncovered on Chinese Tianhe-2 Supercomputer 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the under-the-hood dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With help from a draft report (PDF) from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jack Dongarra, who also spearheads the process of verifying the top of the pack supercomputer, we get a detailed look at China's Tianhe-2 system. As noted previously, the system will be housed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou and has been aimed at providing an open platform for research and education and to provide a high performance computing service for southern China. From Jack's details: '... was sent results showing a run of HPL benchmark using 14,336 nodes, that run was made using 50 GB of the memory of each node and achieved 30.65 petaflops out of a theoretical peak of 49.19 petaflops, or an efficiency of 62.3% of theoretical peak performance taking a little over 5 hours to complete.The fastest result shown was using 90% of the machine. They are expecting to make improvements and increase the number of nodes used in the test.'"
Security

Researchers Infect iOS Devices With Malware Via Malicious Charger 201

Posted by timothy
from the nobody-wants-some-iphone-with-a-social-disease dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the upcoming Black Hat security conference in late July, three researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology plan to show off a proof-of-concept charger that they say can be used to invisibly install malware on a device running the latest version of Apple's iOS. A description of their talk posted to the conference website describes how they were able to install whatever malware they wished on an Apple device within a minute of the user plugging it into their malicious charger, which they're calling 'Mactans' after the scientific name of a Black Widow spider. The malware-loaded USB plug is built around an open-source single-board computer known as a BeagleBoard, sold by Texas Instruments for a retail price of around $45. The researchers have contacted Apple about their exploit but haven't heard back from the company and aren't sharing more details of their hack until they do."
NASA

NASA Launches Second Robot Challenge 9

Posted by timothy
from the this-time-make-them-creepier dept.
CowboyRobot writes "This week NASA kicks off its second Sample Return Robot Challenge, in which teams compete for a chance to win $1.5 million. Participants must demonstrate a self-operated robot capable of locating and collecting geologic samples from diverse terrain. Eleven teams from the U.S. and overseas gather for the challenge from June 5 through 7 at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass. The Sample Return Robot competition is part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program launched by the Space Technology Mission Directorate, which develops and tests hardware for use in NASA's future missions. NASA said the goal of the challenge is to encourage innovation in autonomous navigation and robotics technologies, which the agency could potentially use to explore a "variety of destinations in space" and in "industries and applications on Earth.""
Portables

Pi to Go: Hot Raspberry Pi DIY Mini Desktop PC Project 134

Posted by timothy
from the tab-a-slot-b-fruit-x dept.
MojoKid writes "Hot Hardware recently set out to design a custom mini desktop system with the popular Raspberry Pi single board computer. People have configured the device for a variety of applications, from micro-servers to low cost media players. Basically, the goal was to turn what is currently one of the cheapest bare-bones computer boards into a fully enclosed mini desktop computer that could be taken anywhere without the need for cabling or setup. This small DIY project is just one of many examples of the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi's open architecture. And to think you can even run Quake and Minecraft on it."
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Portable High-Resolution External Displays? 141

Posted by timothy
from the just-don't-get-mugged dept.
First time accepted submitter paragonc writes "I am a software engineer who works remotely. I'm amazingly lucky to live in Austin, Texas where I have access to multiple high quality co-working facilities within biking distance. While these places are great for networking and establishing a rhythm to daily life, not having a permanent desk forces me to pack my gear in and out each day. This means i pack light. My current Go Bag includes a 13.3 inch MacBook pro, and an iPad running avatron Air Display. This has worked well, but i'm sorely missing having a real high resolution external monitor. I've looked at a few of the USB powered external displays, but the resolution seems to only hit 1366 X 768. I'd be curious if slashdotters have any tricks up their sleeves on how to implement a high resolution portable external displays."
Software

Will Your Video Game Collection Appreciate Over Time? 127

Posted by timothy
from the mine-has-nowhere-to-go-but-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Pundits tell us that the world of console video gaming is in dire straits, but recent collections of console video games have sold on eBay for tens of thousands of dollars. There are still a lot of video game disks and cartridges out there, but is it worth your effort to try to complete your collection and sell it on eBay? If you're a potential buyer for a massive collection of video games, are they likely to appreciate over time, or is this a really bad investment? Market research company Terapeak runs some numbers and suggests that it depends on your goals, the size and quality of your collection, and the console you're focused on." There's a film crew hoping to bypass the uncertain hoarding phase, though, and just mine a landfill in New Mexico for the legendary hoard of dumped Atari inventory.
Hardware

Atheer Offers a Wearable Display That's Glasses, Not Glass 33

Posted by timothy
from the look-deep-into-my-opaque-lenses dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new competitor to Google Glass was unveiled Thursday at the AllThingsD conference. Unlike Glass, it shows augmented reality content in 3D and is driven by hand gestures and voice input." Here's a video demo. If you think complaints that Google Glass is creepy have merit, take heart: these aren't for walking around with.
Android

UDOO Looks To Combine Best of Raspberry Pi, Arduino 59

Posted by timothy
from the now-they're-just-negotiating-a-price dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Kickstarter campaign for the UDOO board is 7 days out from closing and they currently sit just under $4,000 short of their stretch goal of $500,000. The UDOO is an attempt to produce a single board which would combine the best parts of both Raspberry Pi and Arduino. UDOO will have a 1GHz ARM i.MX6 CPU in either a Dual Core or Quad Core flavor, 1 GB DDR3 RAM, HDMI and LVDS + Touch, and both an RJ45 port and an on board Wifi Module. Along with those specs, it will be compatible with Arduino DUE R3. The UDOO will utilize Micro SD as a boot device and run both Linux and Android. Currently on Kickstarter, the Dual Core starts at a pledge of $109."
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Supporting "Antique" Software? 212

Posted by timothy
from the why-in-my-day dept.
First time accepted submitter wolfguru writes "As the IT Manager for a large printing firm, I often have to provide hardware to support older software which is used to configure and maintain existing systems, some of which are nearly 20 years old. Much of the software uses RS-232 serial communications to connect to the PLC devices and is often 16 bit versions. Newer systems from the PLC manufacturers supports some of the equipment, but many of the older PLC consoles are essentially unreachable without the serial communications. For any of you faced with similar challenges in keeping a manufacturing environment maintenance department working; what do you use to support them and where do you find equipment that will run the older systems that are sometimes the only means of supporting these types of devices?"
Intel

Intel Haswell CPUs Debut, Put To the Test 189

Posted by timothy
from the good-to-live-when-advances-are-boring dept.
jjslash writes "Intel's Haswell architecture is finally available in the flagship Core i7-4770K and Core i7-4950HQ processors. This is a very volatile time for Intel. In an ARM-less vacuum, Intel's Haswell architecture would likely be the most amazing thing to happen to the tech industry in years. Haswell mobile processors are slated to bring about the single largest improvement in battery life in Intel history. In graphics, Haswell completely redefines the expectations for processor graphics. On the desktop however, Haswell is just a bit more efficient, but no longer much faster when going from one generation to another." Reader wesbascas puts some numbers on what "just a bit" means here: "Just as leaked copies of the chip have already shown, the i7-4770K only presents an incremental ~10% performance increase over the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K. Overclocking potential also remains in the same 4.3 GHz to 4.6 GHz ballpark."
Input Devices

Oculus VR Co-founder Andrew Reisse Killed In Auto Collision 302

Posted by timothy
from the sad-news dept.
ccguy writes with this excerpt from a sad report on CNET: "Oculus Rift co-founder and lead engineer Andrew Reisse was hit in Santa Ana, where he was a resident, by a speeding car being pursued by police." Reisse was killed, says the report, when the car "slammed into two vehicles during the pursuit before hitting Reisse at Flower Street and MacArthur Boulevard."
Displays

4K Computer Monitors Are Coming (But Still Pricey) 286

Posted by timothy
from the if-by-consumer-you-mean-anaestheologist dept.
First time accepted submitter jay age writes "When TV makers started pushing 4K screens on unsuspecting public, that just recently upgraded to 1080p, many had doubted what value will they bring consumers. Fair thought — 1080p is, at screen sizes and viewing distances commonly found in homes, good enough. However, PC users such as me have looked at this development with great hope. TV screens must have something to do with market being littered with monitors having puny 1080p resolution. What if 4K TVs will push PC makers to offer 4K screens too, wouldn't that be great? Well, they are coming. ASUS has just announced one!" You could hook a computer up to one of the available 4K displays, but will generally be paying a lot more for the privilege; this one is "only" about $5,000, according to ExtremeTech.
Transportation

No, the Tesla Model S Doesn't Pollute More Than an SUV 559

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-does-not-consume-live-kittens-or-drive-on-water dept.
thecarchik writes "In an exhaustive 6,500-word article on the financial website Seeking Alpha, analyst Nathan Weiss lays out a case that the latest Tesla Model S actually has higher effective emissions than most large SUVs of both the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and smog-producing pollutants like sulfur dioxide. This is absolutely false. Virtually all electric car advocates agree that when toting up the environmental pros and cons of electric cars, it's only fair to include powerplant emissions. When this has been done previously, the numbers have still favored electric cars. The Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, concluded in a 2012 report (PDF), 'Electric vehicles charged on the power grid have lower global warming emissions than the average gasoline-based vehicle sold today.' Working through every one of Weiss' conclusions may show a higher emissions rate than Tesla's published numbers, but in no way does a Model S pollute the amounts even close to an SUV."
United States

U.S. Authorizes Sales of American Communication Tech To Iran 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the applying-a-sepia-filter-to-your-breakfast-is-a-fundamental-human-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A report at SF Gate notes that 'The United States has lifted portions of two-decades-old sanctions against Iran in an effort to bolster communication between the country's citizens — and potentially aid organization against a repressive Iranian government. Thursday afternoon the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized the sale of hardware and software that pertain to the Internet, instant messaging, chat, e-mail, social networking, sharing of media, and blogging — basically, all things digital. The Treasury Department wrote, 'As the Iranian government attempts to silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world, the United States will continue to take action to help the Iranian people exercise their universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.'"
Japan

Monju Nuclear Plant Operator Ordered To Stop Restart Preparation 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
AmiMoJo writes "Japan's nuclear regulator has ordered the operator of the Monju fast-breeder reactor to suspend preparation for its restart until measures are put in place for its proper maintenance and management. The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment. They ordered that sufficient manpower and funds be allocated for maintenance and management. The reactor in Tsuruga City, central Japan, is at the center of the nation's nuclear-fuel recycling policy. But its operator has been hampered by a series of problems."
The Military

UN Debates Rules Surrounding Killer Robots 215

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-c-c-c-can-go-wrong-n-n-nothing-can-go dept.
First time accepted submitter khb writes "It seems that the UN has started a debate on whether to place limits or bans on robots that can kill without manual supervision. It seems that bombs are viewed as 'kinder' than robots which might be programmed to achieve specific ends (e.g. destroy that bridge, kill anyone carrying a gun, etc.)."

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