MTorrice writes "By shaving off an ultrathin layer from the top of a silicon wafer, researchers have transformed rigid electronic devices into flexible ones. The shaving process could be used to fabricate parts for wearable electronics or displays that can roll up. Compared to similar techniques to make bendable silicon electronics, the new method is more cost-effective and produces more flexible devices, its developers say."
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An anonymous reader writes "As our cars have become more complex, so have the user interfaces with which we control them. Using the current crop of infotainment systems embedded in a car's dash is byzantine and frustrating. UI designer Matthaeus Krenn has put up a post demonstrating his efforts to reinvent in-car UIs in a way that doesn't force people to squint at tiny buttons, instead leaving more of their attention for the road. It's based on using a touch-screen display that realigns the interface to wherever you put your fingers down. It also reacts differently depending on how many fingers you use to touch the screen."
Vigile writes "NVIDIA is launching the GeForce GTX 750 Ti today, which would normally just be a passing mention for a new $150 mainstream graphics card. But company is using this as the starting point for its Maxwell architecture, which is actually pretty interesting. With a new GPU design that reorganizes the compute structure into smaller blocks, Maxwell is able to provide 66% more CUDA cores with a die size that is just 25% bigger than the previous generation all while continuing to use the same 28nm process technology we have today. Power and area efficiency were the target design points for Maxwell as it will eventually be integrated into NVIDIA's Tegra line, too. As a result the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is able to outperform AMD's Radeon R7 260X by 5-10% while using 35 watts less power at the same time."
Paul server guy writes "I am building a limousine bus, and the owners want to prevent occupants from using cameras on board. (But they would like the cameras mounted on the bus to continue to operate; I think they would consider this optional.) They would also like to do it without having to wear any 'anti-paparazzi' clothing (because they also want to protect the other guests on board), and without destroying the cameras. (So no EMP generators, please). We've done some testing with high-power IR, but that proved ineffective. Does anyone have any ideas that they are willing to share?"
An anonymous reader writes "Shubham Banerjee, a seventh grader in California, has developed a braille printer made from a $350 Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and some simple hardware. He calls the science fair project the Braigo. 'The Braigo's controller is set up to scroll through the alphabet. You choose a letter and it prints it out with tactile bumps on a roll of calculator paper. The print head is actually a thumbtack, which Banerjee settled on after also testing a small drill bit and a mechanical pencil. The first prototype isn't terribly fast, but it proves the concept works. Banerjee is working on improvements that will allow it to print full pages of text.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood has posted about how much progress we've made toward commercially viable virtual reality gaming — and how far we have to go. The Oculus Rift headset is technologically brilliant compared to anything we'd have before, but Atwood says there are still a number of problems to solve. Quoting: 'It's a big commitment to strap a giant, heavy device on your face with 3+ cables to your PC. You don't just casually fire up a VR experience. ... Demos are great, but there aren't many games in the Steam Store that support VR today, and the ones that do support VR can feel like artificially tacked on novelty experiences. I did try Surgeon Simulator 2013 which was satisfyingly hilarious. ... VR is a surprisingly anti-social hobby, even by gamer standards, which are, uh low. Let me tell you, nothing is quite as boring as watching another person sit down, strap on a headset, and have an extended VR "experience". I'm stifling a yawn just thinking about it. ... Wearing a good VR headset makes you suddenly realize how many other systems you need to add to the mix to get a truly great VR experience: headphones and awesome positional audio, some way of tracking your hand positions, perhaps an omnidirectional treadmill, and as we see with the Crystal Cove prototype, an external Kinect style camera to track your head position at absolute minimum.' Atwood also links to Michael Abrash's VR blog, which is satisfyingly technical for those interested in the hardware and software problems of VR."
mknewman writes "Elon Musk intimated that more-powerful batteries could be on the way for the Model S. The most potent battery pack currently offered in the Model S holds 85 kWh of juice, or enough for 265 miles of driving. Musk wasn't terribly specific, however: 'There is the potential for bigger battery packs in the future, but it would probably be maybe next year or something like that. The main focus is . . . how do we reduce the cost per kWh of storage in the battery pack?' In other words, Musk seems less concerned with stronger battery packs than making cheaper battery packs for the upcoming mid-size sedan, which is expected to be unveiled at the 2015 Detroit auto show. 'Our goal is to drop the cost per kWh by 30 percent to 40 percent.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Carpenter Richard van As shot to fame a year ago thanks to a 3D-printed prosthetic he developed to help him get back to work after an accident. A year later, RoboHand has helped hundreds of people who can't afford expensive prosthetics, and has been used all over the world. Now van As is back with RoboBeast — the 3D printer built to be extremely durable, designed specifically for taking RoboHand into conflict zones and areas of extreme poverty."
Albanach writes "Recently, I purchased an e-ink Kindle. I like real paper books, but I'm reading lots of academic papers. The Kindle is a nice way to carry and read them, and I went through several documents, highlighting important passages. Now I learn that there is no supported way to actually get a highlighted personal document back off of the Kindle with the highlights intact. I don't need lectures about DRM, proprietary software or anything else along those lines — there are other things the Kindle can and will be used for. What I would like to know is whether there's another e-ink reader that does let you add your own documents, then highlight them and export the altered document. Or does someone know of a way to achieve this using the Kindle itself?"
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Verge: "The South Korean government has decided to route sensitive data away from networks operated by Huawei, amid longstanding fears from the U.S. that the Chinese company's infrastructure could be used to spy on communications. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the U.S. had been urging its South Korean allies to route government communications away from Huawei networks, claiming that the infrastructure could be used to spy on communications with American military bases there. As a result, Huawei equipment will not be used at any American military base in South Korea. The Obama administration denies playing a role in the decision, and South Korean officials have not commented. The Journal reports that the White House made a point of keeping the talks private because it didn't want to be seen as meddling in its ally's business affairs."
sciencehabit writes "A termite mound is a model of insect engineering. Some are meters high and consist of a complex network of tunnels. Even more impressive, millions of the bugs work together to build the mound, all without a blueprint or foreman telling them what to do. Could robots do the same? That's a question that has now been tackled by Justin Werfel, a computer scientist at Harvard University Today, he and his colleagues introduced a computer program that figures out how autonomous robots can make specific structures, including small-scale skyscrapers and pyramids, simply by following the same set of rules. The researchers started small, tasking three compact robots, or bots, with making a one-story, three-pronged structure all on their own, a job they completed in 30 minutes."
UnderAttack writes "A vulnerability in many Linksys routers, allowing for unauthenticated code execution, is being used to mass-exploit various Linksys routers right now. Infected routers will start scanning for vulnerable systems themselves, leading to a very fast spread of this 'worm.'"
sfcrazy writes "The Free Software Foundation has approved TAZ 3 as privacy-respecting, and awarded it 'Respects Your Freedom' certification. TAZ 3 is the fifth model in the LulzBot line of 3D printers by Aleph Objects, Inc. FSF has certified other models of LulzBot 3D printer for respecting privacy as well."
Nerval's Lobster writes "As Web applications grow in number and capability, storing large amounts of images can quickly become a problem. If you're a Web developer and need to store your client images, do you just keep them on the same server hosting your Website? What if you have several gigabytes worth of images that need to be processed in some way? Today, many developers are looking for an easy but cost-effective solution whereby images can be stored in the cloud and even processed automatically, thus taking a huge load off one's own servers, freeing up resources to focus on building applications. With that in mind, developer and editor Jeff Cogswell looks at a couple different cloud-based services for image storage and processing. At first glance, these services seem similar—but they're actually very different. He examines Cloudinary and Blitline, and encourages developers to take a look at ImageResizer, an open-source package that does a lot of what proprietary services do (you just need to install the software on your own servers). 'If you're not a programmer but a web designer or blogger, Blitline won't be of much use for you,' he writes. 'If you are a developer, both Cloudinary and Blitline work well.' What do you think?"
itwbennett writes "In a review of NSA surveillance last month, President Obama called for a new approach on telephony metadata that will 'establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.' Obama said that a third party holding all the data in a single, consolidated database would be essentially doing what is a government function, and may not increase public confidence that its privacy is being protected. Now, an RFI (request for information) has been posted to get information on U.S. industry's commercially available capabilities, so that the government can investigate alternative approaches."
DavidGilbert99 writes "James Dyson only releases products he is 100% happy with, which is why, despite nearly a decade of research in the area, his company has yet to release a robotic vacuum cleaner. To help drive research forward, he will invest £5 million in a joint research lab at Imperial College London which will focus on 'vision systems,' which Dyson hopes will help create the next generation of 'intelligent domestic robots.'" Last week Dyson proposed that the UK government offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science.
An anonymous reader writes "VLC is incapable of increasing the actual power past 100%, all that is being done is the waveform is being modified to be louder within the allowed constraints. But, that didn't stop Dell from denying warranty service for speaker damage if the popular VLC Media Player is installed on a Dell laptop. Also we got a report that service was denied because KMPlayer was installed on a laptop. The warranty remains valid on the other parts of the laptop. VLC player developer [Jean-Baptiste Kempf] denied the issue with VLC and further claimed that the player cannot be used to damage speakers. How can I convince Dell to replace my laptop speaker which is still in warranty? Or class action is only my option?"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, news reports leaked that the NYPD is evaluating whether to give its officers Google Glass for investigations and patrols. Google, which is sensitive to accusations that it works hand-in-hand with governments or law-enforcement agencies to monitor civilians, suggested that the NYPD must have purchased the units on its own initiative, rather than partner with the company. Some pundits and many civil libertarians hate the idea of law enforcement wearing Google Glass or other electronics that can send a constant stream of video and audio to a government (or even third-party) server. But at the same time, wearing Google Glass could also compel cops (and other law-enforcement personnel) to be on their best behavior at all times, particularly when it comes to use of force; the prospect of instantly available video detailing every aspect of an officer's shift could prove a powerful incentive to behave in a courteous and professional manner. But that's a very broad assumption; the reality—if cops really do start wearing Google Glass and other video-equipped electronics in large numbers—will likely end up determined by lots and lots of lawsuits and court-actions, many of them stemming from real-world incidents. Do you think cops should have Google Glass and other wearable electronics? And if so, what sort of regulations could be put in place to ensure that such technology isn't abused by the powers that be?"
StonyCreekBare writes "What options are available for distributed storage for families? My two brothers, my daughter and her husband, and his mother all have homes in various parts of the country. We use various cloud storage providers to keep our shared data. This has numerous limitations and we are starting to think maybe we can do it better ourselves. We all have decent Internet connections, are all somewhat tech savvy, and think that by leveraging the Internet we can maybe provide for our needs better and at lower cost by buying some hardware and doing it ourselves. How would you go about implementing such a family-oriented, distributed cloud platform? What hardware? What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation? Primary requirements are Cheap, Secure, Reliable."
mspohr writes with this excerpt from The Register: "Spanish hackers have been showing off their latest car-hacking creation; a circuit board using untraceable, off-the-shelf parts worth $20 that can give wireless access to the car's controls while it's on the road. The device, which will be shown off at next month's Black Hat Asia hacking conference, uses the Controller Area Network (CAN) ports car manufacturers build into their engines for computer-system checks. Once assembled, the smartphone-sized device can be plugged in under some vehicles, or inside the bonnet of other models, and give the hackers remote access to control systems. 'A car is a mini network,' security researcher Alberto Garcia Illera told Forbes. 'And right now there's no security implemented.'"