astroengine writes "This summer, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to launch two amazingly cute yet advanced, white-helmeted robots into space. Then an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will attempt to converse with one of them. Robot astronaut Kirobo and backup robot Mirata were created as part of the Kibo Robot Project, a collaboration among Robo Garage, Toyota, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA. They aim to send the robots with the JAXA mission to the ISS on Aug. 4."
symbolset writes "Ars is reporting that Microsoft XBox One Kinect will not work on Windows PCs. It uses a proprietary connector and an adaptor will not be available. If you want Kinect for your PC you will need to buy a 'Kinect for Windows' product. Although the Kinect 1.0 for XBox 360 also had a proprietary connector it came with a USB adaptor for compatibility with older versions of the 360 that lacked the new proprietary port and PC compatibility was quickly hacked up by third parties."
NVIDIA's Android-based gaming gaming handheld called SHIELD was to start shipping today to customers who had pre-ordered it. Reader MojoKid writes "Unfortunately, in its last round of QA work, NVIDIA uncovered a problem with a third-party component used in SHIELD and will be pushing the launch date out into July. NVIDIA is, however, allowing some members of the press to talk a bit about their experiences with a couple of Tegra 4-optimized games — namely Real Boxing and Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin — and also about an AR Drone controlled by SHIELD with a bird's eye view. The AR Drone streams video from its on-board HD camera to the SHIELD device as you fly. Just launching the thing high into the air and peering into trees or over the houses in the neighborhood is really cool."
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Riyaj Shamsudeen offers an in-depth look at Oracle Database 12c, which he calls a 'true cloud database,' bringing a new level of efficiency and ease to database consolidation. 'In development for roughly four years, Oracle Database 12c introduces so many important new capabilities in so many areas — database consolidation, query optimization, performance tuning, high availability, partitioning, backup and recovery — that even a lengthy review has to cut corners. Nevertheless, in addition to covering the big ticket items, I'll give a number of the lesser enhancements their due,' writes Riyaj Shamsudeen. 'Having worked with the beta for many months, I can tell you that the quality of software is also impressive, starting with a smooth RAC cluster installation. As with any new software release, I did encounter a few minor bugs. Hopefully these have been resolved in the production release that arrived yesterday.'"
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall Foxconn's plans to staff its factories with an army of 1 million robot workers to offset rising labor costs. Well, now we have an update on those plans. Speaking at the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said that there are 20,000 robotic machines currently at work in Foxconn factories. Ultimately, these robots will replace human assembly workers and 'our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers,' Gou said."
Sabine Hauert writes "According to robotics researcher Simone Schürle from ETH Zurich's Multi-Scale Robotics Lab (MSRL), the OctoMag is a magnetic manipulation system that uses electromagnetic coils to wirelessly guide micro-robots for ophthalmic surgery. With this system, mobility experiments were conducted in which a micro-robot with a diameter of 285 um (about four times the width of a hair) was navigated reliably through the eye of a rabbit, demonstrating the feasibility of using this technology in surgical applications."
wiredmikey writes "Security response personnel at HP are 'actively working on a fix' for a potentially dangerous backdoor in older versions of its StoreOnce backup product line. The company's confirmation of what it describes as a 'potential security issue' follows the public disclosure that malicious hackers can use SSH access to perform full remote compromise of HP's StoreOnce backup systems. The SHA1 hash for the password was also published, putting pressure on HP to get a fix ready for affected customers. SecurityWeek has confirmed that it is relatively trivial to brute-force the hash to obtain the seven-character password. The HP StoreOnce product, previously known as HP D2D, provides disk backup and recovery to small- to midsize businesses, large enterprises, remote offices and cloud service providers."
An anonymous reader writes "If you have a fascination with old supercomputers, like I do, this project might tickle your interest: A functional simulation of a Cray X-MP supercomputer, which can boot to its old batch operating system, called COS. It's complete with hard drive and tape simulation (no punch card readers, sorry) and consoles. Source code and binaries are available. You can also read about the journey that got me there, like recovering the OS image from a 30 year old hard drive or reverse-engineering CRAY machine code to understand undocumented tape drive operation and disk file-systems."
An anonymous reader writes "Clones of the ARM processor intellectual property are again becoming available for free from the open source hardware community. ARM was rigorous in shutting cloners down in the past but the clones are rising again under codenames Amber, Storm and Atlas, albeit of older instruction set architectures."
bshell writes "The Verge has a great photo-essay about Tûranor PlanetSolar, the first boat to circle the globe with solar power. 'The 89,000 kg (nearly 100 ton) ship needs a massive solar array to capture enough energy to push itself through the ocean. An impressive 512 square meters (roughly 5,500 square feet) of photovoltaic cells, to be exact, charge the 8.5 tons of lithium-ion batteries that are stored in the ship's two hulls.' The boat is currently in NYC. Among other remarkable facts, the captain (Gérard d'Aboville) is one of those rare individuals who solo-rowed across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, journeys that took 71 and 134 days, respectively. The piece has a lot of detail about control systems and design."
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today, Nvidia released its latest graphics card: the Geforce GTX 760. A followup to last month's GTX 770 launch, the new GTX 760 is the fourth 700-series card since the company launched the GTX Titan back in February. Sporting 1,152 CUDA cores, 96 TMUs, 32 ROPS, a 256-bit memory interface that effectively runs at 6 GHz, a base clock of 980 MHz, and a Boost speed of up to 1,033 MHz, the newly-minted GTX 760 is offered at a price point of $250. Benchmark results are available from all the usual suspects: AnandTech, HotHardware, PC Magazine, PCPer, and Tom's Hardware. To make a long story short, Nvidia's new card edges out AMD's equally-priced Radeon HD 7950 Boost Edition, and even goes toe-to-toe with the $300 Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition. Factoring out AMD's incredible Never Settle game bundles, and looking purely at performance, the GTX 670 allows Nvidia to cinch up the mainstream gaming price point." Reader crookedvulture adds, "The $250 card is an updated spin on an existing GPU, so it doesn't raise the bar dramatically. In fact, the GTX 760 achieves rough performance parity with the Radeon HD 7950 Boost, which costs just a little bit more. The situation is similar at around $400, where the contest between the GeForce GTX 770 and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition is a toss-up overall. These price/performance scatter plots paint the picture clearly. AMD has largely resolved its previous frame latency issues with new drivers, making the battle between GeForce and Radeon more about extras than performance. Nvidia offers software to optimize game settings and record gameplay sessions, while AMD includes download codes for recent games. You really can't go wrong either way."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The powerful, reliable combination of transistors and semiconductors in computer processors could give way to systems built on the way electrons misbehave, all of it contained in circuits that warp even the most basic rules of physics. Rather than relying on a predictable flow of electrons that appear to know whether they are particles or waves, the new approach depends on quantum tunneling, in which electrons given the right incentive can travel faster than light, appear to arrive at a new location before having left the old one, and pass straight through barriers that should be able to hold them back. Quantum tunneling is one of a series of quantum-mechanics-related techniques being developed as possible replacements for transistors embedded in semiconducting materials such as silicon. Unlike traditional transistors, circuits built by creating pathways for electrons to travel across a bed of nanotubes are not limited by any size restriction relevant to current manufacturing methods, require far less power than even the tiniest transistors, and do not give off heat or leak electricity as waste products, according to Yoke Khin Yap of Michigan Technological University, lead author of a paper describing the technique, which was published in the journal Advanced Materials last week."
An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago, Slashdot featured a cheap platform performing 80FFTs per second to recognize whistles. The platform is open hardware/open source and is aimed for sound processing projects. To this goal, the creator (limpkin) just implemented a simple proof of concept algorithm that will control your lighting once the platform listens to a particular word. A small video has been made to explain the basic concepts of sound recognition to encourage hobbyist to make their own."
curtwoodward writes "Formlabs raised nearly $3 million in a month for its new Form 1 3D printer, which uses stereolithography to make precise models and other physical objects out of photoreactive liquid polymer. But 3D Systems — the publicly traded company founded by the guy who invented that process — sued the startup for patent infringement. Formlabs recently announced that it would start shipping its pre-ordered Form 1 printers, and that was no coincidence: the two companies quietly entered into settlement talks in early May, and hope to have a deal done by September."
netbuzz writes "In a clever bit of self-promotion, the do-it-yourself repair evangelists at iFixit announced today that they will be giving away 1,776 free 'iPhone liberation kits' that will allow Apple customers access to the inner workings of their devices by replacing the difficult-to-remove pentalobe screws with standard Phillips screws. 'Get a free insurance policy,' iFixit says. 'In the unfortunate event that your iPhone needs repair, you will be set to make any necessary fix. For situations when you need to get the battery out of your iPhone as quickly as possible—such as after dropping the device into water—you will be ready.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Harvard's Clean Energy Project (CEP) is using IBM's World Community Grid, a 'virtual supercomputer' that leverages volunteers' surplus computing power, to determine which organic carbon compounds are best suited for converting sunlight into electricity. IBM claims that the resulting database of compounds is the 'most extensive investigation of quantum chemicals ever performed.' In theory, all that information can be utilized to develop organic semiconductors and solar cells. Roughly a thousand of the molecular structures explored by the project are capable of converting 11 percent (or more) of captured sunlight into electricity—a significant boost from many organic cells currently in use, which convert between 4 and 5 percent of sunlight. That's significantly less than solar cells crafted from silicon, which can produce efficiencies of up to nearly 20 percent (at least in the case of black silicon solar cells). But silicon solar cells can be costly to produce, experiments with low-grade materials notwithstanding; organic cells could be a cheap and recyclable alternative, provided researchers can make them more efficient. The World Community Grid asks volunteers to download a small program (called an 'agent') onto their PC. Whenever the machine is idle, it requests data from whatever project is on the World Community Grid's server, which it crunches before sending back (and requesting another data packet). Several notable projects have embraced grid computing as a way to analyze massive datasets, including SETI@Home."
Lasrick writes "This is a very thoughtful article on nuclear power plant aging: how operators use early retirement of plants to extract concessions from rate-payers and a discussion on how California's 'forward-looking planning process' has probably mitigated disruption from the closing of San Onofre."
MojoKid writes "Google (and many other tech manufacturers lately), have been evangelizing the mantra that technology is here to enhance and improve our lives, not get in the way; in the truest sense to 'serve humanity.' Recent events and breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, which make use of leading-edge technology, illustrate this vision better than any marketing or ad campaign could ever possibly hope to. Dr. Rafael Grossman strapped on his Google Glass eyewear to become the first 'Glass Explorer Surgeon.' The procedure involved is called Gastrostomy, a process by which a surgeon inserts a feeding tube into a patient's abdomen. In this case, the good doctor performed the procedure endoscopically, such that he was able to display the entire procedure and the view of it directly as it was being performed. The opportunities for remote medical consultation, mentoring and even real-time guidance are obvious with the sort of technology that products like Google Glass bring to the table. It's always nice to hear stories of how not only 'quality of life' is improved but how lives are actually saved as a result of these magnificent inventions we create."
1sockchuck writes "A big chunk of the Azure cloud will be living on the plains of Iowa. Microsoft will invest another $700 million to expand its Iowa data center campus near Des Moines, marking the third major server farm for the state this year. Facebook recently announced a new data center in Altoona. The same day, Google said it would put another $400 million into its facility in Council Bluffs. Why Iowa? Aggressive tax incentives and a central location to bridge the distance between these companies' east and west coast server footprints."
hypnosec writes that the first ever practical implementation of the stored program concept took place 65 years ago, "as the Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine aka 'Baby' became the world's first computer to run an electronically stored program on June 21, 1948. The 'Baby' was developed by Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill at the University of Manchester. 'Baby' served as a testbed for the experimental Williams-Kilburn tube – a cathode ray tube that was used to store binary digits, aka bits. The reason this became a milestone in computing history was that up until 'Baby' ran the first electronically stored program, there was no means of storing and accessing this information in a cost-effective and flexible way."