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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Android

KegDroid: Combining Arduino, Android, and NFC to Dispense Beer 48

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the red-solo-cup-sales-down dept.
mikejuk writes, quoting I Programmer: "If you are looking for an exciting hardware project, KegDroid deserves a look. It is a sophisticated system that involves Android, Arduino, NFC, plumbing and — beer. Perhaps the final stroke of genius is to package the whole thing in a Droid body. Some how the little green fella looks at home on the bar. You have heard of desktop and laptop apps now we have bartop apps to add to the list" Details are fuzzy currently, but from all appearances this is a repackaged KegBot in a very fancy shell. (Video for those without Flash.)
Hardware

Silicene Discovered: Single-layer Silicon That Could Beat Graphene To Market 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-few-months-before-never dept.
MrSeb writes "Numerous research groups around the world are reporting that they have created silicene, a one-atom-thick hexagonal mesh of silicon atoms — the silicon equivalent of graphene. You will have heard a lot about graphene, especially with regard to its truly wondrous electrical properties, but it has one rather major problem: It doesn't have a bandgap, which makes it very hard to integrate into existing semiconductor processes. Silicene, on the other hand, is theorized to have excellent electrical properties, while still being compatible with silicon-based electronics (abstract). For now, silicene has only been observed (with a scanning tunneling electron microscope), but the next step is to grow a silicene film on an insulating substrate so that its properties can be properly investigated."
Android

Microsoft Invests $300 Million In Nook e-Readers 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-me-the-money dept.
First time accepted submitter NGTechnoRobot writes "In a turn for the books the BBC reports that Microsoft has invested $300 million in Barnes and Noble's Nook e-reader. The new Nook reader will integrate with Microsoft's yet-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system. From the article: 'The deal could make Barnes and Noble's Nook e-book reader available to millions of new customers, integrating it with the Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. The as-yet unnamed new company will be 82.4% owned by Barnes and Noble, with Microsoft getting a 17.6% stake.' Guess the lawsuit's over, folks."
Intel

Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the small-like-you dept.
MrSeb writes "Details of a new, ultra-compact computer form factor from Intel, called the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) are starting to emerge. First demonstrated at PAX East at the beginning of April, and Intel's Platinum Summit in London last week, NUC is a complete 10x10cm (4x4in) Sandy Bridge Core i3/i5 computer. On the back, there are Thunderbolt, HDMI, and USB 3.0 ports. On the motherboard itself, there are two SO-DIMM (laptop) memory slots and two mini PCIe headers. On the flip side of the motherboard is a CPU socket that takes most mobile Core i3 and i5 processors, and a heatsink and fan assembly. Price-wise, it's unlikely that the NUC will approach the $25 Raspberry Pi, but an Intel employee has said that the price will 'not be in the hundreds and thousands range.' A price point around $100 would be reasonable, and would make the NUC an ideal HTPC or learning/educational PC. The NUC is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2012."
Graphics

NVIDIA Unveils Dual-GPU Powered GeForce GTX 690 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes "Today at the GeForce LAN taking place in Shanghai, NVIDIA's CEO Jen Hsun Huang unveiled the company's upcoming dual-GPU powered, flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 690. The GeForce GTX 690 will feature a pair of fully-functional GK104 "Kepler" GPUs. If you recall, the GK104 is the chip powering the GeForce GTX 680, which debuted just last month. On the upcoming GeForce GTX 690, each of the GK104 GPUs will also be paired to its own 2GB of memory (4GB total) via a 256-bit interface, resulting in what is essentially GeForce GTX 680 SLI on a single card. The GPUs on the GTX 690 will be linked to each other via a PCI Express 3.0 switch from PLX, with a full 16 lanes of electrical connectivity between each GPU and the PEG slot. Previous dual-GPU powered cards from NVIDIA relied on the company's own NF200, but that chip lacks support for PCI Express 3.0, so NVIDIA opted for a third party solution this time around."
Hardware

The Greatest Machine Never Built 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the oldest-school dept.
mikejuk writes "John Graham-Cumming is the leading light behind a project to actually build the analytical engine dreamed of by Charles Babbage. There is a tendency to think that everything that Babbage thought up was little more than a calculating machine, but as the video makes 100% clear the analytical engine was a real computer that could run programs. From the article: 'Of course Ada Lovelace was the first programmer, but more importantly her work with Babbage took the analytical engine from the realms of mathematical table construction into the wider world of non-mathematical programming. Her notes indicate that had the machine been built there is no question that it would have been exploited just as we use silicon-based machines today. To see the machine built and running programs would be the final proof that Babbage really did invent the general purpose computer in the age of the steam engine.'"
Hardware

Electronics Prototyping Plate Kit Board For Raspberry Pi Coming Soon 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-build-it-they-will-prototype dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Outside of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it seems work is being done to support the tiny PC with add-ons. One of the companies set to launch such a product is Adafruit, which has just announced an electronics plate kit for the device. The kit is currently in the prototype stages, but once released Adafruit is hoping to encourage people to use the board to prototype electronic circuits and create some embedded computer projects. It's certainly an idea that will excite those coming to the Raspberry Pi who have experience with Arduino."
Android

Kindle Fire Grabs Over Half of the U.S. Android Tablet Market 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the its-on-fire-heyo dept.
New submitter DillyTonto writes "Amazon got shelled by analysts and the press after releasing a buggy first iteration of the Fire edition of the Kindle e-reader. Three weeks later the Kindle Fire owned 14 percent of the whole market for tablets. Three months later, more than half of all Android tablets sold in the U.S. are seven-inch Kindle Fires, despite a huge bias among buyers for 10-inch tablets. How could a heavily modded e-reader beat full-size tablets by major PC vendors? It's cheaper than any other tablet or e-reader on the market, for one thing. Also important is its focus on being an e-reader, 'because people buy hardware to have access to one app or function, then take the other things it can do as an additional benefit.'"
Intel

Ivy Bridge Running Hotter Than Intel's Last-gen CPU 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the water-under-the-bridge dept.
crookedvulture writes "The launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs made headlines earlier this week, but the next-gen processor's story is still being told. When overclocked, Ivy Bridge runs as much as 20C hotter than its Sandy Bridge predecessor at the same speed, despite the fact that the two chips have comparable power consumption. There are several reasons for these toasty tendencies. The new 22-nm process used to fabricate the CPU produces a smaller die with less surface area to dissipate heat. Intel has changed the thermal interface material between the CPU die and its heat spreader. Ivy also requires a much bigger step up in voltage to hit the same speeds as Sandy Bridge."
China

Graphene Helps a Robot Creep Like an Inchworm 36

Posted by timothy
from the whole-new-line-dance-in-the-making dept.
LilaG writes "To develop new materials for robotics, scientists have developed graphene-based actuators that convert electricity into motion. In robots, actuators act like muscles, driving the movement of mechanical arms and fins. Most actuator materials, such as ceramics and conductive polymers, respond slowly, require a lot of power, or provide very little force. To make speedy, strong actuators, Chinese researchers coated graphene paper with the polymer polydiacetylene. Graphene provides a highly conductive, flexible backing for the fragile polymer crystals, which deform in response to electrical current. The actuators can bend 200 times per second and generate more force than most current materials. Using a sheet of the material, the scientists built a simple inchworm robot that arches and relaxes to crawl forward."
The Almighty Buck

Good News For US Fusion Research 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
zrbyte writes "Fusion research would get a major boost in a Department of Energy (DOE) spending bill approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. The panel rejected an Obama Administration proposal to cut funding for domestic fusion research in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins 1 October. It would also give more money than requested to an international collaboration building the ITER fusion reactor in France. This will allow the Alcator C-Mod fusion facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to be kept open, which the Administration had proposed closing."
China

China Plans National, Unified CPU Architecture 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the bringing-resources-to-bear dept.
MrSeb writes "According to reports from various industry sources, the Chinese government has begun the process of picking a national computer chip instruction set architecture (ISA). This ISA would have to be used for any projects backed with government money — which, in a communist country such as China, is a fairly long list of public and private enterprises and institutions, including China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier in the world. The primary reason for this move is to lessen China's reliance on western intellectual property. There are at least five existing ISAs on the table for consideration — MIPS, Alpha, ARM, Power, and the homegrown UPU — but the Chinese leadership has also mooted the idea of defining an entirely new architecture. What if China goes the DIY route and makes its own ISA or microarchitecture with silicon-level censorship and monitoring, or an always-open backdoor for the Chinese intelligence agencies?"
Government

Study Finds 1 in 10 Used Hard Drives Contains Old Personal Data 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the sharing-secrets dept.
Lucas123 writes "A newly published study by Britain's data protection regulatory agency found that more than one in 10 second-hand hard drives being sold online contain recoverable personal information from the original owner. "Many people will presume that pressing the delete button on a computer file means that it is gone forever. However this information can easily be recovered," Britain's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said in a statement. In all, the research found 34,000 files containing personal or corporate information were recovered from the devices. Along with the study, a survey revealed that 65% of people hand down their old PC, laptop and cell phones to others. One in ten of those people who disposed of their old devices, left all their data on them. The British government also offered new guidelines for ensuring devices are properly wiped of data."
Displays

MIT Researchers Invent 'Super Glass' 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-better dept.
redletterdave writes "On Thursday, researchers at MIT announced a breakthrough in glass-making technology, which basically involves a new way to create surface textures on glass to eliminate all of the drawbacks of glass, including unwanted reflections and glare. The research team wanted to build glass that could be adaptable to any environment: Their 'multifunctional' glass is not only crystal clear, but it also causes water droplets to bounce right off its surface, 'like tiny rubber balls.' The glass is self-cleaning, anti-reflective, and superhydrophobic. The invention has countless applications, including TV screens, as well as smartphone and tablet displays that benefit from the self-cleaning ability of the glass by resisting moisture and contamination by sweat."
Books

Ask Slashdot: Sources For Firmware and Hardware Books? 88

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-what-do-you-call-the-layer-beneath-that? dept.
First time accepted submitter cos(0) writes "Between O'Reilly, Wrox, Addison-Wesley, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, and many others, software developers have a wide variety of literature about languages, patterns, practices, and tools. Many publishers even offer subscriptions to online reading of the whole collection, exposing you to things you didn't even know you don't know — and many of us learn more from these publishers than from a Comp Sci curriculum. But what about publishers and books specializing in tech underneath software — like VHDL, Verilog, design tools, and wire protocols? In particular, best practices, modeling techniques, and other skills that separate a novice from an expert?"

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