Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pizza ordering Bluetooth fridge magnet offers one click snackage

This is forward progress at its finest if you ask me, and possibly the best use for Bluetooth ever. This magnet is courtesy of Red Tomato Pizza and all you have to do is sync the fridge magnet with your phone. After you do the synchronization with your phone, you go to the company’s website and pick your favorite pizza.

More @ SlashGear

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Man Claims to Fly With Custom-Built Bird Wings

Real or fake? EDIT: This was a fake.

Editor’s note (March 21, 8:15 am PDT): The authenticity of this video has been questioned (Gizmodo,The Register), but Wired’s preliminary analysis by physicist Rhett Allain found nothing in the video that indicates it must be a fake. We are contacting other experts and will update this post when we have more information. Jarno Smeets has not yet responded to several interview requests.

More @ Wired.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Special NASA glasses enable pilots to see through fog

When fog suddenly blankets an airport, it can make things difficult for pilots taxiing to and from the runway - especially if they're not familiar with its layout. To help solve this problem, NASA has developed a pair of augmented reality glasses for pilots to wear in low visibility conditions.
(...) NASA has been working on producing a pair of augmented reality glasses which would allow pilots to see a virtual representation of the airstrip and taxiing routes.
The headset, which weighs less than a quarter of a pound (113g), incorporates a lens that fits over one eye, providing the pilot with a variety of information, as well as a virtual view of the surroundings. It’s even designed to track head movements, quickly providing an accurate and realistic virtual image for the pilot.
The US space agency made the technology available for commercialization earlier this month, though Trey Arthur is still working to improve the headgear.

More @DigitalTrends

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Solar panel made with ion cannon is cheap enough to challenge fossil fuels | ExtremeTech

Twin Creeks' Hyperion particle accelerator wafer machine thing 

Twin Creeks, a solar power startup that emerged from hiding today, has developed a way of creating photovoltaic cells that are half the price of today’s cheapest cells, and thus within reach of challenging the fossil fuel hegemony. The best bit: Twin Creeks’ photovoltaic cells are created using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator.

3-millimeter-thick silicon wafers are placed around the outside edge of the big, spoked wheel. A particle accelerator bombards these wafers with hydrogen ions, and with exacting control of the voltage of the accelerator, the hydrogen ions accumulate precisely 20 micrometers from the surface of each wafer. A robotic arm then transports the wafers to a furnace where the ions expand into hydrogen gas, which cause the 20-micrometer-thick layer to shear off. A metal backing is applied to make it less fragile (and highly flexible, as you see on the right), and the remaining silicon wafer is taken back to the particle accelerator for another dose of ions. At a tenth of the thickness and with considerably less wastage, it’s easy to see how Twin Creeks can halve the cost of solar cells.

it is promising a cost of around 40 cents per watt, about half the cost of panels currently coming out of China (where the vast majority of solar panels are made). At that price, solar power begins to encroach on standard, mostly-hydrocarbon-derived grid power — but, of course, we still need to create batteries that can store solar power over night. Still, one step at a time.

More @ ExtremeTech

Friday, March 09, 2012

Ultra-efficient LED puts out more power than is pumped in (Wired UK)

MIT physicists have managed to build a light-emitting diode that has an electrical efficiency of more than 100 percent. You may ask, "Wouldn't that mean it breaks the first law of thermodynamics?" The answer, happily, is no.

The LED produces 69 picowatts of light using 30 picowatts of power, giving it an efficiency of 230 percent. That means it operates above "unity efficiency" -- putting it into a category normally occupied by perpetual motion machines.

However, while MIT's diode puts out more than twice as much energy in photons as it's fed in electrons, it doesn't violate the conservation of energy because it appears to draw in heat energy from its surroundings instead. When it gets more than 100 percent electrically-efficient, it begins to cool down, stealing energy from its environment to convert into more photons.

More from Wired UK

Mercedes Benz Invisible Car!

Mercedes Benz Invisible Car! - YouTube:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

LightRadio Cube Improves Wireless Broadband

Alcatel-Lucent has developed a cheaper alternative to cell phone towers with its broadband boostinglightRadio Cube. The company says the device will keep providers ahead of the growing demand of network bandwidth: “The Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio™ Network does what traditional cellular networks can no longer do: put you ahead of your customers’ thirst for mobile bandwidth.”
The device is about the size of a Rubik’s cube and looks to replace large, expensive cell towers. Due to its small size the device can be mounted just about anywhere, turning buildings, light poles, any structure with a power source into cell phone towers. The device is said to be 35-50% less expensive than standard cell towers, and aside from being much easier to maintain, the new technology reduces energy consumption of current mobile networks up to 50%.

More @ tech.li

Kony 2012 film: schoolchildren's verdict - video

Children from London aged 14 and 15 give their opinions of Kony 2012, the 30-minute documentary on guerrilla leader Joseph Rao Kony, which has gone viral on YouTube and Vimeo websites. The Kony video on the Ugandan warlord was uploaded by a non-profit group called Invisible Children, which seeks to expose Kony and depose him

From World news | guardian.co.uk

Thursday, March 01, 2012

How to Build a Speech-Jamming Gun - Technology Review

The drone of speakers who won't stop is an inevitable experience at conferences, meetings, cinemas, and public libraries.

Today, Kazutaka Kurihara at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University, both in Japan, present a radical solution: a speech-jamming device that forces recalcitrant speakers into submission.

The idea is simple. Psychologists have known for some years that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you with a delay of a fraction of a second.

Kurihara and Tsukada have simply built a handheld device consisting of a microphone and a speaker that does just that: it records a person's voice and replays it to them with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun.

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