Two inventors based in the Philippines have made something that should open up the world's eyes, with a homemade solar panel production factory. The system they use is small enough to fit on a desktop, and is capable of making between 300,000 and 1 million solar panels every year - with one solar panel made every 15 seconds.
By reducing the labor intensive process, which sits at around 50% of the total cost, the machine can radically reduce the amount it costs to make solar panels. The pocket-sized solar panel producer could change the way the world looks at electricity, and solar power. A homemade solar panel can reduce the requirement for power outlets in the home, the same power outlets that power your smartphones, computers, lights, and more.
The duo took to Kickstarter to fund their venture, with the funds required pledged very quickly. The two men are now raising additional funds to redesign the CNC laser cutter that will arrive with open source technology. They plan to power the solar power maker using solar panels, with the product receiving continuous improvements, and with it being open source, the community can help out with the product.
We should see Apple unveil its MacBook Pro refresh in September, but according to some new leaks, we now know what to expect in the hardware department. As it stands, the 13-inch MBP includes 4GB of RAM, while the 15-inch MBP sports 8GB of RAM by default.
There are of course upgrade options, but it looks like Apple is upping the amount of memory in the stock models of the upcoming refreshed MacBook Pro laptops. We should see the 15-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM by default, which should open the doors to upgrade it to 32GB of RAM. This will be nice for video editors on-the-go, and other uses where 32GB of RAM is actually used to its full potential.
CPU options should be beefed up, with the current 15-inch MBPs including a 2GHz or 2.3GHz Core i7 processor. The upgrades on these include 2.2GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz options, with the 2.2GHz model rocking Intel Iris Pro graphics. The two other models feature NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M GPUs with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM. The new models with 16GB of RAM by default should come with a 2.8Ghz Core i7 processor, and the GT 750M GPU. We should expect the refreshed MacBook Pros to come in at the same $2599 price, but I'm sure we're going to see it clock up closer to $3000, especially when we're talking 16GB or 32GB of RAM.
As San Diego ComicCon closes for another year, Warner have ended with a bang, unveiling the first look at the final film in 'The Hobbit' trilogy; 'The Battle of Five Armies'.
Whilst some have criticised some of the more obvious use of CG, others have welcomed the wider scope and epic battles reminiscent of the earlier 'Lord of the Rings' films. Despite their cooler critical reception, the predecessors 'An Unexpected Journey' and 'The Desolation of Smaug' have grossed an impressive $2 billion worldwide.
'The Battle of Five Armies' is released worldwide in late December.
Russia has regained control of a space satellite containing five geckos, which are the subjects of an experimental study examining how weightlessness impacts their sex lives.
It was previously feared that Russian space agency Roscosmos' Foton-M4 satellite could crash to earth, bringing down the geckos with it, if control was not reasserted. It stopped responding to commands in mid-July, and specialists were quickly put to task to restore communications. The gecko sex satellite operated on autopilot in the meantime.
Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported at the time that the satellite was perfectly safe, but did not comment on the safety of the geckos but it seems they're alive and well. Now that control has been regained the satellite will continue to observe the geckos, along with other items for separate experiments like mushrooms and plant seeds.
Russia has posted an official bounty that offers a 3.9 million ruble sum - almost 200,000 USD - to the first people who can identify and track users on Tor.
The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which posted the bounty, requires applicants to pay a hefty application fee - and they must be either a Russian citizen or a Russian company to apply. The competition runs from August 13 to August 20, and the deadline for submission is November 30.
Tor has been a persistent thorn in the side of intelligence agencies around the world. Tor, or The Onion Router, has taken in a lot of cash from America's department for defense, as well as having been utilized by police and other authorities. But it is also used as a way to anonymize traffic among dissenting citizens and human rights activists. Vladimir Putin recently approved a law that would open up access to data within Russia to Russia's intelligence service - as well as his administration insisting high-circulation bloggers with over 3,000 visits a day formally register with the government.
London's mayor Boris Johnson is expected to announce a super speedy 5G network for the UK capital this week.
According to a report in Britain's Telegraph, the eccentric mayor will promise 5G connectivity in the capital by 2020, pledging that Londoners will have access to a super quick network capable of downloading movies in just seconds. The University of Surrey will work in partnership with the city to deliver the network. "London is earning a reputation for being the tech capital of Europe and that is why we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access the very best digital connectivity," Johnson will say. "Rapidly improving the connectivity of this great city is a key part of the Infrastructure Plan for London."
As part of wider plans, Johnson is also expected to commit to improving connectivity across the entire capital, as well as making sure information about this connectivity is generally available. For example, tenants moving into new houses will be able to check against a data set to see what internet speeds they will be able to get access to. Additionally, the mayor will work with telcos to use this data to pinpoint exactly where improvements need to be made across the city.
A dual-core Android smartphone costing just 44 US dollars, the Karbonn A50S, has launched in India which could disrupt the market against more established players like Samsung and Apple.
Although the A50S is firmly in the lower-end of the market, that's also its strength: the touchscreen, 1.2 GHz dual-core device sports 256MB of RAM and packs 515MB of internal storage. It features both a front and back facing camera, too, and ships with Google staples like Maps and Gmail.
Not only does the device promise decent connectivity in its native market of India, but it can be purchased unlocked and ready for pay as you go packages abroad - for example, it should run on most UK networks, and as the Karbonn is so cheap, there's no tax to pay to get it shipped over. While it's been up to the biggest players so far to get much of the world using smartphones, it could well prove to be cheaper options such as this that really end up making the devices completely pervasive.
The technology industry is no stranger to battery issues. Years ago a huge number of lithium ion batteries were recalled when notebooks started to catch fire while being used normally. A 13-year-old girl in North Texas woke recently to the smell of something burning and realized that her Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone was on fire.
The fire was intense enough that the entire mobile device melted, glass, plastic and all. You can hardly tell that the device was a smartphone in the images. The teen says that her phone fell under a pillow as she slept and her father thinks that the phone overheated leading to the battery catching fire.
Samsung has pointed out that the battery inside the smartphone that caught fire wasn't a Samsung unit; rather it was a replacement part from another supplier. Samsung also noted that it points out in materials included with the phone that covering the device with bedding or other material could start a fire.
Smartphones, tablets, and computers are always getting more speed, storage, and memory to help them perform better with each new generation. A group of researchers has made a breakthrough with computer memory chips that could mean terabytes of memory inside future smartphones. The breakthrough could mean tens to hundreds of times more storage in mobile devices.
The memory is called resistive random access memory or RRAM and the chips are being developed by several companies. Making this sort of memory typically requires high-temperature or high-voltage making the chips hard to produce. Researchers at Rice University have made a breakthrough that allows the fabrication of these chips at room temperature and with much less voltage required.
RRAM is like flash memory in that it can store data without constant power supplied. RRAM stores data using resistance rather than charge in a transistor. Using resistance means each bit uses less space significantly increasing the amount of data that can be stored. These chips are also easier to stack leafing to more capacity.
The transition from military life to civilian life can be hard for some veterans. USAA is an insurance company that caters to veterans and their families and USAA will make the first consumer facing application of the IBM Watson cognitive computing technology.
Watson will be used to advise members of the military and families on the transition from military to civilian life. Watson is being used in a pilot program and USAA members will be able to ask questions to Watson that are related to the transition. Watson reportedly has analyzed and understands more than 3000 documents on topics that are exclusive to military transitions. Watson is designed to gain value and experience over time.
"This is a continuation of our journey to deliver meaningful advice to our members on digital platforms," Shon Manasco, executive vice president of member experience at USAA, said in a statement. "And it reinforces our commitment to finding innovative and distinctive ways to make our members' lives easier. Through this experience, we expect to learn how intelligent assistants like IBM Watson can help service members who may not know exactly where or how to start the daunting transition process."