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Robotic space explorers getting smarter, more autonomous

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 5:00 pm

Researchers are looking for new methods to make robots more autonomous, as NASA launches missions on distant planets and moons. Communication between ground operators and robots would take hours even at the speed of light, so robots need to be fairly autonomous. Researchers want robots to be able to identify and avoid danger, while figuring out where to travel on their own.

 

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The Red planet of Mars pushes the boundaries of how humans are able to control robots, and anything further presents more logistical problems. It would be ideal for robots to be able to accurately detect the physical environment and analyze unique points that could be further studied by researchers.

 

"The amount of data is a problem. You can't be streaming HD video from Mars all the time, live, down to Earth," said Yogesh Girdhar, postdoctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in a statement published by Space.com. "The same thing happens underwater. There are no radio waves. Because of salt water, you can only use an acoustic modem."

Brain Sentry wearable sensors will continue to be used by AFL football

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Health Technology | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 4:20 pm

The Arena Football League (AFL) will continue to use Brain Sentry wearable sensors located inside of player helmets, able to collect vital information about physical impacts. As part of a subscription package, sports teams and leagues are able to receive new sensors each season, with Brain Sentry engineers improving injury prediction technologies.

 

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The sensor is able to estimate direction, peak acceleration and duration of impacts, while also being able to track head acceleration from any point. The integrated sensor battery doesn't need to be recharged and can last an entire season, able to turn on and off after motion is detected.

 

"The health and safety of our players is our highest priority," said Scott Butera, AFL Commissioner. "Our partnership with Brain Sentry allows the League to be on the cutting edge of concussion research, protocol, and management."

Continue reading 'Brain Sentry wearable sensors will continue to be used by AFL football' (full post)

Attending SXSW? Don't bother trying to bring your drone with you

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 3:35 pm

People heading to Austin for South by Southwest are urged to have fun, but drone flights have been banned over the festival. The decision was made after event organizers spoke with drone experts, user groups, municipal authorities and aviation safety experts, according to a press release by SXSW.

 

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The event kicks off today and runs through March 22, with an interactive festival, film and music venues planned for the popular event.

 

"While SXSW may make exceptions to this policy if the drones are used within certain trade show areas where safety measures, such as tethering to the ground are implemented, the airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the SXSW event to ensure operation safe from interference," according to the SXSW press release.

Continue reading 'Attending SXSW? Don't bother trying to bring your drone with you' (full post)

IDC: Windows-powered tablets expected to see big gains soon enough

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 1:40 pm

The tablet market is predicted to reach 234.5 million units in 2015, and will see 2.1 percent year-over-year growth from 2014 over the next five years, according to the IDC research group. Google Android-powered devices accounted for 67.3 percent of the tablet market, shipping 154.7 million units, compared to the Apple iPad (27.6 percent) with 63.4 million units shipped.

 

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However, Microsoft Windows, which ended 2014 with just 5.1 percent market share, will reach 7 percent in 2015 - could reach 14 percent by 2019. Manufacturers embracing Windows 10 will help push shipment volumes from 11.6 million in 2014 up to an estimated 38 percent in 2019.

 

"Microsoft is doing a lot of good things right now and we believe the launch of Windows 10 later this year will not only have a significant impact on Microsoft's share of the market, but on the industry as a whole," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director of Tablets at IDC. "There is an appetite for a platform that can provide a productivity experience that remains consistent across multiple form factors and device types, and we believe Microsoft is well positioned to capture some of that demand."

DHS wants to see if wearables help emergency first responders

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 11:20 am

The US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has teamed up with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to develop wearables for first responders.

 

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As part of the EMERGE! Accelerating Wearable Tech for First Responders programs, the TechNexus and Tech Wildcatters business accelerators will conduct a nationwide search for entrepreneurs that can participate in the program.

 

"CIT is honored to partner with DHS S&T to use new methods and ideas that deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their security mission," said Pete Jobse, President and CEO of CIT, in a statement. "This program will bring the best innovations into government, while helping emerging startups find new markets to sell products."

Continue reading 'DHS wants to see if wearables help emergency first responders' (full post)

RIP 'Discworld' author Sir Terry Pratchett

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 6:00 am

Sad news for the literary world today, with the death of renowned sci-fi writer Sir Terry Pratchett at the age of just 66. Known worldwide for the 'Discworld' series which sold over 80 million copies worldwide, Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease eight years ago and succumbed to the illness yesterday.

 

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Introduced in 1983, the 'Discworld' franchise flowed through to 40 volumes, with the final entry 'The Shepherd's Crown' expected to be published this September, but also expanded into comic books and games. Over his career, Pratchett wrote more than 70 books and will be sadly missed.

Have you ever stuffed up your PC build this badly?

By: Chris Smith | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 5:25 am

As seen on the Watercooled PC Facebook page, one users' comment to the following photo is that it "looks like the pins were at a football game doing the wave." All we know is that someone messed up - badly.

 

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We've seen plenty of incompetent PC builders throughout the years, however this one almost takes the cake. Not only have they put their thermal paste on the pins, they've obviously pushed either the wrong socket processor in or not lined it up properly, bending many pins involved. But maybe there's something we're missing here - more thermal paste might be the solution we've all been looking for.

 

Don't try this at home people, unless you've got a lot of money to throw around.

IDC: PC outlook for 2015 dips, but long-term potential is there

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 4:50 am

Worldwide PC shipments could fall by 4.9 percent in 2015, a higher slowdown than previous estimates of 3.3 percent, according to the IDC research group. The group predicts 293.1 million PCs will ship by the end of the year, as consumers rely on aging hardware and mobile products.

 

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Growth projections for 2016 and 2017 saw slight increases, while the release of Microsoft Windows 10 will hopefully generate additional buzz.

 

On the bright side for the PC industry, tablet growth has also slowed down - even with consumers spending more money on smartphones and mobile devices. However, consumers in the emerging market are expected to purchase smartphones instead of laptops and PCs - a trend that the PC industry must find a way to address.

Continue reading 'IDC: PC outlook for 2015 dips, but long-term potential is there' (full post)

'Frozen 2' in production at Disney as company not keen to 'Let it go'

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 4:14 am

In news that won't surprise anyone, Disney have officially announced that work on the sequel to 'Frozen', the company's biggest animated film and fifth biggest film of all time, has now begun.

 

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In news that bought smiles to Disney shareholders during yesterday's update, it was confirmed that the sequel is being developed by the first film's directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, although isn't far enough along to announce a release date just yet.

 

The characters of 'Frozen' will return to theatres across the world in the next few weeks, in a 10 minute short film titled 'Frozen Fever', which will be attached to showings of Disney's live action 'Cinderella'.

Analysts: Samsung Galaxy S6 modem loses to Qualcomm by around 12%

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Mar 13, 2015 3:54 am

With tongues wagging over the announcement of the Galaxy S6, we haven't seen any real-world performance numbers - with the biggest question being the battery life of Samsung's super-powered handset.

 

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Analysts with Moor Insights & Strategy took to their blog over Mobile World Congress, which we're only getting around to now, with an article titled "Not All 4G LTE Modems Are Created Equal According To Tests With Qualcomm And Samsung". Where most are talking up the internal power and benchmarking abilities of the Galaxy S6, the hit on battery life thanks to Samsung baking in its own modem could be a bigger problem than previously thought. It looks like Qualcomm has the better modem chops, but Samsung has decided to use more of its own components than ever in its latest flagship.

 

The blog post covers this, where they said "Some companies, like Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, have developed their own front end solutions in order to improve their modem solutions and make vast improvements in all aspects. They have accomplished these improvements in multiple ways, including increased throughput going from Category 4 150 Mbps download speeds to Category 6 300Mbps and Category 9 450 Mbps download speeds as well as reducing power consumption at the same time". While that might not sound like much, what they say next should have you opening your eyes a little wider.

Continue reading 'Analysts: Samsung Galaxy S6 modem loses to Qualcomm by around 12%' (full post)

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