The perceived future of driving tends to revolve around a networked traffic infrastructure in which cars, traffic signals, and other roadway implements talk to each other electronically to optimise traffic flow and make driving more efficient all around. But MIT researchers think we can do many of these things on an existing network: the one that ties all of our smartphones together. A network of camera-equipped mobile devices mounted on dashboards could crowd source information about traffic signals and tell drivers what speed to maintain to avoid waiting at traffic lights. The idea stems from an already popular smartphone setup in which drivers perch their smartphones in dashboard brackets and use them as navigation devices. The MIT team built their SignalGuru app to take advantage of the camera on the other side of the phone by collecting stoplight data as cars drive around and feeding it back to a central system that then builds a larger picture of a city's traffic flow.
Back on August 11th DARPA launched, then lost, its Falcon hypersonic vehicle, also known as HTV-2. Today we found it. Not the actual glider, but a video of it streaking through the sky over the Pacific Ocean as captured by a crew member aboard a tracking ship. And as you can see in this video, it is indeed moving fast.
In 1996, when Steve Jobs came back to Apple after a decade-long exile, the company's products took a dramatic turn. The next 15 years would be a whirlwind of monstrous success after monstrous success--iMac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Intel-based MacBook, iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad. Jobs's resignation as CEO yesterday has led to some excessive hand-wringing about Apple's future, near and far, but the Jobsian philosophy--in which the consumer is king, in which there is one right way to do things, in which it is always preferable to trim than to add--will hopefully have permeated Apple enough to weather his departure. It's already had an effect on the world at large.
There are a lot of people out there dealing with some degree of hearing disability--one in six, by some estimates--and that audience is typically underserved when it comes to cinematic experience. Some films are screened with subtitles, but often at odd times. But Sony is working up a fix in its UK lab: a pair of glasses that places subtitles right in the user's field of view.
Attention hipsters and other people seeking hipness: there's a new fad catching on in Western Australia's Shark Bay, and you won't want to be the last to to post pictures of yourself imitating it to your Tumblr feed. "Conching" is a method by which Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are trapping small fish in conch shells, bringing the shells to the surface, and then shaking them with their rostrums to clear out the water and dump the fish into their mouths. More remarkably, the trend appears to be spreading throughout an entire population of dolphins, and fast.
Not content with just stirring the pot in particle physics, CERN has embarked on an experiment aimed at addressing whether or not comic rays from deep space might be seeding clouds in Earth's atmosphere, influencing climate change. The early findings are far from deciding the issue of whether climate change is man made or otherwise, but they have borne some interesting results. It turns out that cosmic rays could be influencing temperatures on Earth. Perhaps even more groundbreaking, it turns out they also might not. Welcome to climate science.
Whether we're engrossed in an activity or the alarm clock simply fails to chime, we've all been in situations when we say we've lost track of time. But our brains have not really lost track at all. A specific group of cells in the brain's memory center is encoding for the passage of time, researchers report. These "time cells" are key to our perception of sequences of events.
The offer came simply via the subject line of an email: "Want to fly a drone?" It was from Todd Backus of DATRON, a maker of--among other things--military grade radio communication systems and tactical data networking setups based in Vista, Calif. It was a question that didn't require a whole lot of consideration on my part--if there were drones to fly at AUVSI's massive unmanned systems show in Washington D.C. last week, I was going to fly them.
Using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope, astronomers have finally spotted a collection of ultra-cool brown dwarfs they have been hunting for more than a decade. These tepid almost-star orbs are nearly impossible to see with a normal telescope, but WISE's infrared vision was able to pick them out.
NASA is spending roughly US$175 million on three new technology demonstration projects, one of which is aiming to take HD data streaming to Mars. The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will explore reliable optical communications technologies that could boost data rates between Earth and deep space by a couple of orders of magnitude.
Last week, we told you about a New York Times analysis of the green jobs sector, painting a disappointingly dismal picture given all the hope surrounding economic growth via clean-energy technology. But now, a new piece from the watchdogs at Grist has taken strong issue with the Times's dreary conclusion.
Last time we looked at the UK's teeming video surveillance technology sector we were writing about facial recognition software that Scotland Yard was trialling during the recent London riots. But facial recognition is both fraught with privacy concerns and difficult to make reliable. So researches at Kingston University are building a CCTV system that uses AI to recognise specific types of criminal behaviours--like someone brandishing a firearm--and use that to alert authorities and build a video profile of the way a crime unfolded.
Our favorite Twitter ‘bot--no, like an actual robot that tweets--is out of the box and live-tweeting its new life on the International Space Station. Robonaut 2 was actually unboxed several months ago (it was delivered by the final Discovery mission in February) but has been sitting idly, waiting for the crew to get around to firing it up. Now R2 is plugged in, and man is it ever chatty.