Author Archives: Kevin Fubar


Ornithopter Replicates Insect Flight

Ornithopter Replicates Insect Flight

A team at Cornell University's Computational Synthesis Laboratory has developed tiny hovering Ornithopters. These machines were the first type of design for mechanical flight that people began to experiment with. The team at Cornell has been working on the project design for the past few years, but last year they were able to construct a working model using 3D printing techniques. They mimicked the principles of insect flight to design their hovering machine. These little guys flit around like mechanical lacewings.

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Facebook Tests Real-Time Ad Targeting

Facebook Tests Real-Time Ad Targeting

By now, we're all used to targeted ads. Whether you're getting daily Groupons in your inbox or if you're one of the 600 million who regularly browse Facebook, you've seen a targeted ad. Until now, these advertisers have been aggregating your data, grouping you and targeting ads to you based on these groupings. Facebook has been testing a new service that alters the method by which ads are chosen. Traditional targeted ads are based on aggregated data. Facebook has begun serving ads to a small subset of their users based on real-time data mining.

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Toshiba Resistive Multi-touch from Embedded World

Toshiba Resistive Multi-touch from Embedded World

By now we're all used to multi touch capacitive displays where the slightest brush of our fingers can zoom and pan the application. At Embedded World in Nuremburg, Toshiba showed off their prototype of a Resistive Multi-touch display using an ARM Cortex-M3 micro-controller. Most people don't have any problems with just using a capacitive screen, but in industrial and medical applications it's often necessary for the users to wear gloves, negating the benefit of capacitive screens. Resistive screens are also much less expensive than their same-sized capacitive counterparts, and are often more durable. Toshiba will have the ability to market this technology to touchscreen markets from ATM's to Point of Sale registers and beyond.

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Netflix and Linux Don’t Play Well Together

Netflix and Linux Don’t Play Well Together

I just signed up for Netflix for the first time. I know, I'm way past the freshmeat boat on that one, but I never wanted it for anything until last week. Much to my chagrin, I went to instant-play and found that Linux wasn't a supported operating system. Most of the time these days, when a website says such a thing it's not really that big of a deal. There's often some kind of "do it anyway" link to click on. After spending a couple of minutes looking for such an option, I didn't find it. I turned to the interweb to see if anyone else had run into this issue and to see if there were some workarounds available. I started doing a little digging and found out about this sordid story involving Microsoft's Silverlight, Novell's open source Moonlight, and Digital Rights Management.

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Ancient Astronomical Calculator Reconstructed

Ancient Astronomical Calculator Reconstructed

Michael T. Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, reconstructed a model of an ancient astronomical calculator named the Antikythera Mechanism. It gets it's name from the Greek island where it was found. For fifty years after it was recovered by a sponge diver in 1902, researchers had no clue as to it's possible function. By that time the ravages of two thousand years of being at the bottom of the ocean took it's toll through the effects of corrosion and mineral deposits. It wasn't until HP took reflectance imaging scans of the device there became clear enough picture to construct a working model. Wright's reconstructed model has the capability to predict the yearly motion of the sun, moon, and five planets, and is also a calendar.

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Intel Executive Anand Chandrasekher Resigns

Intel Executive Anand Chandrasekher Resigns

Anand Chandrasekher, the senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group (UMG), was the driving force behind the Atom and Centrino Atom low power CPU's. He will be replaced by VP's Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, who will be co-leading the group in Chandrasekher's absence. Intel's site says about the UMG,"This group is responsible for low power Intel® Architecture products, ultra-mobile PC's, mobile internet devices, smart mobile and hand-held market segments." Intel's announcement noted that Chandrasekher would be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities after a long run at the company. He's been with Intel since 1988.

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eVolo 2011 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo 2011 Skyscraper Competition

Moving forward into the 21st century is going to take some significant changes in the way we build our cities, both here in the US, and worldwide. eVolo is an architecture and design journal focused on the sustainable designs that are going to drive this whole century. They've been running a skyscraper design competition since 2006. They recently released the results of this year's competition. French architects took home the first and second place prizes. Atelier CMJN's team Julien Combes and Gaël Brulé took home the first place prize for their LO2P. This huge circular structure features biogas producing greenhouses, massive air filtration, and will be built-from-recycled-cars. Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans won the second place for their ingenious Flat Tower dome design. Yheu-Shen Chua from the United Kingdom took home the bronze for his re-imagined Hoover Dam.

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Supermoon Tonight

Supermoon Tonight

Tonight it's a Saturday night. It's going to be beautiful tonight. Huge moons everywhere. I mean, sometimes the moon might seem big because it's low on the horizon and there's a tree in the way or something, but that just doesn't even hold a candle to what's going on tonight. It's what's called the perigee of the moon's elliptical orbit. That's an antonym of apogee. But I digress, the perigee is the point in the moon's orbit where it's closest to the earth. That's tonight, and it's pretty much going to be a full moon. Technically, it's not going to quite be a full moon here in the Northern Hemisphere, but what are ya gonna do?

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Larry Page, Google’s “New” CEO

Larry Page, Google’s “New” CEO

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in 2000 as a hot startup, but Google isn't a startup anymore. It's a company with more than 24,000 employees and billions of dollars in revenue. Page and Brin founded the company after their project search engine named BackRub ended up being better than anything else out there. With the core product renamed Google Search Engine, they began to build the company we think of today. After ten years of working with Eric Schmitt, formerly Novell CEO, Page is ready to take the lead spot.

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Microsoft Research: Medical Imaging Search Engine

Microsoft Research: Medical Imaging Search Engine

Right now, we're living in a world where we look at more computer generated imagery than anything else. Doctors are reaching a critical point where the amount of medical imagery generated during something like a routine CT scan is daunting to navigate. Kenju Suzuki at the University of Chicago says, "As medical imaging has advanced, so many images are produced that there is a kind of information overload. The workload has grown a lot." Antonio Criminisi leads a group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, U.K. working on a system that will make it easier for doctors to work with databases of medical imagery. The system indexes the images generated during the scans. It automatically recognizes organs, and they are working to train the system to detect certain kinds of brain tumors.

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