Researchers at Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology have injected a little fun into robotics with their newest creation. Their one-foot-tall 'Shimi' robot is a smart-phone enabled DJ that gets into the music with you.
True to its name, Shimi dances to the beat. Docking your iPhone or Android into the robot allows it access to your music library, where it can pick the music to pump up your party. Shimi can read body language, so all you have to do to let it know you don't like a song is shake your head in front of it.
Shimi creator Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology, has founded a start-up company, named Tovbot. Plans are for the robot to be available to consumers by the 2013 holiday season.
If a user taps of claps a beat,v Shimi analyzes it, scans the phone's musical library and immediately plays the song that best matches the suggestion. Once the music starts, Shimi dances to the rhythm.
The robot's 'eyes' can also follow people round a room and ensure that speakers are aimed at them.
Shimi, a musical companion developed by Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology, recommends songs, dances to the beat and keeps the music pumping based on listener feedback.
Shimi is essentially a docking station with a ‘brain’ powered by an Android phone. Once docked, the robot gains the sensing and musical generation capabilities of the user's mobile device. In other words, if there's an ‘app for that,’ Shimi is ready.
For instance, by using the phone's camera and face-detecting software, the bot can follow a listener around the room and position its ‘ears,’ or speakers, for optimal sound.
[...] It's about time engineers built a robot "with the intention to party," says Lee Rannals at RedOrbit. "A dancing robot that follows you around is pretty cool," says Elise Moreau at Slashgear, "but it looks like Shimi still has a bit of growing up to do." Call me when they've built apps that let you shake your head or wave your hand to get the bot to skip lousy songs. Well, "I'm not a huge fan of desktop toys that flap around," says Technabob. But there's something endearing about watching a little robotic DJ "get its groove on to your music." See for yourself:
Eyejusters are just like a regular set of glasses except they are self-adjustable, allowing the wearer to alter the focus at the twist of a dial. It is hoped that the glasses will be able to help those in the developing world who don’t have access to the glasses they need.
Each SlideLens in a pair of Eyejusters is adjusted to suit a user’s eyes with the simple turn of a dial, so almost anyone can dispense them. They're durable, easy to clean, have attractive metal frames that fit most faces, and come in a range of colours.
Stunning SlideLens technology
The SlideLens adjustable lens technology is the product of intense engineering, manufacturing and optical design. We've designed, simulated and measured the lenses with nanometre-scale precision to ensure the best quality optical experience. Try out a demo →
There are two different types of SlideLens - positive power (for long-sightedness) and negative power (for short-sightedness). The range of the positive power lenses is from +4.5 to 0 diopters, while the range of the negative power lenses is from 0 to -5.0 diopters. This covers the majority of common cases. The glasses are priced at US$39.95 for the individual buyer, but the main aim is to distribute these to people in the developing world.
Researchers have clocked light beams made of "twisted" waves carrying 2.5 terabits of data - the capacity of more than 66 DVDs - per second.
The technique relies on manipulating what is known as the orbital angular momentum of the waves.
Recent work suggests that the trick could vastly boost the data-carrying capacity in wi-fi and optical fibres.
The striking demonstration of the approach, reported in Nature Photonics, is likely to lead to even higher rates.
Our planet has "spin angular momentum" [OAM] because it spins on its axis, and "orbital angular momentum" because it is also revolving around the Sun.
Light can have both these types, but the spin version is the far more familiar - as what is commonly called polarisation, or the direction along which light waves wiggle. Polarising sunglasses and many 3D glasses work by passing one polarisation and not another.
Most recently, Bo Thide of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and a team of colleagues in Italy demonstrated the principle by sending beams made up of two different OAM states across a canal in Venice, an experiment they described in the New Journal of Physics.
In a highly publicised event in 2011, the team used a normal antenna and their modified antenna to send waves of 2.4 GHz - a band used by wi-fi - to send two audio signals within the bandwidth normally required by one. They repeated the experiment later with two television signals.
We have shown experimentally, in a real-world setting, that it is possible to use two beams of incoherent radio waves, transmitted on the same frequency but encoded in two different orbital angular momentum states, to simultaneously transmit two independent radio channels. This novel radio technique allows the implementation of, in principle, an infinite number of channels in a given, fixed bandwidth, even without using polarization, multiport or dense coding techniques. This paves the way for innovative techniques in radio science and entirely new paradigms in radio communication protocols that might offer a solution to the problem of radio-band congestion.
So your showoff neighbor brings home a new 36 megapixel Nikon SLR, and your previously top-of-the-line 18 megapixel gadget starts to seem… inadequate. The insolence! The injustice! What can you buy to put that jerk in his place?
How about raising the stakes an order of magnitude with a 960 megapixel supercamera?
The AWARE-2. (credit: Duke University Imaging and Spectroscopy Program)
Researchers at Duke University and the University of Arizona report in this week’s Nature they’ve built a functional prototype gigapixel-scale camera. The Orwellian-sounding AWARE-2 uses a 98 sensor-array mounted behind a single aperture to capture an enormous image in one go.
The new camera collects more than 30 times as much picture data as today's best consumer digital devices. While existing cameras can take photographs that have pixel counts in the tens of millions, the Duke device produces a still or video image with a billion pixels—five times as much detail as can be seen by a person with 20/20 vision.
A pixel is one of the many tiny areas of illumination on a display screen from which an image is composed. The more pixels, the more detailed the image. The Duke device, called Aware-2, is a long way from being a product. The current version needs lots of space to house and cool its electronic boards; it weighs 100 pounds and is about the size of two stacked microwave ovens. It also takes about 18 seconds to shoot a frame and record the data on a disk.
This program is focused on building wide-field, video-rate,
gigapixel cameras in small, low-cost form factors.
Traditional monolithic lens designs, must increase f/# and
lens complexity and reduce field of view as image scale increases. In
addition, traditional electronic architectures are not designed for
highly parallel streaming and analysis of large scale images. The AWARE
Wide field of view project addresse these challenges using multiscale
designs that combine a monocentric objective lens with arrays of
The optical design explored here utilizes a multiscale design in
a monocentric objective lens  to achieve near diffraction
limited performance throughout the field. A monocentric
objective enables the use of identical secondary systems
(referred to as microcameras) greatly simplifying design and
manufacturing. Following the multiscale lens design
methodology, the field-of-view (FOV) is increased by arraying
microcameras along the focal surface of the objective. In
practice, the FOV is limited by the physical housing.
This yields a much more linear cost and volume versus
FOV. Additionally, each microcamera operates independently,
offering much more flexibility in image capture, exposure, and
focus parameters. A basic architecture is shown
below, producing a 1.0 gigapixel image based on 98
micro-optics covering a 120 by 40 degree FOV.
Sinking the Al Ain stadium has multiple benefits. First it allows the project to blend in with the surrounding landscape, adding to its allure rather than destroying it. But it also allows the designer to utilize passive cooling strategies that will minimize the stadium’s energy loads once it is “up and running.”
Working with the existing site and using the local materials, the architects find themselves playing with a carefully studied palette of rock and sand that not only lead to the main façade/visual panels system adhering to the site but also create a more sustainable approach to construction and design where no material is forgotten or displaced and where all is reused. Carful patterns are created with the recuperated stone, creating interestingly designed man-made strata patterns that emphasize the natural characteristic of the site.
This simple yet majestic design hides great achievements and brilliant experimentations with issues of scale, monumentality and locality. It allows the project to create a strong sense of place in an otherwise homogenous area of the vast expanding desert.
MZ Architects wins Retail and Leisure category Award in MIPIM Future Project Awards 2012
MZ Architects has received the Retail and Leisure Award for the design of “Al Ain stadium” at this year’s prestigious MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards ceremony held in Cannes, France, on March 7th 2012.
The project by MZ Architects, a Lebanese design and consultancy firm, was one of 143 entries to the awards that uniquely focus on building designs for projects awaiting construction or still on the drawing board, spanning over ten categories – Big Urban Projects, Mixed Use, Offices, Regeneration and Masterplanning, Retail and Leisure, Retrofit, Tall Buildings, Sustainability and Residential.
Available this September as part of the new LEGO Monster Fighters lineup, the highly detailed exterior will have classic haunted house features like, peeling paint/missing shingles, boarded up windows, and broken shutters and railings. Normally that would be more than enough, but LEGO has taken it even further. Once built, you can open the house via the hinged wall to reveal an interior that features a kitchen, bedroom and attic for your playing enjoyment.
• Add to your LEGO® Monster Fights Collection with the first officlal LEGO® Haunted House!
• Includes 6 minifigures: 2 glow-in-the-dark ghosts, Vampyre, Vampyre’s Bride, Zombie chef and butler
• Features unique ‘crooked’ design featuring boarded up windows and working front gate.
• Haunted House opens to reveal detailed interior with 3 floors.
• First floor features fireplace that swings open and displays a ship in a bottle on the mantle.
• Cook up a ghoulish meal with the Zombie chef in the kitchen complete with old-style stove, jars and table.
• Write letters from the Vampyre’s haunted office.
• Pull the lever hidden in the chimney to release the drop down staircase and access the top floor.
• Top floor features gramophone, records and newspaper LEGO® elements.
• Customize the Haunted House with new stickers for wall hangings, spider webs and curtains.
• Measures 15.4” (39cm) high, 9.4” (24cm) wide and 7.5” (19cm) deep
A designer-artist couple from Portland, Ore., figured out how to create walking robotic animals — an elephant, a rhino and a giraffe — using nothing but paper.
Lucas Ainsworth, an industrial designer working at Intel, and Alyssa Hamel, a public-school art teacher, took their inspiration from Dutch artist Theo Jansen. His Strandbeest (beach animal) creations are giant mechanical contraptions — in part made from waste, including plastic bottles — that harness wind power to walk on their own.
The kits were prototyped, developed and are currently made using a laser cutter, but it takes over two hours and expensive laser-time to build each kit. Now that the designs are done, we are launching a Kickstarter project to cast the patterns onto die-cut-tools at a local cardboard manufacturing facility in Portland, OR. Using a die-press, the time-per-kit comes way down. That means we will be able to share the Kinetic Creatures, using sustainable materials and 100% local manufacturing, with hundreds of Makers and art students.
encourage people to build with their hands, minds and imagination. Use sustainable and recyclable materials and support local manufacturing.
Kinetic Creatures takes a complex mechanical linkage, popularized in Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest, and makes it accessible through an easy assembly and friendly cardboard form.
A collaboration between Alyssa- a Visual Arts Teacher and Artist and Lucas- an Industrial Designer, the Kinetic Creatures are intended to encourage building and thinking creatively at home and in the classroom.
Hardware startup Infinitec is building a tiny Android computer housed in an HDMI dongle that is only 3.3 inches long. The product, which is called Pocket TV, was fully funded on Kickstarter within the first week of landing on the popular crowd-funding website.
The Pocket TV is a small pocket-sized dongle that connects to the HDMI port of any regular TV (even your 5-year-old TV) and converts it into a Smart TV. It's basically a fully functioning micro-computer the size of your thumb which runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) much like today's latest smartphones. The processing power in the Pocket TV will allow you to display Android on your TV turning it into a mega-sized tablet (just imagine a 50 inch iPad). You can download apps from the Google Play Store to stream videos, play games, connect with your friends on Facebook, catch up on news, do some work or simply surf the web. You can even attach a video camera to do Skype video-calls… Yes, all that on your TV!
The Pocket TV can be used for a number of multimedia capabilities including: • Streaming Video: Watch YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Videos on your TV in HD with up to 1080p resolution rather than on a small computer screen.
• Listen to music: The Pocket TV acts as a streaming device for music so you can play all of the content that’s on your computer or home network drive (NAS). That means you access not only your downloaded music but also your movies, TV shows and even your holiday pictures right on your home entertainment system.
• Gaming: You can now play thousands of games such as Angry Birds or racing and strategy games on a big screen instead of on your small screen smart phone or tablet.
• Social Media: Check your Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps on your big screen.
• News: Get CNN, BBC, Google Currents, Pulse, Flipboard and other similar news apps and access to on-demand news stories on your TV.
• Work: Edit documents, read PDFs, review PowerPoint, do video conferences and send and receive emails from a 50-inch monitor.
• Google Maps: Tired of squinting at your screen trying to find road directions? Yes we know you won’t be able to take your TV with you on the road, but the satellite imaging is insane on a 50-inch plasma!
• Web Browsing: Enjoy browsing the web with the Dolphin browser, Opera, or even Chrome and sync it with your laptop's browser.
• Thousands more apps: The Google Play store is full of apps for all types of users and most of them work on the Pocket TV.
Going beyond the offerings by Google and Apple, the Pocket TV will turn your standard HDTV set into a veritable jumbo tablet. On top of Smart TV standards like Web browsing, Netflix, and media playback, the device runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, bringing with it the vast selection of apps in the Google Play app market.
The Pocket TV, however, won't transform your set into a giant touch screen, instead offering two options for navigating through apps and content. The first is a standard IR remote that ships with every unit, providing fairly pedestrian control options like a direction pad and playback buttons. The second is the Air Remote, which includes a gyroscopic sensor and QWERTY keyboard for a more interactive experience. The Pocket TV will also be compatible with the Google Remote TV app, transforming your smartphone into a TV remot
Lucid dreaming technically refers to any occasion when the sleeper is aware they are dreaming. But it is also used to describe the idea of being able to control those dreams.
Once confined to a handful of niche groups, interest in lucid dreaming has grown in recent years, spurred on by a spate of innovations from smartphone apps to specialist eye masks, all promising the ability to influence our dreams.
... Dream:ON, the most popular of the many new smartphone apps now available.
Created by psychologist Richard Wiseman, the app has seen over half a million downloads in just six weeks.
"The new wave of interest is led by technology," says Wiseman, whose app claims to allow users to choose their dream before bed, and plays sound cues once they have entered the right phase of sleep.
Before going to bed you indicate the type of dream you would like to have and when you want to wake up. You then place your iPhone on your bed and go to sleep. Dream:ON then activates and begins monitoring your sleep pattern.
When Dream:ON senses that you are dreaming, it plays a 'soundscape' that has been carefully designed to help create your desired dream. Whilst your chosen soundscape is playing, Dream:ON continues to monitor your movement and adjusts the volume accordingly to ensure you're not woken up.
New York inventors Duncan Frazier and Steve McGuigan have taken a different approach. Instead of incorporating sound to help people shape their dreams, they use light. They’ve created a sleep mask they call the Remee, which comes with six red LED lights and runs on a three-volt battery.
The device waits until a person is four to five hours into their night’s sleep–a time when periods of REM sleep tend to last longer–then begins flashing the lights in a pattern that lasts 15 to 20 seconds. It’s a visual cue meant to remind the person that they’re dreaming, which is key to having them take control of what happens.
Clearly, there’s lots of interest in driving dreams. When Frazier and McGuigan posted their idea on Kickstarter, they hoped to raise $35,000. More than 6,500 people have pledged almost $600,000 to help them out.
Sleep stages are divided into two main categories: non-REM sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, where dreams typically occur. Over the course of the night a sleeper will cycle through the five stages of sleep a number of times with the REM stages lasting longer and longer towards morning.
In default mode, Remee targets these long chunks of REM sleep towards the end of the sleep period. Before bed, turn Remee on, fine tune the brightness of the lights (if needed) and then go to sleep. Remee will wait for an initial long delay, usually 4-5 hours, until you're in the heart of the heavy REM stages, before initializing light patterns. After the initial long delay Remee will display light patterns for 15-20 seconds with a second shorter delay, default at 15 minutes, between each signal. During non-REM sleep the lights are unlikely to effect you, but if you're in REM sleep the lights will bleed into your dreams, presenting a perfect chance to become lucid.
Make it stop: Passengers on Air Baltic who want peace and quiet will be able to select where they sit
The ‘Seat Buddy’ scheme – the brainchild of north European operator airBaltic – allows travellers to select the ‘type of person’ they sit next to. Four ‘Flight Moods’ are available: ‘Business Talk,’ ‘Easy Chat,’ ‘Work’ and ‘Relax.’
Thus someone keen to concentrate on that important presentation can ask to be placed next to a kindred spirit in the ‘Work’ category – and with it, guarantee a flight free from enquiries about the weather.
Previously, KLM and Malaysia Airlines have introduced initiatives that allow a passenger to choose who to sit next too. But they’ve been limited because I can only do it when I fly that airline. But if I sign up for airBaltic’s SeatBuddy, it gives me the option to add other airline frequent flier programs I’m part of, so that my preferences can be saved the next time I fly any of my preferred airlines. Of course, the other airline also needs to be using the Satisfly-powered product.
Mars One will establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023. A habitable settlement will be waiting for the settlers when they land. The settlement will support them while they live and work on Mars the rest of their lives. Every two years after 2023 an additional crew will arrive, such that there is a real living, growing community on Mars. Mars One has created a technical plan for this mission that is as simple as possible. For every component of the mission we have identified at least one potential supplier. Mars One invites you to join us in this next giant leap for mankind!
Eighteen professional lap dancers working in a gentlemen’s club recorded their menstrual cycle, work shifts and tip earnings for 60 days on a study website. A mixed model analysis of 296 work shifts showed an interaction between cycle phase and hormonal contraception use.
The results: Normally cycling strippers (not on birth control) earned about US$ 335 per 5-hour shift during estrus, US$260 per shift during the lower fertility phase, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. Why exactly? The psychologists are not sure. It could be related to smell, or sound maybe, but this should be investigated in further research.
“Studies like this,” Miller says, “can tell us about the nature of
human sexuality and attraction and answer important questions scientists
have been debating for decades.” For example: Conventional scientific
wisdom says that almost all mammals except humans go into estrus (a k a
“heat”). Cats yowl and raise their hind ends in the air; female primates
get visibly engorged in relevant areas. But humans, scientists have
long believed, do no such things. Miller and Jordan’s research indicates
otherwise. “It’s highly controversial because it’s science blurring the
line between humans and other primates,” Miller says, “but our results
give clear economic evidence that human estrus actually does exist.”
Next they hope to uncover how
women signal that they’re in estrus: Do they smell different? Sound
different? Their research could have practical applications as well.
“The findings that estrus impacts earnings could have implications for
women selling cars or giving big presentations as C.E.O.’s,’’ Miller
says. ‘‘Should women schedule big job interviews during certain weeks of
the month? We don’t know. But maybe.”