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Fembot!!

10 Nov
Synopsis: Engineers of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Media
Interaction group have developed a Fembot, a female robot,HRP-4 which can sing,dance,breathe,tilt its head,blinks,opens her mouth and show facial expressions mimicking a singer. This was done using breathe analysis software
and mouth movement observations. This robot danced with a bunch of other
human performers on stage and it was difficult to identify the robot in the group.
This team has also developed this robot to breathe realistically by modelling the
breathe of real people. The robot tilts its head,feels the beat, rhythm and shows
human emotions as the real singers do.
Opinion: I feel this is a break through in robotics to develop such a robot which
can ape human emotions,movements and also can breathe realistically. This
robot is surely gonna give the pop stars and divas a run for their money!!

Video:

Information Courtesy:

http://www.fastcompany.com/1695928/hrp4c-robot-aist-dancing-android

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-10/video-realistic-japanese-fembot-sings-creepy-tune

Google’s Robotic Car

15 Oct

Internet giant,Google takes a plunge from search engines into Robotics! Google recently released “Robotic Cars” which drove successfully through Lambard Street,California all along Golden Gate bridge.

Glimpse of Lambard Street:


Technology used in Robotic or Self driving Cars:

Automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by robotic cars when mapping their terrain.

Test Drive :

Google Instant & You Tube Instant

20 Sep

Google Instant: Google, the Internet’s most widely used search engine, announced an update last week called Google Instant that automatically refreshes the page with results as a search query is typed, forgoing the need to press the enter button.

Previously,Google search engine used to predict keywords and display results after hitting the “Enter” key. But now,Google Instant predicts and displays results as you start typing in the search box!

Video explaining “Google Instant”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0eMHRxlJ2c

You Tube Instant: Hours after the launch of “Google Instant”,Stanford University student Feross Aboukhadijeh was inspired by it and he had a bet with his room mate that he could create “YouTube Instant” within an hour. But it took nearly 3 hours for him to create you tube instant. He later posted the website url on his facebook and twitter pages asking his friends to check out his new invention,YouTube Instant. Within hours,he received countless e-mails congratulating him, a bevy of interview requests, a server flooded with Web traffic, the creation of a Wikipedia entry in his name, and — perhaps most notably — a job offer from YouTube CEO Chad Hurley via Twitter!!

Is this what we call Instant Fame??!!

Now any phone is touch screen phone!

20 Sep

Cambridge, UK, firm Input Dynamics is lauches a new software fix that turns any “dumbphone” into a touchscreen device.  Requiring no additional hardware, the system uses acoustic technology to turn every inch of a phone’s casing into touch-sensitive real estate.

TouchDevice, as it’s called, relies on the phone’s microphone rather than expensive touchscreen surfaces to figure out the location of a tap, scratch, scroll, or swipe on the phone’s body. That means you can tap icons on the screen as on a conventional touchscreen phone, but also scroll through screens by swiping a finger along the side of the body, or call up hot-key commands using a special tap sequence on the phone’s backside.

The software uses the phone’s built-in microphone to pick up the unique acoustic signature produced by certain finger gestures – tapping, swiping, etc. – on the phone’s casing. It instantly converts those gestures into software commands that correspond with the phone’s own OS. Right now the software works with single crisp taps from a finger or stylus, but Input Dynamics is refining its algorithms to detect and respond to several more distinct signatures, and will at some point be able to process multiple signatures at once, converting old cell phones into multi-touch devices.

The software is still in concept, but Input Dynamics says they are talking to several big-name phone manufacturers about adopting the software for future phones. In the meantime, it can be uploaded to existing models to turn current inventories into touchscreen devices. Which means you may soon see smart touchscreen tech coming to a dumbphone near you.

Information Courtesy:Popsi.com

Plane flies for 82 hours continuously!

20 Jul

An unmanned solar aircraft has smashed the world record for continuous flight.

The “Zephyr” plane, developed by UK defense technology company, QinetiQ, took off from the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on July 9. Seven days on, it was still flying high.

Zephyr program director, Jon Saltmarsh told CNN: “It’s extremely exciting. What we now have is an eternal plane. It has the same amount of fuel at the start of one day as it does at the start of another.”

The aircraft has already doubled its own unofficial record of over 82 hours and smashed the previous world record for unmanned flight of 30 hours and 24 minutes, set in 2001 by U.S. aerospace company, Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4A Global I.

The Zephyr project was conceived in 2001 and secured funding from the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) three years later. After several prototypes, Saltmarsh believes QinetiQ has now created an aircraft that demonstrates genuine military utility.

“It has the persistence to stay up there for long periods of time and it carries payloads that are doing things that the military will find useful.”

QinetiQ also says it will save the military money, performing many of the tasks currently carried out by manned aircraft.

Weighing just 53 kilograms (117 pounds), the plane has a wingspan of 22.5 meters (74 feet) and a wing area of around 30 square meters (323 square feet), the top side of which is covered in solar panels thinner than a sheet of paper.

The panels are rigged up to lithium-sulphur batteries which power the plane at night.

QinetiQ began building the latest Zephyr model 18 months ago and hope to start full scale military trials a year from now.

The company says that Zephyr will also find a civilian use helping communications in disaster relief situations, as well as forest fire monitoring.

“You can sit above a fire, with heat sensor technology and identify hotspots very quickly,” Saltmarsh said.

Zephyr shows no sign of running out of power anytime soon, and Saltmarsh is hopeful it will stay in the air for another seven days,when the plane will finally return to Earth.

Courtesy:CNN

EPIC-India’s Own Browser!

16 Jul

Bangalore-based Hidden Reflex today launched Epic, the first web-browser targeting Indian audience powered by Mozilla platform. The browser has been created by a team of Indian engineers.

Features of EPIC:

1>One of the features of Epic’s India sidebar, which supports Indian content, is to provide users access to latest national and regional news from popular publications, live television channels, videos, stock quotes, live cricket scores, top music albums, and local events.

2>Users can also choose from 1500+ customized Indian themes and wallpapers.

3>It also enables user to write in twelve Indian languages on any webpage or on Write, Epic’s free built-in word processor.

4>Epic also incorporates free antivirus scanning and healing, the only browser to offer this service.

5>Epic is the first browser to have a suite of sidebar applications to improve multi-tasking and productivity.

6>Pre-installed applications include communication apps for Facebook, Orkut, Gmail, entertainment apps such as a Picture-in-Picture Video Sidebar and Games, and utilities such as File Backup, My Computer, a To-Do list, and Maps.

Check my comic on EPIC: http://swathipradeepworld.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/epic/

Quasars

16 Jul

Quasars, the extraordinary luminous objects in the distant universe, are thought to be powered by supermassive black holes in the cores of galaxies.

A single quasar could be a thousand times brighter than an entire galaxy of a hundred billion stars, which makes studies of their host galaxies exceedingly difficult.
Astronomers, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, who made this discovery said it would provide a novel way to understand these host galaxies.

“It is a bit like staring into bright car headlights and trying to discern the colour of their rims,” said Frederic Courbin of EPFL, the lead author of the study, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Using gravitational lensing, he said, “we now can measure the masses of these quasar host galaxies and overcome this difficulty”.
According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, if a large mass (such as a big galaxy or a cluster of galaxies) is placed along the line of sight to a distant galaxy, the part of the light that comes from the galaxy will split.
Because of this, an observer on Earth will see two or more close images of the now-magnified background galaxy, the scientists said.

The first such gravitational lens was discovered in 1979, and produced an image of a distant quasar that was magnified and split by a foreground galaxy.
Hundreds of cases of gravitationally lensed quasars are now known. But, until the current research, carried out at W M Keck Observatory on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the reverse process — a background galaxy being lensed by the massive host galaxy of a foreground quasar — had never been detected.

Using gravitational lensing to measure the masses of distant galaxies independent of their brightness was suggested in 1936 by Caltech astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky, and the technique has been used effectively for this purpose in recent years. Until now, it had never been applied to measure the masses of quasar hosts themselves.

To find the cosmic lens, the astronomers searched a large database of quasar spectra obtained by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to select candidates for “reverse” quasar-galaxy gravitational lensing.

Follow-up observations of the best candidate — quasar SDSS J0013+1523, located about 1.6 billion light years away — using the W M Keck Observatory’s 10-meter telescope, confirmed that the quasar was indeed magnifying a distant galaxy, located about 7.5 billion light years away.

“We were delighted to see that this idea actually works,” said Georges Meylan, a professor of physics and leader of the EPFL team.
“This discovery demonstrates the continued utility of gravitational lensing as an astrophysical tool.”
“Quasars are valuable probes of galaxy formation and evolution,” said Prof S George Djorgovski, leader of the Caltech team.
Furthermore, he added, “discoveries of more such systems will help us understand better the relationship between quasars and the galaxies which contain them, and their coevolution.”

Information Courtesy:Deccan Herald

Scientists create Artificial Life in Lab

21 May

Three Indian-origin scientists are part of a team that has for the first time created a synthetic cell, controlled by man-made genetic instructions, which can also reproduce itself.

The 24-member team included Sanjay Vashee, Radha Krishnakumar and Prashanth P. Parmar.”We call it the first synthetic cell,” said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. “These are very much real cells.”

Developed at a cost of $30 million by the researchers at J. Craig Venter Institute, the experimental one-cell organism opens the way to manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to experts, scientists have been altering DNA piecemeal for many years, producing genetically engineered plants and animals, but the ability to craft an entire organism offers a new power over life.

“This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature,” said molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University who wasn’t involved in the project.
“It has the potential to transform genetic engineering. The research is going to explode once you can create designer genomes,” David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, was quoted as saying.

The new cell, a form of bacteria, was conceived solely as a demonstration project, though several biologists were certain that the laboratory technique used to birth it would soon be applied to other strains of bacteria with commercial potential.

Unmade beds makes us HEALTHY!

25 Jan

I read this article agape on BBC News!




Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.
Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

The average bed could be home to up to 1.5 million house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a millimetre long, feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep.

The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply.

The scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds.


 Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.
 Dr Stephen Pretlove Researcher said: “We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.

In the next stage of their research, the scientists are putting mite pockets into beds in 36 houses around the United Kingdom to test their computer model and will investigate how people’s daily routines affect mite populations.

Building features such as heating, ventilation and insulation will also be altered to monitor how the mites cope.

Dr Pretlove said the research had the potential to reduce the £700m spent treating mite-induced illnesses each year in the UK.

“Our findings could help building designers create healthy homes and healthcare workers point out environments most at risk from mites.”

Dr Matt Hallsworth, of the charity Asthma UK, said: ‘House-dust mite allergen can be an important trigger for many people with asthma, but is notoriously difficult to avoid.”

Professor Andrew Wardlaw, of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, agreed.

He said: “Mites are very important in asthma and allergy and it would be good if ways were found to modifiy the home so that mite concentrations were reduced.

“It is true that mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry (desert like) conditions.

“However, most homes in the UK are sufficiently humid for the mites to do well and I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity.”

First Tweet from SPACE!

22 Jan

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer made first use of the new system Friday, when he posted the first unassisted update to his Twitter account, @Astro_TJ, from the space station.

“Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! 🙂 More soon, send your ?s”

This personal Web access, called the Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web. The system will provide astronauts with direct private communications to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions by helping to ease the isolation associated with life in a closed environment.

During periods when the station is actively communicating with the ground using high-speed Ku-band communications, the crew will have remote access to the Internet via a ground computer. The crew will view the desktop of the ground computer using an onboard laptop and interact remotely with their keyboard touchpad.

Astronauts will be subject to the same computer use guidelines as government employees on Earth. In addition to this new capability, the crew will continue to have official e-mail, Internet Protocol telephone and limited videoconferencing capabilities.

To follow Twitter updates from Creamer and two of his crewmates, ISS Commander Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi, visit:

http://twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts

Information Courtesy:NASA