Everyone has struggled to plug a device into a USB port at one time or another. There’s a 50/50 chance of choosing the correct orientation, and we usually manage to pick the wrong one every time. It’s the electronic version of the “toast always lands butter-side down” or “a cat always lands on its feet” phenomena, and we just want to charge our iPods.
Ben Franklin once said “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” That’s doubly so for the World Wide Web, the breeding ground for Nigerian princes, get-rich-quick schemes, and all manner of hoaxes. No one likes to be scammed. Whether a hacker steals all of your personal information or you just wind up feeling a bit silly...
In the buzzword story of the year, researchers at the University of the West of England created a 3D-printed heart robot heart that runs on urine. That’s right, a printed organ that pumps pee through a robot. This hot topic cornucopia was actually the result of a theory that urine was capable of making electricity.
This, friends, is a dining option for people who hate other people. Earlier this week, Applebee’s announced that they will replace waiters (to a degree) with tablets at the table. These tablets will be used to take orders and pay the bill, plus they’ll feature games that diners can play while they wait. The tablets, which are Intel-backed startup E la Carte Presto tablets, will total over 100,000 pieces of hardware.
Do you or a loved one have an emotional eating problem standing in the way of your weight loss and healthy living attempts? Well, now there’s a bra for that. Microsoft recently reported it has been working on a “smart bra,” equipped with a generic remote access sensing platform (GRASP).
“It’s like turning around an aircraft carrier.” This analogy is often used in the business world to indicate how hard it can take a large entity to change direction, usually amounting to months or even years. But for the United States Navy, which is charged with turning these massive vessels, turning around an aircraft carrier pales in comparison with keeping communications networks up to date.
Say what you will about Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa. For our money, the “most wonderful time of the year” is Thanksgiving, when the fall foliage sets the scene for family, football, turkey, more football, and dessert (in that order). And though “Black Friday” has crept into Thursday, there’s much to be thankful for this year. Here’s what the ECN staff had to say....
In a recent Engineering Update, we took a look at Japan’s largest solar power plant, which boasts the capability of powering 22,000 homes with its 313 acre facility. Now, we’re checking out New York’s newest solar project. This solar facility will be located at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and was, at one point, considered to be the largest landfill in the world.
Morph Wheels sounds more like a rejected children’s toy idea than a legitimate advancement in mobility technology, but it’s real, and it’s going to have a huge impact. It’s one of many new foldable, space-saving inventions coming into the market. People tend to crave convenience in whatever they purchase and anything that they can slip into their pocket will fit the bill.
While it may seem like most countries around the world are focused on the Patriot Missile Interceptors, the United States is already looking to its next missile defense system. In fact, the military has moved on from looking at systems to testing them.
It’s no secret that the internet is a minefield. There are hackers and thieves at every turn waiting to steal your personal information and everything else you love. And now the NSA has front-row seats to watch it all happen. This is all pretty scary, so we tend to cling to anything that offers us a semblance of security and safety, even if it means swallowing another pill with our multivitamin every day.
At least that’s what hysterical media reports would have you believe. The standard account goes something like this – tired of doing its master’s bidding (er, cleaning), an iRobot Roomba 760 made history by committing the first robot suicide. The poor guy chose an especially gruesome way to kick the bucket, committing self-immolation by driving itself onto a kitchen hotplate....
Finally, adults don’t have to relinquish the joy of playing with blocks! Most of the fun in Legos lies with the customizable nature of the toy and the ability to stray from the image on the box to create something truly unique. Dutch designer Dave Hakkens channeled this childhood pastime into a new kind of functional and distinctive smartphone design called PhoneBloks
You can’t drive very far without seeing a cellular tower. As more Americans curtail or ditch their landlines in favor of mobile phones, and increasingly smartphones that require high-speed internet, network operators must keep pace with the incredible amount of data traveling through their infrastructures.
I recently went to a “Pumpkin Sling” (aka Punkin’ Chunkin’) where participants designed trebuchets to see who could get theirs to throw a pumpkin the farthest. A lot of the teams were made up of kids, who all did an incredible job building the machines. I was particularly inspired by a young man from a Cub Scout troop who very clearly outlined how the machine worked and how they had built it.
Growing up in a rural area I learned to expect cries of “Turn that shower off, you’ll run the well dry!” while getting cleaned up for school. Having a well was the price you’d pay for living in the middle of nowhere, away from a reservoir-supplied water source. But apart from my teenage battles, a real problem lurks, one of global proportions.
This summer, I learned one of the few cable TV channels I sometimes watch is no longer available to me without upgrading to another “tier” of channels. None of those other channels appeal to me, so I simply decided I would do without the channel. My decision was pretty sound, but I believe my choice was not a choice at all.
Well, it was bound to happen. A company has finally succeeded in fabricating a wholesale 3D-printed metal gun. But this should cause considerably less hand-wringing than the “Liberator” and its follow-up, the “Grizzly”. To quote the Hitchhiker’s Guide, don’t panic.
Hunters beware: PETA may be watching you – or rather, its “customers” will if they purchase a specially modified Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 to “spy on hunters and catch them in the act as they terrorize animals and break game laws.” The animal-rights organization introduced the “Air Angels” drone on its site in an effort to cut down on “illegal” hunting activities or anything it deems immoral....
Every so often, you see a robot on the internet that is so macabre-looking it belongs in a horror film. There is a quality about these robots that’s not quite robot, but not quite human. Generally, in the technology community, nine out of ten of these robots come out of the Department of Defense sponsored Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (a.k.a DARPA). (If you need proof, check out DARPA’s PETMAN)
Imagine upwards of eight tons pressing down on your body as you make the descent into the icy waters of the deepest parts of the ocean. The human body isn’t meant to withstand that sort of pressure, so we must utilize devices like the OpenROV to get our exploration fix if we don’t happen to have millions of dollars on hand for more sophisticated equipment.
“Not to worry, I’ll just print another hand.” This statement would belong in a work of fiction a few years ago, but today, it is reality for those missing fingers or limbs. Prosthetics have come a long way from the archaic image of a pirate hobbling around his ship on a wooden peg leg.
Dr. Evil would be proud. Lasers have always been the next frontier (some would say pipe dream) of weapons development. But recent developments have brought Sci-Fi closer to reality. And now this — the Pentagon has awarded a total of $26 million to defense contractors to develop a laser countermeasures system for manned and unmanned aircraft.
In aviation, it doesn’t get more chic than the SR-71 Blackbird, the Rolls Royce of the sky. From 1964 till its retirement in 1998, this supersonic, Mach 3+ reconnaissance aircraft played a crucial role in the Cold War (and afterward) for over three decades. But ever since the Blackbird went to the Boca Raton of the skies, aviation buffs have been pining for a successor. And now they have one. And it’s glorious.
In general, medical implants and their components are strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and for good reason. You can’t just stick anything under your skin without extreme consequences including things like major infections, pretty gnarly scaring, and potentially deadly health complications.