Balancing on two wheels, the shiny UBot-5 scurries
around the Los Angeles Convention Center like it owns the place. Made
by students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the robot
can speed up to 12 km/hour and can’t be knocked over. Nearby, MIT
students were demoing “Nexi”, a robot that can respond to people with
face gestures and speech. Put your hand directly in “her” face and the
bot will act upset. Say something and the robot will follow your face
around. Oh, and don’t you dare have a staring contest against Nexi,
because she will win, guaranteed.
Washington, D.C. – Following the release of the annual report of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), NASA announced that it is realigning its Constellation program milestones. “Realigning” means that the program, which will replace the current Space Shuttle program and target a return to the moon by 2020, is being delayed by one year.
Imagine the possibilities of harvesting waste heat and converting it
into electricity. Computer processors could be the source of power for
their own cooling devices and solar cells could become dramatically
more efficient by leveraging energy that is not being used today. If
everything goes right, nanoantennas could even replace solar cells one
day, researchers believe.
Rentech, a company that turns hydrocarbons such as coal and natural gas
into alternative fuels, says it has begun producing an “ultra clean
synthetic fuel”. The process is controversial, especially because coal,
which is capable of emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide when
combusted, is involved.
The secret that allows objects to become completely invisible to the
human eye has been one of the big quests of science, but remains a
mystery can only be achieved through special effects in science-fiction
movies. U.S. researchers now were able to actually build and define the
first 3D cloaking device that can, in a limited way, achieve 3D
When it comes to convention badges, Defcon
certainly takes first place. This year’s badge is practically studded
with blinking LED lights, batteries and even an SD card reader. As
always, attendees are encouraged to hack the badge and the best
contraption will win prizes.
Pricewatch – HD DVD players are gone for almost half a year and the
victorious Blu-ray format is plugging along, but there seems to be few
convincing incentives for consumers to actually make the jump to the
high-def format. Average retail prices are falling and have broken
through the $400 barrier. The next barrier is $300 and it seems that
most companies believe that a price of or around $300 is about right at
Interview – Lots of graphics tech tradeshows are on the calendar for
the coming weeks - Siggraph 2008 in Anaheim, IDF Fall in San Francisco,
Games Convention in Leipzig and Nvision 08 in San Jose. Intel will play
a big role in three of those shows and with Larrabee out and Nehalem
almost ready for showtime, we felt it was time to get an update on
Intel’s ray-tracing efforts.
This morning Dell announced the company has achieved its goal of carbon
neutrality in less than a year’s time and five months ahead of their
schedule. Dell has done this by using a combination of methods ranging
from energy efficiency, carbon offsets from rainforest preservation in
Madagascar and voluntary green power purchases. The program was
designed to help eliminate or offset 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide
Scientists are gearing up to launch the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) a
17-mile long particle accelerator that debuts with the promise to
enable science to look deep into the origins of the universe, providing
new insights in matter, space and time. The LHC may very well be the
most fascinating science project of our generation.