Technology News

Festo Reveals New Robotic Ants and Butterflies

(25 minutes ago)
mikejuk writes "Every year around this time of year Festo builds some amazing robot or other — last year it was a kangaroo. What could it possibly do to top previous amazing devices? What about some even more amazing robotic insects. BionicANT is designed not only look good but to demonstrate swarm intelligence. The robot not only looks like an ant, but it works like one. The design makes use of piezo bending transducers rather than servos to move. As well as being able to move its six legs, it also has a piezo-activated pair of pincers. The second insect robot is a butterfly — eMotion. For flying machines these are incredibly lightweight at 32 grams. The bodies are laser sintered and the wings use carbon fiber rods. Two miniature servo motors are attached to the body and each wing. The electronics has a microcontroller, an inertial sensor consisting of gyro, accelerometer and compass and two radio modules. Flying time is around 3 or 4 minutes." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Arduino Dispute Reaches Out To Distributors

(One hour ago)
szczys writes Two companies are claiming ownership of the Arduino Trademark. The most recent development in this sad state of affairs is a letter from Arduino SRL to long-time Distributors of Arduino products. SRL is claiming they are the real Arduino, but there are some tasty tidbits including a Q/A section with some peculiar answers. From the article: "In short, Arduino LLC has been working on developing the Arduino platform, software, and community while Smart Projects / Arduino SRL was the major official producer of the hardware for most boards. Both are claiming to 'be' Arduino, and going after each other in court. So it’s not strange that Arduino SRL would like to try to keep its hold on the distribution channels." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Former HP CEO Fiorina: chances of presidential bid 'higher than 90 percent'

(One hour ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina on Sunday said the chances of her running for U.S. presidency were "very high" and she would announce her plans in late April-early May.

Inhabitat's Week in Green: e-paper shoes, superhighways and solar ovens

(One hour ago)
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.Fans of green cars are eagerly awaiting the release of the Tesla Model X, but you won't have to wait to s...

SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies

(2 hours ago)
An anonymous reader shares this story that takes a look at some of the advances SpaceX is working on. "Getting a small group of human beings to Mars and back is no easy task, we learned at the recent GPU Technology Conference in San Jose hosted graphics chip and accelerator maker Nvidia. One of the problems with such a mission is that you need a very large and efficient rocket engine to get the amount of material into orbit for the mission, explained Adam Lichtl, who is director of research at SpaceX and who with a team of a few dozen programmers is try to crack the particularly difficult task of better simulating the combustion inside of a rocket engine. You need a large engine to shorten the trip to Mars, too....Not only do you need a lot of stuff to get to Mars and sustain a colony there, but you also need a way to generate fuel on Mars to come back to Earth. All of these factors affect the design of the rocket engine....As if these were not problems enough, there is another really big issue. The computational fluid dynamics, or CFD, software that is used to simulate the movement of fluids and gases and their ignition inside of all kinds of engines is particularly bad at assisting in rocket engine design. 'Methane is a fairly simple hydrocarbon that is perfectly good as a fuel,' Lichtl said. 'The challenge here is to design an engine that works efficiently with such a compound. But rocket engine CFD is hard. Really hard.'"[..]

Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

(3 hours ago)
jones_supa writes: There's no video footage from inside the cockpit of the Germanwings flight that left 150 people dead — nor is such footage recorded from any other commercial airline crash in recent years. Unlike many other vehicles operating with heightened safety concerns, airline cockpits don't come with video surveillance. The reason, in part, is that airline pilots and their unions have argued vigorously against what they see as an invasion of privacy that would not improve aviation safety. The long debate on whether airplane cockpits in the U.S. should be equipped with cameras dates back at least 15 years, when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) first pushed regulators to require video monitoring following what the agency called "several accidents involving a lack of information regarding crewmember actions and the flight deck environment." The latest NTSB recommendation for a cockpit image system (PDF) came in January 2015. Should video streams captured inside the plane become a standard part of aviation safety measures? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The EU wants to remove regional limits on digital goods

(4 hours ago)
Think regional locks on movie streaming and other digital goods are silly? So does the European Commission. It's outlining a new strategy (the Digital Single Market) that would prevent companies from geo-blocking online services when it's not truly n...

Mattel to introduce Wi-Fi enabled Barbie using ToyTalk technology to analyze speech and produce relevant responses (Natasha Singer/New York Times)

(5 hours ago)
Natasha Singer / New York Times:Mattel to introduce Wi-Fi enabled Barbie using ToyTalk technology to analyze speech and produce relevant responses  —  A Wi-Fi Barbie Doll With the Soul of Siri  —  Ever since Siri appeared as a regular feature on the iPhone, certain young children — and, let's face it, some of their parents …

Material Made From Crustaceans Could Combat Battlefield Blood Loss

(6 hours ago)
MTorrice writes: A foam composed of a polymer derived from crustacean shells may prevent more soldiers from falling victim to the most prolific killer on the battlefield: blood loss. Pressure is one of the best tools that medics have to fight bleeding, but they can't use it on severe wounds near organs. Here, compression could do more harm than good. First responders have no way to effectively dam blood flows from these non-compressible injuries, which account for the majority of hemorrhagic deaths. The new foam could help stop bleeding in these types of injuries. It relies on chitosan, a biopolymer that comes from processed crustacean shells. By modifying the chitosan, the developers gave the material the ability to anchor blood cells into gel-like networks, essentially forming blood clots. The researchers dispersed the modified chitosan in water to create a fluid they could spray directly onto noncompressible wounds. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber will pay for taxi licenses to keep operating in Germany

(7 hours ago)
Uber is only willing to bend German law so far, it seems. The ridesharing outfit tells Wirtschafts Woche that it'll get around a court-ordered ban on its unlicensed services (such as UberX) by creating a new service that both pays for the drivers' ta...

Australian Government Outlines Website-Blocking Scheme

(9 hours ago)
angry tapir writes: The Australian government has revealed its (previously mooted) proposed legislation that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders that will force ISPs to block access to pirate websites. It forms part of a broader Australian crackdown on online copyright infringement, which also includes a warning notice scheme for alleged infringers.They're not the only ones getting on board with website blocking — a judge in Spain ruled that local ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Volvo's reflective bike paint helps cars spot you at night

(9 hours ago)
Want to feel nervous? Try riding a bike at night alongside a busy road. Even if you're festooned in lights and reflectors, there's a real chance that a less-than-attentive driver will smack into you. Volvo may have a better way to keep cars at a dist...

Profile of Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has championed surveillance reform and online privacy for two decades (Eric Geller/The Daily Dot)

(10 hours ago)
Eric Geller / The Daily Dot:Profile of Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has championed surveillance reform and online privacy for two decades  —  Ron Wyden, the Internet's senator … The Director of National Intelligence had lied under oath to the United States Senate.  Civil-liberties groups soon called …

Graphene Light Bulbs Coming To Stores Soon

(12 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: A light bulb made from graphene — said by its UK developers to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon — is to go on sale later this year. The dimmable LED bulb with a graphene-coated filament was designed at Manchester University, where the material was discovered in 2004. It is said to cut energy use by 10% and last longer owing to its conductivity. It is expected to be priced lower than current LED bulbs, which cost about £15 (~$22) each. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Native Instruments teases a portable, touch-sensitive DJ deck

(12 hours ago)
Native Instruments has a full-fledged DJ deck and mixer combo, but it can be a big hassle -- do you really want to lug a giant controller with you on tour, especially if you already have a preferred mixer? You won't have to make that sacrifice for mu...

The on-demand world isn't about sharing; it's about being served and self-isolation (Lauren Smiley/Matter)

(14 hours ago)
Lauren Smiley / Matter:The on-demand world isn't about sharing; it's about being served and self-isolation  —  The Shut-In Economy  —  In the new world of on-demand everything, you're either pampered, isolated royalty—or you're a 21st century servant.  —  Angel the concierge stands behind a lobby desk …

Hillary Clinton confirms she wiped her email server

(15 hours ago)
Members of the US House of Representatives hoping to get a look at Hillary Clinton's personal email server just got a big disappointment. Clinton's attorney has confirmed to a House committee on Benghazi that, after handing over work-related email to...

Europol chief warns on encryption

(15 hours ago)
A European police chief says encrypted online communications are the biggest problem faced by security agencies tackling terrorism.

Measuring How Much "Standby Mode" Electricity For Game Consoles Will Cost You

(15 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Modern game consoles have a "standby" mode, which you can use if you want the console to instantly turn on while not drawing full power the whole time it's idle. But manufacturers are vague about how much power it takes to keep the consoles in this standby state. After a recent press release claiming $250 million worth of electricity was used to power Xbox Ones in standby mode in the past year, Ars Technica decided to run some tests to figure out exactly how much power is being drawn. Their conclusions: the PS4 draws about 10 Watts, $10-11 in extra electricity charges annually. The Xbox One draws 12.9W, costing users $13-$14 in extra electricity charges annually. The Wii U draws 13.3W, costing users $14-$15 in extra electricity charges annually. These aren't trivial amounts, but they're a lot less than simply leaving the console running and shutting off the TV when you aren't using it: "Leaving your PS4 sitting on the menu like this all year would waste over $142 in electricity costs." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station

(17 hours ago)
HughPickens.com writes with news that Russian officials are talking about working with NASA to build a new space station as a replacement for the ISS after its operations end in 2024. Igor Komarov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, was unambiguous in his support for such a partnership. He added, "It will be an open project. It will feature not only the current members of the ISS." NASA, while careful not to discourage future cooperation, was not so enthusiastic. They said, "We are pleased Roscomos wants to continue full use of the International Space Station through 2024 -- a priority of ours -- and expressed interest in continuing international cooperation for human space exploration beyond that. The United States is planning to lead a human mission to Mars in the 2030s, and we have advanced that effort farther than at any point in NASA's history. We welcome international support for this ambitious undertaking." They reiterated that there are no formal agreements in place as of yet. These comments come as three crew members arrive at the ISS, two of whom will be up there for an entire year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Citizen Scientists Develop Eye Drops That Provide Night Vision

(18 hours ago)
rtoz writes: A group of scientists in California have successfully created eye drops that temporarily enable night vision. They use mixture of insulin and a chemical known as Chlorin e6 (Ce6) to enable the user to view objects clearly in darkness up to 50 meters away. Ce6 is found in some deep-sea fish and often used to treat night blindness. The solution starts to work within an hour of being applied to the user's eyes, and lasts for several hours afterward. The test subject's eyesight returned to normal the next day. The organization Science for the Masses has released a paper detailing the experiment on their website. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pebble Time Kickstarter project raised $20.3 million (Hope King/CNNMoney)

(18 hours ago)
Hope King / CNNMoney:Pebble Time Kickstarter project raised $20.3 million  —  During its month-long crowdfunding campaign, which ended 10 p.m. ET Friday, Pebble Time shattered two Kickstarter records.  —  It broke its first record on its first day, when it became the fastest project to raise $1 million — in 49 minutes.

Europe Agrees On Regulatory Drone Framework

(19 hours ago)
Hallie Siegel writes: Not a week goes by where some aspect of drone regulation fails to make the news. But for any regulated industry where technology is advancing faster than new rules can be agreed upon, it will undoubtedly cause a few headaches. This week closes with a very positive announcement from European stakeholders on the future of drones. During a two-day conference in Riga, the European aviation community found broad agreement on the main principles to guide a regulatory framework to allow drone operations throughout Europe from 2016 onward. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Best Buy is shutting down Canada's biggest tech store chain

(19 hours ago)
Best Buy is a mainstay of tech shopping in the US, but it knows that it's small potatoes in Canada -- it kept the country's better-known Future Shop chain going for years after a takeover, even after opening shops of its own. However, the American re...

Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

(20 hours ago)
Lirodon writes: Future Shop, a Canadian electronics chain that was bought by Best Buy in 2001, but continued to operate in parallel with the newly-opened Canadian locations of the U.S. retailer, is no more. Today, the company abruptly announced the closure of the Future Shop chain, and the permanent closure of 66 of its remaining 131 locations. The remaining 65 Future Shop locations (specifically, those that weren't within driving, or even walking distance of a Best Buy to begin with) will be converted to Best Buy stores over the next few days. This is just the latest step in Best Buy's efforts to downsize its Canadian operations and focus on online retail. The new, downsized chain will consist of 136 Best Buy stores (and 56 of the small Best Buy Mobile stores) in Canada. Still, it's sad to see such an iconic brand killed off like this. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber plans to pay for drivers' commercial licenses to make an Uber X-like service legal in Germany (Maria Sheahan/Reuters)

(21 hours ago)
Maria Sheahan / Reuters:Uber plans to pay for drivers' commercial licenses to make an Uber X-like service legal in Germany  —  Uber plans legal taxi service in Germany - manager in WiWo magazine  —  (Reuters) - Uber aims to launch a service in Germany by this summer that will allow its novel taxi-hailing service …

Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

(21 hours ago)
ColdWetDog writes: You've always wanted one, of course. Zombies, the occasional alien infestation. The neighbor's smelly roses. You just need to be prepared for things. You can get freeze dried food, AR15's, enough ammo to start a small police action (at least here in the U.S. -- YMMV), but it has been difficult to get a modern, portable flamethrower until now. CNET has a brief explanation on the XM42, which doubled its Indiegogo funding target in just a few days. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cyberbullying's Got a New Target: Big Companies

(21 hours ago)
Online bullying has become an increasingly frequent phenomenon—with even big companies now tasting the wrath of angry swarms of web activists.

Another Patent Pool Forms For HEVC

(22 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: A new patent pool, dubbed HEVC Advance, has formed for the HEVC video codec. This pool offers separate licensing from the existing MPEG LA HEVC patent pool. In an article for CNET, Stephen Shankland writes, "HEVC Advance promises a 'transparent' licensing process, but so far it isn't sharing details except to say it's got 500 patents it describes as essential for using HEVC, that it plans to unveil its license in the third quarter, and that expected licensors include General Electric, Technicolor, Dolby, Philips and Mitsubishi Electric. The group's statement suggested that some patent holders weren't satisfied with the money they'd make through MPEG LA's license. One of HEVC Advance's goals is 'delivering a balanced business model that supports HEVC commercialization.' ... HEVC Advance and MPEG LA aren't detailing what led to two patent pools, an outcome that undermines MPEG LA's attempt to offer a convenient 'one-stop shop' for companies needing a license." Perhaps this will lead to increased adoption of royalty-free video codecs such as VP9. Monty Montgomery of Xiph has some further commentary. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AMC's channels come to PlayStation Vue

(22 hours ago)
If you were intrigued by PlayStation Vue as a substitute for cable TV but refused to sign up until you could watch The Walking Dead, it's time to hop aboard. Sony has added AMC Networks to Vue's channel roster, giving you AMC proper as well as IFC, S...

Tumblr's Mobile App Will Now Add 'Buy,' 'Pledge,' And 'Get Involved' Buttons To Select Posts (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)

(22 hours ago)
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:Tumblr's Mobile App Will Now Add ‘Buy,’ ‘Pledge,’ And ‘Get Involved’ Buttons To Select Posts  —  Tumblr today introduced a change to its service that will encourage users to purchase or fund products and campaigns on other websites, including Etsy's online marketplace and Kickstarter, for example.

Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

(2 days ago)
jones_supa writes: Ikea's line of flatpack refugee shelters are going into production, the Swedish furniture maker announced this week. The lightweight Better Shelter was developed under a partnership between the Ikea Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and beta tested among refugee families in Ethiopia, Iraq, and Lebanon. Each unit takes about four hours to assemble and is designed to last for three years — far longer than conventional refugee shelters, which typically last about six months. The product is an important tool in the prolonged refugee crisis that has unfolded across the Middle East. The war in Syria has spurred nearly 4 million people to leave their homes. The UNHCR has agreed to buy 10,000 of the shelters, and will begin providing them to refugee families this summer. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's next Windows 10 Mobile test build on track to support majority of Windows Phones (Mary Jo Foley/ZDNet)

(2 days ago)
Mary Jo Foley / ZDNet:Microsoft's next Windows 10 Mobile test build on track to support majority of Windows Phones  —  Summary:Microsoft's next Windows 10 Mobile test build, expected around early April, will support a lot more Windows Phone test devices than the first build did.  —  Microsoft's Operating Systems Group team …

Startups Increasingly Targeted With Hacks

(2 days ago)
ubrgeek writes: Slack, makers of the popular communications software, announced yesterday that they'd suffered a server breach. This follows shortly after a similar compromise of Twitch.tv, and is indicative of a growing problem facing start-up tech companies. As the NY Times reports, "Breaches are becoming a kind of rite of passage for fledgling tech companies. If they gain enough momentum with users, chances are they will also become a target for hackers looking to steal, and monetize, the vast personal information they store on users, like email addresses and passwords." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Yahoo, Microsoft extend search partnership talks for 30 days (Alexei Oreskovic/Reuters)

(2 days ago)
Alexei Oreskovic / Reuters:Yahoo, Microsoft extend search partnership talks for 30 days  —  (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) agreed to extend by 30 days the deadline to re-negotiate a ten year search deal, as the two Internet companies attempt to revamp a thorny partnership crafted by former chief executives.

Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

(2 days ago)
Bruce66423 writes: A fraudster used a mobile phone while inside a UK prison to email the prison a notice for him to be released. The prison staff then released him. The domain was registered in the name of the police officer investigating him, and its address was the court building. The inmate was in prison for fraud — he was originally convicted after calling several banks and getting them to send him upwards of £1.8 million. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Quebec to block gambling and gaming sites to boost revenues for its own gaming site Espacejeux (Michael Geist Blog)

(2 days ago)
Michael Geist Blog:Quebec to block gambling and gaming sites to boost revenues for its own gaming site Espacejeux  —  Quebec Takes on the Internet: Government Announces Plans to Require Website Blocking & Studies New Internet Access Tax  —  The Government of Quebec released its budget yesterday featuring …

European Commission Will Increase Use of Open Source Software

(2 days ago)
jrepin writes: The European Commission has updated its strategy for internal use of Open Source Software. The Commission, which is already using open source for many of its key ICT services and software solutions, will further increase the role of this type of software internally. The renewed strategy puts a special emphasis on procurement, contribution to open source software projects, and providing more of the software developed within the Commission as open source. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HTC One M9, law-abiding cars and other stories you might've missed!

(2 days ago)
Saturday is finally here and it's a great time to catch up this week's top stories. We review the HTC One M9, learn about Ford's new car that will force you to obey the speed limit and get all the details on the best cheap WiFi router that you can bu...

IBM and OpenPower Could Mean a Fight With Intel For Chinese Server Market

(2 days ago)
itwbennett writes With AMD's fade out from the server market and the rapid decline of RISC systems, Intel has stood atop the server market all by itself. But now IBM, through its OpenPOWER Foundation, could give Intel and its server OEMs a real fight in China, which is a massive server market. As the investor group Motley Fool notes, OpenPOWER is a threat to Intel in the Chinese server market because the government has been actively pushing homegrown solutions over foreign technology, and many of the Foundation members, like Tyan, are from China. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple boss 'to donate $800m fortune'

(2 days ago)
Apple CEO Tim Cook says he will give away most of his $800m (£537m) fortune to good causes before he dies.

Taxpayer Subsidies To ULA To End

(2 days ago)
schwit1 writes Because it has concluded that they make it impossible to have a fair competition for contracts, the Air Force has decided to phase out taxpayer subsidies to the United Launch Alliance (ULA). The specific amounts of these subsidies have been effectively buried by the Air Force in many different contracts, so we the taxpayers really don't know how much the are. Nonetheless, this decision, combined with the military report released yesterday that criticized the Air Force's over-bearing and restrictive certification process with SpaceX indicates that the political pressure is now pushing them hard to open up bidding to multiple companies, which in turn will help lower cost and save the taxpayer money. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber plans legal taxi service in Germany - manager in WiWo magazine

(2 days ago)
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Uber aims to launch a service in Germany by this summer that will allow its novel taxi-hailing service to operate legally in Europe's biggest economy, the company's German chief was quoted saying by weekly magazine Wirtschafts Woche (WiWo).

NASA is working with Russia on a new space station

(2 days ago)
Russia is teaming up with the USA to build ISS 2.0 once the current one's funding runs out in 2024 -- at least according to Russia Today and state news agency TASS. The country's space agency, Roscosmos threatened in February to use the Russian ISS m...
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