Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Danger Room - Wired Blogs
Robots have been roaming the streets of Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time — the first time in any warzone — the machines are carrying guns.

After years of development, three “special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system” (SWORDS) robots have deployed to Iraq, armed with M249 machine guns. The ‘bots “haven’t fired their weapons yet,” Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, tells DANGER ROOM. “But that’ll be happening soon.”

The SWORDS — modified versions of bomb-disposal robots used throughout Iraq — were first declared ready for duty back in 2004. But concerns about safety kept the robots from being sent over the the battlefield. The machines had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. That was an annoyance during ordnance-handling missions; no one wanted to contemplate the consequences during a firefight.

So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety. In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds — a significant lag during combat. Now, the SWORDS won’t act on a command, unless it’s received right away. A three-part arming process — with both physical and electronic safeties — is required before firing. Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there’s any odd behavior. “So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy,” Zecca says.

“Terminator” anyone?

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

IBM’s Blue Gene passes petaflop milestone: News - Hardware - ZDNet Australia
IBM has devised a new Blue Gene supercomputer — the Blue Gene/P — that will be capable of processing more than 3 quadrillion operations a second, or 3 petaflops, a possible record. Blue Gene/P is designed to continuously operate at more than 1 petaflop in real-world situations.

Blue Gene/P marks a significant milestone in computing. Last November, the Blue Gene/L was ranked as the most powerful computer on the planet: it topped out at 280 teraflops, or 280 trillion operations a second during continuous operation.

Put another way, a Blue Gene/P operating at a petaflop is performing more operations than a 1.5-mile-high (2.4km) stack of laptops.

Very cool. Quite an accomplishment.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

The end of the plug? Scientists invent wireless device that beams electricity through your home | the Daily Mail
Scientists have sounded the death knell for the plug and power lead.
In a breakthrough that sounds like something out of Star Trek, they have discovered a way of ‘beaming’ power across a room into a light bulb, mobile phone or laptop computer without wires or cables.
In the first successful trial of its kind, the team was able to illuminate a 60-watt light bulb 7ft away.

This would be great. Need lots of studies on body effects though.

groovychk: (science)

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.


A network of artificial nerves is growing in a Swiss supercomputer — meant to simulate a natural brain, cell-for-cell. The researchers at work on “Blue Brain” promise new insights into the sources of human consciousness.

But — has there been mental activity?

The newborn “Blue Brain” surprised the designers with its willfulness from the very first day. It had hardly been fed electrical impulses before strange patterns began to appear on the screen with the lightning-like flashes produced by cells that scientists recognize from actual thought processes. Groups of neurons started becoming attuned to one another until they were firing in rhythm. “It happened entirely on its own,” says Markram. “Spontaneously.”

groovychk: (science)

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

inform.kz | 149601

25.03.2007 / 18:17 New space shield may help make Mars mission reality
Scientists working toward a manned Mars mission say they’re closing in on a new, high-tech material that can shield astronauts from deadly deep-space radiation.

Known as graphite nanofiber, the new material would be much lighter than the dense materials used on Earth as radiation shielding in nuclear power plants.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Silverbrook’s Memjet printer technology available late 2007, company says | Texyt
New inkjet printer technology that analysts believe will revolutionize the imaging industry was unveiled today by secretive Silverbrook Research.

The company has released astounding videos of desktop, photo and wide-format printers that print pages and photos 5 to 10 times faster than products from current printer market leaders HP, Canon, Epson and Lexmark.

“This thing is gigantic, we’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’ve never seen something as mind boggling,” says Charles LeCompte, president of leading printer market analysis firm, Lyra Research.

“The technology will be available in products in late 2007, starting with a 100mm printhead that will be used for home and retail photo printing as well as label printing devices. An A4/Letter printhead will be available in 2008 with many different components and technology improvements planned for the future,” the company announced today.

HP, Canon and other printer manufacturers are described as “potential customers”, by Memjet Technology, the main company established by Silverbrook to market and license the technology. The company expects the printers to eventually cost $200 or less, sources say.

This thing is astoundingly fast. Check out the video on the link.

Originally published at Twixel.net. Please leave any comments there.

Divineo.cn - Product Information
If you have ever attempted any repair or improvement of any kind, you know that the right tools can make the difference between a good experience and a bad one. The Access Pro Toolkit by Zoozen has everything you need to get into your console and accessories. It is the only toolkit that includes tools for every console and handheld on the market today. And it includes unique and custom tools that are only available from Zoozen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

The universe is a string-net liquid - fundamentals - 15 March 2007 - New Scientist

Herbertsmithite could be the new silicon - the building block for quantum computers.

In theory, quantum computers are far superior to classical computers. In practice, they are difficult to construct because quantum bits, or qubits, are extremely fragile. Even a slight knock can destroy stored information.

In the late 1980s, mathematician Michael Freedman, then at Harvard University, and Alexei Kitaev, then at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Russia, independently came up with a radical solution to this problem. Instead of storing qubits in properties of particles, such as an electron’s spin, they suggested that qubits could be encoded into properties shared by the whole material, and so would be harder to disrupt (New Scientist, 24 January 2004, p 30). “The trouble is the physical materials we know about, like the chair you’re sitting on, don’t actually have these exotic properties,” says Freedman.

Physicists told Freedman that the material he needed simply didn’t exist, but Joel Helton’s group at MIT might just prove them wrong. The material would be a string-net liquid with elementary and quasi-particles at the end of each string. Physicists could manipulate quasi-particles with electric fields, braiding them around each other, encoding information in the number of times the strings twist and knot, says Freedman. A disturbance might knock the whole braid, but it won’t change the number of twists - protecting the information.

“The hardware itself would correct any errors,” says Miguel Angel Martin-Delgado of Complutense University in Madrid, Spain.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

His energy bill is $0.00 - Yahoo! News
EAST AMWELL, N.J. - Mike Strizki lives in the nation’s first solar-hydrogen house. The technology this civil engineer has been able to string together – solar panels, a hydrogen fuel cell, storage tanks, and a piece of equipment called an electrolyzer – provides electricity to his home year-round, even on the cloudiest of winter days.

Mr. Strizki’s monthly utility bill is zero – he’s off the power grid – and his system creates no carbon-dioxide emissions. Neither does the fuel-cell car parked in his garage, which runs off the hydrogen his system creates.

It sounds promising, even utopian: homemade, storable energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming. But does Strizki’s method – converting electricity generated from renewable sources into hydrogen – make sense for widespread adoption?

I’m watching and waiting for this for my own home.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Griffin maps out NASA’s moon and Mars plans up to 2057 - NASA SpaceFlight.com
‘For the sake of argument and nothing more, let us say that in 2022 we will begin a sustained lunar program of exploration and development consisting of three manned missions (two outpost crew rotations and one sortie) and one unmanned cargo mission per year, utilizing three Orion/Ares I vehicles and four Ares V launches.

‘Present projections assume a cargo capacity of six metric tons on a lander carrying four crew members, and twenty metric tons on a cargo lander, at a marginal cost of about $750 million for a human mission and $525 million for a cargo mission. The marginal cost in Fiscal 2000 dollars for this nominal lunar program will thus be about $3 billion.’

Mars also received a mention, with the timeline of the early 2020’s being noted by Griffin, who went on to project nine Mars missions within a 20 year period, all costing less than the current shuttle program.

‘By the 2020?s we will be well positioned to begin the Mars effort in earnest. The lunar campaign will have stabilized; a human-tended outpost will be well established; we will have extensive long-duration space experience in both zero - and low - gravity conditions, and it will be time to bundle these lessons and move on to Mars - which does not imply that we will bring lunar activities to an end.

‘Quite the contrary; my prediction is that the Moon will prove to be far more interesting, and far more relevant to human affairs, than many today are prepared to believe. But by the early 2020s, it will be time to assign a stable level of support for lunar activities, and set out for Mars.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Engadget has the official release pics.

Engadget Article

Fully programmable OLED keyboard. Very very cool. And $1490 US. Pre-orders in April with November/December availability.

I like it.
Cingular only.

What do y'all think?

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