This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
After months of misshapen strands of pasta-like plastic, Chuck Hull had his cup. What he’d created that night in March 1983 was a modest object by almost any measure, but it was one that marked a concept decades ahead of its time, a sci-fi notion birthed into this world on a machine that — as the inventor would later tell The New York Times — “was so kludged together that it looked post-apocalyptic, like some of the equipment they used in that movie Waterworld.”
The strange little cup is the world’s first successfully 3D-printed object, a real-world manifestation of the concept he would deem “stereolithography,” based on the notion of adding an extra dimension to lithography, an 18th-century printing technology.
in August, GlaxoSmithKline invested $5 million in SetPoint, and its bioelectronics R. & D. unit now has partnerships with 26 independent research groups in six countries. Glaxo has also established a $50 million fund to support the science of bioelectronics and is offering a prize of $1 million to the first team that can develop an implantable device that can, by recording and responding to an organ’s electrical signals, exert influence over its function. Instead of drugs, “the treatment is a pattern of electrical impulses,” Famm says. “The information is the treatment.” In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, Famm believes, bioelectronic medicine might someday treat hypertension, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, infertility, obesity and cancer.
For the past couple of years, Miller has been leading a team of engineers and designers to create one of the first industrial-use exoskeletons. Called the FORTIS, the exoskeleton is able to support tools of up to 36 pounds and transfer that load from a worker’s hands and arms to the ground. The goal is to lighten workers’ loads, ultimately making them more productive and skilled at their jobs. The US Navy recently bought two of the exoskeletons and plans to test them over the next six months to see how they might be used in an industrial situation… The anodised aluminium and carbon fibre skeleton weighs 30 pounds, and follows along the outside of a human’s body. It has joints in the parts of the body that would regularly have joints (ankle, knee, hip) and flexes from side to side at the waist. Miller says the skeleton was designed for complex environments — whoever is wearing it can climb stairs or a ladder, squat and generally move business as usual in the exoskeleton. Tools mount to the front of the FORTIS and that weight is directed through the joints in the hip and down to the floor, relieving stress on the entire body, including the feet and ankles.
Early tests show that the exoskeleton has increased productivity anywhere from two to 27 times, depending on the task. The team measured the amount of time a worker could hold a 16-pound grinder overhead without having to rest his arms. “The longest operators could work continuously without a break was three minutes sustained without augmentation,” says Miller. “Using the FORTIS, operators could work 30 minutes or longer without requiring rest breaks.”
In the near future, it will be very difficult to use a car to hurt yourself or others. The sooner that day arrives, the better
Volvo plans to be first out of the gate, pledging to have self-driving cars for sale by 2017. Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, intends to have his company’s first driverless vehicle on the market three years later. GM has said the same thing. Jaguar Land Rover reckons it will launch its own fully autonomous vehicle within 10 years. Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW are also developing driverless cars
The first computer-controlled cars will start appearing on British roads in January 2015. Three cities will be selected as testing grounds for trials lasting up to three years. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Transport are asking cities to compete for a share of a £10million grant. Southampton City Council is one city already putting a bid together, Business Reporter can reveal.
The driverless car will just be the first phase. Second-generation cars will communicate directly with the traffic system, enabling much smoother driving and even more economic fuel consumption. If you are approaching a traffic light, said Edwards, the EV will adjust its speed to go through the moment the light is changing. “Connected driving will ease traffic congestion and conserve fuel even more,
[In Dec 2013] GSK has launched a $1 million (£600,000) prize for innovation in the field of bioelectronics. The prize will be given to researchers that create a miniaturised, fully implantable device that can read, write and block the body’s electrical signals to treat disease
What we’re doing is using human beings as safety nets or backups to computers, and that’s completely backward,” Casner said. “It would be much better if the computing system watched us and chimed in when we do something wrong.” Ideally, he said, automation would adopt a human-centered approach—one that takes seriously our inability to sit and stare by alerting us when we need to be alerted rather than by outright replacing our routines with computerized ones. This kind of shift from passive observation to active monitoring would help to ensure that our minds remain stimulated. Casner likened the desired approach to one taken by good lifeguards. In the absence of a safety net, they must remain aware. “They don’t just sit and wait to see if someone’s screaming,” he said. “They scan the pool, look for certain signs.” While lifeguards are taught all the possible signs of a person who is drowning, pilots don’t receive elaborate training on all the things that can go wrong, precisely because the many things that can go wrong so rarely do. “We need to give pilots more practice at the thinking skills,
automation could work wonders: computers had markedly improved navigation, for example, and their ability to control the airplanes’ every tiny wiggle via the yaw damper was helping to prevent potentially fatal Dutch rolls. But, as pilots were being freed of these responsibilities, they were becoming increasingly susceptible to boredom and complacency—problems that were all the more insidious for being difficult to identify and assess. As one pilot whom Wiener interviewed put it: “I know I’m not in the loop, but I’m not exactly out of the loop. It’s more like I’m flying alongside the loop.”
The UAV… uses magnets to carry a floatation device out to sea, releasing it via a remote switch operated by the lifesaver on-shore…
“I think where this drone will shine is in really big swell. [In] rough conditions where it is very difficult for a very strong swimmer to make [their] way out through the surf. Having this to be able to fly over and deliver the tube straight away gives you the time to perform the rescue as you want.”
unmanned aerial systems can be programmed to fly low over fields and stream photos and videos to a ground station, where the images can be stitched together into maps or analyzed to gauge crop health. They can also be modified to land and take soil and water samples. One day they could be used in the U.S. as precision crop-dusters….