UK school teachers can soon break free from the monotony of getting pupils involved in the lessons and leave it to the robots. Humanised robots are all set to enter UK schools later this year as teachers. The new robot teacher ‘MechRC’ developed by researchers at the Reading University, are designed to get pupils excited about technology. The robot will be available by the end of the year. The robot can be programmed by the students to undertake various moves from dancing to kickinga football. The developers are now working on a version suitable for schools. “I am excited about this going into most secondary schools in the country. We need to get kids excited not just in robotics, but also in technology and maths in general. That’s what the UK has traditionally been so strong in coming up with ideas and making technology accessible. We need to educate another generation to do this ,” said its creator Jim Wyatt. The battery-opertated robot comes with over 100 pre-programmed moves and sounds. The robot is controlled like a video game character, making propramming simple and fun. The robot teacher, unveiled at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas costing $650. The company is currently finalising deals with hundreds of secondary schools for the robot.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US unveiled the world’s most powerful laser, setting into motion the move into next stage of one of the country’s greatest scientific assets. Costing about $4 billion, it is designed to safeguard the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile and also the heavens. The NIF, which is housed in a 10-storey building covering three football fields, is the world’s highest-energy laser system, consisting of 192 laser beams. Funded by the US government the NIF was commissioned with three scientific missions in mind. It’s first mission to ensure the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent without the need for nuclear testing. second being able to provide groundbreaking discoveries in planetary science and astrophysics and last being ‘energy dependence’. If the laser works in the field energy dependence, it wil reduce the dependence of oil that is controlled only by a few nations. The success of the laser would lead to less destruction of the earth and greater oppurtunities to smaller nations that are being exploited by the super powers.
A technology which is still at research level is being developed which could lead to the development of disks that could store information that will normally be stored using 300 DVDs. This could mean that a standard DVD sized disk can store a whopping 1.6 terabyte of information.
The technique is five dimensional optical recording which employs nanometre scale particles of gold as the recording medium. The research is being developed in Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. The researchers there have exploited a particular property of gold in nanometric levels known as ‘nano-rods’ by manipulating the light pointed at them. Normally in a DVD or a CD there are only two spatial dimensions, but the researchers were able to add a third dimension. The information was recorded using the nano particles by the scientist using different wave length, and this proved to be a major improvement from the traditional DVD or a CD, which are recorded using a single colour or a wave length. Due to this property of the third spatial layer the scientist were able to record different layers of information at different angles. As a result of the above process they have achieved unprecedented data density.
Already every major company have started to contact the University which will lead them to monopolize the market. But whatever happens I can’t hold the excitement for these disks to get into the commercial market. Just think of the all the space we can save using these disks.
Smart robots are being deployed in Pakistan to fight against the Taliban. Some of the examples are QinetiQ’s and MAARS are armed with weapons to combat the Taliban and their respective machinery. These models are fitted with a 28 mm and also with smart missiles and the type of the missile varies according to the terrain and the circumstances.
One may think that the judgement day has begun, but the real truth is that there is always a human involved in controlling them. These robots are fitted with state of art audio and visual receptors which are instantly transmitted to the controller. Ultimately the controller is the person combating with the enemy with the robot as his weapon.
Even the military laws are binary coded and fed to the robot. These models are capable of combating on their own and the big surprise is that these machines can make even wiser decisions than human beings. Consider a scenario where it has to choose to take down a enemy, it can use an artillery or a sniper or even a grenade launcher, during these conditions various factors are taken into consideration like terrain, innocent civilians etc, and it acts accordingly. It is truly the rise of the machines.
Rechargeable cars are to be released by automakers like General Motors, Toyoto Motor and Nissan at the market as early as 2010. This is great news for the public but it has become a threat to the power station authorities. Consider a scenario where a million users with rechargeable cars recharge at the same time, this could lead to a major drop in the power from the power grid.
To avoid this, the researchers at the Pacific North West National Laboratory in Washington have found an alternative. The principle used is time sharing. The smart car chargers are programmed to charge after contacting the power grid. The charging stops when the charger senses a strain in the power grid. This is possible for the charger to perform by constantly communication with the power grid. The users can even program the time in which they can charge the car. Also if there is a price for power, the charger automatically gets the prices from the wireless connection and the user can charge accordingly. This feature also prevents the user to charge the car at a peak time which the power station may charge more money and allows the user to charge at a less peak time like mid night when there is no strain in the power grid. Ultimately it reduces the cost of charging. It is estimated that a user can save up to 100 dollars a year.
What if there is a blackout and you are stuck in the middle of a highway? What if you urgently need to go to a hospital or any place immediately and you are stuck with an electric car. In the present generation where fuels are becoming scarce everyone is looking forward to electric vehicles. But even these electric vehicles which has zero pollution effect has got some disadvantages as mentioned in the above scenarios. The researches at the South Korean university are developing a new way of recharging the car batteries that answers the above questions. One can just drive on the road and also recharge the battery. This can be done by embedding the roads with recharging strips that allows the car to recharge its battery. Of course these are only available for the electric cars, but it is still a great development. These new rechargeable strips are to be laid in the road for about 20 cm to 90 cm wide and to be extended for several hundred meters long. The functions and the working of the rechargeable strips are not yet released by the Korean university. I will keep track of the development and will post as soon as possible.
Free scale has recently released a new device which performs a variety of functions which serves as an important aspect for a wide range of applications from games to measuring devices.
The success of this device is because of its flexibility to perform various tasks. The code to perform the function is first compiled in a code warrior software which is released by the same company. The code which is used to perform the function is developed using the c language. Then this is transferred into the device. The beauty of this device is that the code need not be burned in the IC as in other cases, instead it is copied into the device by the universal serial bus port. The burning is process completely removed which makes it more economically efficient.
The board has a accelerometer which is an important part. The accelerometer will be able to sense motions in the board in a three dimensional way, then it shows the resultant acceleration, velocity at a point of time, the direction of motion. This accelerometer is used in a different kind of situations. To display the result the values or results are displayed in the LED matrix which variety according to the user’s choice.
Persons who constantly use cell phones and laptops are frequently annoyed by their battery capacity. But the researchers in University of St. Andrews, the UK have come up with a new innovative idea. The idea is no less short than amazing; to exceed the energy capacity of the battery they let the batteries ‘breathe’ oxygen from the air.
The major obstacle to increase the energy density an ordinary lithium ion battery is the anode, lithium cobalt oxide is bulky and heavy. The energy capacity can be increased by pushing the amount of lithium ions in the electrolyte. But how can it be done? The researchers have come up with the answer. The lithium cobalt oxide anode is replaced by the spongy material packed with lithium and porous carbon. When the battery is discharged the oxygen from the air comes in contact with lithium through the porous carbon and reacts with the lithium to form lithium oxide. This lithium oxide is now officially the anode of the battery and due to the non reactive nature of the porous carbon in the reaction, the number of lithium ions released is considerably increased and so is the energy capacity. This new technology is still under research and will be available in the market soon.
Many of us don’t have an idea about embedded systems. Embedded systems is a very vast area and can be applied literally to every aspect in life ranging from music to smart rocket science. Embedded science is mainly based on VLSI design (Very Large Scale Integrated Chips/ICs). These designs have been thoroughly exploited in the last few years. This breakthrough was possible because of the Moore’s law, which have helped designers to fabricate chips with double their previous capacities every year. If this trend continuous it could even lead to fabricate a chip with 10 billion transistors in the coming year. This has ultimately helped in the growth of embedded systems which are now designed with less cost and with more efficiency. Over the time period embedded systems have become immune to viruses and other malfunctions. Consequently embedded systems have started playing a crucial role in the various fields like telecommunication, automation and entertainment. Embedded systems make use of a single chip computer and the software is written in it to perform the necessary task. And even the traditional components on boards or hardware are being shifted to ASIC which is software which also provides with real time environment for designing an IC. In my opinion embedded system design is about doing things smartly which means more accurate output, lesser hardware and less power consumption. For more information check out this book and also read some good books on micro processors and micro controllers.
Volkswagen and General Motors are racing to develop a new technology that will allow cars and other vehicles to communicate with each other. The information on parking is sent to other vehicles nearby.
Consider a scenario where one has crashed in the side or the turning of the road, immediately the car or the vehicle sends out information alerting the nearby vehicles about the incident thereby preventing subsequent collision and other accidents.
Car to car communication has also got other advantages such as preventing traffic jam and speeding traffic flow, saving fuel and also more importantly time. The companies have also contacted with GOOGLE and nVIDIA that will allow them to collect the world map data and incorporate them with the GPS and with the help of nVIDIA a 3D realistic image is produced and even this can be used to find the direction etc. Another great advantage of using data from the internet using wireless communication is that it can always be updated or a program can be written to constantly update the data and kept. Another advantage is that no disk is required to store the data as the information of the place or the terrain as they can even also be directly acquired from the satellite.