DARPA Grand Challenge confirmed.
DARPA have officially confirmed their next grand challenge, to launch in October 2012. According to a release “DARPA plans to offer a $2 million prize to whomever can help push the state-of-the-art in robotics beyond today’s capabilities in support of the DoD’s disaster recovery mission.”
Earlier details of the challenge were leaked here. The Robotics Challenge will involve staged disaster-response scenarios in which robots will have to successfully navigate a series of physical tasks corresponding to anticipated, real-world disaster-response requirements.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge consists of both robotics hardware and software development tasks. It is DARPA’s position that achieving true innovation in robotics, and thus success in this challenge, will require contributions from communities beyond traditional robotics developers. The challenge is structured to increase the diversity of innovative solutions by encouraging participation from around the world including universities, small, medium and large businesses and even individuals and groups with ideas on how to advance the field of robotics.
Those interested in competing in the challenge can participate in a virtual ‘Proposers Day workshop’ on April 16, more information is available here.
BMW’s full-color HUD: distraction, minimizer of distractions, or costly tech gadget? - http://pulse.me/s/7Nwub
Goodbye, anonymity: Latest surveillance tech can search up to 36 million faces per second
Welcome to the next generation in surveillance technology. A Japanese company, Hitachi Kokusai Electric, has unveiled a novel surveillance camera that is able to capture a face and search up to 36 million faces in one second for a similar match in its database.
While the same task would typically require manually sifting through hours upon hours of recordings, the company´s new technology searches algorithmically for a facial match. It enables any organization, from a retail outlet to the government, to monitor and identify pedestrians or customers from a database of faces.
Hitachi’s software is able to recognize a face with up to 30 degrees of deviation turned vertically and horizontally away from the camera, and requires faces to fill at least 40 pixels by 40 pixels for accurate recognition. Any image, whether captured on a mobile phone, handheld camera, or a video still, can be uploaded and searched against its database for matches.
“This high speed is achieved by detecting faces through image recognition when the footage from the camera is recorded, and also by grouping similar faces,” Seiichi Hirai, Hitachi Kokusai Electric researcher told DigInfo TV.
Photo Credit: (fastcompany.com)
Ready or not, gamificationReady or not, gamification is taking the business world by storm.
For anyone unfamiliar with gamification, it’s the application of game-like elements such as challenges, points, badges and levels to business and other nongame websites. An estimated 70 percent of the top 2,000 public companies in the world will have at least one gamified application by 2014, Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. predicts.
Patrick Salyer, CEO of gamification platform Gigya, believes there are two keys to success with gamification. “One is making sure that all gamified elements are inherently social,” he says. “That is, don’t restrict engagement to the internal site community. Award points for activities that reach users’ social [networks] to bring in referral traffic.”
The other is to focus on rewarding activities that create value for your businesses. “For example, award points and badges for behaviors like subscribing to your company’s newsletter, checking into your store or sending coupons to friends,” Salyer says. “Gamification is not about haphazardly throwing badges across your site.”
‘Invisibility cloak’ could hide ships from waves.
University of California researchers have come up with a theory to ‘cloak’ ships from the the up and down motion of waves. If proven and developed, it could mean an end to costly delays around bad weather for ships.
Here’s how the proposed cloak would work. In an ocean, water typically stratifies into layers. The top layer is warmer and lighter, while the bottom layer is cooler and more dense. Waves, of course, ripple along the top of the water. But they also ripple between those two layers — and those waves are known as “interfacial” waves.
Scientists figured they could help protect vessels from turbulent seas by turning surface waves — the ones that get rocky and cause all kinds of shipboard havoc — into those interfacial waves. Using computer simulation, they modeled a process of laying down a carefully sculpted section of ripples along the ocean floor in front of the object in question (a sailboat or an offshore oil rig, let’s say). The transfer of energy between that sea floor section and the waves above — both interfacial and surface — would create a sort of “wave vector,” in the words of Science Magazine.
Because the technology at this stage needs to be deployed to the ocean floor, it could possibly be used to protect off shore oil rigs from damage.
“Structural batteries” could change the way electricity is stored.
A new technique developed by BAE Systems could be set to revolutionize electrical technology, by allowing electrical energy to be stored in the structure of a device.
To develop this technology, scientists at BAE Systems merged battery chemistries into composite materials that can be moulded into complex 3D shapes and so form the structure of the device itself. It can then be plugged in when it needs recharging or utilise renewable power sources, such as solar energy.
The technology was initially conceived with the idea that it could form the structure of a soldiers backpack, to lighten the load of additional batteries. Now it has also been demonstrated in a high tech micro unmanned air vehicle, as well as in a prototype electric vehicle which is aiming to become the world’s fastest electric racing car.
Researchers from MIT and MicroCHIPS Inc. have developed and tested a programmable, wirelessly controlled chip to administer daily doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection.
This is the first successful test of such a device and could help usher in a new era of telemedicine — delivering health care over a distance, say MIT professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima, who had the idea 15 years ago.
Pharmacy on the chip
“You could literally have a pharmacy on a chip,” says Langer. “You can do remote control delivery, you can do pulsatile drug delivery, and you can deliver multiple drugs.”
Even in presence of global warming, nuclear war threat, exhaustion of natural resources and overpopulation.
Mankind managed to resist all extinction threats to the moments, which include various infection diseases, multiple enormously destructive wars and will survive even more complex disasters on it’s way. Why? Because it’s just too stupid—even by means of natural evolution—to just disappear. And humans have proven that they’re far beyond nature even to the present moment.
One could argue that we should fear not extinction, but deformation of the mankind itself—like if Nazis would succeed in their conquest of the world. And I hope that our petty struggles over resources and political and religious matters will soon (in this century, at least) go away, uniting all the humankind with common goal, with an idea worthy of spending lives of all humans living on this Earth.
What idea could it be? Maybe “exploration of space”, but I don’t think people of third world countries will be interested in that until their basic needs are satisfied. It’s perfectly understandable, but I believe that at certain moment we should all unite. Yes, it means total globalization and severe damage to national culture and religion. But it’ll cause mankind to develop it’s common, united culture and faith in something else. It’ll mean that we all are “citizens of Earth” taking benefits of all that out planet has to offer us. It’ll mean we’ll be powerful beyond of Earth boundaries.
Why bother at all? Because resources of Earth are still limited, even by the most optimistic estimates. Living here for all our life as cosmic species is just equivalent to 10 years old child being in the cradle. I’m actually citing K. Tsiolkovsky here: “A planet is the cradle of mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.”
Innovega to release contact lens displays.
Innovega Inc has developed contact lenses capable of presenting high resolution images for entertainment or augmented reality applications.
“Conventional mobile device screens are too small to read and certainly too small to enjoy. Over the past months we have demonstrated contact lens enabled eyewear for mobile devices including smartphones, portable game devices and media players that deliver panoramic, high-resolution experiences for entertainment and planned Augmented Reality (AR)* applications”, said Steve Willey, Innovega CEO. “During this same period, we collaborated with partners to finalize initial specifications of launch platforms which include a screen size that is equivalent to a 240 inch television (viewed at a usual distance of 10 feet)”.
The lens uses ‘micro components’ which are so small that, when switched off, the user is able to focus normally on everyday objects. When switched on, it allows light from the display to pass through the center of the pupil, and light from the surrounding environment to pass through the outer portion of the pupil. Each of these sets of light rays produces an image on the retina simultaneously with the other set. They are superimposed to form a single integrated image.
While a consumer release of the product is likely 2-3 years away, the company is also working with DARPA for a military version of the device.