Apple announces iPhone 6, Apple Watch

Ben Coxworth

A Cornell robot successfully identifies a keyboard within a cluttered room

If we're ever going to have robot butlers, then they're going to have to learn how to figure things out for themselves. After all, if you have to reprogram the robot for every slight variation on a task, you might as well do it yourself. Scientists at Cornell University's Personal Robotics Laboratory are tackling the formidable challenges posed by "machine learning" by programing robots to observe new situations and proceed accordingly, based on what they already know from the past.  Read More

A scientist uses STAN to calibrate a four-camera 3D TV system(Photo: KUK Filmproduktion)

When it comes to producing 3D TV content, the more cameras that are used to simultaneously record one shot, the better. At least two cameras (or one camera with two lenses) are necessary to provide the depth information needed to produce the left- and right-eye images for conventional 3D, but according to researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, at least four cameras will be needed if we ever want to achieve glasses-free 3D TV. Calibrating that many cameras to one another could ordinarily take days, however ... which is why Fraunhofer has developed a system that reportedly cuts that time down to 30 to 60 minutes.  Read More

The Sphero smartphone-controlled ball is now available for preorder, and should be in stor...

Of all the products on display at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, one that drew a particularly large number of spectators was ... a ball. Not just any ball, mind you. Developed by Colorado-based tech firm Orbotix, Sphero is a self-propelled rolling ball that users remotely control via Bluetooth, using an app on their smartphone. While it was still in the prototype stage when we last saw it, Sphero has now been redesigned for the retail market, and is available for preorder.  Read More

Illac Diaz (right) in a home equipped with one of his Solar Bottle Bulbs(Photo: Isang Litr...

Perhaps you’ve performed that old camping trick before, where you created a lantern by shining a flashlight into a water-filled bottle. While that may have helped you find your marshmallows in the dark, imagine how much brighter that bottle would have been if it were lit directly by the Sun. Bright enough, it turns out, that it could brilliantly light up the interior of a one-room house. That’s the idea behind the Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project – it’s bringing daytime indoor lighting to the homes of the poor in the Philippines, by installing water-filled plastic pop bottles through holes in their roofs.  Read More

Volkswagen is set to debut the Beetle R, a high-performance design study of its existing B...

If you're one of the people who bemoan how Volkswagen's "new" Beetle has strayed from the original's simple, utilitarian nature ... well, you might want to stop reading now. The German automaker is debuting its high-performance Beetle R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. Currently still a design study, it was created at the Volkswagen R GmbH facility, which in the past was the birthplace of R versions of the Golf and Scirocco. The Beetle R is based on the existing turbocharged Beetle 2.0 TSI and sports some unique design features.  Read More

A newly-developed gel could make lithium batteries cheaper and more damage-tolerant, and a...

Lithium-ion batteries have certainly been a boon to electronic devices, offering much longer run times than their alkaline counterparts. There is still room for improvement, however. Existing lithium batteries can short circuit, they don't stand up to damage, and they can only be made in a limited variety of shapes. Now, scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a polymer gel that could be used to make lithium batteries with none of those shortcomings - plus, they should be cheaper.  Read More

The Car Connectivity Consortium is set to unveil the first products utilizing its MirrorLi...

Smartphones have become a large part of many peoples' daily lives, while computer-based in-vehicle infotainment systems are on their way to becoming standard equipment in all new vehicles. While there are some smartphone apps that are able to interact with some in-car systems, for the most part the two have been leading separate existences. The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), however, wants to change that. The group, which contains high-profile member companies from the automotive and mobile communications industries, has established a new technical standard for two-way communications between in-dash displays and applications running on smartphones. It's named MirrorLink, and the first products utilizing the standard will be unveiled this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.  Read More

The EXO is an electric personal watercraft, which riders lie on in a prone position

Of the various water toys for big boys that were unveiled at last week’s Cannes Boat Show, one of the more intriguing was the EXO, from French company EXOCONCEPT. Perhaps the best way of describing it would be to say that it’s like an electric Jet Ski, but the rider lies down on top of it in a prone position, instead of sitting on it.  Read More

Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft will map the moon'...

After its planned launch this morning was canceled due to upper wind levels, a Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) has been rescheduled to tomorrow morning. The GRAIL mission will incorporate two unmanned spacecraft - GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B - which will fly in formation over the Moon’s surface, measuring variations in its gravity. Using this data, scientists hope to learn more about the Moon’s thermal history, and how other rocky planets within the inner solar system developed.  Read More

Purdue University's new app could keep unsuspecting travelers from ordering dishes such as...

Once when I was visiting Montreal, I went into a restaurant and discovered that the menu was entirely in French. Not wanting to admit that I couldn’t read the language, I was instead forced to order the only two things I recognized the names of: Caesar salad and calamari. Had smartphones been around at the time, I definitely could have used Purdue University’s new food translator app. It not only translates the names of foreign-language dishes, but it also tells you what they are and what’s in them.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 28,481 articles