Highlights from Interbike 2014

David Szondy

Crowdsourcing could help robots more quickly learn the best way to accomplish complicated ...

If robots are going to work alongside humans, the machines are going to need to swallow their pride and learn to ask for help. At least, that’s the thinking of computer scientists at the University of Washington (UW), who are working on ways for robots to crowdsource their problems when learning new tasks. If successful, this approach points the way toward future robots that are capable of asking for assistance to speed up their learning when it comes to figuring out how to carry out household tasks.  Read More

The USC organic redux flow battery (not pictured) replaces metals with water-soluble organ...

Lithium-ion batteries have made portable, rechargeable electronics commonplace. Unfortunately, they do have some glaring drawbacks, including heat issues, being made with rare, toxic elements, and the fact the technology doesn't scale up very well, which limits applications. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) is working on an alternative in the form of a water-based organic battery that is not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but also holds the potential for scaling up for use in wind and solar power plants as a means to store large amounts of energy.  Read More

The Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Virtual reality became reality reality at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week as Nissan unveiled the physical version of its Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo “virtual supercar.” The futuristic concept will be available next month as an avatar in PlayStation Gran Turismo 6 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the driving game.  Read More

The Jaguar F-Type Project 7 is fully road legal

Like McLaren with its MSO 650S, Jaguar has used this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed to debut a vehicle making the jump from concept to limited production run. For Jaguar it's the F-Type Project 7, a fully road-legal two-seater roadster described as the "most performance-focused derivative of the acclaimed F-Type range," and the fastest and most powerful production Jaguar ever built.  Read More

The ForceShoe was originally developed to help stroke patients (Image: NASA)

Given that there isn't any gravity on the International Space Station you’d think that shoes would be a very low priority, but on the latest Russian Soyuz capsule to dock with the station, NASA sent along a pair of high-tech ForceShoes to monitor astronauts as they exercise to make sure they get the full benefits of their workouts.  Read More

The LG G Watch is one of the first smartwatches powered by the Android Wear operating syst...

LG Electronics (LG) has unveiled the LG G Watch; one of the first smartwatches to use Android Wear to produce a minimalist design aimed at a mass audience. Like other Android Wear watches, you don’t press buttons to control it – you chat with it.  Read More

The glass-fibre cows at the Glastonbury Festival act as WiFi hotspots

Running on and off since 1970, Britain’s Glastonbury Festival is famous for hosting such acts as David Bowie, The Who, Coldplay, and Beyoncé. It’s also famous for its sea of mud and streams flowing through tents thanks to the typical English weather. This year, high tech meets the bucolic at the Festival as visitors are greeted by a herd of life-sized, glass-fiber cows that double as free Wi-Fi hotspots to keep them connected.  Read More

The system use 3D cameras to detect and record gestures

Quality control is a vital part of modern manufacturing. Not only does it decrease the chances of a dissatisfied customer, but it reduces waste and, therefore, cost. However, inspecting products on the assembly line can itself be expensive, time consuming, and not as accurate as it should be. To speed things up a bit, BMW has developed a new system for inspecting bumpers that uses gestures to allow inspectors to literally point out defects.  Read More

An F/A-18C Hornet is launched from a test runway using EMALS (Image: US Navy)

A fighter plane taking off from a strike carrier is a dramatic sight – not the least because of the woosh and plume of steam as the catapult blasts the aircraft into the air. In a few years, such launches may still be dramatic, but they’ll also be a bit quieter and very plume-free. That’s because the US Navy has completed testing of its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS); clearing it for use on the new Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carriers.  Read More

Artist's concept of Duke Airborne Systems’ Robotic Weapon System (RWS) in action

When we hear about military robots, it usually evokes images of Terminator-like killing machines, but it can also mean robotic systems designed to help soldiers concentrate on the job at hand. Case in point is Israel-based Duke Airborne Systems’ Robotic Weapon System (RWS). Unveiled at the Eurosatory defense industry show in Paris, the system billed as a “first-of-its-kind” is a concealable robotic gunnery module that allows utility helicopters to fly into hostile territory without an armed escort.  Read More

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