Photokina 2014 highlights

David Szondy

Pepper is a personal robot that can gauge human emotions for more natural human/robot inte...

One thing that allows human beings to live together is their ability to read one another’s emotions before the frying pans start to fly. If personal robots are to join the household, they’ll have to learn how to deal with emotions as well. Pepper is a semi-humanoid robot designed to do just that, with the ability to gauge human emotions and alter its behavior accordingly as a way to better fit into family life.  Read More

The new Mini 5-door has two proper rear doors, thanks to an extension of the wheelbase

The Mini Cooper got a bit less mini as BMW rolled out its first 5-door version of the premium compact. Having launched its new Mini line last year, BMW is following up with four petrol and diesel-powered variants that boast not only an extra pair of doors, but also a longer wheelbase, more interior room, and a redesigned central instrument cluster for better at-a-glance feedback.  Read More

The Eugene Goostman chatbot, which simulates a 13-year old boy, has passed the Turing Test

It might be time to start being nicer to your laptop, because researchers at the University of Reading are claiming that a supercomputer program has passed the Turing Test for the first time in history. On Saturday, at the Turing Test 2014 organized by the University of Reading’s School of Systems Engineering, the chatbot Eugene Goostman reportedly convinced the judges 33 percent of the time that it was a human being and not a computer.  Read More

Artist's concept of OPALS in operation (Image: NASA)

While the International Space Station may be mankind’s outpost for the conquest of space, it still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a decent YouTube connection. That’s because, for all its sophistication, the station’s communications system is still based on 1960s radio technology and has all the bandwidth of a soda straw. That changed this week as NASA took a step into the video age with the test of its Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) demonstrator, which saw a laser used to beam a video to Earth in seconds instead of the usual minutes.  Read More

MSW 115_B showing call alert

Imagine owning an upmarket, 25-jewel, Swiss-movement mechanical watch. Now imagine one that that can display text messages, notify you of incoming calls and let you remotely control your smartphone or tablet. That may seem a bit farfetched, but Kairos Watches aims to combine a luxury mechanical watch with the functionality of a smartwatch in one seamless device.  Read More

D-Day beaches recce photos from 2014 and 1944 (Photo: Ministry of Defence)

Seventy years ago, the greatest military operation in history was launched as the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe in what history recalls as D-Day. We’re used to seeing newsreel images of marines and infantrymen rushing from landing craft in the face of the German guns, but overhead there was another war raging as men in fragile aircraft risked their lives to capture vital images of the battle’s progress. As part of the 70th-anniversary commemoration, RAF Tornado jets from II (Army Co-operation) Squadron (II (AC) Sqn) recreated that historic D-Day recon mission over Normandy, giving us a glimpse of how far aerial reconnaissance has come in three generations.  Read More

SpaceShipTwo will carry 12 NASA experiments (Image: Mars Scientific/Clay Center Observator...

Science and space tourism shook hands this week with NASA announcing 12 technology experiments that will fly on the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane under a charter agreement with Virgin Galactic. The payload is a mixture of government, academic, and private microgravity experiments that will form the first commercial research flight for the spacecraft.  Read More

Raydiance's R-Cut femtosecond laser system allows for mobile phones with complex shapes

Smartphones have come a long way in a few short years, but two things have remained constant; most sport a "slab of glass" form factor, and dropping one makes you wish you’d had it insured. Designers have used new materials, such as Gorilla glass and sapphire to make phone displays lighter and more durable, but these have introduced their own problems – especially when it comes to manufacturing. Gizmag spoke with Raydiance, a company specializing in cutting-edge laser fabrication methods, about its new R-Cut femtosecond laser system that promises a “new paradigm" in high-tech glass fabrication.  Read More

The ESA Common Berthing Mechanism is intended to replace other devices, such as this Russi...

Docking is the paradox of spaceflight. On the one hand, it’s as boring to watch as an apple turning brown; on the other, it’s white-knuckle suspense when you realise that tons of paper-thin metal are one misstep away from destruction. What’s worse, the number of different docking port designs makes compatibility a major concern, so ESA is developing a universal docking mechanism that will allow any spacecraft to lock onto any other.  Read More

The cell stacks that are the heart of a home fuel cell system being developed by Fraunhofe...

As the world shifts to alternative forms of energy, ways to make homes less dependent on the grid continue to gather steam. Fuel cells, which are more efficient and have lower emissions than internal combustion engines seem like a logical candidate for taking up the slack, so the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) in Dresden is partnering with the heater manufacturer Vaillant to develop a domestic fuel cell system that uses natural gas to produce both heating and electricity.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 28,553 articles