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Good Thinking

Interpretation Service Card opens a world of opportunity

August 12, 2007 In the not too distant future seamless computer-facilitated verbal communication between people who do not speak the same language will be entirely possible. NEC [http://www.gizmag.com/go/2686/] is likely to be a pioneer in this field, having already conducted numerous successful trials, but this technology is still a way off and will be costly for the user. For those of you with limited patience and a limited budget, there is a very useful system available right now in the form of a prepaid interpretation card.Read More

Five minute warning for August 8, M 7.6 Java earthquake

August 10, 2007 Yesterday's M 7.6 West Java earthquake was detected, located and sized in just four minutes and 38 seconds by the German Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) currently under construction in Indonesia. The location of the earthquake was established in just 2 minutes and 11 seconds. To put this in perspective, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii published the location and magnitude of this earthquake 17 minutes after the event. The analysis of ambient data which accurately identified the earthquake magntdue and location was done by a new software system called "SeisComP" (Seismological Communication Processor) developed by GFZ Potsdam that was installed at the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia (BMG) in Jakarta, just a fortnight ago. Read More

Magic Wheelchair: More mileage, less effort

August 10, 2007 Even with years of practice the wear and tear on the body from utilizing a manual wheelchair is immense. Users experience ongoing pain (and in some cases long-term injury) in the arms and shoulders as a result of being reliant on manual force to propel the chair’s weight in addition to their own body weight. One company has sought to alleviate some of this pain by releasing new and innovative technology which is bringing wheelchairs up to speed.Read More

New water treatment system saves space and reduces costs

August 9, 2007 A new waste water treatment system may soon be available for commercial and governmental use which would reduce the costs associated with treating water, produce higher quality water than currently available systems and significantly reduce the size of land needed to house treatment plants. Read More

Smart meter provides fairer parking system

August 9, 2007 The PhotoViolationMeter is a smart, networked parking meter solution designed to bring efficiency and fairness to everyone involved in the daily chore of finding somewhere to leave the car. Recently tested in the Port of San Francisco, the system is beneficial to both drivers and municipalities in that it provides an easy to maintain wireless system that automatically detects when you are in a parking space so that users pay only for time used, no more, no less. Read More

Proof there's always a better way - the Revolutionized Wrench

August 7, 2007 The Business Week IDSA International Design Excellence Awards have been awarded for 2007 and as usual, there’s a whole bunch of good ideas worth checking out but one that really caught our eye was the Revolutionized Wrench. In our mind, it’s absolute proof that there’s always a better way, no matter how tried and true the design it replaces – why hasn’t this been done before? The Revolutionized Wrench provides exceptional user ergonomics, comfort, control and torque through an innovative design that offers a 500 percent larger grip area when applying force. There is no planar rotation in the wrench handle to interfere with grip or comfort and the outer handles have a thin profile to ensure the accessibility of each wrench head to a work piece. Read More

Worlds collide: multi-million dollar real world home for sale via Second Life

August 6, 2007 The ritual of traipsing all over town to queue up at countless real estate inspections every Saturday could soon be a thing of the past as real estate agents move selling houses into the realm of virtual reality. Coldwell Banker Real Estate has taken a step beyond Internet listings and online tours to offer a reality inspection of a scale model of a real life property within the popular virtual world of Second Life.Read More

Mixed reality chainsaw simulator provides safe, effective training platform

August 4, 2007 Simulation has proven an effective method for training in many mission critical scenarios so it makes sense that this approach be adopted for the use of dangerous hand tools like chainsaws. To this end researchers have developed a type of hybrid virtual reality system known as the “Cybersaw” chainsaw - it looks like a chainsaw, feels like a chainsaw, sounds like a chainsaw and yet it only saws virtually. As soon as the starter is pulled, the motor starts to roar and with screaming saw in hand, the operator applies the real cutting bar to a perspex tree trunk in front of him. The virtual aspect is what the trainee sees on a projection screen behind the Perspex tree trunk - a sawhorse in the midst of an idyllic farm scene which the user can watch on the screen as the chain blade saws through the tree trunk, with the accurate simulation completed by the real feeling of resistance to the pine wood and the vibration of the saw.Read More

‘HOMEWORK' interactive learning system improves communication between children, parents and teachers

July 30, 2007 Getting parents involved in what their children are doing in the classroom and giving them opportunities to help their child at home can only better a child’s learning and education. The new learning system ‘HOMEWORK' is providing an effective means of simplifying this communication between the parents, teachers and learners by integrating educational software with broadcast quality video from the Channel Four educational TV series ‘The Number Crew’. Children work in a teacher-led group using an interactive whiteboard, either on their own or in small groups using tablet PCs. The teacher can use his or her own tablet PC to plan lessons, manage the class, allocate work and monitor each child’s progress. Parents can see what their children have been doing at school, are able to offer help and hence feel more involved with the classroom.Read More

Surf’s up - Ocean City’s public wireless network

July 30, 2007 Ocean City, New Jersey, is about to become one of the first American dot com-munities. As part of a $3 million plan to upgrade public services in the popular tourist destination, small wi-fi transmitters are being installed on light posts to drench the city in a wireless internet network. Access to the high speed broadband will be free for the residents and will be available to tourists for a small charge. And with a tourist base that increases the town’s population from 15,000 to 130,000 in the summer, it’s a safe bet the council will more than get their money back. Read More

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