Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Good Thinking

Mathematica reinvents itself in version 6

May 6, 2007 Mathematica was released in 1988 and immediately had a profound effect on the way computers were used in technical fields. The concept of a single system that could handle all the aspects of technical computing in a coherent and unified way was revolutionary and was enabled by a new kind of symbolic computer language that could manipulate the wide range of objects needed to achieve the generality required for technical computing, using only a small number of basic primitives. The just announced release of the US$2495 Mathematica 6 is more than just a significant upgrade and in many respects it is a completely new product, promising to once again transform how computation is done, and more significantly, how it is taught. Mathematica 6 takes technical computing to a new level: more tightly bound, more natural, and more automated, applicable to a far wider range of areas than ever before. Central to this achievement is "instant interactivity"--taking models, simulations, computations, or just about any concepts and turning them into fully interactive applications, sometimes within seconds. This new way of working drastically improves innovation--the process of transforming ideas into highly optimized results. Don’t believe us? Check this out! Caution - this will take you HOURS!!!!  Read More

Stringwalker enables realistic walking in Virtual worlds

May 2, 2007 Though Virtual Reality (VR) is moving quickly towards realism on many fronts, one of the major problems in creating a realistic immersive experience is that of walking. If people walk around with a VR headset on, they will eventually bump into something hard and unforgiving – so researchers across the world are questing for a suitable device which offers proprioceptive feedback for VR walking. The human brain seems happy to suspend disbelief and accept many crude kludges in order to roleplay along with a VR event, but the missing factor has been the ability to give the body the same sort of corresponding feedback as the brain. You can’t simulate true human movement with any authenticity without the exertion normally accompanying it. We’ve previously written up two ingenious attempts to enable VR users to maintain their position while walking in virtual environments in the form of the commercially-available Virtusphere and a set of powered shoes being developed at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Now there’s another clever solution being developed at the same university – the Stringwalker. String Walker uses eight strings actuated by motor-pulley mechanisms mounted on a turntable.  Read More

Mob strikes back at Digg censorship

May 2, 2007 Social bookmarking site Digg recently made the decision to remove a story containing the HD-DVD AACS Processing Key, which can be used to bypass the copy protection on any HD-DVD. The Digg community revolted, and very quickly the entire front page of the site was filled with stories related to the censorship, and of course, containing the AACS Processing Key.  Read More

Fixya stuff - the online support community and knowledgebase for repairing consumer produc...

April 24, 2007 In this age of disposable consumer goods, where entire iPods are replaced because it's easier than changing the dud battery, we're pleased to report the growing success of fixya.com, a support community and knowledgebase for repairing consumer products. The idea behind FixYa is to aggregate all support information that is scattered throughout the internet in a single user friendly location. In addition, FixYa is a huge knowledgebase that is constantly updated by a live community of users who share their experiences of technical problems and solutions. Through the site's unique rating system, FixYa is allowing users to find the best solution for every problem and even offer a new solution. Our aim is that over time, FixYa will offer the best solutions for the most common problems of each and every product the site is covering. The best thing about our knowledgebase is that it's based on true user experience rather than on projected FAQs by the manufacturer.  Read More

Team J.A. from Italy, JA-YE winners with their winning iBelt idea.

April 18, 2007 Junior Achievement (JA) Romania in co-operation with Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE) Europe organized the JA-YE Europe Trade Fair from 29 March to 1 April in Bucharest, Romania. The event brought together 500 young entrepreneurs from 30 European countries, representing 80 student companies. The event was an opportunity for European secondary school student companies to show off their innovative ideas, to sell their products and services in a public setting and share their entrepreneurial spirit.  Read More

14-year-old Ribena vigilantes cost GlaxoSmithKline NZ$220K in false advertising case

April 14, 2007 When 14-year-old New Zealand schoolgirls Jenny Suo and Anna Devathasan handed in their surprising Science Fair project results in 2004, they hardly expected to strike a financial blow for the consumer, but that's exactly what happened when global pharmaceutical juggernaut GlaxoSmithKline admitted to 15 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act at the Auckland District Court earlier this month. The girls' project tested the vitamin C content of 8 different juices against the claimed amount on the packaging and were surprised to find that despite GSK's assertion that Ribena contains 7 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100ml, they were able to find "no detectable level" of the vitamin. Go to it kids! Be inspired by Jenny and Anna and keep 'em honest.  Read More

Neuromarketing: What's it all about?

April 12, 2007 Have you ever wondered about the relationship between sex and cars? Intuitively, we all know there’s something going on there, but new research in the area of neuromarketing is beginning to shed light on the subject and it appears there’s a connection. Brain wave recording devices have been available for decades but new technology can now pinpoint more precisely which brain regions are active as people respond to products or make brand choices or are exposed to advertisements. The neuroscience dream of being able to peer into the functioning brain has been made possible. When Daimler Chrysler recently showed pictures of their cars while measuring brainwave activity with an fMRI scanner, they found that sports cars stimulated the reward centre of the brain, which is also the area stirred by drugs, alcohol and sex. The front view of the cars, with distinctive facade and headlight “eyes”, subjects showed brain activity in the facial recognition centre of the brain.  Read More

3D technology solves 4500 year old riddle: Great Pyramid was built from inside out

April 12, 2007 Dassault Systèmes’ in conjunction with researcher Jean-Pierre Houdin, have used cutting edge 3D technology to solve a 4500 year old riddle – how the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed within 20 years and without wheels, pulleys or iron tools. The pyramid is the oldest and last remaining wonder of the ancient world, and is as much famous for the alternative, often supernatural explanations offered for its construction as it is for its historical significance. Houdin used CATIA 3D software to digitally create his hypothesis, which theorized an “inside out” construction process. The highly advanced software was able to take into account the strength and resistance of the materials used, the ability of workers using primitive tools to move the blocks into place, the effect of aging, and even the effect of the weight of the pyramid on the pyramid itself. You can see the work in three dimensions here.  Read More

NoLube SIMpull THHN Building Wire

April 4, 2007 Electrical contractors will no longer have to lubricate feeder-sized THHN to pull it through conduit with the introduction of a revolutionary new No Lube SIMpull THHN building wire by Southwire. SIMpull THHN incorporates a patent-pending technology to reduce friction and with it the mess, labor and cost associated with lubrication. In addition, No Lube SIMpull THHN’s design results in a cleaner appearance, easier to read print and a reduced susceptibility to nylon tearing. Independent tests have shown the new cabling reduces total installation time by an average of 30 percent.  Read More

The One-Stop Bill Pay Kiosk Network

March 23, 2007 The power of consumer demand for convenience is driving innovation and automated kiosks become smarter by the day as they are the most cost-effective way to meet a customer in a convenient location – where they live, work and shop. The newly created ChoicePay kiosk is likely to proliferate quite quickly, as it aims to hook together hundreds of national and regional billers to create a network of self-service bill payment kiosks to be placed primarily in payment centers, convenience stores and supermarkets. The product of a partnership with Source Technologies which will integrate the ChoicePay multi-biller, bill payment functionality into the CONCOURSE line of self-service kiosks, to enable bill payment for cash paying consumers across America. Billers that support walk-up payments for cash-preferred customers can reduce the cost associated with processing attended payments, which can average US$1.501 or more per transaction.  Read More

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