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Good Thinking

Can a machine think? Almost!

The Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence ( AI ) is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test, the test named after British mathematician Alan Turing. In 1950, Turing proposed that if the responses from the computer were indistinguishable from that of a human,the computer could be said to be thinking. Last weekend saw the 18th Loebner Prize conducted with the final between five artificial conversational entities (ACEs). All the ACEs managed to fool at least one if their human interrogators, with the eventual winner fooling 25% of its interrogators. Read More

Unique navigation aid for the visually-impaired

Another interesting entry from the Create the Future Design Contest, the Navigation aid for the Blind uses existing technology in a very clever way. It consists of a headset which has an audio transducer and a built-in microphone and uses GPS, obstacle detection technology and speech recognition to safely guide the wearer to their destination. The wearer simply states the destination address into the microphone and the technology does the rest, guiding and directing the user safely through the streets.Read More

Feature

A-style: harmless nipple-slip or unfair tactics

The A-style brand image is a masterfully clever logo. It is driving a young company to international recognition and once you’ve realized what the innocent A signifies, its symbolic nature leaps out at you. Beginning with street level buzz marketing tactics, the Italian A-style logo has systematically used the most cost-efficient marketing methods to develop an international awareness using its provocative imagery. Over recent years we have seen the rise of savvy street brands with defiant brain-slapping names such as Pornstar and FCUK, but A-style has pushed things several notches up the "i-can't-believe-they-can-get-away-with-that" scale. Originally commercially invigorated with street stickers and stencils, A-style has used street-level buzz marketing to grow to international prominence and is now sponsoring global televised sport to deliver its in-yer-face branding. Does it press your buttons? It’s designed to do so! And prepare for more subversive marketing, as it’s clearly very effective .Read More

Obama '08 gets a (useful!) iPhone application

The words "politics" and "tech-savvy" haven't always sat comfortably in the same sentence, but the Obama '08 iPhone Application is evidence that things are set to change on the campaign trail. Refreshingly, the app is more than just a trendy stunt from the Democratic Nominee's camp, taking advantage of several of the iPhones' capabilities with a range of tools that could actually be useful for those wanting to get involved.Read More

MIT researchers harness tree power to fight wildfires

While specialist fire-fighting crews, squadrons of trucks and water-bombing helicopters all play an important role, access to reliable and timely information on fire behavior is among the most critical of all the tools used to combat wild fires and prevent the loss of life, livestock and property damage. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are now working on a system that uses energy from the trees themselves to power a network of temperature and humidity sensors that act as remote weather stations to aid in fire management.Read More

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

September 24, 2008 Impulse control is becoming increasingly important on a personal and global scale for solving problems as diverse as obesity, smoking, compulsive shopping and even global warming. But if appealing to our intellect rarely works, what does? Psychologist Dr Max Sutherland looks at the issue and writes that rather than engage the mind in combat, take advantage of how it works. Don’t shop when you’re preoccupied or hungry, do good deeds after, but not before, shopping. And shop well in advance. Another fascinating article full of psychological tips to help control impulses and resist temptation.Read More

Flatshare Fridge could save big arguments

Anyone who’s ever lived in a share house knows the disappointment of finding their tasty leftovers devoured by a greedy roommate, only to have them deny all responsibility. This great idea dubbed the Flatshare Fridge is a concept designed to eliminate arguments by providing separate food storage spaces for each household member.Read More

Storm Safe hurricane shelter

Recent horrific weather conditions in Northern and Central America have seen many people displaced, injured and even killed - most recently by Hurricane Ike. While early evacuation is always the best option, it can't hurt to have a plan B along the lines of the Storm Safe, a floating, hexagon-shaped hurricane shelter made from heavy aluminum plate that's designed to protect you in the event of a large storm.Read More

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