Computational creativity and the future of AI
The autonomous TTS Coupe quattro's R2D2-like antennae might one day be as visually appeali...

The age-old battle of man versus machine will move to a new arena in 2010 when Audi will begin pitting an autonomous TTS Coupe quattro against record times of some of the great driving challenges, including a likely attempt at the infamous 12.42-mile Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado, USA. The driverless Audi is from the same team that built the VW Touareg which won the first race for autonomous vehicles, the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The inevitable incorporation of advanced robotic technologies into our automobiles will ultimately yield a safer vehicle and it’s the thin end of the wedge – one day soon your car will not only be smarter than you are, it will also be faster and maybe even better looking.  Read More

Two 10.1 inch screens offer the user a single wide display or two independent workspaces

First shown at the CEATEC trade show in October, Kohjinsha's dual screen laptop/netbook is now on sale in Japan. The combination of an ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics processor and an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 1.6 GHz chip gives the DZ the power to offer independent or combined dual screen action. The first full dual screen laptop to the marketplace also benefits from a 160Gb SATA HDD, an integrated TV card and a multi-touch, gesture sensitive touch pad.  Read More

The 'Thermeleon' roof tile changes from white to black depending on its temperature

Prototype roof tiles that turn white to reflect heat when they get hot seem like a pretty cool idea, as do tiles that turn black to absorb heat when it’s cold. That’s why a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates has won the third annual MIT MADMEC (Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest) by demonstrating their thermally-activated, color-changing, roofing material called “Thermeleon” (as in chameleon).  Read More

One of the KLM Boeing 747's four engines was powered by a 50 percent biokerosene/50 percen...

Commercial aircraft are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but manufacturers and operators are taking steps to tackle the problem. Operators such as Virgin Atlantic have conducted demonstration flights using biofuel, and now KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has completed its first ever passenger flight powered by sustainable kerosene. Using a 50 percent biokerosene/50 percent normal jet fuel mix to power one of its four engines, a Boeing 747 carrying 40 select passengers last week circled the Netherlands for an hour in what KLM claims is the first flight of its kind in Europe.  Read More

Using ProFORMA 3D modeling software, users can create models by rotating an object in fron...

Cambridge University PhD student Qi Pan has designed software that creates textured 3D models in slightly more than a minute using a stationary camera, such as a webcam. Conventional off-line model reconstruction relies on a number of phases - there’s an image collection phase that can be quite quick, followed by a very slow reconstruction phase, which requires a long time to verify a model obtained from an image sequence is acceptable. This new software creates a 3D model on-line as the input sequence is being collected. As the user rotates the object in front of a camera, a partial model is reconstructed and displayed to the user.  Read More

Researchers are closer to using semiconducting nanowires to create a new generation of sma...

Researchers agree that chip manufacturers will soon reach a hard limit in terms of transistor miniaturization, disproving rule-of-thumb predictions that transistor density roughly doubles every 18 to 24 months. But a collaboration between IBM, Purdue University and the University of California in Los Angeles may have found a way to squeeze more transistor in the same area by building them vertically rather than horizontally.  Read More

The Scruzol magnetic multi-bit screwdriver and drill accessory

Anyone who likes to tinker with a tool set knows how frustrating it can be when that particular screwdriver you need has magically disappeared. Enter the Scruzol, which not only has a strong central magnet and holds up to twelve screw bits, but also features a bit socket on both ends, enabling it to be both a screwdriver and a power driver for an electric drill.  Read More

The US$40,000 Robotic Bed

One of the stand-outs amongst a stellar field of automated and autonomous ingenuity on show at the IRex robotics expo in Japan this week was the Yurina Care Robot from Japan Logic Machine. Essentially a robotic bed, the 3.5 million Yen (around US$41,000) Yurina reconfigures electronically, on-the-fly, can be controlled by the user or a carer into many different configurations, has four separate sections which can all be angled differently, and can lift and make comfortable, a disabled person of up to 120 kilograms in almost any position. It gets along at 4kmh, can lower you into the bath and get you out again without giving anyone a hernia and comes with a range of optional extras you could only dream about if you are in need of such a device.  Read More

The Palawalan Princess is bigger than a baseball

The second largest pearl ever found is set to go under the auctioneer's hammer next week, and may fetch as much as US$400,000. Weighing 2.25 kg (5 lb), the pearl measures six inches in diameter and bears an uncanny resemblance to a human brain. The auction lot of the massive pearl will include the lower half of the giant clam (Tridacna Gigas) in which it formed in the coastal waters of the Philippines.  Read More

MSI X-Slim X430

MSI has announced an interesting new entry in its X-Slim lineup with the X430, a lightweight, less-than-an-inch thick laptop that features a power-saving AMD dual core CPU and several layers of software technology to significantly improve battery life, without compromising in connectivity or video playback capabilities.  Read More

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