The best of 2014
Boeing P-8A Poseidon 1st Flight (Photo Credit: Jim Anderson)

Boeing's P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine and long-range surveillance aircraft has completed its first flight. In the latest development milestone for the plane scheduled to replace the P-3 Orion, the T-1 test aircraft completed a series of systems checks during three hours and 31 minutes in the skies above Seattle on April 25.  Read More

Lip-reading computers distinguish between different languages

Computerized lip-reading technology for deaf people - and surveillance cameras - has taken a step forward with scientists from the University of East Anglia successfully teaching computers to recognize different languages from the shapes and movements of people’s mouths.  Read More

Dr William Richard (left) takes an ultrasound probe of colleague David Zar's carotid arter...

Looks like smartphones are getting even smarter. We can already access our email, GPS navigate and use a wide range of business document formats, making them an integral part of a business person’s day. Now doctors might soon be packing a smartphone alongside their stethoscopes. Computer engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have coupled a smartphone with USB-based ultrasound probe technology to produce a mobile imaging device that fits in the palm of a hand.  Read More

The gumstix-based Somniloquy prototype
 Pic. credit: Yuvraj Agarwal

Computers are often left running so they stay connected to a network or the Internet – be it to ensure remote access, availability for virus scans and backup, maintaining presence on instant messaging (IM) or voice-over-IP (VoIP) networks, or for file sharing and downloading. Although such tasks mean the PCs are relatively idle, they remain in awake mode and draw more power than they really need. Now computer scientists at UC San Diego and Microsoft Research have created a plug-and-play hardware prototype for personal computers that induces a new energy saving state known as "sleep talking", which provides much of the energy savings of sleep mode and some of the network-and-Internet-connected convenience of awake mode.  Read More

VholdR's ContourHD wearable camcorder

Action camera specialist VholdR looks to have pulled out all stops with its latest offering - the ContourHD Wearable Camcorder. Billed as the world’s first and lightest HD wearable camcorder, the ContourHD shoots widescreen, 1280x720 HD quality video at 30 frames per second, sports a new 135 degrees lens, a new internal microphone and an innovative twin laser shot alignment system, all wrapped in a self-contained, ruggedized package that weighs just 4 ounces.  Read More

Sony GreenFill recycling service

Sony Electronics has launched the GreenFill recycling service, an extension of its Take Back program using in-store drop-boxes for the collection of unwanted portable electronics good - around 80% of which currently end up in landfill.  Read More

Making strides: this concept tree harvester can take 8-meter steps and functions on marshy...

A German mechanical engineer has designed a tree harvester that weighs just over a tenth of conventional vehicles used to fell trees, which causes less damage to forest floor. Industrial tree harvesting vehicles can weigh up to 55 tons. In comparison, the “Striding Harvester” weighs only 7.5 tons. The concept harvester by mechanical engineer and industrial designer Christian Knobloch works by using a small footprint selectively pushing down on the soil as it moves. Through this approach the soil is allowed to recover much faster than if conventional heavy forest equipment was employed.  Read More

The space age looking AirPenguins

The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.  Read More

The Elios line of speakers from ELAN

As any home cinema buff will tell you, a good picture is only half of the equation when it comes to a truly superior home theater experience. The other half is of course good sound, an area that unfortunately often takes a back seat when it comes to setting up a first rate home cinema. The new Elios line of speakers from ELAN Home Systems boasts some new technology aimed at those who recognize the need for good sound reproduction as well as new designs that make the installation of the speakers into a wall or ceiling a much simpler task.  Read More

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