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Telecommunications

CORDIS plans to "beam" people to meetings

In recent years, telepresence systems have become more common. Unfortunately, most of them are little more than a videophone on top of a motorized stick. The EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) wants to change that, by developing a system called “beaming.” When fully developed, it should reportedly provide telepresence so real that for the operator and the people at the other end, it will be like the person is actually there. Read More

Ceefax says goodbye after 38 years

The BBC’s Ceefax text service closed down yesterday after 38 years on the air. The world’s first teletext information service, Ceefax began broadcasting in 1974 and provided everyone from insomniacs to prime ministers with the latest headlines and sports scores at a time when the alternative was waiting for the next news broadcast. Now, as the BBC switches from analog to digital broadcasting, the low-resolution service has been retired for good.Read More

A look inside Google's data centers

Last week, a post on Google's official blog announced a project that allows users to step inside the private world of its data centers. For the first time, the company's impressive efficiency records and green ethos have been given a face in the form of the stunning photographs by Connie Zhou and the Street View-able hallways of the Lenoir facility in North Carolina.Read More

Beam me up, Scottie – Suitable Technologies' new remote presence system

Suitable Technologies has revealed the Beam remote presence system, which boasts a 17-inch LCD display and reliable wireless connection thanks to four Wi-Fi radios. The same group previously developed a remote presence system called the Texai at Willow Garage, which you may recall seeing on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Suitable Technologies was created specifically to refine the Texai and market it – the result was the Beam.Read More

TextGenie translates SMS messages for puzzled adults

Text messaging has transformed language into a kind of coded parlance that can be puzzling or outright indecipherable for recipients who do not follow SMS trends, which probably started in school patios across the world. In order to help those with difficulties understanding abbreviations and obscure acronyms used in English, British software developer DCML has greated TextGenie, which translates the increasingly cryptic SMS messages the younger generation tends to use.Read More

Skype-based telepresence robot is "Botiful" to behold

Telepresence robots are definitely a neat idea – they allow users not only to interact with people in remote locations, but they also (in some cases) let those users wander around those locations from “within” the robot, its camera and microphone acting as their eyes and ears. While such robots have so far been relatively expensive, California-based inventor Claire Delaunay wants to change that. She hopes to sell her tiny Botiful telepresence robot for just US$299.Read More

France's Minitel shutting down after 30 years

After 30 years of service, France’s Minitel information service is shutting down for good. Launched in 1982 by the French state telephone company Poste, Téléphone et Télécommunications (PTT), which later became France Télécom, it was France’s answer to the World Wide Web before the Web was even created. However, despite remarkable initial success, it proved unable to compete with the modern internet and on June 30, 2012 it will be switched off.Read More

Data transmission speed of 2.56 Tb/s achieved by twisting beams of light

Thankfully, data transmission speeds have come a long way since the days of dial-up when users would have plenty of time to twiddle their thumbs as they waited for an image or MP3 to make its way to their hard drive. These days, broadband cable currently supports speeds of around 30 megabits per second, which is a hell of an improvement. Now researchers have outdone that by a factor of around 85,000 by using twisted beams of light to transmit data at up to 2.56 terabits per second.Read More

uWhisp allows Facebook users to leave each other voice messages

It’s probably safe to say that with some of our friends, we communicate with them almost exclusively via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While these networks are fine for sending typed messages and photos, however, there are times when the sound of someone’s voice is much more appropriate. Video is one alternative, although many people are uncomfortable appearing on camera. That’s why four graduates from the School of Informatics at Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya created uWhisp – it’s a plug-in for use on existing social networks, that lets users send prerecorded voice messages.Read More

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