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Telecommunications

A rat interacts with a small robot, which represents a remotely-located human

Earlier this week, we reported on the “beaming” telepresence system being developed by the EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). Once developed, the system should allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats.  Read More

Robothespian, used as a beaming avatar (Photo: Tim Weyrich, UCL)

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

The last Ceefax page

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

Color-coded pipes for the cooling system, and a G-Bike for employees to get around the fac...

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

Suitable Technologies' Beam 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

DCML's TextGenie helps puzzled adults translate acronym-laden messages from their children...

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

An example of an extreme setup that Dispatch can turn into some extreme bandwidth goodness...

Connectify, a company known for software that can turn your computer into a wireless hotspot, is at work on a new project called Dispatch that will turn all internet connections available to your device into one glorious (and hopefully faster and more stable) stream of high-speed bandwidth.  Read More

Botiful is a Skype-based telepresence robot, designed to work with Android smartphones

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 information service is shutting down for good after 30 years of service (...

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

By using twisted beams of light, researchers have achieved data transmission speeds of up ...

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

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