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Telecommunications

In the United States, about 30 billion robocalls (pre-recorded automatically dialed solicitations) are placed each year, and similar conditions hold across much of the world. In the U.S. and many other countries, most commercial robocalls are illegal. As part of an ongoing campaign against these illegal robocalls, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is launching its Robocall Challenge, seeking a solution that blocks illegal robocalls on cell phones and on landlines. It is offering a US$50,000 cash prize for the best practical solution. Read More
Cell phones have come a long way in terms of battery life, but lets be honest, there's still plenty of room for improvement. The very fact that we talk about using a phone for eight hours as being good is, well, bad. While next-gen battery technologies present one solution to the dilemma, a new breakthrough from MIT spinoff Eta Devices takes a different tack – by improving power amplifier efficiency the company hopes to double the battery life of smartphones. Read More
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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