10 May 2012

"The Light of Stars" is a stunning time lapse video from astrovideographer Daniel Lopez.  In the video he treats us to several inspiring videos of the night sky and also shows us how he used sliders and cranes to move the cameras themselves, giving the imagery a three-dimensional feel.

10 May 2012

Worried about outsiders sniffing your wi-fi to gain access to your computer?  Say hello to Wi-Fi wallpaper, thanks to researchers at France's Grenoble Institut Polytechnique and the Center Technique du Papier.  A Finish materials company called Ahlstrom plans to introduce affordable consumer versions of this wallpaper that blocks wi-fi signals.  It will be commercially known as Metapaper and be available in 2013 in France, no word on a U.S. release date.

The wallpaper can block signals in the 2.45 to 5.5 GHz range, while still allowing television, FM and mobile phone signals to pass.  Metapaper can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as concrete, brick and plaster and you can even paint over it. 

There was an original version that was known as Frequency Selective Surface (FSS) sheeting developed years ago by BAE systems for the U.K. telecommunications firm Ofcom.  It was designed to prevent unauthorized access to private Wi-Fi signals.  However, it was too expensive.  10 square feet would have cost about $800 USD.

There was also a paint developed in 2009 by Japanese scientists that blocked Wi-Fi.

Source:  PCMag

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08 May 2012

If you live in Nevada, get ready to see cars zipping down the highways while the driver relaxes, hands-off.  Nevada has given Google the first U.S. license to test driverless cars.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles announced it has approved Google's application to test the autonomous vehicles on public roads.  The DMV will require at least two people in the vehicle during testing, one being in the driver's seat.

03 May 2012
EADS Astrium suborbital space plane will take passengers 62 miles above the Earth and back. (Credit: EADS Astrium)

EADS Astrium plans on offering seats for 200,000 Euros for a trip to the edge of space at 62 miles (100 kilometers) complete with several minutes of weightlessness in a suborbital flight.  All through that of a luxury rocket plane that resembles a business jet.  Meanwhile the European Space Agency (ESA) has been encouraging the development of similar suborbital concept vehicles that would work for vital space laboratory experiments.  They coined the new concept vehicle the Vinci space plane.

02 May 2012
Derek Low, a Berkeley student has created an automated dorm room called BRAD. (Credit: Derek Low)

Derek Low, a college freshman at Berkeley, has turned his dorm room into a futuristic smart home.  His high tech room is complete with automated window shades, voice-activated lights and presets for college situations like the "emergency party button."  He recently released a video demo of his dorm room, which has stirred up online attention as well as the attention from his school.  He received notice that he must appear at a judicial hearing. 

27 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 14:  Why Microsoft Why, was recorded on Thursday April 26th, 2012

Summary:  Intel's Ivy Bridge launch, SkyDrive updates, Windows 8 versions, Windows RT, mining metals on asteroids, chips to see through clothes, Cutting the ice on Europa and more

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22 Apr 2012

The United States Patent and Trademark office recently published details regarding a Microsoft patent that relates to a two-sided smart device display system for phones and tablets.  The patent involves an integrated second low-power display, possibly E-Ink, on the back side of a smart device or tablet.  The secondary screen could allow a vendor to put less commonly used icons off of the main screen to free space or show other information not shown in the main screen.  The second display would use a low-powered processor to reduce the load from the main screen, helping with battery life. 

22 Apr 2012


Not just satisfied with regular cruise control on your Cadillac XTS or ATS vehicle, perhaps you need Super Cruise?  GM and a team of researchers are currently road testing the Super Cruise technology.  With Super Cruise there is auto steering, braking and lane centering on the open highway "under optimal conditions."  This technology is meant for the highway for both free-flowing and gridlock traffic. 

Super Cruise uses a mixture of radar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors and GPS technology.  However, if reliable data can't be obtained by the system, then you have to take control.  Some of the basics parts of this technology have already been put in place on the new 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS vehicles as part of the Driver Assist Package, the full Super Cruise package could make its way into new vehicles within 3 years by around 2015.


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