Opensource firmware turn miniquadcopter into acrobatic drone.

Anonymous Coward
in robotics on (#1225X)
story imageSince now you’re going to either register your drone or have to be flying your indoors anyway in the USA, you might as well celebrate the one freedom you still have the freedom to re-flash the firmware with open source! The Eachine H8 is a typical-looking mini-quadcopter of the kind that sell for under $20. Inside, the whole show is powered by an ARM Cortex-M3 processor, with the programming pins easily visible. Who could resist? Garagedrone takes you through a step-by-step guide to re-flashing the device with a custom firmware to enable acrobatic mode, or simply to tweak the throttle-to-gyro mapping for the quad. The firmware author silverxxx from even got the code up on GitHub if you’re interested in taking a peek. Next step, Skynet!

Samsung to release new spy fridge

Anonymous Coward
in hardware on (#1225W)
In defiance of the rage of the security community who see the advances of spyware and intrusiveness endangering our precious private lives and anonymity Samsung have mated a mobile phone and a fridge to produce a device dedicated to supplying food and spying on you. Samsung showed models of this impressive privacy intruding device at the recent CES demonstrating how the 'Tizen' software could add a whole new dimension to invading our privacy in our own homes. Mike Lilly from Samsung Electronics Australia was quoted as saying this was "meaningful innovation" adding "We’ve seen internet fridges out there in the past but this is actually useful", meaning that it is useful for recording information about eating and spending habits to a degree higher than currently available even compared to mobile phone apps. Samsung plan launch the fridge in July quoting "it’s important to get it into a lot of homes". Scary.

MIT's New Microscope Creates Near-Real-Time Nanoscale Video of Chemical Reactions

in hardware on (#1225V)
story imageState-of-the-art atomic force microscopes (AFMs) are designed to capture images of structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer — a million times smaller than the width of a human hair. Atomic force microscopes typically scan samples using an ultrafine probe, or needle, that skims along the surface of a sample, tracing its topography, similarly to how a blind person reads Braille.

High electrical fees lead school districts to install batteries

in environment on (#113FN)
story imageSky-high school electric bills have been in the spotlight this year. More than three dozen San Diego area districts combined forces to press the Public Utilities Commission to deny a large SDG&E rate hike last spring. “In San Diego, really every school is on a high demand rate tariff.” The higher costs are known as “demand” charges, and they are unlike the tiered rates familiar to renters and homeowners. The utility pinpoints the single 15-minute period when a school pulls the most electricity, and multiplies that by $41.87 for each kilowatt. This can make for a rather high number when a heat wave spikes air conditioning use, or a cold snap prompts an outbreak of furtive space heaters.

The district is waiting for the state architect’s approval to install large blocks of lithium ion batteries at 10 schools in early 2016. The silver-colored columns 8 feet high and 20 feet long will charge up on inexpensive nighttime electricity. Software inside will study each school’s habits, relay warnings when use is climbing, and begin feeding battery power toward the school so the school will take less from the electric utility. Green Charge Networks thinks it can save Poway Unified School District some $133,000 its first year and $1.6 million over 10 years. If it doesn’t, the school district doesn’t pay for the batteries or their installation or maintenance.

Oil Droplets turn Cells into Tiny Lasers

in science on (#10FMD)
Scientists have turned individual cells into miniature lasers by injecting them with droplets of oil or fat mixed with a fluorescent dye that can be activated by short pulses of light. This finding could help to broaden how light is used for both medical diagnosis and treatment. The system was devised by Harvard Medical School scientiest, and it uses droplets of fat or oil within a cell to reflect and amplify light, generating a laser. Conventional luminescent probes, which include fluorescent dyes and proteins, have relatively broad emission spectra. This limits the number of probes that can be used simultaneously, because it is often difficult to distinguish these sources of luminescence from the broad background emissions of naturally occurring molecules in tissue.

HTTPA protocol for tracking how private data is used online.

in security on (#10FM9)
By now, most people feel comfortable conducting online financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. But right now, there is no effective way to prevent misuse of your data by the people authorized to access it, say for example a bank employee can still access your data, and frequently we are reading news about misuse of the data by the bank employees. i-e Once you share your data with the bank, Healthcare system or any other private company, for your online transactions, you don't have any control over who exactly is using or misusing your data.

3D-Printed jumping Soft Robots from Harvard

in robotics on (#10FKW)
story imageTraditional industrial robots are rigid as well as fast, precise, and powerful. Their speed and accuracy come at the cost of complexity and can often pose a danger to humans who get too close. Soft robots are adaptable and resilient but slow, difficult to fabricate, and challenging to make autonomous because most motors, pumps, batteries, sensors, and microcontrollers are rigid. But what if you could combine the autonomy and speed of a rigid robot with the adaptability and resiliency of a soft robot, and do so relatively cheaply and quickly?

Self-assembly of thousand little robots "Kilobots" to form complex shapes.

in robotics on (#10FKR)
story imageResearchers at Harvard university had demonstrated a self-organizing swarm which was formed by one thousand little robots known as "Kilobots". The robots begin to blink at one another and then gradually arrange themselves into a five-pointed star, once after a computer scientist gave a command for forming a sea Star shape to 1,024 little bots simultaneously via an infrared light. Just as single cells can assemble into complex multicellular organisms, the individual Kilobots can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes.

SpaceX Made History. Falcon 9 Rocket Successfully Landed Upright after launching 11 Satellites

in environment on (#10169)
The U.S Space Company SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at a landing pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida after launching 11 satellites into orbit.
It is historically very important achievement.
It is the first time spaceX has been able to gently touch down the Falcon 9 post-launch. It is a big first step toward reusable rocket.
First stage of falcon 9 is 14-story tall.

Tiny FM transmitters deliver news and entertainment inside Syria

in hardware on (#Z784)
On the top floor of an old brick building in the heart of Berlin, a group of journalists and tech enthusiasts are working to spur the Syrian media revolution. Their weapon is an unassuming black case the size of a shoebox that allows opposition radio stations in Syria to transmit inside hostile territory. Dubbed PocketFM, the device is basically a low-powered radio transmitter. Coupled with a satellite dish to receive new programs, a car battery for power and a one-meter (three-foot) antenna, it can broadcast FM radio within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius. That's enough to cover a town or a city district, said Philipp Hochleichter, who oversees development of the device for the Berlin-based nonprofit organization Media in Cooperation and Transition.

The group has been training journalists in conflict zones for more than a decade and often relies on FM radio to reach populations in far-flung areas that don't have access to the Internet or smartphones. But when the group realized that shifting front lines and the brutal treatment of journalists meant operating large broadcast antennae could become too cumbersome or risky, it developed PocketFM. It's now being used to covertly broadcast in nine locations, including two that are controlled by the Islamic State group, said Hochleichter. Connected to a solar panel, a PocketFM transmitter can theoretically work autonomously for long periods of time.