Monthly Archives: August 2018

A Web of Nouns

The "Internet of Things" may save us time and energy, but it's a headache fro astronomers. (Credit: Chesky/Shutterstock)

The trouble began because iRobot doesn’t want its customers to have to do any physical labor — not cutting the grass and definitely not digging the trenches for the underground wires that most autonomous lawn mowers use to sense the edge of their domain. iRobot applied to the FCC to be allowed to use wireless broadcasters instead, at radio frequencies between 6240 and 6740 MHz. Problematically, though, space-based methanol also broadcasts radio waves at those frequencies. Methanol traces star formation and tells us about the evolution of our galaxy, which (taken to its extreme) tells us how we got here. To protect that band, the FCC says “all practicable steps shall be taken to protect the radio astronomy service from harmful interference.” And within that band, it prohibits “fixed outdoor infrastructure.” The National Radio Astronomy Observatory says iRobot’s guiding beacons violate that prohibition and insist the mower-bot stay 55 miles away from its telescopes. iRobot says nuh-uh, “there is little risk of interference,” and 12 miles is sufficient.

If one brand’s wireless landscape-eater can cause such a stir, just imagine what could happen when our world is full of self-adjusting, internet-connected devices all communicating wirelessly with each other and with the Web. They will all need to use the radio “spectrum,” but how they’ll split it up — and share it with astronomers, other industries, and the government — when more devices need a slice of the pie remains to be seen.

Smart thermostats can already make your house the temperature you want while monitoring the outdoor weather. Bluetooth beacons help you find your keys. Sensors monitor inventory and alert vending machine owners that Fruitopia is sold out. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s coming. “There are no spectrum bottlenecks for dedicated Internet of Things systems yet,” Kevin Ashton, co-founder and former executive director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Auto-ID Center, told Bloomberg BNA, “but we are seeing Wi-Fi services get maxed out, as there are only so many channels you can cram into the available spectrum.”

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit expects

.Tellenes wind farm, a 50-turbine strong wind farm of 160-megawatt (MW) capacity that is currently under development, will become Norway’s largest wind farm and Google’s biggest in Europe.

“We’ll purchase power as soon as the wind farm becomes fully operational, which we expect will take place in early September 2017,” a Google spokesman told Reuters.

Google last year signed a 12-year deal to buy 100 percent of the plant’s output. The company, which has four European data centres in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, said the wind power will be used to supply one or several of them.

The Tellenes wind farm’s first turbine will begin to generate power by next week, said Olav Rommetveit, a spokesman for farm maker Zephyr, although Google will not receive the initial output.

“Google will not immediately get the supply. It has an exclusive contract for 12 years and they will begin getting the electricity at some point after commercial operations begins,” said Rommetveit.

The electricity produced until Google starts receiving the farm’s full capacity, will be sold on the Nord Pool power exchange, he added.

BlackRock, which provided the project’s equity financing, confirmed the first turbine would be ready for production next week and said power sales would start a few days later.

Arise, a Swedish wind power company, will be the farm’s operator.

Google has also bought the future output of a smaller wind farm in Sweden, due to start operation in 2018, bringing the total capacity of its renewable power purchases in Europe to 500 MW, the company said.

The Future of Tactile Touch Screens

As he swipes his finger over the touch screen, Joseph Quintanilla senses a subtle bumpiness. Rubbing back and forth, he feels the roughness give way to what seems like a flat glass surface. “Yeah, I can feel it getting smoother,” says Quintanilla, who is blind.
The touch pad in his hands displays a snowy, frosted window that his finger wipes smoother with every pass. It’s an effect created in part by Ali Israr, an engineer at Disney Research labs. Israr specializes in haptic engineering, which focuses on applying tactile stimulation to our interactions with computers.

John Heller/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/2015 (All rights reserved. Printed with permission)
The texture under Quintanilla’s finger doesn’t mimic the exact feeling of snow under fingertips — the temperature shifting, solid becoming liquid — but it does convey the feeling of a rough texture becoming smooth and even. Once Israr describes the image, Quintanilla immediately gets it. “Oh yeah, I can picture it now,” he says. “That’s very cool.”

Quintanilla, who works at the National Braille Press as its director of major gifts and planned giving, is looking for a tool that could help blind children read maps and graphs when taking standardized tests. Currently, these students use sheets of paper with raised lines to represent images — a format essentially unchanged since the 1820s and increasingly costly to print.

Quintanilla heard about Israr’s work on Disney’s TeslaTouch**, a flat screen that uses frictional forces to make users feel like they’re interacting with images on it, and he decided to check it out to consider it for grant funding.

Israr is part of a community of researchers working to make touch screens more, well, touchable. Movements with our fingers across a flat screen have come to replace pressing buttons and keys on everything from ATMs to phones, and researchers now are working on the next frontier: adding tactile feedback to help enhance the feeling that users are interacting directly with the technology. Advanced touch screens like the TeslaTouch are on the cusp of widespread use, according to Israr. “It might seem crazy now, but I bet in 10 years it will just seem like, ‘Of course that happened,’ ” he says. “It’ll just become what we expect of our devices.”

Product Startup Exploride Seeks Crowdfunding to Turn Your Car into a Smart Car

With an aim of making driving safe and a pleasurable experience for everyone, Exploride a US-based startup founded by Sunil Vallath, is launching a new product that the company calls a heads-up display for any car. It allows users to access maps, music, calls, texts & more with its transparent display and hands free controls. With the help of gestures and voice recognition, it grants drivers the ability to take or decline calls, access music and maps, change volumes, hear texts, and even monitor vehicle diagnostics like speed, fuel, and more, all from one place.

The idea to design and launch such a product came to Sunil after he had a disturbing experience. Talking about it, he said, “My fiancee and I used to talk on the phone sometimes, while driving. On one such occasion, while talking on the phone, she got into a car accident. Luckily, she was unharmed. But the incident shook me up. It drove me to look for a solution where I could remain in touch with my loved ones while driving, without putting myself or them at risk of injury.”

Popular Read:  IoT, Big Data, BI, Data Science, Digital Transformation: Hype or Reality? Facts and Figures

Its specifications include 6 inch transparent display, Smart GPS with inbuilt voice-activated maps, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, Quadcore processor and IR sensor to detect gestures. The product also having SIM card slot, microphones for recognizing voice commands, dual mini speakers for music and interaction.

Here are features of the Exploride:

Exploride has launched an Indiegogo campaign with an aim to raise $100,000 funding, and it has been successful in securing $21,060 till now. People who are interested in the product can pre-order the unit for $239 which includes heads-up display, OBD II adapter for access vehicle diagnostics, charging set and access to the exclusive Exploride app.

By January 2016 the company aims to ship their product (if they are able to raise funds) after completing its hardware and software testing successfully. No doubt it will provide an wholesome experience of smart, safe and connected driving. To support their funding campaign

Xiaomi Redmi 4A to Be Available for Purchase via Amazon India Today

Xiaomi Redmi 4A, one of the most popular budget smartphones in the market today, will be made available to purchase in the country on Thursday, via Amazon India. The Redmi 4A flash sale starts at 12pm IST, and the smartphone will be offered in three colour variants – Gold, Dark Grey, and Rose Gold. To recall, the smartphone was first launched in India back in March at Rs. 5,999, and comes in only one configuration: 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.Since its March launch, the smartphone has been either made available to buy via weekly flash sales, or via special one-off sales.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A specifications

Featuring a polycarbonate body, the Redmi 4A (Review) bears a hybrid dual-SIM card slot, and runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The smartphone features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with the Adreno 308 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

It sports a 13-megapixel sensor with PDAF, a 5-lens system, an f/2.2 aperture, and is backed by a LED flash. There is a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture on board as well. The Redmi 4A comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

The Redmi 4A’s connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, and Bluetooth v4.1. Sensors on board the smartphone include accelerometer, ambient light, gyroscope, infrared, and proximity. Dimensions of the new Xiaomi smartphone are 139.5×70.4×8.5mm, and it weighs in at 131.5 grams. Redmi 4A is powered by a 3120mAh battery with fast charging support.

Microsoft’s Unveils New

Microsoft’s event from last has gotten the Internet talking about it. From laptops to tablets to smartphones and even a smartwatch, it was a bucketful of surprises for the tech enthusiasts. And while Microsoft continues to be one of the most valuable brands in the world it owes most of it to its software business, 84% of PCs worldwide use various versions of Windows OS.

Even with its Surface tablets bringing in business, the company is not yet known for its hardware capabilities like Apple and Google, but with this new range of devices it might be able to turn the tables around. Have a look.

Microsoft had acquired Nokia’s handset business back in September 2013, and an year down the line in September 2014 it decided to drop Nokia’s branding from its Lumia range of smartphones. Now another year has passed, and according to statistical data by IDC, Microsoft doesn’t even stand in the top 5 smartphone makers in the world, and its Lumia phones shipments have been declining.
In order to uplift its smartphone sales and shipments, the company has unveiled 3 new Lumia smartphones – 950, 950 XL and 550, all running Windows 10 OS.

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft has unveiled its flagship phone Lumia 950 along with its bigger version Lumia 950 XL. The 5.2″ big Lumia 950 comes with a 1.8 GHz Hexa core Snapdragon 808 processor and 3 GB RAM. Powered by Windows 10 OS, it has 32GB in built memory with an expandable card slot. It comes with a 20MP rear camera and Full HD 5MP wide angle front camera. It will be launched in November for $549.

Lumia 950 XL comes with a 5.7″ display and a 2.0 GHz octa core Snapdragon 810 processorThe other features are pretty much same as 950. It will be released in November for $649.