Friday, February 25, 2011

Gallium Nitride could make power electronics more efficient than silicon

Power electronics companies are absolutely in love with silicon. Silicon based power electronic components are pretty cheap to manufacture and also have a good life cycle, however they have a fair amount of problems too. They are bulky, run hot and a lot of energy is lost to keeping them cool thus making them less energy efficient. The world wants electronic to be smaller faster and more energy efficient.Well if you don't know what is power electronics in short these are devices that convert high voltages to lower voltages, convert AC supply to DC. Basically devices like battery chargers, power supply units in computer and inverters. Just look at the size of your laptop charger its like a brick.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BrainDriver: Thought Controlled Car

Controlling interfaces and digital environment via mind control will probably play a huge  role in the future. How about driving your car by just thinking? Thats what researchers from Artificial Intelligence Group of the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin Germany have created. This research group works under AutoNOMOS Labs funded by German Ministry of Education and Research, has been developing innovative driving interfaces for cars with off the shelf components and devices. Earlier they developed a car that could be driven via an iPhone(iDriver), iPad and an eye-tracking device.

This time they developed a car that can be controlled by the power of thinking. To do this they used an off the shelf Emotiv "neuroheadset" (EPOC), which has become the most popular device of choice in the prototyping domain. It basically maps the electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain when you think. It was originally developed for mind controlled gaming but its application are only limited to your imagination.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to avoid using the new Photo Viewer on Facebook.

This week Facebook rolled out its new photo viewer application/interface and since then there are a lot of negative comments I have come across from users about it. I personally feel its quite an improvement from the previous viewer which for me was a bit slow and the view window was kinda small. Overall I like the new photo viewer also called "theater". It pops out, lets me focus more on the details of the photos than on the surrounding because of the dark background, I can resume viewing updates from where I left just by hitting the close button on the top right. In fact Facebook now stores the photos you upload in a much higher quality compared to the older times. They have increased the size of the photos stored from 720 pixels to 2048 pixels which is high quality. I don't really understand why people these days always complain about anything new on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HTC finally jumps into Tablets with Flyer

The popular Taiwan based smartphone manufacturer HTC unveiled its first tablet at Mobile world congress 2011. So what's the big deal its another device populating the already crowded tablet market? Well thats a bit difficult to say,  the device seems to be fairly advance than other contenders, specially when it comes to design. It has a sleek aluminum unibody and is just 7 inches in size making it look stylish with the added advantage of portability, needless to say design has generally been a selling point for HTC.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY: The ultimate gaming smartphone

The Mobile world congress the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry is now taking place at Barcelona, Spain and we have a ton of new devices that are being unveiled. One of the device that is catching a lot of media attention is the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the worlds first PlayStation certified smartphone. Now there is this new community of mobile gamers that have come up in recent times and with smartphones getting so powerful there is a need to have smartphones that are specially designed for mobile gaming, I mean whats the point in having powerful hardware if its not even used to its potential.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Air Hybrid vehicles a much better option for future hybrids?

Hybrid Engine technology is now almost available in all combinations, we have the popular Electric Hybrids,  Kinetic Hybrids (KERS), Hydraulic Hybrid and now we also have Pneumatic Hybrids. All Hybrids work in the same way i.e. they harness and store energy while braking and use it when needed, the difference is they use different methods to store that energy. Researchers from the University of Lund, Sweden in collaboration with a Swedish company Cargine are working on the development of Pneumatic hybrids for practical usage.

Urban traffic is slow and jerky, thats when hybrids prove to be beneficial. Constant acceleration and braking causes a great loss of energy. Electric Hybrids involve a lot of electronics and electrical component thus costs a lot and are heavy on maintenance, this has been a negative factor for electrical hybrid's popularity so far.
Sasa Trajkovic a doctoral student in Combustion Engines is the man behind the project, his calculations suggests that 48 percent of the brake energy, which is compressed and saved in a small air tank connected to the engine could be reused later. What this means is that the degree of reuse for air hybrids could match that of today’s electric hybrids. The major advantage of using a compressed air hybrid is that they are a lot cheaper to manufacture and lighter on maintenance.

Monday, February 7, 2011

DreamPlug: A PC that looks like a battery charger

Many a times you need a computer just for basic rudimentary computing tasks in places with limited power and space, why use a computer which consumes a whole lot of power while you can just do the same task with a PC which uses only a small amount of power and hardly takes up any space? The solution to the problem is being answered by the ultra small PCs which have been coming up in the market in recent times called plug computers. One recent device that has come up is "DreamPlug" from Globalscale Technologies, which fits into a power plug, no power cord needed.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

RoboEarth: Internet for robots

Robots are ultimately going to be a part of daily lives in the future. To make robots do what you desire, they need to have the appropriate hardware and have to be programed so as to fulfill the need of the work.
The greatest challenge when it comes to robots is to create robots that can move around in the human world, performing tasks that are beneficial to people and perform a task to the desired satisfaction autonomously.
Although a lot of robots in todays world are autonomous but they are highly constraint to the surrounding. They rely solely on the sensor inputs and the program they have in their memory. If you put the robot in a never before situation, the robot has to plan/process a strategy all over again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NASA set to Launch Robonaut 2 In Space For the First Time.

According to a recent announcement a couple of days ago, NASA is set to launch Robonaut 2 this month on the 24th of February aboard space shuttle Discovery along with six astronauts, tools and spare supplies to the International Space Station making it the first ever humanoid robot to travel and work in Space. For now R2 (Robonaut 2) will only have to go with the upper part of its body as the legs aren't ready yet and undergoing testing.