Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spike puts laser range finder technology in the back of a smartphone

If you have ever worked in the GIS industry; accurate, easy and portable data acquisitions system devices are the key forces that drive the industry. ikeGPS is a New Zealand based company that's been developing some really great portable GIS data acquisition hardware and software for quite some time now. Their flagship device called the 'ike' integrates a laser range finder, a camera, GPS and a 3D compass into a small portable package which made possible to measure the length or height of any geographic feature, just a matter of taking a few photographs and you have all the measurements in the palm of you hand.

With the new device called 'Spike' short for "Smart Phone ike" , the company has taken its reach to a whole new level. On the hardware side, Spike is basically a small device that piggy backs on a smartphone and converts it into a full blown accurate laser measurement device and a 3D modelling device.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

AirMule takes UAS technology to a new dimension

UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) technology comes in all shapes and sizes these days. Although the bigger ones are mostly used by the armed forces for international reconnaissance and in some cases attack, like the Predator B.
A system developed by the Tactical Robotics LTD a subsidiary of the the Urban Aeronautics LTD based in Israel have developed a unique UAS system which due to its VTOL and and high maneuverability, can perform a multitude of tasks and could possibly take the capability of UAS to a totally new level in terms of both civilian and military use.

At first glance it looks something straight from a SciFi action movie. The Aircraft is only slightly larger than the size of a standard Hummer. The biggest advantage for this aircraft are the internal lift rotors (Enclosed in the body) which gives it the benefit of flying in mountainous and urban environments, conventional helicopters or other multirotor platforms have a risk in such environments due to their exposed rotors.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Heat Sink technology used for efficient cookware.

If you have ever looked into the insides of a Desktop computer you might have noticed a prominent fan placed over finned metal block mostly made out of aluminium. That's called a heat sink and its designed to take away all  the heat generated by the microprocessor. Without a proper heat sink the processor might just burn up or melt away. The heat sink basically spreads out the heat over a larger area thus dissipates heats in lesser time.

Physicist Lee Huang though just the opposite, how about using a heat sink to absorb more heat from a gas stove flame more efficiently? A normal cooking pot as you know has a smooth surface at the bottom. A lot of heat from the burner flame escapes from the sides ending up being uselessly lost to the surrounding. A seemingly simple but effective idea is to attached fins at the bottom/base of the cooking pot. This results in more heat being utilized for heating the content in the pot compared to that of a normal pot with a smooth bottom. This results in lesser cooking time resulting in saving time and money. A great solution for commercial and house hold applications. The finned pots end up being 30-50% more energy efficient then their smooth counterparts.

Picture Courtesy

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DALER: A drone that's capable of flying and crawling on the ground

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have been doing some remarkable work when it comes to innovation in flying robots.
This time from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), researchers at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems have come up with an innovative concept of a flying platform that can not only fly but even crawl on the ground. The backronym 'DALER' stands for "Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot". Its actually named after the man behind the Project 'Ludovic Daler' a Ph.D candidate.

The project goes by the title 'Adaptive Morphology for Multi-Modal Locomotion' and is aimed at developing robots capable of multiple modes of locomotion. For task such as exploration, search-and-rescue, or monitoring of the environment autonomous or remotely operated robots are the obvious choice. But for these kind of tasks robots may have to deal with complex terrains, such as semi-collapsed buildings, deep caverns, or forests with a lot of vegetation. In general, flying robots are considered  most capable for the purpose. However for exploring areas close to the ground it is found that ground locomotion is more efficient than flying. Hence a robot with both capabilities is suited for the purpose.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Contour Crafting:The Future of Construction?

Hey guys your host Akib here, just been really busy these days, I haven't posted in a while. I will get back to posting about awesome stuff regularly in a couple of weeks. So this is just a quick post so you realize that the Blog is stills alive. I came across this awesome technology called "Counter Crafting". Though I would share with you guys.

So Counter Crafting is basically bringing 3D printing technology (Rapid Prototyping) to the Construction Industry. The brain child behind this technology is Mr. Behrokh Khoshnevis a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering, and is the Director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT). He is also a Director of Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California.

So getting back to Counter Crafting well, I would say is basically printing a house just like you would print a part with a 3D printer, only difference being the proportions of things and the materials used are big and its more complicated cause you have to install electrical, piping and stuff. The 3D Printer (Counter Crafting machine) can be assembled at site. It could be put on a truck and taken to any location and its not completely autonomous like a 3D printer. It  require assistance in building a complete residable home.
The concrete used for the process is different, its called fiber reinforced plastic.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Virginia Tech's Robotic Jelly Fish: Another way to spy

In the past few years the US armed forces and other US Government agencies have been spending a lot of their funds on funding and allotting their projects to Universities and technical  institutes across the United States. Most recent projects are robotic projects that mimic animals and can be used for potential surveillance and assistance to the armed forces both on and off the battlefield.

Here is another awesome potential spying/surveillance robot being developed by the Graduate students of Virginia Tech College of Engineering. This time its a Jelly Fish and its called 'Cryo'.

Click to see enlarged view
Cryo is basically a prototype robot that looks very much like a giant jelly fish. Its 5.7 feet wide (1.7 meters) and weighs in at 170 lbs (77kg) and its designed to be neutrally buoyant. The inspiration for the design is the 'Lion's mane jellyfish' also termed the 'Cyanea capillata' by biologist, that's were the name 'Cryo' comes from.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

VelociRoACH: Robotic Cockroach (hexapedal millirobot)

The Pestilent Cockroach have been here on planet earth for millions of years, and part of the reason of their evolutionary success is the shear speed at which they move. Most of the times the best engineering solution for a problem is mimicking nature, but mimicking nature obviously is very difficult. However day by day year by year we are getting closer and closer to doing that, specifically when we talk about legged robots.
Mr.Duncan Haldane and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkely), have been studying the six-legged pests to improve their millirobots. The 'VelociRoACH' as its called is the fastest legged robot in the world at the scale, however the fastest legged robot title stays with the LS3 from Boston dynamics (The Cheetah Robot).

Taking about specifications and technical details. The VelociRoACH can move with a velocity of 2.7 m/s actually making it faster than a real cockroach which do a maximum 1.5 m/s.
The secret of the the velocity of the VelociroACH is in the shape of its legs. Shaped like a 'C' they provide the spring action need to propel the robot really fast and at the same time absorbing the impact of the legs hitting the ground almost 15 times a second. The legs are similar to that of the R-Hex from Bostan Dynamics but don't work in the same way. Its body has been fabricated out of a good type of cardboard. Although it can lift 4 times its own weight. It weighs a mere 30 grams and is 10 cm long. To keep it stable, it must have 3 of the six legs making contact with the ground all time.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Your smartphone is a Desktop too with Ubuntu OS for smartphones.

Today smartphones have become more powerful than ever before. We have smartphones which have high clock speed Quadcore processors, upto 2gigs of RAM and also a great deal of storage, well that's a lot of processing power in the palm of your hands. But all people end up doing with it hardly utilizes the full potential of the hardware they paid for. Practically  its just a waste of hardware resources. Although that's not the users fault, Its the industries fault, The top three smartphone operating systems, the Android from Google, iOS from Apple and Windows Phone from Microsoft also have a separate PC OS. Why didn't these IT giants never though of developing an OS that works for/on both the devices or rather, just getting a Smartphone to do the work of an entry level PC. 
Well Apple and Microsoft in the recent past made some effort and big talks about the Desktop-Mobile convergence but never made serious effort towards it, may be the industry was never ready enough for it cause they were already making good money by kinda fooling people.
That being said Ubuntu backed by Canonical may have set a spark to revolutionize the IT industry for good, by just doing that, Building an OS that works both on smartphones and PC, rather a smart phone that's also an efficient desktop computer when connected to a screen, keyboard and a Mouse. 

In a recent announcement Ubuntu backed by canonical announced a new smartphone OS that's just the same as the PC OS, just with a Mobile friendly interface. What that means is you can convert your smartphone into a PC by just connecting it to a Screen, keyboard and a Mouse. Ubuntu is already available for Android Smartphones with a Dual core processor for free. What that means is you can run the full PC Ubuntu OS on a compatible smartphone.