Pen and voice input for computers is so early-millennium. Now Microsoft has created a next-gen computer concept that includes touchless gestures and eye-tracking, and has taken the device on a college tour with chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie.
Anyone with a cool $4 million and change might consider doing what 43 other people have done, and sign up for an orbital space vacation in 2012 with Galactic Suite Space Resort. The Barcelona-based company plans to open the first space hotel if all goes according to plan.
Left: A Chinese Long-March 4-B rocket blasts off on Nov. 6, 2004. Right: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Qian Xuesen on August 2, 2008.
One can only imagine how history might have played out if the United States had not deported a Chinese-born Caltech rocket scientist on suspicion of being a Communist in 1955. Qian Xuesen first fought his deportation, but later accepted his fate and went on to become the founder of China's missile and space programs. His death this past Sunday comes as China broadens its space exploration efforts to become a potential challenger to a troubled U.S. space program, or perhaps a partner.
A new "genomic zoo" has launched, with the goal of sequencing the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species. The project aims to help researchers understand recent and rapid adaptive changes among the species. It could also allow predictions of how certain species might respond to climate change, pollution, new diseases and competitors.
The Genome 10K Project will scour zoos, museums and universities worldwide for thousands of specimens. An international coalition of more than 68 scientists has outlined their plans in a paper that will appear tomorrow in the Journal of Heredity.
Satellites currently must dodge an ever-growing gauntlet of other satellites and clouds of space debris, and this year the Pentagon has quietly upgraded its surveillance accordingly. The U.S. military announced yesterday that it now tracks 800 maneuverable satellites, compared to less than 100 prior to a February collision between an active U.S. satellite and a retired Russian communications satellite.
Imagine running a Google search for basketball videos, and having your computer sift through actual footage of online videos rather than just the text of the descriptions. A new type of software could enable computers to run searches inside videos, and pick out humans and objects alike.
Psychiatrists have long observed that clinically depressed people speak in a certain slow, halting monotone pattern. Now voice-analysis software could pick up on those cues over the phone and alert nurses to possible depression in existing patients.
A new refrigerated cargo box for moving pharmaceutical products has attracted the likes of delivery giant UPS, but its inventor may go out of business first because of a lengthy review process by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
People who hate creepy kids and Halloween aren't out of the woods yet. A new Wii-exclusive Baby and Me arrives just in time for the holiday season, so that every Nintendo-loving household can stick a wiimote in an anatomically correct doll's back to rock it lovingly via accelerometer and hear its gurgles, giggles and wails through a tinny Wiimote speaker.
Wind turbines can be a radar operator's worst nightmare. By scrambling radar waves as blades spin faster or slower, large wind farms are sometimes capable of erasing airplanes from radar screens completely. But a Danish wind turbine company and a UK defense contractor may have found a solution by unveiling the first "stealth" wind-turbine blade last month.