The Kinect can see, but the ability to see objects is different from the ability to recognize objects. You and I, with our eyes and brains that work so effectively, can see a water bottle of pretty much any size, shape, color, or material, and recognize what it's for. But a Kinect is not as smart as we are, and needs a hand to get to our level. That's where you come in.
You are unique. This is one of the more obscure ways you're unique: An alternating current of different frequencies running through you causes a reaction that's noticeably different from anyone else's. Researchers from Dartmouth University are trying to put this difference to use by creating wearable electronics that respond to--and only to--their intended user.
By Tim Newcomb
Posted 05.30.2012 at 4:02 pm 3 Comments
Personal fitness monitors are great at collecting data but fail at providing useful interpretations. Users often have no way to translate speed, distance and calories into metrics that can help guide them to improve over time. The Nike+ Training system is the only monitor that records data, processes it, and delivers real-time coaching.
A new stretchy, supple synthetic skin prototype developed at Stanford has some impressive pressure sensitivity, deforming and contorting without any breakage or wrinkling. It’s made of spray-on carbon nanotubes, which act as springs and can measure the force being applied to them.
Over at Danger Room, Noah Shachtman got a look at the military's current and next-gen night-vision goggles (or, more accurately, "goggle," or "monogoggle," since they only cover one eye). Hardly anyone ever gets to look at these, so to actually be able to try them out is pretty amazing. The goggles live up to the hype: they pack incredibly sensitive thermal sensors (enough so that reflections and handprints both glow) as well as embedded LCDs that transmit all kinds of data.
In most cities, bike commuters lucky enough to have their own lanes still cannot trigger traffic signals, forcing them either to wait for a car to pull up, or cross the street to push the crosswalk button. A microwave motion sensor can help by determining when bikes are present.
By Josh Dean
Posted 06.30.2011 at 3:08 pm 0 Comments
The idea of a robot assuming control of your car takes some getting used to. But the race to build increasingly autonomous automotive safety systems is well under way, as the cost of cameras and sensors drops and engineers get better at programming those tools to work together.
If you’re looking to gin up a project that can interface with the world--say, a device that tells the weather using sensors--you’re probably going to need a microcontroller, a simple computer system on a circuit board that consists of a processor, memory and an input/output system. They are the centerpiece of many of my past PopSci projects, such as a desk clock that keeps superaccurate time by pulling in a signal broadcast from an atomic clock.
If there were a distinction one could earn for practicing smart medicine on a shoestring, a UT grad student would be high in the running. Using a aluminum foil, gelatin, milk protein, and a cheap LED light--items that collectively sell for under a buck--he’s created a fast, one-hour test for acute pancreatitis.
A new type of sensor can identify substances as small as a molecule by examining the light they reflect, potentially leading to sensors for a wide range of substances, from explosives to cancer.
The DARPA-funded sensor uses a chip full of metal pillars to boost the light signals bouncing off an object. It’s a billion times more sensitive than was previously possible, according to researchers at Princeton University.
Under Armour's E39 shirt looks mostly like a typical Under Armour compression shirt, which is to say, entirely unflattering on those of us who aren't professional athletes. But the E39 is actually a very different beast from the usual apparel, packing a triaxial accelerometer, a heart-rate monitor, and a breathing monitor. The days of simply clocking an NFL prospect's 20-yard sprint time are over--now coaches can see second-to-second updates on the player's internals, and even track the acceleration and deceleration of a player's individual strides.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.