Sunglasses are meant to block out bright sources of light, but how many actually do so. That is, how many actively seek out sources of glare and block them out? Sure, there are those tint-shifting lenses that transition from sunglasses to clear lenses when the wearer moves from brighter to darker environments, but upstart company Dynamic Eye wants to up the ante by creating glasses that actually seek out the source of glare and darken the lens only where necessary.
It seems not everyone is content to let the legacy of the space shuttle fly away over yonder horizon. Orbital Sciences Corp. has thrown its hat into NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program with a winged space plane concept very reminiscent of the Shuttle’s design intended to ferry crews to and from the ISS.
Researchers have long suspected Saturn’s moon Titan might be hiding a volcanic surface beneath its dense atmosphere, and a new discovery by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has given them reason to believe they are right. Dubbed Sotra Facula, the feature captured by Cassini’s imaging instruments could be the largest in a string of ice and methane-belching volcanoes that may or may not still be active.
Cramming surround sound into an LCD TV is tricky. TV makers have tried but, to protect the screen, have ended up with bulky, subwoofer-less sets. Bass causes shaking that can blur images and damage pixels over time, and more speakers generally means broader frames. Now Bose has designed a 16-speaker setup for its HDTV that disperses audio from what looks like no more than a 46- inch LCD. Here’s how a subwoofer and room-filling virtual surround sound disappear into a case only a couple of inches thicker than other LCD TVs.
It's an act of waste that people the world over engage in every day just by switching on their mobile devices: boot up a mobile phone, netbook, or other mobile device and it begins searching in every direction for a communications node. Then, once it finds one and connects through that transmitter, the device continues to broadcast in every direction anyhow.
If devices could broadcast in a specific direction, Rice University researchers say, they could cut power consumption by more than half. So they created a beamsteering scheme that can do exactly that.
Like all A/V gear, dirt-cheap Blu-ray players can suffer from flaws caused by poor construction and cheap components. Once you’ve moved up from sub-$100 models to name-brand equipment, though, picture-quality differences are subtle.
One of our favorite dancing robots, Aldebaran Robotics’ Nao, is getting a big brother designed to act as a personal assistant. “Romeo,” a 4.5-foot-tall humanoid robot with a mildly amused expression, will be officially unveiled in March.
Therapist Brenda Bryan asks everyone in her anger-management group to teleport to a volcano. She explains that the volcano is a reminder that emotional eruptions have fallout. Bryan isn't your typical therapist. She's a virtual-world therapist practicing at Preferred Family Healthcare Center in Kirksville, Missouri. So-called avatar therapy transplants standard counseling into virtual settings, in this case, private scenes custom-built using code from Second Life, the online multiplayer game.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, now in its 33rd year on the job, has reached the very edge of our solar system and is nearing the cusp of interstellar space. How does NASA know? The wind has died down. Voyager 1 has reached a point in the heliosheath that envelopes our solar system in which the speed of the solar wind that has been at Voyager’s back for three decades has dropped to zero.
The burgeoning problem of space debris and the threat it presents to satellites, manned space mission, and occasionally the International Space Station is no secret to those following the headlines coming out of low Earth orbit. But though the threat is real, the problem receives little public visibility.