Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

Scientists Turn To Seahorses For Nearly Unbreakable Limbs

Posted by kenmay on July - 7 - 2015

 Researchers at Clemson University have created a new sort of robotic design based on the long, curled tail of the seahorse. The seahorse is unique because it consists of “square prisms surrounded by bony plates that are connected by joints.” Other animal tails are cylindrical and therefore easily crushed. The researchers write: Researchers found that the square prototype was… Read More

As computer games go, Tetris is one of the most mesmeric. Now, a team of researchers has found that the visual processing required to play the game can help sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder overcome flashbacks—even after the memory of an event is lodged within their brain. Read more…

How to Configure Windows 10 to Protect Your Privacy

Posted by kenmay on July - 7 - 2015

When you first get a new Windows computer (or set up an old one), you might be focused on downloading your favorite apps and transferring your files. This is also a good time to configure your machine to protect your privacy. Read more…

Army researchers at the Redstone Arsenal have announced a significant breakthrough in solar energy production. They’ve created a photovoltaic solar panel that is smaller, more robust and less expensive to build and operate than any other panel currently available. Virtually every solar panel currently in existence relies on a pure silicon construction, however the band gap (the wavelength of light that it can actually be absorbed and converted into electricity) of single crystal silicon is exceedingly narrow compared to the full spectrum shining down from the Sun. Not only does this mean that conventional panels are missing out on potential power, the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths actively damage the panels by causing them to heat, warp and crack. The Army’s panel, on the other hand, sandwiches super thin layers of metals like silver and gold between the semiconductor layers. With these added layers, the panels offer a wider band gap for energy generation and can be tuned to reflect the harmful rays as well. What’s more, the Army’s panels generate the same amount of energy regardless of the angle that sunlight is hitting it. That means they don’t have to be affixed to expensive and motorized Sun-tracking stands. The technology is still in its very early stages, explained Wayne Davenport, Optical Sciences Function Chief of the Weapons Development and Integration Directorate, in a statement. “As with many basic research projects, the near-term benefits are sometimes yet undefined but are clearly worth the investment, ” Davenport continued. “The Army’s research laboratories at AMRDEC continue a legacy of high quality research projects and I expect to see many more of these type projects transition to the Warfighter in the future.” [Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images] Filed under: Science Comments Source: US Army

RideWith, seen here looking very, very Waze-y. 5 more images in gallery Waze, the traffic-mapping app that Google acquired in 2013 for upwards of $1 billion, launched its first spin-off app on Monday. The new app, RideWith, sees Waze and Google entering the carpooling business. The app is now live in the Google Play store  for Android devices, but it currently only works in Waze’s home country of Israel (and you’ll need to turn Google Translate on if you visit the official site and don’t read Hebrew). An announcement at Waze’s official blog described the app as a “carpool pilot,” and it clarified that hopeful passengers will need to download and load the new app while drivers could opt into the program directly through the Waze app. With the RideWith app, riders can enter their commute info, then wait for an alert when a route-friendly driver has been found. Users can suss out drivers by way of profiles, prior riders’ reviews, and even through a chat option. The announcement explained that the app creates a price quote, based on distance and wear-and-tear values, when someone seeks a ride (which they can edit with their own “maximum” value). Potential drivers can then decide whether or not they want to accept that payment and take the passenger in question. The app handles payment with an apparent “nominal Waze commission” added to the price. The announcement didn’t clarify an amount, and a Google spokesperson declined to answer our question about the exact figure. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

jfruh writes: Japan may have just lost the Women’s World Cup to the U.S., but the country is hoping for a comeback in another competition: a battle between giant robots. Suidobashi Heavy Industry has agreed to a challenge from Boston-based MegaBots that would involve titanic armored robots developed by each startup, the first of its kind involving piloted machines that are roughly 4 meters tall. “We can’t let another country win this, ” Kogoro Kurata, who is CEO of Suidobashi, said in a video posted to YouTube. “Giant robots are Japanese culture.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Some might see downloading this free font called Seen as the digital equivalent of donning a tin foil hat. Except that we know that security agencies like the NSA are intercepting emails and other communications , scanning for specific trigger words that this font automatically crosses out. Read more…

What happens if you put a 4, 000 watt motor—nearly five horsepower—on a bicycle built of strong, lightweight materials? I’ll tell you: pure craziness, heart-filling joy, and power pedaling at high speeds you could only dream of before. Read more…

By now, the entire internet’s realized that Deep Dream, Google’s artificial neural network, is capable of some pretty trippy images . But what happens when you run a movie about acid trips through the acid trip generator ? Fear and Loathing in your worst nightmares, that’s what. Read more…

Larry Offers Personalized Legal Help via Text Message

Posted by kenmay on July - 6 - 2015

Larry is a service from the folks at Lawtrades that’s designed to give you near-instantaneous legal help whenever you might need it. All you have to do is send Larry a text message (once you’ve signed up, of course), and you’ll get a personalized response, specific to your situation and where you are. Read more…