Posts Tagged ‘nears’

It Nears: 1,000 Little Swarmbots Learn To Work Together To Form Shapes

kilobots-swarm-bots-1.jpg Jerks at Harvard have created 1,024 little robots that can work together to form shapes. For reference, that makes them infinitely less dysfunctional than my own department at work. We can barely hold a meeting without people trying to kill each other.

Each of the identical robots is given a picture of the required shape, and then they work together to make it happen. It takes up to 12 hours, but then this is the biggest throng of robots ever built and studied in this way. Inspired by biological examples, like cells forming organs or ants building bridges, the work could help develop self-assembling tools and structures. “Each robot is identical and we give them all the exact same program,” explained Dr Michael Rubenstein, the first author of the study, which is published in Science. “The only thing they have to go on, to make decisions, is what their neighbours are doing.”

Impressive work. If the only information I had to go on to make decisions was what my neighbor was doing it would be, “Alternate between watching daytime TV and masturbating.” What he needs to do is get a job and buy some blinds. Keep going for a couple more shots and a video of the little bastards in action.

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Amazon nears 100 warehouses as it amps up shipping efforts

Amazon has spent nearly $ 13.9 billion in a huge three-year push to expand its warehouse facilities, Bloomberg reports. According to data compiled from the last several years, the company has built 50 new facilities since 2010 for a total of 89, with five more announced for this year. It’s also cut down dramatically on construction time, building and staffing a warehouse in eight to twelve months rather than the two years it took before the spending boost. And Amazon iterates quickly on each design, says worldwide operations and customer service vice president Dave Clark. “Every time we open a building, we take the lessons learned, we redo the design and open the next year’s.” New warehouses can pack around twice as much inventory as…

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The End Nears: Human-To-Human Mind Control Success


This is a video from the University of Washington documenting a successful human-to-human mind control experiment. It went like this: Rajesh Rao sat in one lab playing a mind-controlled video game using a special headset. Meanwhile, in another lab, Andrea Stocco was wearing a ‘transcranial magnetic stimulation coil’ (yes, seriously) that could send the same messages Rao’s headset picked up to Stocco’s brain. This is all going to end very badly.

As Rao began playing his video game, periodically the need to fire a cannon would arise. To fire this canon, Rao would need to use his right hand to press the spacebar on his keyboard. Instead of doing so, Rao simply thought about moving his right hand. This sent a clear mental signal across campus to Stocco who, as if being controlled by strings, dutifully moved his finger to the spacebar and pressed down.

Well, there you have it — if the government can get us all outfitted with cranial magnetic stimulation coils this game is OVER. Or have they already? Jesus — how do I even know I’m the one typing this right now? “Because you still have one hand on your penis?” TRUE. That does seem like a very me thing to do.

Hit the jump for a video of the experiment, but you might want to make a tinfoil helmet first.

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Android Nears 80% Market Share In Global Smartphone Shipments, As iOS And BlackBerry Share Slides, Per IDC


Android smartphone shipments grew a whopping 73.5 percent between the second quarter of 2012 and Q2 2013, according to research firm IDC’s latest numbers. 187.4 million Android-powered phones shipped in the most recent quarter, representing 79.3 percent of all smartphones shipped during the quarter. The next closest smartphone platform was iOS, which shipped just 31.2 million units, accounting for 13.2 percent of overall share.

Apple’s mobile OS still blew away its next closest competitor (and still grew 20 percent in terms of device shipments year over year), Windows Phone, which saw 8.7 million handsets shipped for 3.7 percent share of the global market. But Windows Phone also experienced growth at roughly the same rate, with shipments overall climbing 77.6 percent year over year. BlackBerry, predictably, hurt the worst of the major players, dropping from 4.9 percent overall share to just 2.9 percent, and shipping 11.7 percent fewer devices than during the same time last year.

What’s causing the big Android bump IDC says the Samsung Galaxy S4 was a strong driver, but LG, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE also had really good quarters with shipments in the double digits. The Android platform represented a win for almost everyone playing in that sandbox, however, as even small manufacturers saw success targeting small, niche markets in developing countries with affordable smartphones.

Windows Phone owes almost all of its growth to Nokia, which accounted for 81.6 percent of all smartphones shipped based on Microsoft’s mobile platform during the quarter. BlackBerry hit a new all-time low, in terms of IDC’s history of tracking market share. IDC says not to count them out because of BB10 progress, but it’s no secret that things are looking grim for the Canadian smartphone pioneer.

The big takeaway here is pretty clear, in terms of the top two players: Android is on fire because of choice, availability and price point in emerging markets focused on shifting to smartphones from feature phones on limited budgets. That means it’s even more crucial to watch what Apple debuts this fall in terms of a low-cost iPhone device, which is rumored to be based around the iPhone 5 and sport a plastic back that’s cheaper to produce.

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As The Lockitron Nears Shipping, Apigy Partners With Schlage And Details Building Gadgets On IOUs


Almost nine months after its crowdfunding success, the Lockitron is scheduled to ship on July 15th. As I learned through a chat with Apigy’s founder, it’s been a long road to this point as the young company overcame several obstacles including building $ 2.3 million in pre-orders without collecting any of the cash pledged by backers.

The company today announced a partnership with Schlage on a series of deadbolts specifically made for the Lockitron. Apigy’s co-founder Cameron Robertson explained to TechCrunch that this is in response to backer’s concerns that the Lockitron will not work with the lock on their door.

Apigy had several options to address this concern, which was especially prevalent in Europe where lock design very different from in the States. Cameron explained that they could have gone with an inexpensive deadbolt, allowing them to offer it for less. Instead Apigy partnered with Schlage, a very well-known and respected Ingersoll Rand lock brand.

This deadbolt features a design that’s better suited for use in home automation tasks. The end is tapered, allowing the deadbolt to more reliably lock — a pretty important consideration since the Lockitron is designed to be used remotely.

Backers will have the option of adding this deadbolt replacement to their Lockitron order for $ 30.

In a chat earlier this week Robertson detailed to me the pains his company has experienced since announcing this version of the Lockitron.

The company had a rough time from the start, getting rejected from Kickstarter that forced them to crowdsource their production funds themselves. This method allowed the company to treat their backers with a bit more respect. Instead of collecting cash after the crowdfunding campaign concluded, like Kickstarter, Apigy stated they wouldn’t force backers to pay until the Lockitron ships.

The crowdfunding campaign was a huge success. The company surpassed its $ 150,000 goal within 24 hours, and over the next five days collected $ 1.5 million in Lockitron pledges. And since they promised to not collect any money until shipping, this huge chunk of potential cash caused a bit of an issue.

To resolve it, Apigy turned to angel investors to get the capital needed to build and ship these devices. They essentially built their device on credit instead of a pot of Kickstarter money.

The company won’t reveal any specific order numbers, but they have been taking reservations since concluding their crowdfunding campaign last October. As of today, Lockitron.com lists 14,704 reservations totaling $ 2,278,891.

The first batch will ship to backers on July 15. Reservations are still open, so anyone can still get one for $ 179.

Apigy got a lot of things right with the Lockitron. This was their second go at a remote locking device. The company graduated from Y Combinator’s summer 2009 class with a device that promised similar remote access but at twice the price. They went back to the drawing board.

This generation of the Lockitron is much more sophisticated and available for under $ 200. Best of all, it works on most deadbolts — and if it doesn’t work on yours, Apigy now has the aforementioned replacement.

Apigy has a winner with the Lockitron. Cameron demoed the unit at our CES booth last January and it works as advertised. Excuse the pun, but it’s a clever, turn-key solution that brings simple home automation to the masses.

The company shouldn’t have a problem finding buyers for the Lockitron. But who is going to buy Apigy? That was my question to founder Cameron Robertson. The company, with its rockstar founders and products, is ripe for acquisition.

He laughed but then paused.

“We’re not for sale,” he stated frankly. Apigy has big plans for the Lockitron, explaining that they built its platform to continually evolve. They want to see it through.

So, essentially, Apigy is not for sale yet.

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The End Nears: A Mind-Controlled Quadrocopter


This is a video of a mind-controlled quadcopter being piloted through a balloon obstacle course. Impressive, but I’d like to see somebody try to fly it by me while I’m swinging a broom handle.

University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He has been working on a brain-computer interface that allows people to steer robots with their thoughts. In the video above, young students manipulate a flying machine right, left, up, and down using only their minds (e.g. think about making a fist with your right hand to make it turn right).

I’m just going to say it: anybody who had the opportunity to fly that thing and didn’t think ‘crash and burn’ is an enemy to humanity. Strong words, I know, but I have strong feelings. Imagine the first time you fell in love. My feelings are like that, but not misplaced on some girl who’s gonna leave you for your best friend and have like thirty kids with him. I’m projecting.

Hit the jump for the video while I make myself a drink.

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CyanogenMod 10.1 hits Release Candidate, nears a ‘stable’ future

If you’re a fan of CyanogenMod, there’s a good chance that flashing nightly builds of the 10.1 release is now damn near second nature. Fortunately, a more stable future is in store for you and your phone, as CyanogenMod has revealed that a final release is close at hand. As a buildup to that point, you’ll find that Release Candidate builds are now available for installation. For the uninitiated, CyanogenMod 10.1 is based on Android 4.2.2, and along with many additional features, it serves as a great way to upgrade your device in the case that its manufacturer has given up. Hit the break for the complete list of devices to receive the Release Candidate treatment.

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Source: CyanogenMod

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It Nears: Colleges Offering Courses In Unmanned Drones


Really? Because I could have sworn all my professors were teaching droning. Get it?! Because they just rambled on monotonously all the time! “Well obviously they weren’t teaching comedy.” GOOD ONE. How’s that dickbaggery major working out for you?

The pilotless aircraft industry is expected to create more than 23,000 U.S. jobs over the next 15 years, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. A spokesperson for the group told The Daily that 150 colleges are now offering courses.

Jeb Bailey, 28, told The Daily he has taken every drone-related course at Northwestern Michigan College. It’s no wonder why, when drone pilots can make $ 50,000 to $ 120,000 per year, according to Tom Kenville, founder of Unmanned Applications Institute International. Bailey said the idea of flying unmanned drones for a year in Afghanistan to pay off student loan debt sounded pretty attractive.

Flying unmanned drones for a year in Afghanistan to pay off your student loans sounded pretty attractive to you, did it, Jeb? Let me tell you what sounds attractive to me: a naked lady with big ol’ milky-white titties lounging on my couch like she just stepped out of some fancy old oil painting. Yeah, and she’s got a Butterfinger ice cream bar in her hand and she’s mouthing something to me. You know what she’s saying, Jeb? She’s saying, “I’m full, you can have the rest.” Now that’s f***ing attractive. I still haven’t paid off my student loans.

Thanks to Rusty Trombo– REALLY? Come on, this is a family restaurant!

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IT NEARS: Robot Wielding Knife Cuts A Cucumber


Seen right here looking not sure which one to stick up up your butt and which one to stab you with, CIROS the robotic prepares a salad. Later in the video he really cuts the cucumber, which, if you pretend its a peen like I did, is pretty frightening.

Hit the jump for the video.

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Microsoft, Boingo offer free Wi-Fi in NYC and San Francisco as Windows 8 launch nears

Wi-Fi logo (STOCK)

If you’re looking to generate positive buzz around a major new product, giving consumers free Wi-Fi typically goes a long way towards achieving that goal. So it should come as no surprise that, as part of its Windows 8 launch media blitz, Microsoft has paired up with Boingo to deliver complimentary wireless networking in New York City and San Francisco. Beginning now and lasting through the end of 2012, the free Wi-Fi is available at six subway stations in New York and across several popular regions of San Francisco.

That network will grow substantially larger starting November 1st when Boingo opens up access to over 200 Wi-Fi “hotzones” in the NYC area. Unlike a similar promotion from Google earlier this year, you’ll be able to hop…

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