Legislation just signed by President Obama directs the Federal Aviation Administration to open the skies to remotely controlled drones within the next three years. It will begin in 90 days with police and first responders having authority to fly smaller drones of less than 4.4 pounds at altitudes under 400 feet. Gradually, all drones are to be allowed by Sept. 30, 2015.
In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.
I turn to that, Beatrix approves, and we watch. Then, a few minutes later, a commercial comes on. The volume difference is jarring to say the least. I would safely guess it is fifty percent louder than the show. I hurriedly reach for the remote and turn it down…
“Why did you turn the movie off, Daddy?”, Beatrix worriedly asks, as if she has done something wrong and is being punished by having her entertainment interrupted. She thinks that’s what I was doing by rushing for the remote.
“I didn’t turn it off, honey. This is just a commercial. I was turning the volume down because it was so loud. Shrek will come back on in a few minutes” I say.
“Did it break?”, she asks. It does sometimes happen at home that Flash or Silverlight implode, interrupt her show, and I have to fix it.
“No. It’s just a commercial.”
“What’s a commercial?”, she asks.
”It is like little shows where they tell you about other shows and toys and snacks.”, I explain.
“Well the TV people think you might like to know about this stuff.”
“This is boring! I want to watch Shrek.”
A new effort under way at the world’s largest museum and research institution could eventually mean more of its 137 million objects will be publicly available, even if just via 3D digital models.
And yet more from the wearable display front…the way that modern gadget production works seems to be very much a sort of punctuated equilibrium. There are ideas, then a breakthrough in sensor production and pricing causes an explosion of forms, which then settle down into a few winners (see: eReaders in 2010, Tablets in 2011, etc). I am very curious where this particular explosion is going to take us.
Autodesk provides a free 3D modeling tool, complete with straightforward export options for most 3D printers and lasercutters. Windows only for now, although an OS X version appears to be on the way.
In a small clean room tucked into the back of San Diego–based startup Organovo, Chirag Khatiwala is building a thin layer of human skeletal muscle. He inserts a cartridge of specially prepared muscle cells into a 3-D printer, which then deposits them in uniform, closely spaced lines in a petri dish. This arrangement allows the cells to grow and interact until they form working muscle tissue that is nearly indistinguishable from something removed from a human subject.
But these little flying video and audio recorders, paired with powerful data analysis tools, make previously unthinkable levels of surveillance possible, even easy. Before the Internet, tracking someones reading and shopping activities would have been nearly impossible without a private detective.
We’re inching one step closer to Rainbows End every day. I’ll admit, even though I’m a certified Apple guy, I’d buy these in a hot minute.
People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.
According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year.