Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

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Sociable robots – a sign of the times?

February 22, 2009

Remember K9? or perhaps Metal Mickey? The days of robots playing alongside characters on tv? Well scientists are now taking their science and technology even further in this respect, with the development of robot nurseries. Yep, that’s what I said robot nurseries, you know that place where you take your children before they start school.  Scientists are now endeavouring to teach robots to interact with human beings in the same way that children mimic their parents and are trying to develop personality traits, working on “nature v nurture.”

Huh?  how can you relate either of those 2 concepts to a robot, something that has been created, something that doesn’t live, that isn’t real but is in fact a machine.  Nurturing a machine?!!  

When you think about it like that it sounds rather mad, doesn’t it? Yet at the same time it’s rather cool don’t you think – people teaching robots to be more like people, their creators?  Hmm, an interesting twist to the story of creation but when all’s said & done, not completely unlike God creating man in his image.

And then there’s BERTI – a robot that can play rock paper scissors?  Wow, that just blows way off the cool scale!

To look at some of these robots in action, check out the article on the New Scientist website, pretty fascinating stuff!

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music innovation

October 2, 2008

A music player that reads your mind!!! :O
Is this a case of big brother?

Surely it’s a story taken straight out of a sci-fi novel, isnt it?
Nope! Apparently you may soon be able to purchase the product you always wanted, only you didnt know you wanted it. A music player that takes the decision out of choosing!

You will no longer have to actually choose what song you want to listen to, the music player will decide for you! Well no, it will read your mind and then decide for you.

So it’s not quite as bad as machines running your life, is it?
After all, it’s what you want to listen to anyway, only you dont know it!

Hmm …. 😉

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Memory aid

September 22, 2008

Does it annoy you when you see someone you know and they cant remember your name, or worse still they dont even recognise you?!

Or perhaps you’re the person who forgets the name. You know that you should know the person waving at your frantically from across the street, but you cant for the life of you place them?

Well never fear, help is at hand, or rather it will be soon. A Professor at Southampton University believes that technology will soon be able to provide the solution and that it will deliver something that helps you to remember the person you’re talking to.

Better still is the invention by Engineer Lyndsay Williams. The SensCam is a digital camera like device hung around your neck which takes pictures every 30 seconds or when it detects a change in light or heat. The idea behind this being that it will help you to remember all those things you’ve forgotten during the day. It’s also hoped that this could be useful for patients of Alzheimers, as a memory aid. And anything which helps makes life easier for sufferers of this disease is surely a welcome discovery?

Taking it a step further, but in a completely different direction, the BBC website reports that one family are using the SensCam to record everything their child says in his first 3 years! Wow, that’s gonna be a lot of recording, but what an amazing device. Just think of the memories they will be able to hold on to – although their son might not welcome them in 18 years time!

But seriously, the usefulness of such a device really is limitless and opens up so many opportunties.

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the end of the lowly book?

September 17, 2008

I’ve been reading this week about how electronic devices are taking over from paper.

Ok, I’m all for new technology and making advances to improve things, but is getting rid of paper really an improvement?  Can you honestly say that you get a thrill out of picking up your electronic reader, and scrolling down a screen to read that latest best seller?  Isnt it far more satisfying to get a book and to read it through from cover to cover?  The excitement building as you work your way through the pages, looking to see how many chapters you’ve got left before you reach those cliffhanging final pages?

Dont get me wrong, electronic devices and readers have their place, but should they replace the good old fashioned book?  I think not.

So no, I’m sorry, (well no I’m not sorry actually) I just prefer books.  I dont even mind paying that bit more for one.  It looks good & it feels good.  Books are what reading is all about, arent they?

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smaller means better?

September 10, 2008

Apple have just announced that their iPod nanos are going to be even smaller! Er, well correct me if I’m wrong, but arent they already fairly small? Isnt the clue in the name, I mean “nano”, that’s the idea isnt it?

Ok, so Apple in their wisdom have decided that the Nano needs to be smaller, that if they make it that bit thinner, then sales will go through the roof. Far be it for me to disagree with them, after all Apple are renowned for knowing that they’re talking about, they have had one or two small successess in the past 😉 but I’m really not convinced that this will change people’s buying habits.

So let me ask you, are you going to throw away your Nano, rush out and buy the new improved one?

I very much doubt it! Granted you might be tempted to upgrade from a Nano to a standard iPod, or from the iPod to the iTouch, but just to upgrade to a slimmer version? Hmm, I’m not so sure.

Time will tell if I’m talking rubbish or whether Apple were spot on in their research findings that us users, in these times of economic crisis, will rush to the shops just for a new improved nano.

The strength of their marketing machine might make all the difference here, and at the end of the day that is what marketing does, doesnt it? It sees what the market needs and gives it to them, even if it’s something that the market doesnt realise it needs. So perhaps we will all realise that big isnt beautiful and small is best! 🙂

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Revolving skyscraper!

June 25, 2008

Revolving skyscraper in Dubai - BBC imageWow!

This looks amazing, quite the eye catcher, particular those simulated views at night.

80 floors of building that rotates, moves, and changes shape? It’s even going to be a self-sufficient building with its own turbines to generate energy.

I say it again, wow!
Yes, this is going to be an amazing feat of architecture and engineering and an incredible sight to see.

But what’s the point?

Can you imagine living there? Going home after a late night out & wondering “what does my house look like tonight?”

And do we really need it?
Surely there are better things we should be investing such huge amounts of time, skill & energy into? And as for the costs involved in such an ambitious projects, $700m to build it! :O Is that really justifiable for what will, in reality, just be a building, albeit a unique and impressive one?

Have we not lost sight of what’s really important somewhere along the line?
Hmm ?

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