My latest article at TheFeature.com is about UltraSwarms, flocks of flying Bluetooth robots:
A typical flock of 2,000 starlings contains as much brain tissue as a single human being. Of course, you can't link together bird brains. Not real birds, anyway. But a small group of roboticists at the University of Essex are designing a system to wirelessly network a swarm of tiny, Bluetooth-enabled unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) into a cluster of flying computers acting as one processor more powerful than the sum of its bots.
Someday, flocks of shoebox-sized UAVs called UltraSwarms could act as a distributed eye in the sky, monitoring highway traffic, aiding in crowd control or even entertainment at massive sports arenas or, of course, embarking on military surveillance missions. Much of the data they gather -- video from onboard cameras, for example -- will be dealt with in the sky, delivering only "news you can use" to a central command. For any of these applications to fly though, the researchers must weave together two threads in computer science research: cluster computing and swarm intelligence.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]