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.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
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How do Google and YouTube really work? It turns out, Python kind of runs things around those parts. And with this bootcamp, you’ll get whipped into shape and ready to start programming yourself. Whether you’re a Python pro and just want to sharpen your skills, or a total tech newbie with little or no coding […]
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