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.
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 In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete.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 […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]