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.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
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