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Lowest temp Olympic torch ever is made by jetmaker Bombardier

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 21st, 2010

Yes, the Olympic torch is cool, as in it looks pretty neat. But it’s also cool in regards to temperature as well. The torch of the 2010 Winter Games has been carried all over Greece and Canada since October 30, 2009 and gets to be the coolest one ever used thanks to a fuel mixture of propane and isobutane.

It was designed by design director Leo Obstbaum and built by jetmaker and high-speed train manufacturer Bombardier. In all there were 12,000 torches hand-assembled in Montréal, one for each carrier. It looks classy and futuristic, not just some stick that’s on fire.

Spying school district turned on webcams 42 times, FBI gets involved

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 21st, 2010

Remember that PA school district that was caught spying on kids at home? Well, according to the Washington Post, the school district has admitted to remotely activating those laptop webcams forty-two times over 2 years. (You have to wonder how many times they didn’t admit to.)

So now the FBI is involved and would like to determine if the school district violated any wiretapping or computer-privacy laws. Should be an easy call. Remember the school district claims that the remote activation of webcams was simply to recover stolen laptops, but the incident came to light when they tried to punish a student, using a webcam shot taken while the student was at home as evidence. The only thing stolen here was privacy.

PA school accused of spying on students at home, through laptop webcams

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 18th, 2010

Here’s a creepy tale involving a Pennsylvania school, and an abuse of technology and power. A Pennsylvania school district has been accused of spying on its students through webcams. Webcams in laptops which the school provided. Spying on them at home.

The district gave laptops to all of their students and were apparently able to activate the webcams remotely. Beware school officials bearing gifts…

Energy-recycling artificial foot

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 17th, 2010

Meanwhile in prosthetic foot news, a new prosthetic foot has been developed and detailed in a PLoS-One paper by Steven H. Collins (Department of Bio-mechanical Engineering, Delft University of Technology) and Arthur D. Kuo (Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan).

This latest artificial foot uses a micro controller to operate a device in the foot which stores energy from the down step and then releases it on the up step, thereby mimicking the natural movement of a human ankle. So it’s an authentic fake foot. Or at least as authentic as a fake foot can be.

Forget soap, wash your hands with plasma gas

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 15th, 2010

Soap has had it’s day and done it’s job admirably, but it may soon be dead. Plasma-gas filled boxes are here for all of your hand washing needs. Several laboratories are working on the technology. Turns out that bathing your hand in room-temperature plasma gas will kill even industrial grade bacteria like MRSA. It’s good for athlete’s foot too.

Hospitals are where they will show up first. Doctors and nurses could kill off bacteria, viruses, and fungi in just four seconds. Forget scrubbing. There are already some prototypes that are portable and wall-mounted, and they can cost as little as $100 to build.

Brain scan shows vegetative patient answering yes or no questions

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 4th, 2010

This raises some interesting issues regarding how we care for those in vegetative states. A new study observed the brain of an unconscious patient responding to yes and no questions just like a normal person. Well, almost. Of 54 test subjects in the New England Journal of Medicine study, one man who was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state five years earlier actually answered yes or no questions. And did so accurately.

The answers came from a brain scan conducted by an MRI machine. Answering “yes” and “no” shows activity in different parts of the brain. For instance the patient was asked if his father’s name was Thomas and the scan showed his brain answering “no.” When asked if his father’s name was Alexander, the scan showed “yes.”

At last a drill-free cavity fix

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on February 4th, 2010

That little plastic tool you see above could make the dentist’s drill a thing of the past. No more drilling into your teeth, causing pain and making you nervous. The DMG Icon delivers a small amount of hydrochloric acid directly on the cavity and burns away just the right amount of enamel to reach the area where the cavity is eating away at your tooth.

Once that’s done, the dentist uses a separate applicator to inject quick-hardening resin-type goo into the hole, and then with a short zap of high-energy blue light, it hardens so well that your tooth is as good as new. Sounds too good to be true, but if it really works that well it could make dental visits happier.

New Polarizer Film to boost contrast of LCD TVs

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 26th, 2010

Our TVs have come a long way, but they can still be pushed further. A Japanese company called Zeon is doing the pushing with a film it has developed for the polarizing plates of LCD screens, which would boost picture contrast quite a bit.

This phase difference film is created from Cyclo Olefin Polymer, which makes it suitable for LCD TVs based on in-plane-switching (IPS) technology, which is used by companies like Panasonic or Hitachi. The new film inhibits the diffusion of light from the backlight and that gives you clearer pictures. The company would like to mass produce the films this year, and are aiming at LCD TVs 40-inches or larger.

IBM and FujiFilm develop 35TB Data Tape

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 24th, 2010

If you thought the tape format was deader than a cassette tape, think again. At least two companies are still playing with magnetic tape. IBM and FujiFilm have spent the better part of three years in order to achieve a new record in areal data density on linear magnetic tape.

They have results, having successfully recorded data onto a dual-coat barium ferrite prototype magnetic tape at a density of 29.5 billion bits per square inch. That’s 39 times denser than current magnetic tapes. Neither company has announced when this will be available.

Eolic: Foldable wind-powered generator

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 20th, 2010

The Eolic is a foldable, portable wind-powered generator for the masses. The idea is that you just set it up where a breeze is, and start turning that wind into energy for your TV, Xbox 360, whatever.

It’s certainly an idea whose time has come, but to be practical, it would need to generate a large amount of energy. You would also need windy days on a regular basis. But we like it and would love to give something like this a try.

TruTouch 2000 will detect intoxication with a finger scan

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 20th, 2010

TruTouch Technologies has been hard at work on non-invasive ways to detect drunk humans. The TruTouch Guardian pictured above is one of these ways. Now they are taking it a step further with the new TruTouch 2000 device.

The TruTouch 2000 uses near infrared light to detect possible intoxication and it apparently does this by just scanning your finger. It seems impossible, but according to the company it will ‘produce accurate results in less than 15 seconds,”. The Device features a built-in biometric identification system to make sure the test results are authentic.

DisplayPort 1.2 gets official with multi-streaming, USB

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 19th, 2010

The VESA group has released the latest DisplayPort version 1.2 which delivers 21.6Gbps of data rate, making it ideal for handling 3D, color depths higher than 24-bit and faster frame rates. It can also handle multi-streaming. A single cable is capable of outputing two 2560×1600 displays at full frame rate, four 1920×1200 screens, or a single screen with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,400 pixels.

The data channel that was introduced with DisplayPort now hits 720Mbps with DisplayPort 1.2, enabling it to run at full speed via the display cable and gives it Dolby or DTS audio as well as headroom for webcams, 100Mbps Ethernet and other technology that would normally require a separate cable.

Solar Powered Audio Bibles shipped to Haiti

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on January 19th, 2010

Everyone is trying to do their part when it comes to helping those in Haiti. The Faith Comes By Hearing group are doing something as well, but they aren’t sending food, blankets or water. They are sending 600 audible Bibles.

Each of the Bibles can broadcast scriptures in Haitian Creole to an audience of up to 300 people. Aside from those 600 Bibles, they’re also raising money to send 3,000 more solar-powered audio Bibles to Haiti.

Netflix Coming to the Nintendo Wii Console

Posted in Netflix,News by Darrin Olson on January 13th, 2010

Netflix coming to the Nintendo Wii Game cosoleNetflix have now officially announced an agreement with Nintendo of America to stream it’s video content to the Nintendo Wii game console. We had heard it was coming way back in October and now Netflix has rounded out its coverage with the big three game consoles including Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PS3.

The new deal allows Wii console owners who are also Netflix subscribers and have a broadband internet connection to select movies from a catalog of choices and stream them to their television instantly. The service will be offered at no additional cost to subscribers to the DVD by mail service with Netflix with at least an $8.99/month plan.

Android Phone Fights Back at Thieves

Posted in News by Darrin Olson on January 10th, 2010

A mobile phone running Google’s Android software along with a third party security app was recently stolen in Oregon and was able to fight back against it’s captors, getting itself home again. The Motorola Droid was stolen out of a couples home late at night along with a number of other electronic items and things of values.

Shortly after stealing the device the thieves snapped a few photos of themselves with the on-board camera which, unknown to them, were then uploaded to a server as part of a backup process that runs each night. The owners were then able to download the photos from the servers website and turn them over to police which eventually led to the capture of at least one of the robbers.

The backup/security application was a free download for the Android phone called …