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May 10, 2006, 11:17 PM CT

Artificial Vision Technology

Artificial Vision Technology
Becoming Europe's leading designer of powerful chips for artificial vision systems sits squarely in the sights of young Spanish high-growth company, AnaFocus.

AnaFocus specialises in the design of innovative and high-performance vision systems-on-a-chip and mixed-signal (analogue and digital) integrated circuits. The company's vision systems-on-a-chip technology, called Eye-RIS, was inspired by the workings of the human eye.

It is a compact, high-speed, artificial vision system, highly sought after by the automotive security, consumer robotics and surveillance industries. Their mixed-signal product range includes analogue-to-digital converters, digital-to-analogue converters and compressor-decompressors (CODECs) for high quality audio and speech applications.

Describing the use of Eye-RIS in surveillance cameras, Rafael Romay, AnaFocus' Business Development Director, says "If you put the chip in a camera, the person watching the monitor doesn't have to pay attention."

"The chip can be programmed to pick out salient details," continues Romay. "For example, it could detect each person wearing a red coat who passed in front of the camera lens in the past 24 hours. Such a camera could cost as little as $50".

AnaFocus is a spin-off company from Seville's Institute of Microelectronics in Spain, which was founded in 2001. Romay was the company's first recruit. Today, the company employs over 25 highly qualified electronic and electrical engineers.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


May 10, 2006, 10:53 PM CT

New Milky Way Companions Found

New Milky Way Companions Found

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II) announced recently (May 8) the discoveries of two new, very faint companion galaxies to the Milky Way.

The first was found in the direction of the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dog) by SDSS-II researcher Daniel Zucker at Cambridge University (UK). His colleague Vasily Belokurov discovered the second in the constellation Bootes (the Herdsman).

"I was poring over the survey's map of distant stars in the Northern Galactic sky - what we call a Field of Streams -- and noticed an overdensity in Canes Venatici," Zucker explained. "Looking further, it proved to be a previously unknown dwarf galaxy. It's about 640,000 light years (200 kiloparsecs) from the Sun. This makes it one of the most remote of the Milky Way's companion galaxies".

Zucker emailed Belokurov with the news, and, just as discoveries often build upon one another, Belokurov excitedly emailed back a few hours later with the discovery of a new, even fainter dwarf galaxy. The new galaxy in Bootes, which Belokurov called 'Boo,' shows a distorted structure that suggests it is being disrupted by the Milky Way's gravitational tides. "Something really bashed Boo about," said Belokurov.

Eventhough the dwarf galaxies are in our own cosmic backyard, they are hard to discover because they are so dim. In fact, the new galaxy in Bootes is the faintest galaxy so far discovered, with a total luminosity of only about 100,000 Suns. But because of its distance (640,000 light years) it appears almost invisible to most telescopes. The prior dimness record holder was discovered last year in Ursa Major using SDSS-II data.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


May 9, 2006, 11:47 PM CT

Venus Express Has Reached Final Orbit

Venus Express Has Reached Final Orbit

Less than one month after insertion into orbit, and after sixteen loops around the planet Venus, ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has reached its final operational orbit on 7 May 2006.

Already at 21:49 CEST on 6th May, when the spacecraft communicated to Earth through ESA's ground station at New Norcia (Australia), the Venus Express ground control team at ESA's European Spacecraft Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt (Germany) received advanced confirmation that final orbit was to be successfully achieved about 18 hours later.

Launched on 9 November 2005, Venus Express arrived to destination on 11 April 2006, after a five-month interplanetary journey to the inner solar system. The initial orbit - or 'capture orbit' - was an ellipse ranging from 330 000 kilometres at its furthest point from Venus surface (apocentre) to less than 400 kilometres at its closest (pericentre).

As of the 9-day capture orbit, Venus Express had to perform a series of further manoeuvres to gradually reduce the apocentre and the pericentre altitudes over the planet. This was achieved by means of the spacecraft main engine - which had to be fired twice during this period (on 20 and 23 April 2006) - and through the banks of Venus Express' thrusters - ignited five times (on 15, 26 and 30 April, 3 and 6 May 2006).........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


May 9, 2006, 11:13 PM CT

Fuel Cell Powered by Water and Aluminum

Fuel Cell Powered by Water and Aluminum
Fuel cells are the entire buzz now-a-days, but Hitachi Maxell has pushed this cost efficient source of energy onto a new track with the introduction of a fuel cell battery that generates electricity with the help of water and aluminum in stead of just utilizing the external hydrogen and oxygen.

The 16×10x6 cm cost-effective device churns out a cool 10 watts of power, which will soon be pepped up to 100 watts, as per Hitachi Maxell. The fuel cell utilized recycled aluminum scrap that automatically generates hydrogen when reacted with water. Amazingly, 20 grams (0.7 ounce) of aluminum can power your laptop for 4 to 5 hours.........

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May 8, 2006, 11:23 PM CT

Nanotube For Better Composite Materials

Nanotube For Better Composite Materials
By stacking layers of ceramic cloth with interlocking nanotubes in between, a team of scientists has created new composites with significantly improved properties compared to traditional materials. The "nanotube sandwiches," which are described in the May 7 online edition of the journal Nature Materials, could find use in a wide array of structural applications.

"Nanotubes are a very versatile material with absolutely fascinating physical properties, all the way from ballistic conduction to really interesting mechanical behavior," says Pulickel Ajayan, the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer and a lead author of the paper, along with colleagues at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Some fundamental issues, however, have kept scientists from realizing the full potential of nanotubes, especially when combining them with other materials to make composites. The interface between the materials is not as strong as one might expect, Ajayan notes, because it is difficult to disperse nanotubes and to align them in an orderly way.

Ajayan and colleagues have pioneered a process to help overcome these difficulties, and they are putting it to use in a wide variety of applications. For the current project, the scientists are applying the process to a new area: reinforced composite fabrics made from woven ceramic fibers. These materials have been used for decades in structural applications, but they tend to perform poorly in terms of "through-thickness," or the ability of a material to respond to forces applied perpendicular to the fabric-stacking direction, as per Ajayan.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


May 7, 2006, 11:12 PM CT

Huge Impacts From Tiny Tech

Huge Impacts From Tiny Tech Image courtesy of http://www.abb.com/
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) today announced the continuation of its first series of original essays in which industry experts predict profound impacts of nanotechnology on society. Eleven new articles by members of CRN's Global Task Force appear in the latest issue of the journal Nanotechnology Perceptions, published recently, complementing the previous issue's collection. Covering topics from commerce to criminology, from ethics to economics, and from our remote past to our distant future, this new collection illustrates the profound transformation that nanotechnology will have on every aspect of human society.

Ray Kurzweil, renowned inventor, entrepreneur, and best-selling author, explained, "As the pace of technological advancement rapidly accelerates, it becomes increasingly important to promote knowledgeable and insightful discussion of both promise and peril. I'm very pleased to take part in this effort by including my own essay, and by hosting discussion of these essays on the 'MindX' discussion board at KurzweilAI.net".

Nanotechnology Perceptions is a peer-reviewed academic journal of the Collegium Basilea in Basel, Switzerland. "We jumped at the chance to publish the CRN Task Force essays," said Jeremy Ramsden, editor-in-chief of the journal. "To us, these articles represent world-class thinking about some of the most important challenges that human society will ever face".........

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May 7, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Hidden value in 'junk DNA'

Hidden value in 'junk DNA'
IBM scientists have discovered that parts of the human genome once thought functionally obsolete may be important after all.

As published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, regions of the human genome that were assumed to contain mostly evolutionary leftovers (called "junk DNA") may actually hold significant clues that can add to understanding of cellular processes. IBM scientists have discovered that these regions contain numerous, short DNA "motifs," or repeating sequence fragments, which also are present in the parts of the genome that give rise to proteins.

Eventhough it must be verified by experiments, the discovery suggests a correlation between the coding and non-coding parts of the human genome that could have an impact on genomic research and provide insights on the workings of cells.

"Our goal is to apply advanced computational techniques to analyze the workings of processes and systems, in this case the function of the human genome," said Ajay Royyuru, head of the Computational Biology Center at IBM Research. "Using these tools, we've been able to shed new light on parts of the DNA that were traditionally thought of as not having a specific purpose. We believe the innovative application of technology can provide further understanding in the life sciences at large".........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


May 7, 2006, 10:34 PM CT

Mobile TV: The user experience

Mobile TV: The user experience

Mobile TV - The user experience (10:14 min, video Subtitled).

What do mobile TV users say about the service. What attracts them to using mobile TV and are they prepared to pay.

Watch video........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


May 7, 2006, 10:23 PM CT

Basis Technology Releases Rosette Linguistics Platform 5.0

Basis Technology Releases Rosette Linguistics Platform 5.0
Basis Technology (www.basistech.com) announced recently the availability of release 5.0 of its Rosette Linguistics Platform (RLP). This release includes a wide range of new features and performance enhancements to Rosette's core technology, designed to provide a fast, accurate, flexible, and easy-to-integrate solution for tackling the most complex linguistic challenges.

New features and improvements include:

Rosette Entity Extractor (REX) - which identifies names, places, dates and other entities in unstructured text - has added Traditional Chinese to its list of ten supported languages, and improved its overall speed by an average of 35 percent. Specific language accuracy was also improved, highlighted by Chinese and Arabic, which increased by 27 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Rosette Language Identifier (RLI) - which identifies the language and encoding of a document - has improved accuracy on short text segments which help with the analysis of smaller documents, and has added Pashto, Somali, and Urdu detection.

The addition of a Japanese Orthographic Analyzer (JOA) which allows search engines and text mining applications to find occurrences of words that have multiple spelling variations but shared meaning, a common and frequent instance in the Japanese language. JOA enhances RLP's Base Linguistics component which performs critical functions such as word segmentation, decompounding, and part-of-speech analysis.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


May 7, 2006, 10:18 PM CT

Venus - The next eye in the sky

Venus - The next eye in the sky Image courtesy of Isracast.com
By the end of the decade a revolutionary new micro-satellite will orbit around the world at an altitude of 700km sending precise information on agriculture and marine changes in unprecedented precision and detail. The Israeli-French project will allow farmers to better treat their crops, fisherman to locate large quantities of fish in mid-sea and will also vastly increase the ability of the scientific community to study and monitor the flora and fauna in a number of areas around the globe. Equipped with an advanced plasma engine, VENUS will be able to operate for at least 4-5 years in its planed orbit.

Modern satellites have a number of applications. Beside the obvious military uses satellites today are used for communication, navigation, space research, weather prediction and earth observation. This last type of satellites has a number of important functions. They conduct environmental monitoring, help create and improve maps and play an important role in the development of agriculture and fishing.

The heart of most observation satellites consists of a camera. Early satellites carried panchromatic cameras capable of taking pictures in only one spectral "band". Pictures originated from a panchromatic camera are commonly displayed in grey scale, where the brightness of a particular pixel is proportional to the intensity of solar radiation reflected by the target. Even today a number of reconnaissance satellites still use panchromatic cameras which are considered to have the highest resolution of any space-based camera type. A more recent development is the multi-spectral camera which can create color pictures that consist of many image layers; each layer represents an image acquired at a particular wavelength band. For example, the French SPOT 5 sensor operating in the multi-spectral mode detects radiations in four wavelength bands: the green (500-590 nm), red (610-680 nm), near infrared (790-890 nm) and the short-wave infrared or SWIR (1580-1750 nm).........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


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