Scientists at Havard University have built the smallest robot capable of flying, named the 'robo-fly'. The device weighs less than a gram, and employs insect-like 'wings' to fly, instead of conventional rotors or propellors. The construction is mainly carbon fiber, and uses piezoelectric material contracting around 120 times a second to power the 'wings'.
The robot's designers suggest that the robot may eventually have applications in rescue operations, for example locating surviors in cramped spaces, although it was not initially designed for this purpose. At the current stage of development, the robo-fly requires an external power source, however scientists are working on incorporating a small internal power source instead of using the external supply.
They say opposites attract, and electromagnetically, this is true, but what about gravitationally? For many years, researchers have been wondering if antimatter, the electromagnetic opposite of normal matter, falls up or down in a gravitational field. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab are examining their data for 434 anti-hydrogen atoms to answers the question.
Antimatter is a source of many questions concerning the entire Universe as theoretically the Big Bang that produced all normal matter should have produced equal parts antimatter. Obviously this is not the case because normal matter remains today. Since realizing this inconsistency, researchers have been trying to find all the differences between antimatter and normal matter, including the direction the particles move in a gravitational field. Watching atoms fall is not easy though, but the Berkeley Lab researchers realized they could use the magnetic traps holding the anti-atoms to make some measurements. Within a magnetic trap, magnetic fields will counteract gravity and hold the particles up, but once the fields are switched off, they will be free to move, and they can be detected when they strike the walls of the trap.
While this approach is very promising, the data was not very revealing. All it really demonstrated was that this approach could work, but the equipment and experiment needs some upgrades before the uncertainty is small enough to know for certain.
If you're in the market for a new video card, we have two reviews you should check out. They cover complete opposite ends of the price spectrum however, with the XFX R7790 Black Edition at the low and the ZOTAC GTX Titan AMP! Edition at the extreme high. If you just need a new keyboard and want to step into the mechanical realm, then there's the Tt eSPORTS MEKA G1 Illuminated. It has all the same features as the original MEKA G1, but this time with LED backlit keys. The media player crowd is also covered, as we have a review on the ASUS CUBE Google TV Media Streamer. This new take on the Google TV platform also includes access to 50GB of cloud storage through ASUS, so it could be just what your living room needs. We also have a new podcast covering a variety of topics for your listening pleasure.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini's retirement from the company has been known since last November, but it wasn't clear who would suceed him. He planned to retire this May, and since we're now a couple of days in, we finally know who is next in line. Intel announced that current Chief Operating Officier (COO) Brian Krzanich will assume the CEO title on May 16, during the company's annual stockholders' meeting. Krzanich has been with Intel for 31 years, so he's the perfect internal candidate for the job. The company also announced Renée James was elected president of the board of directors, and she'll begin her new role on May 16, too. Both executives are looking forward to their new roles, with Krzanich particularly looking forward to moving Intel faster into "ultra mobility."
For decades science fiction has told us that the future will be filled with touch-based interfaces, and while in some cases that is true today, it is still limited to specialized devices. For that fantastic vision to be realized, projector, sensor, and computing technologies will have to be combined and intelligently designed to respond to a variety of inputs. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have brought that combination a little closer with the creation of WorldKit; a system to generate interfaces on the fly.
To create a smart room essentially requires a projector and a depth sensor, such as the Microsoft Kinect. WorldKit is the software to use with this hardware in order to interact with them and other devices. Instead of requiring an interface to have been created beforehand, WorldKit allows a user to paint an area they wish to use as a controller, and select what it controls from a menu. Using the data from the depth sensor, the software is also able to compensate for the curvature of objects in the room and warp the projections so they appear flat on a surface. This also allows the system to work with a standard coordinate system.
Next the researchers want to improve WorldKit to allow users to interact with interfaces floating in free-space, instead of just on the surfaces of objects. They see many applications for this technology, especially as devices become so advanced that we may see interactive light bulbs, that combine all of the hardware into a single unit.
Intel has just announced Iris, the newest iteration of its built-in graphics solutions. Iris marks an upgrade over previous versions of Intel HD Graphics and is targeted at ultrabooks and similar mobile platforms. New systems that combine Iris with fourth generation Intel Core processors will see 3D graphics performance increases of two to three times, depending on processor model. In addition to improved graphics performance, Iris will also offer improvements in video and photo editing as well as providing the ability to display at 4k Ultra HD resolutions.
Noctua is adding a pulse width modulation version of its popular NF-A14 series of fans. The fans have a max speed of 1500RPM, and the advanced speed control options provided by PWM give the fans an impressive feature set. Like previous models in this series, the new fan comes with Advanced Acoustic Optimization as well as Flow Acceleration Channels. CEO Mag. Roland Mossig gave the reason behind the new fan, stating that "we got many requests for a square frame PWM version for use as a case fan and on watercooling radiators. We can now meet this demand with the new NF-A14 PWM."
Leadership can be an interesting topic of study, as one tries to discover the intricacies that make someone a good leader and the reason a leadership structure is needed in the first place. When it comes to survival, it makes sense that the most experienced and skilled persons would direct those less capable than they, but what about in games? That is the question researchers at Penn State sought to answer by analyzing 54,000 posts by 2500 players of an augmented reality game.
Leading up to the release of Halo 2, Microsoft created the I Love Bees game that had players decoding messages that sent them to payphones, for additional information. Naturally players communicated with each other to work together and discover the clues, and even though there was no formal leadership structure to the game, the players developed their own. Pouring over the posts at various websites and forums, the researchers made the interesting discovery that these generated leadership structures actually mimicked military leadership structures in both design and even designation. One group actually established generals to handle strategies, lieutenants to deal with specific tactics, and privates to follow orders, but none of the players were assigned their rank; they naturally selected their own.
Despite the similarities to the US military leadership structure, the researchers point out that very few of the players had any military experience to draw from. The leadership structures the players employed just spontaneously emerged from their desire to play the game most effectively.
Corsair is a name known to virtually every computer enthusiast, and today we have two reviews on different spectrums of the hardware scale. There's the AX860i power supply with digital (DSP) control for voltage regulation, and the Neutron Series 256GB SSD for all your storage needs. For something entirely different altogether, there's a hands-on preview of the Oculus Rift VR headset to see what a possible future of gaming has in store. We also have a review of the Arion Urban Zen headset featuring the Samurai Song design to help set it apart from the crowd. For the RTS gamer there's a review on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the second part of Blizzard's long-awaited sequel. We also have a book written by Whoopty, an admin at XSReviews, that is now on sale after four years of work.
Intel's Haswell processors are on the way, but it appears some power supplies may have some issues getting things started. A new report shows that Haswell's C6/C7 states require 0.05 amps on the 12V2 rail, which could be a problem as some PSUs can't supply that low level power. If that's the case then it opens up a lot of stability problems or the simple fact of having a PSU shut off entirely. Intel's Reseller Center website includes a handy list of power supplies, and when you sort by a minimum 12V2 load of zero amps, there's a grand total of 23 units that meet the requirement: 19 Corsair, three InWin, and one Seasonic. There could be more that support it that aren't included on Intel's list, but chances are it won't be too many more.
However, despite all of this there is still some good news. Corsair's Robert Pearce believes motherboard manufacturers could disable the C6/C7 states in the BIOS to ensure compatibility with more PSUs. Users can always enable those states later on once their power supply supports them. Corsair is working to make sure all of its PSUs support the C6/C7 states, and hopefully other companies do too.
The International, a $1 million Dota 2 tournament put on by Valve, is back for the third year in a row. Taking place in Seattle, WA from August 7-11, the tournament promises days filled with competitive Dota. Valve has announced the 13 invited teams which include a mix of Western and Chinese teams including returning champions Invictus Gaming and fan favorites like Natus Vincere and Team Liquid. Western qualifiers will take place from May 13-19 and will be hosted by The GDStudio while Eastern qualifiers will take place May 20-26 and are hosted by Beyond The Summit. The qualifiers will fill out the remaining three teams in the 16 team bracket.
Carbon nanotubes are funny little things as they come in so many forms with so many different properties. For example, some are great conductors of electricity while others are semiconductors, and all of this is determined by their structure. One critical characteristic of a nanotube's structure is its chirality and finally researchers at Aalto University, A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute RAS, and the Center for Electron Nanoscopy of Technical University have found a way to grow nanotubes with preferred chirality.
A simple example of chirality is handedness, as some objects twist in the right-handed direction or in the opposite, left-handed direction. Carbon nanotubes are more complicated though and require two chiral indices to be described. The researchers discovered that by reducing a solid solution in carbon monoxide they were able to form special cobalt nanoparticles to serve as a catalyst. From these catalysts the researchers were able to grow nanotubes with a 90% preference to being semiconducting and a 53% preference to having the chiral indices (6, 5), at 500 ºC. After dropping the temperature to 400 ºC, the researchers found the preferred chiral indices shifted to (7, 6) and (9, 4).
That is a lot of numbers relating to a complex topic, but what it boils down to is that the researchers have achieved something that could lead to a better understanding of how nanotubes grow. From there nanotubes with specific properties could be more easily produced, and thus used in devices and technologies.
Do you need a laptop for field research, is it necessary for your survival that you have a laptop with you on camping, or are you just generally clumsy and need a durable laptop? If you answered "yes" to any of the questions, then Getac has got you covered. Its new X500 Rugged Server is, according to Getac, certified to military specifications for operation in extreme conditions, so it should be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
The X500 Rugged Server is approximately the same size as a briefcase, which might refrain some from calling it a laptop, but everything is relative. It sports a 15.6 inch display, a Core i7 820QM, 16GB of RAM, a GeForce GT 330M, 500GB of SATA storage, three USB 2.0 ports, one USB/eSATA combo port, dual GbE LAN ports, and 802.11n WiFi. The laptop also supports up to five shock-protected hard drives that are replaceable via two quick access doors. The drives are managed by a built-in RAID controller board.
So if you have some extreme demands for your laptop, then the X500 Rugged Server might just be your thing. All you need to do is request a quote from Getac, and you should be able to buy one now.
There has been a rumor about Corsair being bought by Francisco Partners, a private equity firm; however, that rumor has now been dismissed by Corsair. Corsair told Maximum PC that the rumor is inaccurate, but the company is instead looking for investments. Corsair sent a FAQ to Maximum PC, which explains that "we would like to make more acquisitions and this requires outside investment." Corsair tried to acquire the needed funding through public funding, but that idea was discarded. Corsair estimated that the company would not be able to obtain the required funding using that method, since it is selling to niche markets, which limits the amount of people interested in buying shares. Instead Francisco Partners offered the needed funding in exchange for a share of the company. Despite Francisco Partners obtaining part of Corsair, the hardware company will still operate the way it always has. The newly obtained funding will be used to purchase small, less well-run companies that produce technology Corsair can benefit from to ensure continuous growth and an ever expanding product catalogue.
The investment is going to be approximately $75 million and it is expected to happen during the next few weeks.
Let it never be said that scientists do not need to have some fun every now and then. A group of nanophysicists at IBM have created the world's smallest movie as the actors in it are made from carbon monoxide molecules.
To create the stop-motion film, the researchers turned to their scanning tunneling electron microscope, which moves a needle across the surface of its subject. By moving the needle in, closer than needed for collecting data, the researchers were able to use the attraction between it and the carbon monoxide to reposition the molecules for each frame.
There's a lot to cover today, so let's dive right in. We have two different looks at AMD's new heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access (hUMA), which is a key component in Kaveri, the successor to the Trinity APUs. The idea behind hUMA is to allow the CPU and GPU to share memory resources to help things move along even faster than they do already. Check out the links to see just how it performs. On a different front, there's a new Frame Rating article on how different high end GPUs handle the massive 4K resolution, as well as a be quiet! CPU cooler. We also have a 4GB flash drive from takeMS, a speaker system from Ineo, and even a wireless storage drive from ADATA.
The latest innovation from Google, Google Glass, gives users a pair of glasses that allow them to interact with their environment and opens up a new way to access technology. A recent post on social networking site Twitter hints at an app being worked on by the company. Developers have already been given access to the devices to help with availability of software when the device is released to the public. The photo that was posted appears to be high quality and indicates that the system should be robust and that a number of big name companies are likely on board with the initial launch.
The next game in the Call of Duty franchise is expected to be officially announced tomorrow, but a teaser has popped up on the official site. The series has been following a yearly release cycle for several years, and Activision wants to keep the money flowing. The image is being revealed slowly through the use of social networking site Twitter. Sales posters have been leaked by a number of retailers which reveal that the game will be called Call of Duty: Ghosts and will probably be released during the holiday shopping season.
A primary reason why CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray disks contain different amounts of data is that they use different frequencies of light to encode the information. Higher frequency light has shorter wavelengths, which means less space is required for a single bit, such as the 405 nm wavelength of Blu-Ray technology. Researchers have been trying for some time to use zinc oxide to create ultraviolet lasers, and now those at North Carolina State University have succeeded.
Within lasers and LEDs are p-n junctions, where n-type and p-type materials meet. Negatively charged electrons from the n-type material enter the p-type material and there fall into positively charged holes. Provided the holes are at a lower energy level than the electrons, a photon will be released, representing the difference. The trouble with zinc oxide has been that the p-type material was unstable, but the researchers addressed that by introducing defect complexes, where a zinc atom is missing and the associated oxygen atom is replaced with nitrogen and hydrogen atoms.
The reason why so many researchers had been working with zinc oxide to use in UV lasers and LEDs is that it can be made with relatively few undesired defects, allowing it to be quite energy efficient. Fortunately what the researchers discovered does not disrupt that, and also fortunately, it can operate at room temperature.
AMD has today announced two new desktop processors based on its current Piledriver processor architecture. The FX-4350 and FX-6350 follow the current naming convention for AMD processors, the former being a 4-core variant, and the latter featuring 6 cores, but offer improved clock speeds and L3 cache.
The FX-4350 boasts a 4.2GHz clock speed, coupled with 8MB of L3 cache. This makes the FX-4350 400MHz faster than the current FX-4300, and also doubles up on the L3 cache. The FX-6350 on the other hand boasts a 3.9GHz clock speed, and also offers 8MB of L3 cache, similar to the FX-4350. The FX-4350 has a 95W TDP, and ships for $122, whereas the FX-6350 pushes the TDP up to 125W, 30W higher than its FX-6300 counterpart, and is priced at $132.
Rockstar Games has been showing information on Grand Theft Auto Vlittlebylittle, but today we have something that's sure to excite everyone. There's a new trailer available that takes a look at the three main characters of Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. Each of the three men have a different background, but they all share a certain amount of crazy. Michael is a rich family man who's trying to keep it all together while keeping his family together. As he says, he's "pretty average for this town." Franklin, meanwhile, is a gang-banger who isn't exactly happy with his current lifestyle. Or maybe it's just the friends he keeps. Finally there's Trevor, who is perhaps definitely the craziest one of the three. He's a drug dealer who lives in a trailer park, and let's just say his social graces are a little lacking. His anger most certainly isn't, however.
Grand Theft Auto V is due to arrive on September 17 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. There's still no word on a PC version, but considering pretty much every other GTA game is on the computers, it's only a matter of time. The trailer below is not safe for work for obvious reasons, so just make sure you have some headphones handy.
For years researchers have been working on technologies to replace modern computer memory for greater speed and efficiency. One of these technologies is resistive memory, or ReRAM, which stores data as changes in electrical resistance, like how memristors store information. Researchers at Jülich Aachen Research Alliance however have discovered that the theories behind memristors cannot be applied to ReRAM, and such a discovery could greatly help ReRAM evolve.
Both memristors and ReRAM are able to store information by changing their internal electrical resistance, but memristors are, by definition, passive devices. What the researchers discovered is that ReRAM cannot be considered passive because it actually operates like a mini-battery. Batteries store energy by moving ions between electrodes, and within ReRAM, ions move from one electrode to another, thereby changing the resistance of the cell.
This discovery will have many implications on future research in resistive memory as now there is a better understanding of how they operate. Also this discovery could lead to some rather interesting uses of ReRAM, by tapping into its battery qualities.
We have a few items on the agenda today, including two gaming peripherals. There's the Logitech G510s keyboard, which looks to tweak the G510 to make it even more of a fan favorite. If you're in the market for a new mouse, then why not check out the Func MS-3 gaming mouse. Its review also includes a look at the Surface 1030 XL mouse pad, which is an improved version of Func's original design. The final review takes a look at a new Lenovo tablet running Windows 8 Pro, and its price tag of $499 makes it an affordable option for those who want the full experience of Microsoft's latest OS.
The lovable murderbot supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000, holds a special place in the hearts of many sci-fi fans. HAL's distinctive red eye and calm voice has often been replicated, be it in other movies or even expensive props you can buy. However, if you're more of a do-it-yourselfer and want to save some cash, you can build your own HAL 9000 for less than $100. It does require a fair bit of technical and soldering know-how, not to mention a laser cutter and plenty of patience, but this craft project is well worth it. Adding sound to your own HAL 9000 requires an Arduino Uno and Adafruit Wave Shield, but both can be had for around $50 and really, what good is a murderous computer without that calm voice telling you something can't be done?
Head on over to the source to see everything involved with getting your own HAL 9000 up and running. Remember, if it starts singing "Daisy Bell," find a spacesuit.
Back in August of last year, we unveiled Dead Island developer Techland's newest project, Project Hell. Today, Techland posted a new blog entry, officially unveiling the game's title as Hellraid. Project Manager and Designer Marcin Kruczkiewicz (Kruq) calls the game a "first-person co-op slasher" set in a unique dark fantasy world. The combat system will require "precision and good timing when striking enemies and parrying their attacks," highlighted by copious amounts of blood. That being said, it's not all about melee attacks, as the game also features ranged weapons and magic.
Hellraid consists of two game modes: a single-player, story-driven campaign and four-person cooperative multiplayer against hordes of hellish monsters. It's the latter that is Techland's main focus, and despite the co-op nature, it'll actually feature a bit of competitive flair. Players will earn points by performing various actions, such as killing monsters or aiding a dying companion. Not only will there be leaderboards, but the best players will receive "special rewards." Lastly, Kruq discussed a feature of the game called the Game Master, which adds a bit of randomness and replayability to the game. The Game Master system randomly generates loot and enemy spawn locations, as well as online challenges. The latter essentially sounds like a dynamic quest system, which could make each game feel quite different.
Unfortunately, there's no trailer to show just yet, but hopefully we get one soon – Kruq does say more will be revealed in the coming weeks. It all sounds very promising so far, but I just hope the focus on the cooperative multiplayer aspect of the game doesn't negatively impact the single-player campaign. The screenshots and enemy models below sure do look sweet though! Hellraid is coming to PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, but a release date is unknown.
Samsung is reported to be working on four tablets for release this year with a variety of sizes and features. The Galaxy Tab DUOS 7.0 will use a 7" LCD with front and back facing cameras. The dual core tablet will also have the ability to support dual SIM cards. The Galaxy Tab 8.0 features an 8" AMOLED screen with 1080p resolution, dual cameras, and a quad-core Exynos 4412 CPU. A pair of 11" tablets, the Galaxy Tab 11 and Nexus 11, appear to differ only in the CPU used to power them. The Tab will have a dual-core Exynos 5250 while the Nexus is expected to be the first eight core tablet. Both will have dual cameras and a 64GB Micro SD card.
Touchscreens are becoming a near ubiquitous technology with smartphones, tablets, laptops and more employing them. Indeed it can be hard to imagine what our devices would be like if touch-sensitive screens were never developed. Now researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on a next generation of touch screens with much greater resolution and sensitivity.
At the heart of this new technology are touch-sensitive transistors called taxels that are made of zinc oxide nanowires. These wires exhibit the piezoelectric effect, which is a linking between electricity and mechanical force. When pressure is applied to a piezoelectric material, an electrical voltage is produced, thereby registering touch. These nanowires however are special because they are also semiconductors, so as pressure is applied to them, their resistance changes. This allows the researchers to achieve much higher sensitivity, comparable to that of human skin, and at a resolution approaching 100 micrometers.
There is still a fair amount of work to do before taxels could enter our devices, including finding a way to produce them from single nanowires instead of bundles and integrating them into CMOS silicon devices. Fortunately the touch-sensitive transistors are already transparent, which is important if they would be placed on our displays.
LG was amongst the first manufacturers on the TV market to launch an OLED TV , and it has now put that technology to use by manufacturing a new type of TV. The screen is 55 inches diagonally with only a 4.3 mm side profile and weighing a mere 17 kg. What sets this TV apart from the crowd is its curved nature while still maintaining a very slim side profile. To top it off, the TV comes with special "thin-transparent film speakers" that are integrated into the TV's stand to achieve an overall slim design. The curved design will allow a more realistic viewing experience, since it will match our eyes better; however, the effect is only achieved when sitting at a certain distance. According to LG, the display is supposed to deliver an IMAX-like viewing experience, which means the display will have a very high resolution resulting in sharper pictures with a more natural look. Whether that is true has yet to be experienced, but it is definitely tempting to have three TVs hooked up as monitors with some good headphones and get fully immersed in one's favorite game.
The 55EA9800, as it is called, is supposed to cost $13,500 USD and is up for pre-orders now with availability starting next month. Availability in countries other than Korea will be announced at a later date.
The most powerful computational machine man has access to is not some supercomputer in a laboratory, but the human brain. The reason the organ is superior is that its billions of neurons have the ability to operate in parallel, unlike supercomputers which largely operate sequentially. This makes it so difficult for a supercomputer to simulate the human brain that what would take a brain a second to do, the computer requires hours to complete. As reported by NSF though, researchers have developed a news system with the ability to simulate the brain in real-time, while being far less power-hungry than a supercomputer.
Called Neurogrid, the system is made up of only 16 chips with 65,000 simulated, silicon neurons each, and each neuron is networked to thousands of others. While this does emulate the structure of the brain, what really gives Neurogrids its simulation superiority is how the neurons behave. Within the brain, neurons send signals to each other in a binary way, like computers, but within each neuron signals are processed non-linearly. Essentially neurons communicate digitally but think in analog, and supercomputers have a hard time compensating for this, but Neurogrid's neurons have been designed to operate similarly.
Along with being significantly faster than a supercomputer, Neurogrid is also much more efficient at mimicking the brain. While a supercomputer like Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory can require 8 megawatts of electricity to run, Neurogrid can operate with just 5 watts, making it much more accessible for future research into the brain.
We have a lot of items to start the week, including a contest to win a Thermaltake Chaser A31 Snow Edition case, Smart Series 750W PSU, and a Water 2.0 Performer CPU cooler. The contest runs through May 10, so head on over to the link to see how to enter (Facebook is required). Next there's a look at the Corsair Obsidian Series 350D case, which brings the company's venerable Obsidian cases to the Micro-ATX size. We also have a case from Lian Li that, while small, is still able to fit an E-ATX motherboard. All these cases need some components inside, and luckily there's a BIOSTAR NM70I-847 motherboard to check out. There's plenty of other stuff to check out, including an Acer Aspire laptop, a guide on how to boot to safe mode in Windows 8, and a look at the HWBOT TeamCup 2013.