Archives August 2019

Musical Robot Tags Along as your Serenading Sidekick

first_img Citation: Musical Robot Tags Along as your Serenading Sidekick (2008, June 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from If you ever thought it would be cool to be serenaded by a robot, you might get a kick out of the new A.M.P. Bot. Developed by Hasbro Tiger Electronics, the 2.5-foot-tall humanoid rolls around on a Segway-type platform, blasting your favorite tunes, all the while following you around your house like a younger sibling with its remote control technology. Gift Guide: Techie kids’ toys for every age group Explore furthercenter_img At a retail price of $400-$500 predicted for its October 2008 release, the robot isn´t for everyone, but is aimed at hardcore tech and music enthusiasts. The A.M.P (Automated Musical Personality) Bot contains a high-fidelity, three-speaker system within its 15-pound body, and carries any MP3 player inside its mini backpack. The robot uses gyroscopic technology to balance on two rubber wheels, and even has beat sensors that allow it to move to the beat of the music. To have it follow you around, just carry a palm-sized remote with you and press “Follow.” Other remote buttons include “Track,” which commands the robot to face you, and “Park,” which tells the robot to stop. When pressing the “Drive” button, you also have the option of directing the robot´s movement with the remote.To avoid running into things, the robot has infrared sensors. It can´t do stairs very well, but if it does fall, it´ll keep playing. It´s supposed to be able to handle carpets, floors, and even sidewalks, if you want to give it some fresh air. Other features include touch pads on the robot´s body that allow you to add DJ-like effects to the music playback. It can produce 100 sound effects and displays LED-based animation, as well. When the battery power dies, a set of kick stands automatically drop down to keep the robot from falling over.The A.M.P robot runs on six D batteries, while the remote uses three AAAs. Hasbro plans to begin pre-sale this August, and the robots should be available in October at venues including, The Sharper Image, and Hammacher Schlemmer.via (with pics): PC Magazine This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Solar Cells with LEDs Provide Inexpensive Lighting

first_img A bright future with solar lanterns for India’s poor Frederik Krebs and other scientists at the Ris? National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Denmark have developed an inexpensive way to integrate solar cells, LEDs, and ultrathin lithium batteries to create a lamp that can produce reading-quality light. The lamp’s polymer solar cells and circuitry are printed onto large flexible plastic films, and then the LEDs, flat batteries, and diodes are mounted using silver epoxy. After being encapsulated in a second sheet of film, the sheets are rolled up and snapped together at the corners with metal fasteners. The devices are very inefficient by today’s standards, capturing just 1-2% of the energy that hits them. Still, they’re cheap enough to be practical in some off-grid villages. In rural areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the average household spends $40-$80 per year for kerosene lamps. Even the cheapest solar-LED lighting devices on the market today cost about a year’s worth of kerosene, which would not be very advantageous. But the total cost of the Denmark scientists’ solar-LED lamps is only about $27, and they think they can manufacture an improved version for about $10. They estimate that using cheaper labor in China could reduce the cost again by as much as 50%.Last summer, the scientists field-tested 196 prototypes with the help of children who attended a Danish-run summer school in Zambia. The results showed that some of the lamps had problems due to excessive flexing and light quality degrading after 10 to 20 minutes, which the scientists are fixing by repositioning the solar cells and adding circuitry to deliver power to the LEDs at a constant current. The researchers plan to test improved versions of the lamps in Mali and Malawi. via: IEEE Spectrum© 2009 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Scientists have developed plastic solar cells integrated with batteries and LEDs that could offer affordable lighting in developing areas. ( — Of the 1.5 billion people in developing countries who do not have electricity, many rely on kerosene lamps for light after the sun goes down. But now, researchers from Denmark have designed an LED lamp that runs on solar cells, which costs less than one-quarter of the annual cost of using kerosene lighting. The solar-LED lamps are expected to last at least a year, making them an affordable alternative to kerosene. Citation: Solar Cells with LEDs Provide Inexpensive Lighting (2009, November 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furtherlast_img read more

VR team presents infinite walking in virtual environments w video

first_imgThe team behind this system, authors of the paper, are Khrystyna Vasylevska and Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology, along with project partners, Mark Bolas and Evan. Suma of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. (Kaufmann is an associate professor for virtual reality at the Vienna University of Technology.) The system was presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference in March. Credit: Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. How does it work? Basically, their system tracks the head and body movements of a person wearing a special headset, then steers them through an infinite set of virtual spaces when, in effect, they’re just walking around in a circle.For testing, the researchers used a head-mounted display with 150° horizontal and 88° vertical field-of-view. They used a PhaseSpace Impulse Motion Capture System with 52 high-resolution cameras mounted throughout a 9.14m x 9.14m area. Seven active LED markers attached to the display allowed capture of the participant’s head movements. They said that the test environment ran on a dual Intel Core i7 2.93 GHz PC running Windows 7, 6Gb of RAM, and a NVIDIA GTX 570 graphics card. Explore further More information: Credit: Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology ( —Virtual reality experiences through the lenses and screens of future smart devices will keep on coming at us. Now a team of researchers from Vienna and the U.S. believe they have a stepped-up technology to support the intensive virtual environment apps of the future. VR designers will be interested in their paper, “Flexible Spaces: Dynamic Layout Generation for Infinite Walking in Virtual Environments,” which deals with their idea of walking in the virtual world. Rather than placing the user in a virtual layout that remains constant, the researchers set a goal toward more flexible spaces–described as infinite real walking in virtual environments. Rather than being hurtled through an endless maze that can frazzle the user’s nerves, however, the maze is navigable.center_img Citation: VR team presents infinite walking in virtual environments (w/ video) (2013, April 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A virtual reality scent system that fools human taste Applications in mind include virtual museum visits, virtual sightseeing, and explorations of any other kinds of walks through larger virtual worlds. The paper’s authors said that “This method is especially useful for VEs [virtual environments] where the content and experience of the environment is more important than the specific spatial layout, such as virtual museums, cybertherapy, entertainment, virtual sightseeing, exploration of fictional environments, and many more.” © 2013 Credit: Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology When the wearer moves forward, the VR system’s computer provides new hallways and rooms. The corridors and rooms are generated automatically as the walker moves to always fit inside the real space available. Their technique involves “procedural layout generation.” Designers benefit in that they will be able to focus on content of the virtual world they have in mind, “independent of the implementation details imposed by real walking.” This can make spatial manipulation techniques more practical for use in a variety of application domains. last_img read more

Physicists propose molecular clock to expose new physics

first_imgCredit: S. Schiller et al., Phys. Rev. Lett (2014) © 2014 More information: Simplest Molecules as Candidates for Precise Optical Clocks, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 023004 – Published 8 July 2014. precise measurement of transition frequencies in cold, trapped molecules has applications in fundamental physics, and extremely high accuracies are desirable. We determine suitable candidates by considering the simplest molecules with a single electron, for which the external-field shift corrections can be calculated theoretically with high precision. Our calculations show that H2+ exhibits particular transitions whose fractional systematic uncertainties may be reduced to 5×10−17 at room temperature. We also generalize the method of composite frequencies, introducing tailored linear combinations of individual transition frequencies that are free of the major systematic shifts, independent of the strength of the external perturbing fields. By applying this technique, the uncertainty of the composite frequency is reduced compared to what is achievable with a single transition, e.g., to the 10−18 range for HD+. Thus, these molecules are of metrological relevance for future studies. Explore further Theorists propose globally networked entangled atomic clock Everyone knows that atomic clocks are the gold standard for timing accuracy—they work by measuring the frequency of radiation as electrons from a single atom move from one energy level to another. In their paper, the researchers suggest that a molecular clock could be constructed by using a molecule with just two atoms and simultaneously combining multiple frequencies. They suggest such an approach could provide a more accurate assessment of whether the electron-proton mass ratio changes over time.A lot of physics is based on the assumption that the mass of a proton remains constant over time—pretty much forever. But what if that’s not true? What if it grows or shrinks over time? That would mean that the ratio between them and electrons changes as well, and if that’s true, then physicists are going to have to come up with some new ideas to explain what that might mean. This is what Schiller et al are trying to find out, they suggest using molecular hydrogen-H2 or hydrogen-deuterium-HD+ as the molecular basis (compared to the larger caesium atoms normally used in atomic clocks) for a clock. In their paper they describe a theoretical method of using more than two combinations of frequencies and measuring them simultaneously, allowing the effects of shifts to be nearly canceled. Their calculations show that the uncertainty that would result from a combination frequency using HD+ would be as low as 5×10-18. To realize the goal of establishing whether the electron-proton mass ratio changes over time, the same experiment would have to be repeated several years later.Building such a clock, would be challenging, the researchers acknowledge, but if it could be done, and if the results showed that proton mass does change, it could lead to the discovery of fundamental laws of physics that are not now currently known.center_img Journal information: Physical Review Letters Citation: Physicists propose molecular clock to expose new physics (2014, July 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( —A trio of researchers from Germany, Bulgaria and Russia has proposed the idea of using a molecular clock to determine if the electron-proton mass ratio changes over time. In their paper published in Physical Review Letters, Stephan Schiller, Dimitre Bakalov, and Vladimir Korobov describe a theoretical method for building such a clock and why if one were built, it might lead to new physics. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Publisher retracts 64 articles for fake peer reviews

first_img © 2015 Credit: Charles Rondeau/public domain (—German based publishing company Springer has announced on its website that 64 articles published on ten of its journals are being retracted due to editorial staff finding evidence of fake email addresses for peer reviewers. Springer is one of the biggest academic/research publishers in the world, with over 2,200 journals dedicated to printing the results of research efforts. Explore further Citation: Publisher retracts 64 articles for fake peer reviews (2015, August 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: BioMed Central This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Vanity and predatory academic publishers are corrupting the pursuit of knowledge The peer review process is a tried-and-true standard for publishing research papers as it offers publishers a means of making sure the processes and results described by researchers are true—without such a process, no one would know whether to believe such claims. Unfortunately, many publishers have been allowing a part of the process to be subverted by accepting reviewer recommendations from the authors of studies. In this latest instance, it appears that the thus far unnamed authors submitted email addresses for potential reviewers that led back to themselves, which allowed them to peer review their own work—a very clear ethical violation and a strong suggestion that there was something wrong with the work done or the way it was written. To be fair, the reason publishing companies accept peer review recommendations from author/researchers is because it’s those same author/researchers that tend to know better than anyone else who would be most qualified to review their work, especially in areas of science that aren’t widely studied. The problem comes about when publishers don’t check to make sure the reviewers recommended by such author/researchers are verifiable.Springer also noted that it informed the Committee on Publishing Ethics upon making the discovery of problems in its peer review process and promised to change its system to ensure that going forward, such mistakes will not happen again.Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Springer has faced such a problem, just last March one of its imprints BioMed Central had to retract 43 papers for the very same problem. Other publishers have not been immune to the problem either, Retraction Watch recently noted that approximately 230 papers have been retracted from various journals over just the past three years due to problems with faked peer reviews—a very small number when compared to the hundreds of thousands of research papers published every year, but perhaps a sign nonetheless, that publishers need to be more alert to the problem, lest they face the embarrassing headlines associated with slip-ups.last_img read more

Hybrid nanogenerator harvests hardtoreach ocean energy

first_img More information: Zhen Wen et al. “Harvesting Broad Frequency Band Blue Energy by a Triboelectric–Electromagnetic Hybrid Nanogenerator.” ACS Nano. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b03293 Citation: Hybrid nanogenerator harvests hard-to-reach ocean energy (2016, June 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from (—Energy from the ocean, or “blue energy,” is arguably the most underexploited power source, according to researchers in a new study. Although the oceans contain enough energy to meet all of the world’s energy needs, currently there is no effective way to harvest it economically and with reasonable efficiency. Journal information: ACS Nano The main problem is that ocean waves are irregular and pass by at low frequencies, whereas most energy harvesters operate best with waves that have regular amplitudes and high frequencies. Unfortunately, the calming lull of slow, unpredictable waves beating against the shore that we tend to find so peaceful is not ideal for energy harvesting.In a new study published in ACS Nano, a team of researchers led by Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a device that can harvest ocean waves in a very broad frequency range that encompasses almost all of the ocean wave energy spectrum, including the hard-to-reach low frequencies that are inaccessible to most harvesters.The new device is a hybrid system that consists of two generators. An electromagnetic generator (EMG), which has traditionally been the main approach for harvesting ocean energy, is well-suited for harvesting waves at high frequencies and fast rotation speeds. A triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which has only recently been investigated for ocean energy applications, works better in the low-frequency range and at slower rotation speeds. “The TENG has the unique advantage of high output voltage, and its output power is linearly scaled with frequency, making it ideal for harvesting low-frequency energy,” Wang told “On the other hand, the EMG’s output power is proportional to the square of the frequency, so the EMG is ideally suited for harvesting high-frequency energy. At low frequency, (< 5 Hz), the effective output of the TENG is much higher than that of the EMG."When combined, the two types of generators operate in a broad frequency range and in two modes (fluctuation and rotation), allowing the hybrid device to collect a variety of types of ocean energies, including wave, current, and tidal. Each type of energy causes a different motion that requires a flexible harvesting capability. The researchers demonstrated the device by using it to light up LEDs that form the words "BLUE ENERGY." The EMG is connected to the word "BLUE" and the TENG is connected to the word "ENERGY" so that the power output of each generator can be viewed individually. The researchers envision the ocean wave energy harvester as one component of a larger energy harvesting panel floating on the ocean, which could simultaneously harvest wind, solar, and wave energy. They plan to further develop this concept in the future. Researchers scale up ocean wave energy harvestercenter_img (Left) Photograph of the hybrid nanogenerator (scale bar: 2 cm). (Center) Illustration of the hybrid nanogenerator structure, along with photographs of the TENG and EMG in the left and right lower panels, respectively. (Right) Illustration of the proposed energy harvesting panel floating on the ocean, which consists of wind-driven generators, solar cells, and hybrid nanogenerators. Credit: Wen et al. ©2016 American Chemical Society © 2016 Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Evidence found of oysters syncing valve behavior with lunar cycle

first_img More information: Moonlight cycles synchronize oyster behaviour, Biology Letters (2019). … .1098/rsbl.2018.0299 It is commonly known that humans and other animals have a circadian clock, which is tied closely to the daytime/nighttime cycle of the sun. Other creatures have also been found to have internal clocks closely associated with the ocean’s tides. In this new effort, the researchers have found that at least some oysters may have a type of lunar cycle.To better understand the impact of the moon and its phases on oysters, the team captured 12 Pacific oysters off the coast of France and attached electrodes to them. They returned the oysters to the sea, where they were monitored for behaviors that could be linked to the behavior of the moon.In comparing data from the monitors with astronomical charts, the researchers found that the oysters opened their valves at different times depending on the phase of the moon. They found that the valves were most open during the build-up to and during a new moon. In contrast, the valves were less open during the time when the moon was entering its first quarter and full phases. More specifically, they found that the mollusks were opening their valves more during times when it was darker at night. They suggest their findings indicate that oysters can somehow sense moonlight. They also suggest that over time, the sensing ability of the oysters may have led to the development of an internal clock based on the phases of the moon—thus, an oyster would be less likely to open during the time when the moon would normally cast the greatest amount of light, regardless of whether that light actually reached them. Clouds or other coverings could have an impact on how much light reaches the oysters.The researchers suggest further that an internal lunar clock could be beneficial to oysters because it would be tied to the times when food was most plentiful due to low light levels. Citation: Evidence found of oysters syncing valve behavior with lunar cycle (2019, January 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Biology Letters A team of researchers from the University of Bordeaux and CNRS, EPOC, UMR has found evidence that suggests oysters sync their valve behavior with the lunar cycle. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their study of oysters in the wild over three and a half lunar cycles and what they observed. Credit: CC0 Public Domaincenter_img Explore further © 2019 Science X Network This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Oyster aquaculture limits disease in wild oyster populationslast_img read more

Go Holi Cow to colour up the festival

first_imgHoli beats Tomatina doesn’t it? We can’t be entirely sure, but for the billion plus population in India, Holi is the craziest festival in the country.One of the best known Holi celebrations in town, besides the regular Holi you play with friends and family, is the Holi Cow Festival. The Holi Cow festival carries the baggage of being one of the most culturally diverse festivals in India and this year it had better keep up as well! It is an event that includes the traditional revelry of the festival of colour with an equally vibrant musical line-up. The Holi Cow festival offers a melting pot of art, culture, music, food, dancing, colors and nationalities – attracting artistes and audience from around the world to express and exult in an experience that has no parallel. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Holi Cow Festival has a cult following, with thousands of revelers congregating at the venue to celebrate the riot of colours, music and festivity. Now in its 6th edition, the festival has grown every year adding more and more elements to celebrate the city’s artistic, cultural and musical influences. The main event is spread out on a 5 acre estate across 3 stages, Dental, Mental and Frontal which will have over 40 top artistes from various genres of music performing at the festival. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMental also known as This Stage this year will host the sounds of Earthy World and Folk meets high energy fusion electronic. Dental also known as THAT STAGE will have foot stomping, head spinning, flip flopping, trip hopping, skinny dipping, moooombastic Electronic Dance Music experiments. Frontal also known as WHICH STAGE will have the chill out, spread in the grass, get on the blue bus, bum out, throw your head back and kick up your heels to easy, wispy, laid back melange of blues, rock, alternative and genre independent music and poetry. Raul Chandra (Festival Director-Holi Cow) says, ‘When the Holi Cow promises to go bigger and fatter this year – it means it is getting into shape – and round is a shape – so it can hug more mad people, create more madness – but in its warm, fuzzy, cuddly, demented dancing singing hooving and mooving sort of a way. So expect more surprises and excitement coming your way soon and as far as the line-up is concerned, every act is a headliner’The Holi Cow festival started with the idea of creating a happy eco-system of artistes and art lovers who want to celebrate and express their love and passion freely.DETAILWhere: Zorba, MG RoadWhen: 27 MarchPasses available at: Zorba, Q’Ba, Raasta, OTB, Punk etclast_img read more

Catching the pulse of Delhi musically

first_imgFrom a formal ‘Yes, we play it often..’ to the intermittent ‘Yaar, it’s not like that..’, it just took Shiv a little while to loosen up and share his story. Shiv Ahuja is the man on the keyboards for Five 8- a Kiromal college based band that has come a long way now. After chartering different paths, Adhir, Aveleon, Robin, Shiv and Steve pulled up their sleeves to professionally launch as a band in 2008.Back in college it was a different game, they usually got 40 minutes to play for the college audience, ‘and hey, 40 minutes were not good enough to build a relationship on stage’, says Shiv. The band was formed in 2005, but Shiv joined in two years later. ‘Earlier, we played covers from 80’s music, then we turned it around and started writing on our own,’ adds Shiv. Their desire to reach out to their audience is something they aspired since long. Shiv elaborates on it, saying that they didn’t want to write  around random themes, he wanted to contextualise. That’s how their music speaks of life in Delhi; giving the mundane daily routine a touch of melody and rhythm. Though they play English music, Shiv takes it as a constraint. He thinks that language limits his audience. Five 8 is on its way to launch its premier album in July this year.DETAILTimings: 9 pm When: May 2 Where: Hard Rock Cafelast_img read more

Having sex before marriage is a wonderful idea

first_imgWe don’t have a kid. I want to adopt but my husband and his family are not keen! What can I do?Divya, New DelhiThe decision to adopt is a very important one. This has to be a mutual one, well planned and executed by you and your husband. The family members have lesser roles to play. As your husband isn’t keen, your target should be to convince him into this. Once he realizes how much you want it to happen, he surely will change his mind. Your conviction will help change his mind. Good luck! Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’My father died when I was 3 years old. My mother got married to my uncle’s friend. He is an alcoholic and beats my mother. I’m 13 years now and feel too helpless.Zina, AhmedabadThe most important thing is YOU. You have to concentrate on your studies, career and your future. You’re the one who will grow up to be your mother’s strength and support. She must be tolerating this present situation to ensure a good future for all. If it gets impossible, approach the man and warn him of legal steps that you can take against him. Domestic violence is a crime and he can be punished. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMy spoken English is very weak and I feel very inferior when I go to clubs or discos! What can I do to overcome this?Asif, AgraThe only way to overcome it is to face it strongly. Join a spoken english class and practice speaking it whenever you have the opportunity. Read english newspapers and magazines aloud in front of the mirror atleast for half hour every day. Watch english news channels as often as you can. Even if you make mistakes, don’t stop trying. It’s just practice and confidence that will make you learn anything. Be patient and give it time. Am sure you will learn fast and stop feeling inferior in front of others.  How important is it to have sex before marriage? Is it compulsory?Preity, GurgaonPhysical chemistry is a very integral part of any relationship. In a love marriage, the scope of exploring the physical aspect is much higher and most couples do have sex before marriage. Arranged marriage restricts the sexual relationship between partners. In some cases, the sexual orientation or preferences in bed of a partner shocks the other and turns the fate of the marriage. Undeclared homosexuality or impotency affects the course of the marriage. Hence, it’s advisable to love, explore, spend great moments in a mature, adult relationship so as there are no ugly surprises later. Makes life warmer, spicier and hotter!I love someone who is a compulsive flirt. He has relations with many. Many ‘close friends’ as he says. I still can’t get over this and hope he will love me someday, realize my emotions.Roopa, New DelhiIt’s a gamble that you are playing. Don’t be hopeful that the music will play and the prince will arrive on a white horse and take you away! He seems to be a player, the one who keeps an excel sheet to maintain a database of his ‘close friends’! I suggest, you carry on with your life and don’t expect too much from this man. He seems to be the sort who doesn’t know what he wants from his love, life or his lovelife!Have a love or life query you cannot find an answer to? Send your questions to – roopshashotm@gmail.comlast_img read more