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The US Army would like you to meet the Laser-Induced Plasma Channel

There is a new weapon in development at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey and it’s something that Darth Vader (or Dr. Evil) would be proud to wield. The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel or LIPC is a device that “…will shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy its target.” The LICP is intended to disable vehicles or any other target that conducts electricity better than th...[Read More]

Google’s neural network learns to recognise cats

Google’s X labs have given the world a few technological innovations and the latest thing that has come from the mostly-secret research lab is a neural network that has learned how to recognise cats. Google scientists built the leaning network out of 16,000 processors and it promptly started teaching itself about cat videos. The scientists fed the neural network random YouTube thumbnails fro...[Read More]

Stanford professor hoping to ‘hack’ into Stephen Hawking’s brain

Stanford professor Dr. Phillip Low hopes to use a device created by the company that he is CEO of to ‘hack’ into fellow scientist Stephen Hawking’s brain. The device in question is called the iBrain, developed by NeuroVigil, which is a “…portable and user friendly single-channel EEG recording device.” Speaking to The Telegraph Dr. Low said that “We’d...[Read More]

Cape Town has a Twitter-activated vending machine

A South African company has placed a Twitter-activated iced tea vending machine in Wembly Square in Cape Town. The machine is called BEV and is owned by local iced tea company BOS. The machine displays a Twitter hashtag (#BOSTWEET4T) on an LED screen and it dispenses a Rooibos-based drink when a patron Tweets the hashtag while standing in front of the machine. This is currently a promotional funct...[Read More]

YouTube co-founders launching Zeen next week

YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley revealed at Le Web 2012 in London that the new service – called Zeen – from AVOS, the company owned by Hurley and fellow YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, will be launched next week. Almost nothing is known about Zeen, save for what is available on the front page of the website. Users will be able to “Discover and create beautiful magazines” appa...[Read More]

Google’s live traffic coverage officially launching in SA tonight

Google’s live traffic coverage in Google Maps is set to be officially launched in South Africa at an event this evening. South Africa will be joining several other countries, including Mexico, Peru and Romania, in finally getting live traffic updates through Google Maps according to an announcement on Google’s Lat Long blog yesterday. This feature will allow users to “…see ...[Read More]

Facebook buys Face.com

Facebook was recently rumoured to be in talks to buy facial recognition website Face.com. The rumours in this case were correct as Face.com has confirmed the acquisition on their website. Face.com was reportedly bought for between $55 and $60 million, though initially it was thought that Facebook had shelled out closer to $100 million for the company. According to the blog post confirming the sale...[Read More]

NNSA IBM supercomputer ranked world’s fastest

The NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) has announced that their supercomputer, dubbed Sequoia, is now ranked as the fastest supercomputer in the world. The IBM-created Sequoia is a 96-rack Blue Gene/Q system that has managed 16.32 petaflops (quadrillion floating point operations per second), a speed that has pushed the supercomputer into the front ranking of the Top500 list of the wor...[Read More]

Apple memorabilia fetches more than double the asking price

Late last month we covered some Apple memorabilia that was due to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in New York. The two items, a working Apple 1 and some hand-written notes penned by Steve Jobs, were expected to fetch between $120,000 and $180,000 (Apple 1) and $10,000 and $15,000 (Steve Jobs’ notes). The auction has since concluded and the items managed to bypass the price estimates by a...[Read More]

Kinect NUads coming later this year

Microsoft’s NUads (natural user-interface ads), which we mentioned last month, are set to become a reality later this year and will be launching for the Kinect some time around September (or fall, if you live Stateside). The first advertisers to make use of Microsoft’s interactive ad campaign will be Toyota, Axe deodorant (Unilever) and Samsung Mobile. Toyota will be grabbing the very ...[Read More]

Bosch develops robotic lawnmower

Mowing the lawn is a chore that often cannot be avoided, whether one has to do it themselves or shell out for a garden service but that may be about to change. Power tool manufacturer Bosch have come out with their attempt at automating the process with the pending launch of the Bosch Indego. The Indego is a robotic lawnmower that will apparently cut up to 1,000 square metres at a time. Owners wil...[Read More]

Microsoft looking to patent emotion-targeted ads

Microsoft has another patent application pending, this one dealing with delivering targeted adverts to internet users based on their emotional states. Microsoft originally filed the patent at the end of 2010 and it deals with a “computer system, a computer-implemented method, and computer readable media configured to target advertisements based on emotional states”. A user’s onli...[Read More]

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