The new line of LED lightbulbs being manufactured by Cree will hit stores in the US in the early Spring. While LED lighting is by no means new, these bulbs are among the first to combine a reasonable price with a substantial degree of light. This may be the first bulb to make LED lighting a legitimate alternative for homeowners, and early reviews seem positive.
There are a number of benefits to using LED lighting – they are the most energy efficient form of bulb, they are long-lasting, and use no toxic substances (for example mercury). LED lighting also has the advantage of attaining maximum brightness immediately, and emits light that is much more pleasing to the eye than that of fluorescent bulbs.
Thus far, LED purchasers have always had to choose between dropping $20-$30 on a bulb, and purchasing a light so dim it’s useless. These bulbs are affordable at under $10, and they are the equivalent of a 40W regular bulb. 60W equivalents are also available for just $3 more. Both bulbs provide a warm and pleasing glow that you are sure to enjoy.
Further advantages of LED lighting include their lower heat production – even after being left on for a while the bulbs are just warm, not hot. They do not produce any buzzing sound as is often the case with fluorescent lighting or odd smells as some other bulbs tend to produce. There is no filament in LED lights, making these bulbs much more durable compared to incandescent bulbs. You won’t see energy star or the box yet – that’s still in the works, but these bulbs are super-efficient.
$10 a bulb may still be a little too much for many to consider replacing every light in your home, but this may be another stride forward in making LED lighting a more common household product.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on May 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Sekisui and Honda have gotten together to work on robots for use at home. With the aging population in Japan, it makes sense – about 20% of the nation is over the age of 65. These robots are being designed with the idea of helping keep the elderly independent and living on their own as long as possible. Honda and Sekisui have come up with the idea that robots could support household chores and keep many out of nursing homes, which could otherwise quickly become overcrowded by an aging population.
One of the biggest problems for the elderly is mobility – canes, walkers and wheelchairs are difficult to use. The UNI-CUB is a motorized means of transport, originally a competitor for the Segway and intended to be an office transportation device, which has now been found to be a very convenient way to get around the home. It appears unicycle-like, but doesn’t require anywhere near the same level of balance. Unlike the Segway, the UNI-CUB passenger is seated – much safer of course for an older person.
Robotic legs have also been designed to assist with stairs and bending – with a seat to sit on, your feet slide into the robotic legs. The machine then assists your leg muscles, allowing you to step up and down or bend using only a fraction of your own strength. It is essentially an exoskeleton for the lower half of your body. While this too started out in an office environment, it is being adapted to meet the needs of the elderly.
The next decade would be pretty tough on Japan if suddenly one-fifth of the country needed daily care – hopefully these robotic devices will stave off this need a little longer. While Honda is known for making great machines, Sekisui is known for producing ergonomic devices – the teaming up of these two companies has therefore been a great success for the research and development of these products.
The two companies are working together to evaluate what they are producing and to determine whether or not they should continue ahead in their joint venture into robotic devices.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on May 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
When it comes to digital purchases, rights management is a hot topic. In order to prevent piracy, some products are designed to no longer function after certain conditions have been met – have you ever considered what this might result in if it was a practice not limited to just the digital world? A Swiss design team did, and made a chair that put the idea into practice. They designed the chair in such a way that it can only be used eight times. How did they go about this?
Their first idea was to have it literally self-destruct using gunpowder – not only did this not work well, but there was a genuine possibility of someone getting their backside blown off so they changed their method. The final result was a chair with wax joints filled with nichrome, a wire used in heating applications.
A warning system knocks to let you know how many sittings have been used each time a person stands up – it then counts down starting from eight, and after the final use the nichrome heats up. This melts the wax, and the chair falls apart in less than a minute – so don’t try to sneak in one last sitting, or you’ll end up sitting on the ground!
This chair was built for a competition involving creative deconstruction, but it also makes an interesting point about rights management – if companies tried to implement physical rights management to limit use and theft of their products, it would be costly to them and an outrage to the consumer.
The issues with the latest SimCity game show that digital rights management can also have detrimental effects by upsetting users and costing developers money, all the while damaging their reputation – this self-destructing chair makes a unique metaphor!
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on April 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
A new pain relieving system will soon be available that looks and acts like a bandage – all you have to do is put one of these over your boo-boo and activate it from your phone. It’s better than having mom kiss it and make it all better!
The patch is based on nerve stimulation – if you’ve ever been to the chiropractor you may have had this performed. The abbreviation TENS is used (Transcutaneous Electronic are the other two words in the acronym) for the process. It essentially uses a low voltage electric current to treat pain without causing damage to the body or electrocution like a high voltage jolt would.
The company Thimble Bioelectrics is working on a tiny version of a TENS machine that could be carried around on the skin wherever and whenever you happen to experience pain – the idea is to have the machine run using an app on your smartphone so that you can adjust the settings and manage your pain effectively on the go.
Where did they ever come up with the idea for something like this? The CEO of the company himself suffers from frequent pain in his arms and back and struggled to find anything that worked for him despite spending a good deal of money on various treatments – he finally decided to take matters into his own hands and develop something himself, leading to the idea of a portable pain relief system.
About 1.5 billion people walk around every day in pain, and many of the treatments they try are expensive, ineffective, or cause terrible side effects. This may be a simple and effective, side effect free solution to alleviate pain for one fifth of the population of the planet.
The company is hoping to have their product ready by the end of the year – in the meantime, if you know iOS and need a job you may be able to help them get their phone app ready in time for its release!
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on April 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
It’s happened to the best of us – sometimes we get careless with our technology and it ends up in the drink. Whether you’ve dropped your phone in the toilet, or spilled your glass on your tablet, here are some tips that may help you keep your gadgets working.
First of all, turn it off immediately. The liquid itself doesn’t fry your gadget – it’s shorting out you have to worry about, so getting the electric off as quick as possible is key to limiting damage. In fact, if you can get to the battery on your device, the best way to save it is to yank that battery right out as fast as you can. Don’t try to turn it back on – that’s pretty much the worst thing you can do to a wet gadget!
Secondly, you need to get all the components to dry thoroughly, and the best way to do that is to disassemble them. Take everything that is supposed to come off of your device apart from the casing to the SIM card, and leave it all apart to dry.
Now it’s time to help the drying process along – if you have a tiny vacuum for your electronics, you can use that to suck up any excess moisture. Could you use your mouth in lieu of a vacuum? Of course, but I wouldn’t recommend it if your item fell down the toilet – it’s more of a soda spill remedy!
After that, it’s time to leave it to dry. Want to dry everything out faster? You can put your item in a bowl of rice – you’ll recall that a cup of rice soaks up over a cup of water while cooking. You know what’s even faster? Crisped rice cereal – it will soak up water just like milk. You may even hear the popping sound as it works its magic. This is about a two day long process, so fight the temptation to rush it. Now it’s time to see if your patience has paid off – reassemble everything and give it a try. Hopefully you will have saved your device.
Are there any other methods out there? Once a roommate of mine dropped his phone in a bucket of soapy water – my brother recommended soaking it in rubbing alcohol over 90% in volume. Alcohol doesn’t conduct electricity like water does and isn’t as corrosive, so it shouldn’t cause any additional damage, especially since you’ve hopefully yanked the battery out immediately.
In the meantime, it will suck up all the water (imagine the hangover your phone would have!) – don’t leave it in the alcohol for too long or you may strip the coating off of your device. Then give it time to dry (the alcohol could still do a little damage). This might work like it did for my roommate, but it isn’t such a good option for your device itself.
Don’t use anything with heat on your device or you will damage the components -that’s why your device has an auto-shutoff if it gets too warm. You may stop the water damage but cause other damage that will still render the device useless. Also, don’t shake your device to dry it – it won’t get the water out any faster, and it may move it into parts of the device that are tougher to dry.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on March 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
When it comes to the technology industry, there are many who will try to make a profit by taking your hard-earned cash in return for very little – here are some technology scams you’ll want to avoid wasting your money on.
Don’t pay your cell phone company $10 per month to have GPS on your phone – not only can you get a GPS with no monthly charge for the service, there are also free apps like Google Maps that you can use right on your cellular device if you choose not to have a separate GPS. Every cell phone carrier seems to offer a service like this – they are a total rip-off!
Don’t spend a monthly fee to have 3G or 4G service on your tablet. First of all, if you have Wi-Fi at home your network should be sufficient for tablet use, and when you are out you can usually find a hotspot. If not, a better way to go is to have your phone as a hotspot – don’t pay for internet on your phone and tablet!
Don’t spend a ridiculous amount of money on an HDMI cable. Are all HDMI cables created equal? No, but the fact is that when it comes to digital media, either a cable works or it doesn’t – you won’t lose integrity like you would with analog media. So don’t spend $40 on a cable that you can get for $3 on Amazon – in fact, buy three so that you’ve got spares in case one goes bad prematurely. You’ll still save a ton of cash.
Don’t waste money on phone insurance – first of all the deductible is usually ridiculously high, and secondly, if something happens to your phone before you are eligible for an upgrade, you can usually get something inexpensive online to hold you over for a few months even if you have to get a refurbished phone. Over the course of two years you could pay over $200 in insurance and never use it, and even if you need it the deductible may be as much as $150 – you can likely pick up a phone online for less than that!
These are just a few of the many ways people get cheated when purchasing technology. Extended warranties are also usually a waste of money, especially when sold for items that become obsolete within just a few years. Don’t get roped in!
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on March 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Researchers recently set a new precedent in the computer science community by using a supercomputer to determine the noise output of a jet engine traveling at supersonic speeds. This unique computer harnesses the power of over 1.5 million processors, and not only did the research performed garner important data that will help engineers make less noisy aircraft engines, but it also demonstrated the incredible possibilities of using million plus core computers to create fluid modules.
During takeoff and landing, high powered aircraft produce more noise than just about any other man-made source. This makes hearing damage a real threat for ground crews, even if they are wearing state-of-the-art hearing protection devices. Furthermore, such noise pollution also affects property value in surrounding communities, and is aggravating to those who have to deal with it on a regular basis.
It therefore stands to reason that engineers are concerned with quieting these engines, and one method they are looking into is the shape of the nozzles. To help with this, computers are being used to simulate the noise production of various designs. Computers with thousands upon thousands of cores break down computation into smaller amounts, in order to allow different parts of the simulation to be worked on simultaneously, resulting in faster data production.
So why not just jump straight to millions of cores and get the job done even faster? Unfortunately, at some point the number of processors starts to present other issues that actually slow things down. That’s why this latest research was so important – not just to engineers but to computer scientists too.
As with other massive supercomputers, this one has been dubbed with a name – Sequoia. Once the premier supercomputer in the world, this IBM machine earned its name from the massive redwood trees of California – now it is being used to study jet noise and other propulsion systems.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on March 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
At CES in January 2013, Samsung showed off their latest refrigerator, complete with a touch screen. The fridge itself should be available by the end of Spring, and the model featuring a 10” screen will come later this year.
This isn’t the first fridge with an LCD screen, so what makes this one stand out?
First of all, the refrigerator itself is a high quality appliance. It has a special system made up of multiple compressors, evaporators and sensors designed to keep humidity at a minimum. This is especially important for more perishable items like produce, and thus the fridge will help keep your fruit and veggies fresher for longer.
So how does the touch screen add to the appliance? Well, while it runs on the Android OS and can use Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to download apps. The preloaded applications however may be just what you need in the kitchen.
You can trade recipes and show off pictures of your creations using Evernote, and there’s also weather, news, and calendar functions – check the weather to see if it’s going to be a good day for a barbeque outdoors, plan meals on the calendar, and keep up with the news to make sure you don’t have any products that are being recalled for salmonella.
As a side note, the fridge also has a very spacious interior. The top part opens with French style doors and contains plenty of refrigeration space, with additional space in the lower right compartment, and freezer space in the lower left side.
All in all, you get a lot of refrigerator for your money, if you’re willing to shell out the $4,000 that Samsung is asking for the T9000 model. That’s just for the fridge though – there’s no word yet on how much it will cost with the LCD option!
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Security in cloud computing has become a hot topic, after a number of banks across the United Sates have become victims of hacking. The project of shoring up these defenses is being handled by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is a division of the DoD.
Another project DARPA has been a part of is the development of a means to make identity online more secure. Passwords are convenient, but have never really been a foolproof form of security – DARPA’s initiative involves trying to come up with a way for a computer to identify its user by his or her overall behavior. As if that wasn’t a large enough monster to slay, they are now trying to tackle cloud computing issues.
The problem with cloud security is the number of clients that are involved – the security of the whole system is at the mercy of the least secure client, and this changes how the defenses need to be approached. Before, the idea had always been to build up a wall around data that needs to be secured – that was great until we moved the data to the cloud, where is can be accessed from so many different directions. Hackers just hop over or break through the shortest or weakest wall.
DARPA is hoping to implement a sort of community watch program in which security becomes a team effort – clients look after each other and lend defensive resources to one another to ward off attacks against weaker clients. The issue then however becomes about the protection of data from two groups – we don’t want to let hackers get into the community, but when security is being shared there needs to be a means of securing data from other cloud clients as well.
As the web becomes more interconnected, it is becoming more and more vital to see the Internet as its own world, and cloud computing as a series of individual systems operating within that world. This means that just as we all need to work together to protect the planet and individual communities therein, we also need to work together to protect ourselves online.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
Do you hate waiting while transferring data between your laptop and other devices such as a smartphone or a tablet? Well here is some good news for you – USB speeds are set to double from 5GB per second to 10GB per second according to an announcement made at CES this month.
And don’t worry about your current USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices – the new cables and connectors that allow for this 100% boost in speed will be compatible, so you can enjoy the lightning quick transfer speeds without having to upgrade your devices.
Thunderbolt already operates at 10GB per second, so this puts USB back on an equal footing speed wise with their primary competition. Thunderbolt has only started to gain a foothold very recently in a market that has up to now largely been dominated by USB.
Due to the majority of major tech companies continuing to be USB exclusive, it has taken a while for a legitimate competitor to arise. It will be interesting to see how this new development affects the battle now that Thunderbolt will no longer have the advantage of greater speed.
Microsoft is obviously one of the biggest names in the electronic device market, and they have thrown their lot in with USB for quite some time now. The advantage of sticking with USB versus switching to Thunderbolt is that there are literally billions of devices out there that are USB compatible. Now with faster connection speeds, transfers that weren’t possible because of time and data restraints will now complete twice as fast.
We are looking at some time in the middle of 2013 before this standard is completed – for now it is under review by the industry. Just a little while longer, and USB 3.0 (or SuperSpeed USB as it is being called) will be available.
|Print article||This entry was posted by EIC Social Media Team on February 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm, and is filed under Technology. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|