Based on conversations we’ve had with iRobot CEO Colin Angle, we’re expecting that within the next six months or so, robot vacuums will be able to understand our homes on a much more sophisticated and useful level than ever before. Specifically, they’ll be able to generate maps that persist between cleaning sessions, and these maps will allow the robots to identify and remember specific rooms and adjust their cleaning behavior accordingly. (Neato is also implementing this kind of capability.) For example, if your robot vacuum knows where your kitchen is, it can respond to commands like “Go clean the kitchen,” or autonomously clean there as often as it needs to. At IROS in September, we got a bit of a sneak peak into how iRobot is going to make this happen, and how much of a difference it can make to the speed and efficiency of home navigation. It’s a big difference, and it can even work on your older (and affordable) Roomba … [Read more...] about iRobot Testing Software to Make Sense of All Rooms in a House
If that makes sense
Sprint has spent billions of dollars with Clearwire rolling out the first 4G network in the United States using WiMax technology—and has seen some success with 4G-capable devices like the HTC Evo 4G phone. However, speaking with the Financial Times, (subscription required) Hesse indicated Sprint might just build a 4G network using computing Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology that is currently being tested for deployment by Sprint, Verizon, and others. Further, if Sprint were to roll with LTE technology, Hesse allowed there would be “logic” to the idea that Sprint should merge with U.S. carrier T-Mobile.The details—and financing—behind such a move would be very complicated. Sprint’s primary motivation in switching to LTE would probably be to play on the same technological field as its primary competitors AT&T and Verizon, both of which will be using LTE 4G technology. Moreover, LTE rather than WiMax will by far be the dominant standard on … [Read more...] about Sprint: LTE and Merging with T-Mobile Might Make Sense
Reports in Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), and elsewhere have Internet giant Amazon.com working on building its own smartphone: apparently the idea is that the digital media and online retail giant wants to go up against the likes of the Apple iPhone and the rest of the Android empire with a device of its own, and is reportedly working with Foxconn (the mammoth Chinese company that manufacturers Apple’s i-devices) to build the handset.The reports got us thinking. If Amazon made a smartphone, there’s little doubt the company would make every effort to tap into Amazon’s digital content ecosystem — e-books, movies, tv shows, music, magazines, and more, just like the Kindle Fire. But the real play for an Amazon smartphone might be to tap into Amazon’s vast etailing ecosystem. And if an Amazon smartphone is a hit with consumers, it could be traditional retailers’ worst nightmare.And Amazon may have enough pieces in place to … [Read more...] about Why an Amazon smartphone makes sense
“What’s for dinner?” is a question as old as time itself – and it’s one of the most frustrating. Now, technology has an answer. A slew of Web and phone apps take into account what you have in your fridge, what you’re in the mood for, and how much time you have before answering that question. Many, also offer great grocery list features so that even when you’re at the grocery store, you’ll know that a bunch of fresh basil and take you from roast chicken breasts to Caprese salad. Mobile apps Epicurious When it comes to well-vetted recipes, Epicurious’ free app offers the best of the best with recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet (R.I.P.), and star chefs from around the world. Choose from a variety of categories from “Low-Carb Mains” and “Family Reunions” to recipes based on skill levels, including “I Can Barely Cook.” Or, start with a main ingredient, then choose a course, … [Read more...] about Hack your way to dinner with these apps that make sense of your fridge
We’ve heard rumors about a budget iPhone in the works for years now. Apple always generates a huge amount of interest in any new iPhone and the tech press is always ready for seduction. Various sources “in the know” about manufacturing, and self-proclaimed expert analysts, have been lining up to tell us that a budget iPhone is inevitable. These rumors often sound credible and are picked up across the mainstream press, from the Wall Street Journal to CNN. The problem is, a cheaper iPhone doesn’t make sense for Apple.Since the start of this year, just here at DT, we’ve reported on a ton of rumors: Apple may make a less expensive version of the iPhone, rumors of cheap iPhone, analysts think Apple will introduce affordable iPhone, could this be the budget iPhone, budget iPhone design to mix iPhone 5, iPod Touch, and iPod Classic, budget iPhone rumors re-emerge, and Apple prepares for budget iPhone in India. There have been many, many more related (usually … [Read more...] about Why a budget iPhone still doesn’t make sense
Now that the concept of cloud computing has become tech the topic du jour, the latest round of debate has centered on whether cloud computing can be extended into the enterprise in the form of private clouds to meet the unique requirements of individual organizations.Cloud computing zealots are vehemently opposed to this idea. They believe that the fundamental value proposition of cloud computing is the greater efficiencies and better economies that are derived from shared services. They are also suspicious that proponents of private clouds are either in-house IT people who are afraid of relinquishing their operations and responsibilities to third parties, or legacy software and system vendors who are threatened by today's new wave of more cost-effective solutions and services.While I think both of these concerns are well-founded and valid reasons to question the motives of today's private cloud advocates, I also think there is plenty of room for useful private clouds to prosper.First, … [Read more...] about ANALYSIS Do Private Clouds Make Sense?
Nokia is no stranger to acquisition rumors, and the latest has the company being bought out by Samsung. The handset manufacturer is experiencing pressure as new companies are usurping its hold over cheap phone production – the New York Time says companies like ZTE and Micromax are seriously challenging Nokia profits. Amid the companies many public financial issues is a new report from the Wall Street Journal saying Samsung is interested in buying the company – a claim Samsung and Nokia have both declined to comment on. “It seems like a market rumor and we don’t comment on rumors,” a spokesman for Samsung says.Just last week, Nokia said that rumors it was being acquired by Microsoft were “100-percent baseless.” The attention did drive its stock up however, a boost the struggling Nokia likely enjoyed. So is this just another round of stock-boosting rumors or potentially a deal in the making? Why it doesn’t make senseIt seems suspect that … [Read more...] about Does the Samsung-Nokia takeover rumor make sense?
The rumor is back: New reports have Microsoft preparing a version of its flagship Microsoft Office productivity applications for iOS — which almost certainly means Apple’s iPad, as well as the iPhone and maybe even the iPod touch. Although the speculation is not new, it comes with some intriguing new details. First, Microsoft might be looking to launch a version of Office for iOS around the same time Windows 8 tablets start to hit the market. Second, Microsoft might also be working on a version of Microsoft Office for Android.Does it make any sense for Microsoft to make versions of its Office applications for any mobile platform other than Windows or Windows Phone? Wouldn’t that undermine the value of Microsoft’s core platforms? Or is it actually a savvy move that not only gives Microsoft a new revenue stream, but helps keep the software giant in a mobile technology world that’s — so far — mostly passing it by?The reportsThe latest batch of … [Read more...] about Why Office for the iPad and Android makes sense
Data Analysis In a study of people drawing their fingers over a flat surface that has two “virtual bumps,” the research team is the first to find that, under certain circumstances, the subjects feel only one bump when there really are two. Better yet, the researchers can explain why the brain comes to this conclusion.Their new mathematical model and experimental results on “haptic illusions” could one day lead to flat-screen displays featuring active touch-back technology, such as making your touchscreen’s keyboard actually feel like a keyboard. Tactile information also could benefit the blind, users of dashboard technology in cars, players of video games and more.“Touch is so important in our real world, but it is neglected in the digital world,” said J. Edward Colgate, an expert in touch-based (haptic) systems. He is the Allen and Johnnie Breed University Professor of Design at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied … [Read more...] about Bringing Texture to Touchscreens: How the Brain Makes Sense of Data from Fingers
Data Analysis RICHLAND, Wash. – If you think keeping up with what's happening via Twitter, Facebook and other social media is like drinking from a fire hose, multiply that by 7 billion — and you'll have a sense of what Court Corley wakes up to every morning.Corley, a data scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has created a powerful digital system capable of analyzing billions of tweets and other social media messages in just seconds, in an effort to discover patterns and make sense of all the information. His social media analysis tool, dubbed "SALSA" (SociAL Sensor Analytics), combined with extensive know-how — and a fair degree of chutzpah — allows someone like Corley to try to grasp it all."The world is equipped with human sensors — more than 7 billion and counting. It's by far the most extensive sensor network on the planet. What can we learn by paying attention?" Corley said.Among the payoffs Corley envisions … [Read more...] about Making Sense of Patterns in the Twitterverse