Go ahead, make its day. A new gun-toting sentry robot, developed by Samsung Techwin Co. for the South Korean government, may soon be coming to a disputed border near you. The SGR-A1 robot uses a low-light camera and pattern recognition software to distinguish humans from animals or other objects and, if necessary, can fire its builtâ''in machine gun—a Daewoo K3. Myung Ho Yoo, a principal research engineer at Samsung’s Optics & Digital Imaging Division in Seongnam City, just southeast of Seoul, says the robot is the first of its kind to be commercialized. South Korea’s need for such a robot is clear, he says. Unlike the border between the United States and Mexico or even those separating Israel from the occupied territories, the demilitarized zone that stretches for 250 kilometers between South and North Korea is patrolled along its entire length. With one guard post every 50 meters along the southern side, two guards per post, and twelve … [Read more...] about A Robotic Sentry For Korea’s Demilitarized Zone
S korea time zone
Want to revolutionize the electronics industry, become a multimillionaire, and earn your place as an immortal in the tech pantheon? Your job is simple: Figure out a cost-effective way to make really good, reasonably large crystals of pure gallium nitride. With such crystals as the foundation for the growth of devices made of the same material, manufacturers would have a far richer yield of the violet lasers on which the optoelectronics industry increasingly depends. For example, the short wavelengths of these lasers are needed to read the hyperfine, data-rich line that rings the discs in Blu-ray players and in the latest game machines. Better gallium nitride would also let automakers make the power-handling circuitry in their hybrid electric vehicles more efficient, improving mileage and possibly even affordability. And with a fabulously good crystal foundation, LEDs could perform better, speeding the demise of the century-old incandescent bulb. So far, though, gallium nitride … [Read more...] about The World’s Best Gallium Nitride
This is part of IEEE Spectrum's Special Report: The Day Analog TV Dies Of the brave souls who bought any of the 13 176 digital television sets shipped in 1998, let it be said that never have so many paid so much for so few hours of programming. Sets went on sale as early as August, yet some buyers live in markets where there is no digital TV (DTV) to watch at all—and will not be for some time. That includes San Diego, Calif., where retailer Tom Campbell told IEEE Spectrum that his aggressive Dow Stereo chain in 1998 delivered nearly 100 sets to customers unlikely to receive terrestrial fs until late this year. Conspicuous consumption? Perhaps. Faith in the promise of progress? Certainly. But though digital programming is still offered in only a minority of locations, consumers have good reason to buy the US $7000-plus sets as a down payment on the future. For one thing, manufacturers have configured the digital models for the early market, and for another, they have included … [Read more...] about Digital TV in the U.S.
Examine a night composite satellite image of the Earth. The areas that are well lit are, for the most part, regions of wealth and well-being. Darkness represents wilderness or poverty. A very small feature is particularly interesting. South Korea shines brightly while North Korea is dark; the demilitarized zone is the clear boundary. With the Berlin Wall gone, this border is now the most vivid illustration of the difference between communism and capitalism. Yet North Korea can, any time it so desires, make a light brighter than a thousand suns. At least that is the opinion of Florida Senator Bob Graham, chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. “North Korea has at least two nuclear weapons,” he stated bluntly on Meet the Press recently. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is more cautious. In August 2001 he said that North Korea has the nuclear material to have between two and five nuclear weapons, but he did not claim that any had been built.The contrast between … [Read more...] about North Korea-the Next Iraq?
Instagram isn’t just about selfies and celebrities. It is a legitimate venue for photography, too. Time Magazine has started recognizing Instagram photographers who have been using the photo sharing site as a powerful medium to display their work. And for 2014 the publication named documentary photographer Matt Black as its Instagram Photographer of the Year for his work documenting the poverty in California’s Central Valley.Black joined Instagram in December 2013 for an easy place to showcase his work, which depicts the grisly conditions of California’s agricultural region. Farmers there are facing one of the most severe droughts in California history, and the region is also one of the poorest in the nation. Black grew up in the Central Valley, and told Time that it is “this kind of vast unknown zone” that rarely gets attention. He had ambitions of permanently leaving where he grew up to pursue a photography career, but he had … [Read more...] about Time Magazine Instagram Photographer of 2014 puts lens on impoverished California region
Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad is a figure mired in controversy. A viciously violent civil war, started by his own forces instigating conflict with protesters, is destroying the country he continues to rule. More than a hundred thousand citizens have been killed in the conflict. To many, many people, Assad is a stone-cold dictator clinging to power despite mounting casualties and international pressure to broker peace.Assad and his regime know that he is widely considered a despot by Islamists, pro-democracy activists, and international human rights groups, including the United Nations. And they know that the war’s impact on Syria’s communications infrastructure is making it difficult for people to piece together a coherent perspective on the violence. Assad’s team is rushing to fill the information void with positive images – and now they’ve folded Instagram into their propaganda campaign.Looking at Assad’s Instagram account, you’d think he … [Read more...] about Instagram: The dictator’s choice! How social media lets us mingle with villains
Wine lovers have Napa Valley. Fashionistas have Paris. And Elvis diehards have Graceland.Devotees visit them to sample the finest, see the latest in the industry, and soak in the history of the greats. But where should geeks book their tickets to when it’s time to get out of the cube and pursue their own niche interests abroad?We found out where. Whether you want to stock your gadget pile, express your fandom with a visit to your favorite company headquarters, or experience some of the most important scientific and technological sites in the world firsthand, we’ve sifted through the options, talked to the experts, and selected 10 of the coolest science and tech destinations in the world. So open a new browser tab with Orbitz, request some vacation days, and check out some of the best spots to geek out across the world.Akihabara District, Tokyo, JapanAkihabaraNews. “We have things here that you don’t have in other countries, but Akihabara is the niche of the … [Read more...] about Top 10 Geek Travel Destinations
Supercomputers A cutaway rendering of the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) detector that will be installed nearly a mile deep near Lead, S.D. The central chamber will be filled with 10 metric tons of purified liquid xenon that produces flashes of light and electrical pulses in particle interactions. An array of detectors, known as photomultiplier tubes, at the top and bottom of the liquid xenon tank are designed to pick up these particle signals. (Credit: Matt Hoff/Berkeley Lab) LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), a next-generation dark matter detector that will be at least 100 times more sensitive than its predecessor, has cleared another approval milestone and is on schedule to begin its deep-underground hunt for theoretical particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles, in 2020.WIMPs are among the top prospects for explaining dark matter, the unseen stuff that we have observed only through gravitational effects.Last month, LZ received an important U.S. Department of Energy approval (known … [Read more...] about Construction of World’s Most Sensitive Dark Detector Moves Forward
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) will host the Web site for the next two World Cup soccer tournaments under an agreement announced Tuesday with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).Yahoo! said it has exclusive rights to produce, market and host the FIFAworldcup.com site, and will sell site sponsorships, along with FIFA. The deal covers the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, and the 2006 event in Germany."Marketing and sponsorship packages available on FIFAworldcup.com also allow Yahoo! to demonstrate its ability to deliver on advertisers' goals by reaching their targeted audiences with creative, relevant and compelling solutions," Yahoo! president and chief operating officer Jeff Mallett said.Yahoo! has been trying to boost revenue and expand its offerings to offset money lost from a widespread downturn in the Internet advertising market. The company has said partnerships and joint ventures would become a big part of its business.Terms of the agreement were not … [Read more...] about Yahoo! Gets World Cup Contract
When we have a hostile country regularly lobbing missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again -- and that is only if we forget the issues with fallout and the potential for a nuclear winter (granted, that could be good news for the global warming folks).However, the approaches to cutting the legs out from under North Korea largely have been in-the-box thinking: economic sanctions that require China's cooperation (and aren't working); military and assassination options that would trigger retaliation that likely would result in a lot of us glowing at night; and revolution efforts that have little or no chance of succeeding.Still, there are companies that have been working on technologies that effectively could contain North Korea's missiles and turn their leader into more of a vocal than a physical problem. Since I'm on the West Coast and … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Tech Nerf North Korea?