Technology To Bring Touch Sensor To Digital World Through Touchscreen Surfaces

Oh boy, soon we will be able to feel whatever machines want us to feel!  The researchers of EPFL’s Integrated Actuators Laboratory (LAI) in Neuchâtel in Switzerland come up with a technology which allows electronic devices to manipulate the layer of air between your fingertips and the electronic devices’ surfaces, allowing people to feel whatever surfaces the electronic devices’ touchscreen technology or some sort of touch surface technology is designed to mimic.

It’s not yet clear but I suspect that such electronic devices that utilize this technology might be able to have touchscreen surfaces mimic whatever materials on the wimp of software.  So, imagine one can download an app on iPhone to have iPhone touchscreen mimics and projects a sort of surface/material which closely correlates the digital images (i.e., photos).  It sounds so science fiction, isn’t it?

If this technology can present a photo of a flower to a user in a way that a user can feel the photo of a flower as if he or she is touching a real flower, then it will be one hot technology for sure.  Otherwise, I can still see the awesomeness of this technology, but I won’t be as happy as in the case of actually being able to feel the digital image as if it is a real thing.  I guess, it’s human nature for us to want more than less, and so I end this post with a link to YouTube‘s video which delves into this technology in details.

Source:  http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-touchscreen-video.html

Artificial Skins From Nanotube Springs Sense Pressures

Sound like science fiction when robots can feel pain?  Not sure if we’re at such a technological phase yet, but Stanford researchers claim that they are working on stretchable,  transparent skin-like nanotube springs which can sense pressures.  This might one day allow people with artificial body parts to sense pressures such as pain.  The video after the break briefly introduces you to stretchable nanotube springs skin-like sensor.

Source:  http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/24/robots-will-soon-get-touch-sensitive-skin/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+
Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29

Your Laptop Can Help Predict Earthquakes

Recent earthquakes from Haiti to Japan remind us how fragile our human existence could be.  Naturally disasters such as earthquakes can deface a city, and such calamities can really destroy lives.  We see how Japan is going through, and obviously the whole world is wishing the best for the people of Japan — hoping the livings can go on and rebuild their lives while mourning for their loved ones who had perished in such a catastrophic event.  These devastating earthquake events are motivating scientists throughout the world to come up with ways that can predict earthquakes with pinpoint accuracy.  Only with pinpoint earthquake predictions can allow people to prepare for the worse; better preparation may save more lives than not.  As of now, it seems scientists still haven’t yet found a way to deliver pinpoint accuracy in making earthquake predictions.

While the scientists are working on delivering more accurate earthquake predictions, a collective effort of everyday people may also be very helpful in making accurate earthquake predictions.  We don’t have to be scientists to be able to contribute somethings in battling earthquakes, because great minds and great folks out there have create a way for everyday people to participate in the anticipation of earthquake predictions.  How?  Head over to the link (http://qcn.stanford.edu/index.php) and you’ll be greeted by a big bold red title says Welcome to the Quake-Catcher Network. Quake-Catcher Network allows you to install a software that utilizes your laptop’s sensor, perhaps acceleration sensor, so you can participate in a network which involves in making earthquake predictions.  In theory, laptops and other computers in the network can send data faster than each earthquake can materialize in full scale, and so people will be able to sense an earthquake before it actually happens.  Obviously, people who are in earthquake prone areas are best candidates for utilizing Quake-Catcher Network software and its network.

As other major resource and processor-power hungry computing projects, Quake-Catcher Network utilizes BOINC to help distribute computing power from processors of many laptops and computers throughout the interconnected network of group of people such as you and I.  This is why besides installing Quake-Catcher Network software, you also have to install BOINC.  Getting BOINC to work, you also need to sign up an account with BOINC.  Luckily, Quake-Catcher Network website has tutorial pages where you can follow the instructions on how to install and utilize the software.  Also, if your laptop or computer is dated before 2006, then you must request USB sensor from them so you can participate in making earthquake predictions.

In conclusion, I think it’s great that everyone of us can have a choice to participate in making earthquake predictions.  This kind of technology is cheap and yet may save lives.  It’s a type of technology that inspires you a lot!

Source:  http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/turn-your-laptop-into-an-earthquake-sensor/3930