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New technologies that excite the geeks

BY  Candice Jones , 1 November 20080 comments


Crashing Hubble

Nasa`s planned maintenance mission to the Hubble Space Telescope will be postponed until next year. The telemetry from the space telescope streaming down to Nasa`s screens suddenly went red; Hubble`s command system for sending data to the ground had failed suddenly. Not quite the blue screen of death, but Hubble decided to go into `safe mode`. The astronauts, who were planning a maintenance trip next month, apparently don`t have the training to repair the current failure. New workers will need to be briefed before the mission can be resumed. One would think the original team knows where the reset button is.

China is big brother

Do you remember why television was introduced so late in South Africa? China may not be banning the internet, but it`s certainly making it completely unusable for its citizens - and international companies are making it easy for that country. The latest scandal is that a Skype joint venture is monitoring and archiving China`s internet text conversations that include politically charged words, as well as those conducted over voice using the Skype service. Makes one wonder why companies like Skype, which punt internet freedom in Western countries, allow governments like China to destroy its essence.

Thinking cap

"Put your thinking cap on" used to be a trite phrase used by my mother to encourage me to work on my maths homework on my own. If I had had one, maths may have been among the subjects I would have easily passed. Kids today will be pleased to know that scientists have finally developed a thinking cap and, yes, adults will get a chance to unleash their brain power too. The theory behind it is that the cap, which looks a little like a hairnet, will be able to turn different parts of your brain on and off. Its intention is to ensure that whatever brain power you use is maxed to its full potential. We`re wondering what will happen after the first date?

Worldcup robots

Engineers have built humanoid robots that can recognise colour. How they do this is by processing information received via cameras mounted on each robot`s head. The robots have been programmed to play soccer, and engineers are hoping to have a fully autonomous team by 2050. Like most American research, these robots are also tipped to become surveillance tools and will secretly record suspicious dealings taking place in back alleyways, for example. We just hope the soccer bots will one day beat the pants off Manchester United.

Tags: Innovation  


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