As a report from the Obama administration warns that one in four bridges in the United States needs significant repair or cannot handle automobile traffic, engineers are employing wireless sensors and flying robots that could have the potential to help authorities monitor the condition of bridges in real time. — ScienceDaily
Samsung is making a big push into being the center of the smart home today with its acquisition of SmartThings, which allows people to sync up their connected gadgets onto a single smartphone app and hardware hub. — forbes.com
Two months ago, after much lobbying by the biggest satellite company in North America, DigitalGlobe, the US government relaxed restrictions to allow for commercially available satellite imagery up to 25 cm resolution—twice as detailed as the previous limit of 50 cm [...] The extra sharp images from Worldview-3 will greatly increase the maps' level of detail to the point where it can make out 10-inch objects, which means Google will soon be able to see “manholes and mailboxes” [...] — Motherboard
DigitalGlobe launched the first commercial satellite yesterday. Google, Microsoft, and several US government agencies are customers of DigitalGlobe. Such sharp images would be able to make out human faces, which, coupled with facial recognition software, could start to sound like a sci-fi...
Ridescout, the “Kayak of ground transportation” that aggregates over 300 rideshare services, announced today that it will integrate carpooling into its app. This move comes on the heels of recent announcements from Uber and Lyft, which on the same day earlier this month revealed they would gradually begin to allow their users to carpool. While ridesharing has up to this point been a mostly single-user service, Ridescout’s announcement reinforces a general trend toward multi-user integration. — urbanful.org
From buckling sidewalks to potholed thoroughfares to storm drains that can’t handle a little rain, the infrastructure that holds [Los Angeles] together is suffering from years of deferred maintenance. Bringing pipes that deliver water to 3.9 million people up to snuff could cost $4 billion [...] The bill for repaving streets will be almost that much, according to estimates from a city consultant, and patching or replacing cracked sidewalks will require $640 million. — Bloomberg BusinessWeek
"SolarLeaf" has been described as the world's first bioreactive façade that can help further research into algae as a potential renewable energy source. Designed by ARUP, SSC Strategic Science Consult, and Colt International, the façade was recently selected as one of 15 nominees for the prestigious Zumtobel Group Award 2014 in the award program's newest category, "Applied Innovations". — bustler.net
Friday, August 8:Guggenheim Bullies Journalist: Molly Crabapple reports for Vice on inhumane immigrant labor conditions on Saadiyat island in the UAE, where a new arm of the Guggenheim (and Louvre, and NYU) is being built. The Guggenheim holds its cards close and skirts responsibility when...
While still experimental, engineering techniques drawn from origami promise the development of pop-up devices that could assemble themselves from flat, composite materials cheaply and efficiently, the [Harvard and MIT] researchers said. Potential applications range from self-assembling satellites to shape-shifting robots that could be used in search-and-rescue missions. — online.wsj.com
Researchers at Harvard University and MIT have engineered a self-assembling paper robot inspired by the Japanese paper-folding artform origami. Since the journal Science published the report yesterday, the bots have been widely described as the "world's first Transformer."On that note, paper...
SketchFactor ... is a Manhattan-based navigation app that crowdsources user experiences along with publicly available data to rate the relative "sketchiness" of certain areas in major cities. [...]
The founders are also bracing for potential complications from an app that asks anonymous users to judge a neighborhood's sketchiness. After all, fear can be subjective. And the site could be vulnerable to criticisms regarding the degree to which race is used to profile a neighborhood. — crainsnewyork.com
Downey needed something tactile to work with, and he found it in a kids' toy. Spread out before him on the table are stacks of embossed plans ... marked up with brightly colored wax sticks. [...]
The sticks warm to the touch and bend easily; they can make precise angles, and—crucially for Downey—their tackiness makes them stick to paper. "Once I realized that, I thought, 'Oh, I could use that to draw on top of an embossed drawing.'" Suddenly, he had a way not just to read, but to make. — sf.curbed.com
But the intricate fantasy environments imagined for games like GTA V may well prove more useful than they seem. Now the technologies and tools developed by this multibillion dollar entertainment industry are making changes in the real world.
John Isaacs, a lecturer in computing at the University of Abertay, is one of those exploring the possibilities of game engines. In 2011, he developed an urban mapping application for his PhD project. — theguardian.com
The installation you see above is a project by Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki called "Wink," their entry into Kobe Biennial's Art Container Contest. The kaleidoscope concept uses mirrors (in keeping with Sir David Brewster's classic), but is also held together by zippers. Shirane and Miyazaki claim this makes it the first "architecture" based on zippers; proving you can create an adaptable, reconfigurable space using the same tech found in your pants. — engadget.com
A hacker with a smartphone can unlock your front door [...] Criminals and intelligence agencies grab data from your home thermostat to plan robberies or track your movements. According to computer-security researchers, this is the troubling future of the Internet of Things, the term for an all-connected world where appliances like thermostats, health-tracking wristbands, smart cars and medical devices communicate with people and each other through the Internet. — Al Jazeera
While security is seen as the obvious initial use for Jr., Roambotics has broader plans for the future. Telepresence is one, but the self-directed robot could also be used to spontaneously document social gatherings, or to keep an eye on sick or elderly relatives.
There's also the possibility of using Jr. as a 3D mapping system, effectively turning it into a Google Project Tango camera on wheels. — slashgear.com
There’s no smooth sailing for at least one of Google’s mysterious barges.
Parts of the $4 million boat, located in Portland, Maine, are being sold for scrap, a Google spokesperson has confirmed to Fortune.
Google’s three barges sparked a media storm of inquiries when they first appeared in 2013, raising questions about their purpose. Were they floating data centers? A secret lab to design and launch Google’s next stunning project? — fortune.com
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