Let’s say you want a radio-controlled flying insect (and really, who doesn’t?) Sure, you could go out and get a Wowee Dragonfly. But that’s made of plastic, and is really just a radio-controlled plane with flapping wings. Booooring! Instead, you could get yourself a rhinoceros beetle, stick electrodes in its brain and presto! Radio controlled flying insects real enough to frighten any annoying little sister.
Want to learn ballroom dancing? Don’t feel like having all that icky physical contact with a human being? Well, you’re in luck! Japanese researchers have invented a ballroom dancing robot partner for you. Once again, technology comes to the aide of misanthropes and shut-ins everywhere who want to avoid actual human contact.
Wired has this story about researchers at UCLA coming up with what has to be the most assinine form of DRM yet: a DVD that will be encoded so it will only play for the person who specifically bought it. This is accomplished through some handwaving mumbo-jumbo involving that recent poster child of privacy invasion: the RFID chip.
One of the neat things about the ever-dropping price of technology is how people end up using off-the-shelf parts to create things that just a short time ago were the domain of government-funded organizations or large corporations.
Last year, one such project prompted governments into action as a man in New Zealand started to document his homemade cruise missle project.
A bit more on the benign side of things is this high-altitude unmanned glider project. Capable of being released from the edge of the atmosphere, such a glider could be used for all sorts of research, including a very cheap way of performing aerial surveys of remote areas.
The focus of the research is on helping the disabled be able to control computers and by extensions, lights, robotic arms, etc. Personally, I can’t wait until they just release the cap for general use. Not having to push a mouse around would be a big relief to my wrist, but I wouldn’t want to have brain surgury just to be free from the threat of carpal tunnel syndrome.