WHICH WAY TO THE GAMES?: With the start of the 2012 Olympics drawing closer, thousands of people from many countries are on their way to London for the games. An app called VoiceTra4U-M aims to help them all find their way around. It translates voices from 13 languages and text from an additional 10. It's designed to work best with travel-related questions such as how to reach a destination rather than just general conversation. The speech or text is sent to a remote server for translation. I hope the local phone networks are ready for all the extra traffic. Discovery News explains.
A CHIP IN THE GOAL: Goal or no goal? It may soon be settled by a chip in the football. The International Football Association Board have now approved 2 systems for use in the Premier League: Hawk-Eye and GoalRef. Hawk-Eye watches each goal with 6 cameras to decide if the ball crosses the line. If it does the referee is sent an encrypted signal. The GoalRef system uses a chip inside the ball and low magnetic waves around the goal. A change in the magnetic field behind the goal-line indicates a goal was scored, and again a signal is sent to the ref. I guess the worlds of football fans and hackers may soon intersect. BBC details.
MIXED MESSAGES: The UnLoc system is an attempt to combine all kinds of data to give people a way to navigate indoors, where GPS is useless. It aggregates signal data using wi-fi antennas, cellular radios, compasses, gyroscopes and accelerometers to navigate. For example, an accelerometer may detect a lift, or a series of wifi access points could mark out a corridor. In tests the system showed it could be accurate to within 1.7 metres. In larger buildings such as universities, hospitals and large department stores this kind of navigation could be extremely useful. Now the crime show detectives should be able to use this too. Scientific American has further info. Check out the video.
SPEEDY INTERNET: There's a new 10 Gigabit Internet connection linking China and the US so research organisations can more easily and quickly share data. In a recent test they transferred 24 gigabytes of genomic data between countries in less than 30 seconds. An earlier transfer of a file the same size across the standard Internet took more than 26 hours. That's fast. Just think what spammers could do with that. Kurzweil AI elaborates.
GLOBAL ROAMING: When the little robot roamed around a laboratory in France it wasn't just doing its own thing. Instead a man in Israel, lying inside an fMRI scanner, was controlling the robot's movements by thinking about them. Before the experiment researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel worked with their tester to learn his brain patterns. Then they developed software to translate his thoughts into robot movements. Meanwhile the researchers also managed to convince the robot's driver he was present in the lab in France by surprising him with a mirror. That's one way to handle the whole avatar thing. BBC has more.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz