NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are partnering to deliver an attachable inflatable room for the International Space Station. When expanded, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) measures 13 feet, but for the delivery to the space station by SpaceX, it can be compressed into a 7-foot tube. According to NASA, the BEAM should arrive at the space station in 2015 for a two-year technology demonstration of expandable space habitat technology.
Call it a victory for those of us who don't like to be digitally strip-searched: The TSA will remove airport body scanners, which privacy advocates likened to strip searches, after their software provider failed to meet a congressional deadline to create software that displayed less-revealing passenger images.
As Bloomburg reports, last year TSA removed 76 of the millimeter-wave scanners; in 2013, the group will get rid of the remaining 174 scanners that are positioned in U.S. airports. (However, they will continue to use 60 machines manufactured by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., another supplier of body scanners. These will be moved to the busiest airports to keep waiting times down.)
No more "opting out" for this frequent flyer! Well, hopefully.
If you need some unconventional help with sticking to your diet -- and respond well to shame -- this robot chicken, created by University of Manchester scientists, will squack at you when you open your snack cabinet. You program what you want the bird to say and when you open a cabinet, its text-to-speech capability will say it. As an added "bonus," it can automatically send a tweet when you open the cabinet, telling your followers that you're cheating on your diet.
For DIYers, the video shows you how to build one of these robot chickens.
At the CES show last week in Las Vegas, many were surprised to learn that Google's Glass project has some very high-profile competition: Verizon's Golden-i voice-controlled augmented reality glasses.
The device features high-speed mobile internet, a 14-megapixel camera and gesture control capabilities, so the image moves around as you move your head. It runs a version of Android and supports Verizon's 3G/4G/LTE, so you could take it pretty much anywhere.
The best part of Verizon's Golden-i? The fact that it exists at all. The glasses will be available in about a year, Verizon predicts, pushing Google even more to make their glasses mainstream and user-friendly. In the end, consumers will win from this competition -- and end up with an exciting, innovative device that will actually add to our everyday lives.
At InHardFocus, we're always interested in how introducing new technology into old products and services has made life more efficient and productive. But one place that computers have been slow to make our life easier is in the most importance place of all: our homes. Home automation system are catching on in an attempt to change that.
For example, many readers have probably heard about ADT Pulse, which utilizes Z-Wave technology to offer homeowners an integrated home automation solution to improve inefficiencies and give you more control over every room in your house. Using the touchscreen keypad in your home, the online portal accessible from any computer or the app on any tablet, smartphone, or other web-enabled device, you can monitor and retain control of your house no matter where you are.
Here are 10 ways home automation technology will make your life easier.
With a remote security feature, you are connected and in control no matter where you are. You’ll be notified 24/7 if there is a burglary or intrusion into your home. Running late this morning and forgot to set your alarm? No worries; arm it with a few swipes on your phone. If your sister needs to pick up that slow cooker for the holiday feast, but you're stuck at work, no need to rush. Just disarm the security system and unlock the door without leaving the office.
Carbon Monoxide and Flood Sensors
A vacation to the warm, sunny beach may be just what you need during the rainy season, but it’s hard to relax when you are worried about your home. With this system, you’ll be instantly notified if there's a problem with your pipes, or if there's a flood (or potential for one) in your home. Also, public health officials have worked hard to educate homeowners about the dangers of high levels of carbon monoxide.
Smoke and Fire Monitoring
If the smoke and heat sensors go off, you and the fire department or other local authorities will be notified instantly.
Save Money with Lighting and Thermostat Automation
This one is especially cool. Not only does leaving lights on or having the thermostat on too high when you are not home hurt the environment, it can also hurt your wallet. Conserve energy and save money with automated schedules. You can also control them in real-time remotely, ensuring that you go green and save some serious green.
Automate Your Small Appliances
In addition to controlling the staples of your house, like alarms and thermostats, you can hook-up just about any small appliance. Crock pot, anyone?
In addition to receiving email and/or text notifications if anything isn’t quite as it should be, you can also access real-time video of what's happening in or around your house. If anything is out of place, you’ll know and be able to investigate with video feeds. If you notice something went wrong, you can go back and access saved video and picture feeds.
Latchkey Kid Monitoring
You won't have to worry if your kids made it home when you have door and window sensors. Just add a notification to email or text you if a window or door opens between when school lets out and before you get home from work to make sure they're home on time and safe.
Setting up automated actions for reoccurring events is also super easy. For example, if your housekeeper comes at the same time every week, the house can unlock automatically at that time. Save yourself a few steps by having all lights in the house go off when you set the alarm.
Share Your Memories
Some might argue that the worst part of security systems is the ugly monitor. Now, you can link your touchscreen monitor to your Flickr account, so you can display your fondest memories on your wall.
Peace of Mind
Of course, the main benefit of the increased access to information and greater control of your home is peace of mind. Iit’s time to let computerized technology help ease the burden of this fast-paced world -- not add to it.
Now, we want to know: What feature of home automation are you most excited about?