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June, 2018

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Sonar in Your Hand

Sonar measures distance by emitting a sound and clocking how long it takes the sound to travel. This works in any medium capable of transmitting sound such as water, air, or in the case of FingerPing, flesh and bone. FingerPing is a project at Georgia Tech headed by [Cheng Zhang] which measures hand position by sending soundwaves through the thumb and measuring the time on four different receivers. These readings tell which bones the sound travels through and allow the device to figure out where the thumb is touching. Hand positions like this include American Sign Language one through ten.

From the perspective of discreetly one through ten on a mobile device, this opens up a lot of possibilities for computer input while remaining pretty unobtrusive. We see prototypes which are more capable of reading gestures but also draw attention if you wear them on a bus. It is a classic trade-off between convenience and function but this type of reading is unique and could combine with other bio signals for finer results.

Thank you, [QES], for the tip.

…read more

Source:: Hackaday

The Quest To Find Nuclear Fuel On the Moon

Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East reports:
India’s space program wants to go where no nation has gone before — to the south side of the moon. And once it gets there, it will study the potential for mining a source of waste-free nuclear energy that could be worth trillions of dollars. The nation’s equivalent of NASA will launch a rover in October to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed….

[A]ccomplishing feats on the cheap has been a hallmark of the agency since the 1960s. The upcoming mission will cost about $125 million — or less than a quarter of Snap Inc. co-founder Evan Spiegel’s compensation last year, the highest for an executive of a publicly traded company, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index… The upcoming launch of Chandrayaan-2 includes an orbiter, lander and a rectangular rover. The six-wheeled vehicle, powered by solar energy, will collect information for at least 14 days and cover an area with a 400-meter radius. The rover will send images to the lander, and the lander will transmit those back to ISRO for analysis. A primary objective, though, is to search for deposits of helium-3. Solar winds have bombarded the moon with immense quantities of helium-3 because it’s not protected by a magnetic field like Earth is.
The European Space Agency points out that helium-3 isotope isn’t radioactive and “would not produce dangerous waste products.” And one former member of the NASA Advisory Council estimates that the moon-derived fuel could generate enough power to meet the world’s energy demands for between two at least two centuries.

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Source:: Slashdot

Ask Slashdot: Is There a ‘Gig Economy’ Site For Tech Skills?

“Where I can meet up with people who just need solutions implemented?” asks Slashdot reader datavirtue:
Somewhere people can go when they have a solution designed in-house with documented requirements and are in need of a competent engineer(s) to assist with implementation. Where timelines and price estimates and rates are well defined and enforced. If they like me, and agree to the terms, we can proceed with the project — expecting solid deliveries at each milestone….
I have been on some gig projects where the relationship was well structured by a third party and it was a lot of fun. I know a lot of engineers who would use a system like this if it streamlines entering the freelance tech market for them. People who would rarely take gigs otherwise. I have looked around but the services feel dead. I have been approached by startups in the past wanting to sign me up their service…but they didn’t really go anywhere.
The original submission complains that many projects end up going to consulting firms that just scrounge up candidates from job boards. But what’s the alternative? “Am I missing some great online community or website that has already solved this?”

Leave your own thoughts in the comments. Is there a ‘gig economy’ site for tech skills?

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Source:: Slashdot

Compulab releases MintBox Mini 2 PC with Linux Mint 19 pre-installed

Announced earlier this year, the fanless mini-PC has a $299 starting price and ships with a quad-core Intel Celeron processor and the latest flavor of Mint. …read more

Source:: ZDNet

Microsoft Re-Launches Its Classic ‘IntelliMouse’

An anonymous reader quotes HotHardware:
Every so often, a company will tap into our penchant for nostalgia. That is the case right now with Microsoft bringing back its iconic IntelliMouse, which was first introduced back in 1996… Microsoft continued to update the IntelliMouse for several years, up through 2003 when it released the IntelliMouse 3.0. The new ‘Classic IntellMouse’ for 2018 is based on that 15-year-old design with the same classic ergonomic look and feel, but with improved performance and features built around modern technology.

So, what exactly is different? “We improved two really important factors, the tracking sensor and the tactility and feel of the buttons. What we know our fans will see and feel is that it’s the exact same shape and size of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 from 2003. However, underneath the hood it’s all brand-new technology, brand new mechanical engineering and brand-new structures so it’s a lot more rigid than the original. The build quality is really excellent,” Microsft explains.
HardOCP notes that Microsoft has also released “a fantastic Rube Goldberg machine video unveiling the mouse.”

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Source:: Slashdot

Gyrotourbillion Blesses The Eyes, Hard to Say

Clock movements are beautifully complex things. Made up of gears and springs, they’re designed to tick away and keep accurate time. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of the universe, various sources of error tend to creep in – things like temperature changes, mechanical shocks, and so on. In the quest for ever better timekeeping, watchmakers decided to try and rotate the entire escapement and balance wheel to counteract the changing effect of gravity as the watch changed position in regular use.

They’re mechanical works of art, to be sure, and until recently, reserved for only the finest and most luxurious timepieces. As always, times change, and tourbillions are coming down in price thanks to efforts by Chinese manufacturers entering the market with lower-cost devices. But hey – you can always just make one at home.

That’s right – it’s a 3D printed gyrotourbillion! Complete with a 3D printed watch spring, it’s an amazing piece of engineering that would look truly impressive astride any desk. All that’s required to produce it is a capable 3D printer and some off-the-shelf bearings and you’ve got a horological work of art.

It’s not the first 3D-printed tourbillion we’ve seen, but we always find such intricate builds to be highly impressive. We can’t wait to see what comes next – if you’re building one on Stone Henge scale for Burning Man, be sure to let us know. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Keith for the tip!]

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Source:: Hackaday

2018 iPhone X with USB-C: Why we want it but won’t get it – CNET

Commentary: 30-pin. Lightning. USB-C? Get your dongles ready. …read more

Source:: CNet

Shure’s ‘ultimate earbud’ gets a $1,000 price cut – CNET

Ears-on with the $1,999 Shure KSE1200, the “cheap” version of the brilliant KSE1500 electrostatic in-ear headphone. …read more

Source:: CNet

Google Downranks 65,000 Pirate Sites In Search Results

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Torrent Freak: In a comment to Australian media, Google states that it has demoted 65,000 [pirate] sites in search results, a list that’s still growing every week. In total, the company received DMCA takedown requests for over 1.8 million domain names, so a little under 4% of these are downranked. The result of the measures is that people are less likely to see a pirate site when they type “watch movie X” or “download song Y.” This means that these sites see a drop in visitors from Google and a quite significant one too. “Demotion results in sites losing around 90 percent of their visitors from Google Search,” a Google spokesperson told The Age.

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Source:: Slashdot

SimpliSafe home security locks down a $1 billion investment – CNET

The money comes from the private equity investment firm Hellman & Friedman and will help fund the company’s expansion into international markets. …read more

Source:: CNet

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