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Scientist Working on Technology To Help Read Unopened Books


Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology have come together to develop a new technology that will allow users to read a book without even opening it. The results were published in the scientific journal, Nature Communications. Upon its use on a stack of newspapers with one letter printed on each, the system was able to identify the letters printed on the top nine sheets correctly. The scientists stated that the system could be useful to analyze any materials organized in thin layers, like on coatings on machine parts and others. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, think that the new system will be of monumental help in looking at some antique books that are too fragile even to touch.The system functions on a set of algorithms that read images from individual sheets of paper put up in a stack and interprets the distorted images from the stack as individual letters. A lot of websites have these letter certifications (captchas) to make sure you’re not a robot.

The system uses terahertz radiation, which unlike X-ray, can distinguish between printed and blank parts on paper. In the process, a terahertz camera emits ultrashort bursts of radiation, the reflections from which are picked up by the built-in sensor. The system can read the distance to the individual pages of a book from the time that a reflection takes to travel back to the sensor.

In its present stage, the system can only read up to nine pages in a stack correctly, beyond which the signals become too weak to interpret the results correctly.


Home Electricity Consumption Has Fallen



The average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes fell to levels last seen more than a decade ago. According to the Energy Information Administration,  more energy-efficient housing, appliances and gadgets, power usage is on track to decline in 2013 for the third year in a row, to 10,819 kilowatt-hours per household.

 Energy prices rose in the early 2000.  More states adopted or toughened building codes to force builders to better seal homes so heat or air-conditioned air doesn’t seep out so fast. That means newer homes waste less energy.

Insulated windows and other building technologies have dropped in price, making existing homes more affordable. Billions of dollars in Recovery Act funding was directed toward home-efficiency programs.

Large appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners have gotten more efficient thanks to federal energy standards that get stricter every few years as technology evolves.

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, a typical room air conditioner  — uses 20 percent less electricity per hour of full operation than it did in 2001. Central air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, washing machines and dryers also have gotten more efficient. Other devices are using less juice are  40-inch LED televisions that use 80 percent less power than the cathode ray tube televisions of the past. Some use just $8 worth of electricity over a year when used five hours a day — less than a 60-watt incandescent bulb would use.

Incandescent light bulbs are being replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs that use 70 to 80 percent less power. According to the Energy Department, widespread use of LED bulbs could save output equivalent to that of 44 large power plants by 2027.

 Desktop computers with big CRT monitors are being replaced with laptops, tablet computers and smart phones, and these mobile devices are specifically designed to sip power to prolong battery life.

According to the Electric Power Research Institute, it costs $1.36 to power an iPad for a year, compared with $28.21 for a desktop computer, 





Capturing Your Signature In Lights


Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a sensor  that converts mechanical pressure – from a signature or a fingerprint – directly into light signals that can be captured and processed optically.

The scientists utilized  thousands of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanometre-scale wires to accomplish this.The sensor device could provide an artificial sense of touch, offering sensitivity comparable to that of the human skin. In addition, to collecting signatures and fingerprints the technique could also be used in biological imaging and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) systems.“You can write with your pen and the sensor will optically detect what you write at high resolution and with a very fast response rate,” says Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ professor and Hightower Chair in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. “This is a new principle for imaging force that uses parallel detection and avoids many of the complications of existing pressure sensors.”

Cars Coming Equipped With New Technology

New technology, such as collision warning systems, no longer is confined to luxury brands like Mercedes and Volvo. It's showing up in mainstream vehicles such as the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion.

New cars are coming equipped with cameras that check around the car for pedestrians. Radar that stops you from drifting out of your lane. An engine able to turn off automatically at traffic lights to conserve fuel. they  are  no longer confined to luxury brands only. It’s showing up in mainstream vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion. Today, the cameras are smaller and cheaper, too, making it easier to put multiple ones on each car. Costs are expected dwindle as technology improves and automakers add them to more and more vehicles.

New features that drivers can expect on their next cars:

 Collision warning with automatic braking: New cars have radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash. Some even stop the vehicle, or at least slow it enough to make a crash less severe. More sophisticated systems apply the brakes if a car veers off the road and heads toward a moving or fixed object. The systems are the outgrowth of adaptive cruise control, which came out 15 years ago and helps keep cars a safe distance from vehicles in front of them.

Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo and other brands offer automatic braking to avoid a collision; more automakers will follow soon.

• Advanced cameras: Automotive cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015. Since cameras are becoming smaller and cheaper, automakers aren’t just putting them on the back of the car anymore.

Honda has side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is employed, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Nissan’s around-view monitor blends images from four cameras tucked in the mirrors and elsewhere around the car into a composite, bird’s-eye view to help the driver back out of a parking spot. The system is available on a high-end Rogue, which costs $6,000 more than the base model. Volvo and Subaru have front-mounted cameras that can apply brakes to avoid hitting pedestrians.

Lane centering: A camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car — using the brakes — to stay in the center of a lane. These systems — aka Lane Keep Assist — are available on most Mercedes-Benz vehicles as well as the Ford Fusion, Ford Explorer, Toyota Prius, Lexus GS and Lincoln MKZ.

• Adaptive headlights: Headlights don’t have to be round any more to accommodate bulbs. And LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, let automakers cram more brightness into smaller spaces. Audi, Mercedes, Acura, Mazda and others have so-called adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And many cars have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.

• Stop-start: By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles a gallon, up from the current 30.8 mpg. A must-have feature will be : a “stop-start” device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake.


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