Last Friday (Feb. 27) brought the terribly sad news that Leonard Nimoy, the actor who will always be known in IT circles as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, had passed away. For a lot of people in IT, Star Trek was incredibly important. It’s not unusual to hear IT professionals say that Star Trek first got them interested in computers or technology. And over the past half century, much of technology was influenced by the franchise. We don’t have the big ones — we aren’t getting beamed up or traveling at warp speeds (and we don’t have flying cars either, George Jetson!). But as we remember Nimoy and what his Spock meant to us, it’s worth considering the ways in which we are living in a Star Trek universe, as well as some things that the franchise just got plain wrong. [ 10 Star Trek Technologies That are Almost Here ]Mobile DevicesWhen it comes to mobile phones, it was the aesthetics that seemed to be derived directly from starship Enterprise gear. At … [Read more...] about LLAP, Star Trek Tech!
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked an appeals court on Tuesday to force the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to come up with privacy rules concerning drones.Many are worried that small, cheap, camera-equipped devices could soon be zipping around their neighborhoods, peering into gardens, through windows and into other areas that are generally considered private.EPIC, a Washington, D.C., based non-profit, and 34 other groups had previously petitioned the FAA to start a public procedure that would lead to drone privacy regulations, but the FAA rejected the request. Tuesday’s filing at the D.C. Court of Appeals seeks to reverse that.The current rules concerning drone use are geared solely towards safety. Private flight is covered by guidelines similar to those for model aircraft, while companies are generally prohibited from commercial flight, although the FAA has begun issuing issue stop-gap licenses that allow restricted flight until formal rules are … [Read more...] about EPIC appeals to court for FAA drone privacy rules
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has further loosened restrictions on commercial drone flight, removing the need for companies to obtain airspace clearance for flying approved drones.The new rules apply to a handful of companies that have been granted an exemption from current FAA regulations that ban commercial operation of drones. Just over 50 companies have received the exemption so far and scores of others have applied for it.At present, companies with the flight exemption still have to apply for authorization to operate in a block of airspace—a procedure that can take up to 2 months, said the FAA. The new policy grants a blanket waiver to these companies to conduct drone flights as long as the drones weigh less than 55 pounds (25kgs) and they stay within certain limits.Flights cannot go higher than 200 feet, they must take place during daytime and stay within visual line-of-sight of operators. The blanket waiver only applies to areas more than 5 nautical miles from … [Read more...] about FAA unclips wings of commercial drones
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered lithium ion batteries can last longer and charge faster if their electrodes are treated with hydrogen.The breakthrough could lead to significant improvements in the performance of the batteries, which are commonly used in smartphones, digital cameras, electric cars and home energy storage systems.Batteries have positive and negative electrodes and electrons flow between them when the battery is providing electricity or being charged. In lithium ion batteries, the binding between lithium ions and the electrode material helps determine the performance of the battery.The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) research focused on graphene electrodes and the scientists discovered that by treating them with hydrogen, defects in the graphene could be used to their advantage. Interaction of the two opened small gaps in the coating that mean better binding between the electrode and lithium ions, and that … [Read more...] about Researchers discover hydrogen treatment brings better batteries