Driverless Bikes Are Now A Thing Too

The term driverless isn’t anything new and it is probably most known in relation to cars and Google’s self-driving car project that’s been going on for years now. But we’ve also heard of driverless lorries coming to the UK, driverless pods in London, and even driverless Formula E racing as well as oversized quad-copters for personal usage, but driverless bicycles is one I haven’t heard of before.

The driverless bike, or i-Bike as it has been named, is the brainchild of Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, two students from IIT Kharagpur, India. The whole idea started with an idea that is as noble as the result is brilliant: The two wanted to build a simple vehicle that could help disabled people get more out of life by increasing their freedom. Now that’s an idea we all can get behind.

The i-Bike has autonomous steering, brakes, driving, and balancing mechanisms that can work completely on their own as well as aids to just help you with the part that might be troublesome for you.

Just riding a bicycle wasn’t the only problem the students tried to solve, parking and retrieving a bike can be equally challenging for a disabled person as bicycle locations by default rarely have much in disability friendliness. You wouldn’t expect them to ride a bicycle, so it isn’t out of bad intentions.

“We saw some differently abled people who could ride bicycles but had to face many problems when trying to take their bikes out from the parking space, as most such spaces are not disabled friendly. To tackle this problem we started working to make a bicycle that would be controlled wirelessly,” says Ayush, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

You can ride the i-Bike manually or you can get help from the dual locomotion technology. The autonomous driving is handled with the help of GPS as well as lasers and sonar based sensors to avoid obstacles in its path. The destination is set by an Android app that sends an SMS to the i-Bike. Upon receiving this, it will start its journey.

None of the techniques used is new as such, but this combination of them is awesome. It has a unique and affordable software architecture that enables it to follow specialised bicycle lanes as they are found in many countries already. It also offers live tracking and wireless control mechanism on top of all that.

What started as a team of two is now comprised of 13 undergraduate students from various departments of IIT Kharagpur, all working together and making up the i-Bike team. Since the project was started back in October 2014, the team has won several awards, most recently the innovation challenge organised by KPIT Technologies where they won first prize.

The trainer wheels that have been used for balancing can easily be retracted by a switch and the same goes for the steering aids that also can be turned on and off by the flick of a switch.

The i-Bike could solve many problems in urban cities and crowded spaces. Whether you want to prevent theft by sending you bike home, retrieve it where ever you are in order to get home, or just want to send it on a cruise of its own, the i-Bike can do it. It would also allow new options for bicycle sharing centres where you could rent a bike, drive where you need to go, and then send it back home again on its own. The same way you could order it back via your smartphone no matter where you are located, and you won’t even have to pedal yourself.

Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India – and hopefully this kind of technology will make it to the rest of the world too.

Man Accused of Blocking Cell Phones on Subway

We use our mobile phones for everything these days, from playing your latest game or reading your latest to talking about the last few days to your friends. Sometimes you just want to escape this, as a man from Chicago wanted when he started blocking cell phones on his daily subway trip.

Undercover officers arrested a 63-year-old man, who according to his lawyers just wanted to have a little quiet on his commute. The device he used to get that quiet was apparently imported from China, being used to block signals going to and from cell phones in his train car.

Dennis Nicholl’s lawyer stated that “he’s disturbed by people talking around him”. While this may be the case, people have been fined up to $48, 000 for using cell phone jammers, something that apparently Nicholl’s was doing for a while now.

The police were apparently told months ago and had even managed to obtain his photo, the end result being the undercover police. With a picture of Nicholl’s using the device on the subway, it was only a matter of time before they acted on the information. The charge Nicholl’s now faces is “unlawful interference with a public utility”, something he was also charged with back in 2009 for the same action.

Guy Builds a Mobile Phone in Minecraft That Can Make Real Video Calls

One of the biggest YouTube successes of recent years has built a working mobile (or cell) phone in Minecraft that can actually call other players in-game. Jordan Maron, otherwise known by his YouTube handle CaptainSparklez, can use his phone to browse the internet (kind of, in a blocky, Minecraft style) and make audio or video calls.

23-year-old CaptainSparklez quit college to become a full-time YouTuber and Twitch streamer and, with his 8.75 million YouTube subscribers and 1.6 billion video views, is so successful that he recently purchased a $4.5 million mansion, and recently made the move into producing games through his company Xreal.

The idea for the Minecraft phone was not CaptainSparklez’s alone, though. He was approached by phone carrier Verizon to effectively produce an ad for them, which led to the video below. While the sponsorship angle may tarnish the concept for some, its execution is still mightily impressive.

“In the world of Minecraft, almost everything is made of blocks,” CaptainSparklez said. “We’ve created a web application, Boxel, that translates real web pages and streaming video into blocks so they can be built on a Minecraft server in real time. Our server plugin uses Boxel-client to handle the communication between Minecraft and the real world as translated by the web application.”

No More Data Roaming Charges in EU from 2017

Nothing can sour the vacation more that roaming charges, but that will soon be a thing of the past in the European Union as a new law will abolish those charges by June 2017 after a 14-month interim period. That is the new deal reached on Tuesday with the aim to bring the Europe Union another step closer.

You’ll of course not get it completely free, but you will be able to use roaming a lot cheaper. With the new rules, telecom operators are only able to charge you €0.05 extra per minute for calls, 0.02 extra per SMS sent, and 0.05 extra per megabyte of data. Whether they charge this or not is up to each individual company, but we should expect to pay the full amount on almost any network.

The new cap would make roaming within the Europe Union up to 75% cheaper during the interim period, the European Commission said. All of this is a culmination of years of campaigning for net neutrality within the EU and partly a follow-up to the US adoption of net-neutrality.

All internet traffic also has to be treated equally, but regulations are possible in situations such as counter-terrorism.

This is great news for anyone who travels a lot, but even more for someone like me that lives right up at the border and travels two countries equally.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Luxa2 H1 Premium Mobile Holder Review

Introduction


Luxa2 are a sub division of Thermaltake, who as we know are one of the biggest companies in the computer tech world and with a large focus on mobile devices, Luxa2 offers a premium collection of products that are aimed at consumers wanting style, durability and finesse. While Luxa2 have developed mobile phone holders over the years that have been specific to iPhone’s such as the H1-Touch, they are now realising that the world is bigger than Apple and their iOfferings. With this, we have their latest mobile phone creation; the H1 Premium holder which allows any device with a display size of 3.2” ~ 4.8” to be snugly housed within it.

Featuring an all aluminium desk stand, adjustable mount that can be pivoted, swivelled and manipulated to fit your device, the H1 Premium seems to work from the success of the original H1 products, while offering something for the Android, and BlackBerry users opposed to singling them out with its previous iPhone range of products. Weighing in at 198g and measuring a measly 110x93x167mm it will hardly use up much space on the desk either and if your desk is anything like mine, it might make it look a bit tidier.

The packaging follows the premium Luxa2 branding with the same colour scheme as seen on their website and simple yet effective placement. A view of the stand and a brief description of the capabilities are also listed.