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.

BBC Micro Bit Shipping Date Revealed

BBC’s Micro Bit pocket-sized and programmable computer is an amazing little piece of technology, but the best of all is that one million of them will be given free to any year 7 pupils across the UK. Originally the BBC Micro Bit should have started shipping out October last year, but there were issues with the power and the project release got pushed back. At first, it was said that teachers should have the new units in December last year with students receiving them early this year. But that didn’t happen and it got pushed once again. Last month we got another minor delay as teachers already should have had their units ahead of the February half term, but that didn’t happen either.

Enough with the old bad news, time for the good news. The Micro Bit is ready and broadcaster has confirmed a countrywide roll-out of the one million devices for pupils will begin before easter. Naturally they won’t send out all at once, but they will start to ship officially on March the 22nd. So mark your calendars if you got children of that age, you might have new toys to play with soon.

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC learning, said: “It has been a joy to see these micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like this adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”

The Micro bit (micro:bit) is a handheld and fully-programmable computer that encourages children to get creative with technology. The 4cm by 5cm device is the successor to the popular 1980s home computer, BBC Micro, and includes a Bluetooth antenna, USB plug and a processor, linked to a printed circuit board with 25 red LED lights which flash messages.

The BBC is yet to announce when the Micro Bit will be available for the public to buy and how much it will cost us ordinary mortals.

Internet Access Makes You Think You Are Smarter than You Actually Are

Yale University has made a study regarding the psychological impact of searching for answers on the internet, having some interesting results regarding people and how well prepared they believe to be.

“The internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world’s knowledge at your fingertip,” lead researcher Matthew Fisher told the Telegraph. “It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the internet.”

For the study, 1000 students were split into two groups and were asked how a zipper works, having the first group given the information on the internet and the second was given a printout of the same information. Both groups have then been asked to explain how cloudy nights are warmer, but none of the participants were given the answer this time around.

When asked about their confidence in knowing the answer, the group who previously researched the answer on the internet appeared to be more confident and more knowledgeable compared to the others. Researches said the study showed that the cognitive effects of using search engines are so powerful that people still feel smarter even when they haven’t had access to the internet.

“In cases where decisions have big consequences, it could be important for people to distinguish their own knowledge and not assume they know something when they actually don’t,” Fisher said.”The internet is an enormous benefit in countless ways, but there may be some trade-offs that aren’t immediately obvious and this may be one of them. Accurate personal knowledge is difficult to achieve, and the internet may be making that task even harder.”

People believe they are smarter if they research the answer on the internet and this proves to be a worrying fact that we depend more and more on a piece of technology for information instead of having the confidence of going out there and finding the answer for ourselves.

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information

New App Gives College Students Food For Not Using Their Phone

A new app, called Pocket Points, is offering free food and other prizes to students who defer from using their phones in lectures. The app measures the amount of time the phone is unlocked and offers points in return for prizes.

A number of US colleges have utilised the app which aims to increase concentration amongst students and prevent distractions. Every 20 minutes the app is running and while the phone is unlocked, a point is provided to such students. One such university using the app, Penn State, offers students a 15% discount on goods in its own store.

The app, which was developed by a student at California State University, Chico, has been praised by students and tutors alike, but it hasn’t been without criticism. Some say that it’s counterproductive by offering bribes to students who should really be responsible for their own academic success.

What do you think? Are you a student? Would this be good for you?

Source: The Verge

Facebook Predicts The University of Princeton’s Future, No More Students By 2021?

The University of Princeton has recently made a study, predicting that Facebook will lose more than 80% of its users by 2021. But apparently, that prediction did not go too well with Facebook’s officials.

It appears that Facebook analysts now claim that the University of Princeton will lose half of its students by 2018, and there will be no more students at the university by 2021. Facebook’s analysts use the same principle based on which the original Facebook prediction was based, and came up with the numbers, which can be seen on a dedicated Facebook page called Debunking Princeton.

“In keeping with the scientific principle “correlation equals causation”, our research unequivocally demonstrated that Princeton may be in danger of disappearing entirely,” said Facebook’s Mike Develin.

He claimed Facebook likes and Google searches had shown an alarming trend for the university based in New Jersey. He added: “This trend suggests that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness.”

He also made a statement about the air disappearing in time, but after that, Mr. Develin admitted he just wanted to prove a point involving the study made and that not all studies are accurate.

“We don’t really think Princeton or the world’s air supply is going anywhere soon. We love Princeton (and air),” he said. “Not all research is created equal – and some methods of analysis lead to pretty crazy conclusions.”

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information

General Availability Of AP832 802.11ac Access Points Announced By Meru Networks

 

Meru Networks, a leader in Wi-Fi networking, have announced Wi-Fi Alliance certification and general availability (GA) of the AP832, the Wi-Fi industry’s fastest access point. The AP832 features a dual radio 802.11ac design delivering up to three times the performance of 802.11n access points. Unlike most other 802.11ac solutions, the AP832 operates on 802.3af power, eliminating the need for costly Ethernet switch upgrades. Meru customers also report that 802.11n devices run up to 30 percent faster on the AP832 than on 802.11n access points.

“The additional capacity, coverage and device density-handling capability that the AP832 provides, makes a real difference in the way our guests use the onboard Wi-Fi network,” said Greg Martin, IT director for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We use Meru’s AP832 as the primary onboard wireless access point. It easily handles the three or more mobile devices that each of our guests carry, along with streaming video and all the shipboard applications that we depend on.”

“Students now typically have between three and five mobile devices with them, any or all of which they use for streaming voice and video, file transfer and other bandwidth-intensive applications,” said João Paulo Cavaco, director of information services at the University of Lisbon. “The Meru AP832 helps us ensure that we have the capacity, in addition to the coverage, that we need to ensure that the students have a high-quality mobile experience anywhere on our campus.”

The adoption of 802.11ac will be driven by the quickly growing number of mobile devices, the BYOD trend and high-bandwidth applications such as HD video, video conferencing and cloud-based services and storage. Adoption of devices such as smart phones and tablets supporting 802.11ac is growing quickly.

“As Wi-Fi becomes the primary access network for many schools, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses, the 1.3 Gbps-per-radio capacity of 802.11ac will enable Wi-Fi to deliver even more capacity to these enterprises,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president, network infrastructure, IDC. “Meru’s ability to support two 802.11ac radios operating at 80 MHz in the 5 GHz range on 802.3af power is very promising in giving customers the full benefit of the standard.”

“Our customers have been very enthusiastic about end-users’ feedback on performance of their Meru 802.11ac networks since we launched the AP832 as a controlled release in July,” said Manish Rai, vice president of corporate marketing at Meru. “We are eager to bring the benefits of the AP832 to the broader market with the general availability announced today.”

As a short description of Wi-Fi Alliance certification, the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi CERTIFIED is a program for testing products to the 802.11 industry standards for interoperability, security, easy installation, and reliability. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo is an assurance that the Wi-Fi Alliance has tested a product in numerous configurations and with a diverse sampling of other devices to ensure compatibility with other Wi-Fi CERTIFIED equipment that operates in the same frequency band.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Taiwan Investigating Samsung’s Malicious Comments Attack Against HTC

The authorities in Taiwan have launched an investigation after received complaints that Korean Electronics giant Samsung apparently hired students to post hateful comments about the products made by Taiwan based company HTC.

Complaints started coming in from this month from online users who alleged that Samsung Taiwan hired students through a local ad agent to write online articles against HTC and recommending Samsung phones. However, Samsung Taiwan says that they have not been contacted about the investigation by the Fair Trade Commission. Currently Samsung Taiwan has announced in their Facebook page that they’ve stopped all their internet marketing and posting contents on their website.

The authorities will also be probing into complaints that Samsung’s involvement in false advertising. If these allegations are true, Samsung and its local advertising agent will be found guilt and will have to pay a fine of $809,000.

FTC’s spokesman Sun Lih-Chyun said,”The case was set up last week after we received complaints.”

To note, Samsung was fined by the FTC for about of approximately $ 10,023 earlier this year for misleading advertising about the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102 camera functions. This could turn out to be a bigger trouble if Samsung is found guilty of such activities, possibility even buyers would think twice before reading Pro-Samsung user reviews/ articles.

As of now, Samsung is holding 30.3% share in global smartphone market, followed by Apple with 19.1% and HTC with 4.6%.

Source: The Inquirer