Toyota is teasing with the hoverboard announcement but it seems they have actually created it (though it isn’t ready to be in stores this year.
Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to power the Lexus Hoverboard.
Sadly they haven’t bothered to hire a decent web designer. They have a pretty but broken website, with essentially no information. It is sad when interesting stories are keep to nearly no information using poorly designed websites created by people obviously more concerned with old fashion paper design thinking than how the web can be used to be clear and useful (not just pretty).
Pretty much for the last 10 years Toyota has had pretty but web hostile design for their web sites. It is a shame they can’t hire people that know how to properly create good web sites. Thankfully they hire good engineers and use good processes to actually develop products.
This is a pretty cool example of using technology to prevent problems. The video shows a system that cascades a sheet of water and displays a stop sign directly in the path of trucks ready to crash into a tunnel (because the truck is too tall).
The driver had ignored several less obvious signals that they were headed for danger. This is an application of one of my favorite management (and industrial engineering) concepts: mistake proofing. As I have stated before, often it is really mistake making more difficult rather than mistake proofing. This truck driver ignored the first several warnings and actually could have ignored this one. This system doesn’t physically prevent the error (the options to do this I can think of would be impractical) but this does prevent the errors in any reasonable case it seems to me.
It does seem the process could be improved a big by doing the cool shower stop sign when the truck still has time to turn off without a huge delay. From the video it seems the truck progressed to a point where getting it out of the way created a major traffic backup.
Parrots, which have long amused us for their ability to imitate our vocal patterns, actually learn to caw their “names” from their parents, says a new Cornell study. The research offers the first evidence that parrots learn their unique signature calls from their parents and shows that vocal signaling in wild parrots is a socially acquired rather than a genetically wired trait.
Previous research had shown that all wild parrots use unique “contact calls” that not only distinguish each bird individually, but also communicate their gender, and the mate and larger group they belong to.
“Parrots can have extremely long periods [leading up] to independence, and this is thought to be related to their large brains,” explained Berg. The same goes for primates, he said, with humans in particular being “off the charts” when it comes to a lengthy stage of child dependence.
More research is required, to better understand the evolution of and interaction between these physical and behavioral traits, he said. “We still don’t have good explanations of how these behaviors help wild individuals survive and reproduce in nature,” he said.
The paper offers some possible explanations: Perhaps the parrots’ far-ranging journeys to “communal foraging sights” are what impress upon each parent the need to have their fledglings’ names sorted out — not unlike human parents’ need to call for their children by name at a crowded fair.
I enjoy learning more fun and cool stuff about the animals we share the world with. They are quite an interesting bunch of creatures.
Quite a fun video. Frans de Waal shows us a task he gave Capuchin monkeys to see if they responded to a sense of fairness. See the rest of the talk.
Frans de Waal is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is the Charles Howard Candler professor of Primate Behavior in the Emory University psychology department in Atlanta, Georgia. His research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.
Double is a new telepresence robot that is on sale arrives fully functional as soon as you open the box – just insert your iPad. Touch the power switch to activate Double’s self-balancing sensors, keeping itself upright. At only 15 pounds, it’s easy to move around.
Touch to drive (using your iPad remotely). Adjust height also (to match standing or sitting colleagues). It runs for 8 hours on full charge and charges up in 2 hours.
Pre-order now at $2000 (saving $500 over list price). Delivery is expected in December 2012.
The posts include instructions on how to do these simple demonstrations and a nice explanation on the scientific reason for what is going on:
Rubbing the balloon on your hair charges it up with static electricity which makes the balloon negatively charged. When you put the balloon near the can it pushes electrons (which are also negatively charged) to the other side of the can. This makes the side which is nearest the balloon positively charged. Positive charges are attracted to negative charges so the can moves towards the balloon.
It is quite a nice site (especially if you have kids interested in science or are a kid interested in science – no matter how old you are), add it to your RSS reader. Here are some more science blogs you may enjoy.