Cubimorph: a prototype of a sensor device-transformer with a variable shape



Experts in the field of robotics at the British University of Bristol, led by Ann Rowdaut developed a prototype of a sensory transformer called Cubimorph, which will be presented this week at the robotics forum in Stockholm.

The device consists of a chain of cubes with touch screens that can be connected to each other in different configurations, forming three-dimensional shapes. Each cube has 6 miniature touch surfaces (one for each face) mounted on a turntable with mounting loops.

They make it possible to rotate cubes in four directions and form various 3D forms. As an example, scientists turned a standard rectangular phone into a game controller.


The full image is formed across the mini-screens, similar to large multi-screen displays, which are often used for street advertising, stage design or for holding mass events.

“Cubimorph is the first step towards creating a modular, interactive device,” says Anne Roudat, “there is still much to be done before such devices become available to users. But we hope that our work will open a discussion for further development of interaction between man, computer and robots, which, of course, can be useful to each other. “

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India launched its first reusable spaceship


Start RLV-TD

On May 23, a prototype of the first Indian reusable spacecraft RLV-TD was launched from Satish Dhavan cosmodrome. The flight lasted 770 seconds at a height of 65 km with a maximum speed of 6,125 km / h, then the ship sat on the water in the Bay of Bengal 450 km from the coast.

The flight was exceptionally experimental. Its main purpose is to check technologies, control systems, analysis of telemetric and navigation data. The design of the spacecraft is very similar to the “American” – X-37B . Its length is 6.5 meters, weight 1.75 tons. Development of the project cost $ 1.4 million.

Indian reusable ship

Landing the ship on the water became a necessity, because to land RLV-TD on hard ground a strip of 5 km is required, and there are currently no such bands in India. In the future, a runway of the appropriate length will be built on Shriharikot.

Initially, the launch was planned for the summer of last year, but due to technical problems the timing shifted by a year. All work on the creation of an Indian reusable spacecraft is expected to be completed in 10-15 years.

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Railways will consider the technology of laying tunnels without explosions, proposed by Tomsk scientists


Tunnel without a single explosion

Tunnel passage is one of the most difficult stages in the construction of railways. And here it does not do without new technologies. Recently, the attention of specialists of RZD was attracted by an original technique developed by Tomsk scientists. At first glance, it has nothing to do with tunneling, but is associated with the disposal of old concrete structures, but can be successfully used to destroy rocks.

If earlier old concrete structures simply exploded, then the new technology completely excludes the use of explosives. Its function is performed by a powerful electric discharge, which is transferred to the environment to be destroyed through a liquid. Now scientists are trying to use polyethylene for this purpose, as the most efficient energy converter.

Under the action of the discharge, strong materials begin to break down in an absolutely safe regime. This will save the builders of the tunnel from the need to temporarily stop the work, which is typical for “explosive” technology.

Specialists from Tomsk have created for this compact, inexpensive mobile installation, the merits of which are currently being studied by employees of the West Siberian Railway .

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Google offers to get rid of passwords by the end of this year


Google IO

Next month, Google begins testing an alternative to traditional passwords, which, perhaps, will soon be a thing of the past.

The new function, presented to developers at the Google’s I / O conference, is called the Trust API. The technology was a continuation of the Project Abacus project, which implied the rejection of passwords by mixing several identification options into one.

Among them, Google intends to bet on biometric indicators: face, voice , as well as features of the movement, for example, when typing. The service will run in the background of the phone, which will allow you to track the compliance of the indicators at the exact time they appear.

Experts of the company suggest combining several indicators, for example, face image and fingerprints, which will approximately 10 times increase the reliability of identification.

Testing technology will take place in several large financial companies. Decisive in this matter will be the conclusion of security services. If they have any doubts, then in addition to the biometric data can be added a good old password.

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Underwater cable across the Atlantic – a joint megaproject of Microsoft and Facebook


Internet cable MAREA

MAREA – this will be the name of the transatlantic fiber-optic eight-pair submarine cable that will connect North America with Europe. The initial capacity of the cable is 160 terabytes per second, which guarantees the highest transmission speed among already existing transatlantic cables .

MAREA will stretch from Virginia Beach on the East Coast of the United States to Spanish Bilbao, breaking 6600 km. Further after Bilbao, the cable will connect to the network of hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Thanks to him, Microsoft will improve the speed of cloud services Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, Microsoft Azure. In turn, Facebook will significantly expand the capabilities and quality of user service.

Internet cable MAREA

The MAREA cable will have an open interface, which will make it compatible with any network equipment. This should reduce costs and simplify the modernization of existing equipment, including those responsible for optical technologies. The implementation of the European part of the project is entrusted to the Spanish company Telxius.

Beginning of the cable laying is planned for August, and the work should be completed in the autumn of 2017 .

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The first serial bending smartphone will appear already this year


Folding smartphone Moxi

Chinese startup Moxi announced its readiness to start serial production of the world’s first bent smartphone this year. It is planned to sell annually up to 100,000 items at a price of $ 764 per unit.

It will be a long thin smartphone with a narrow screen and a large battery at the bottom. Flexible body will allow you to wear it on your wrist like a bracelet. The smartphone display is made on the basis of graphene . In contrast to their “predecessors”, having the status of prototypes and concepts, the product from Moxi is already ready for serial production.

However, not everything is as good as it looks on the advertising pictures. The first version of the screen will be black and white, manufactured using e-ink technology. The color version, according to the executive director of the company Chongsheng Yu, is just a prospect. In addition, the phone in terms of the number of functions will be inferior even to some much cheaper nowadays produced devices.

But even with all the above shortcomings, the smartphone from Moxi is the first product of its kind in the world, while such electronic giants as Samsung are unsuccessfully trying to create it. To bring a finished product to perfection is much easier than creating from scratch. It’s a matter of time.

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On the order of the Ministry of Emergency Measures, sensors were developed to monitor mechanical stresses at nuclear power plants


Nuclear power plant management

At industrial strategic sites, particularly strict control over the state of mechanisms and structures that experience permanent mechanical, thermal and radiation loads is required. These objects, in the first place, include nuclear power plants and enterprises of the nuclear industry.

Particular attention is paid to control methods that do not require the production process to stop. It is this sensor that fixes the mechanical stresses that was created at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in accordance with the order of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In the future, the sensor will replace the more expensive tensoresist devices.

The basis of the sensor is a ferromagnetic amorphous microwire. Now his prototype passes the stage of necessary tests, after which certification and introduction in the safety systems of nuclear power plants , heavy-duty marine vessels, hydroelectric power stations, as well as for monitoring fire-extinguishing equipment will follow .

New sensors are almost one-third cheaper than their predecessors. It is expected that their certification will be completed by November this year.

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The work of the CCTV cameras is more like a total shadowing


Control or surveillance

The British public is beginning to sound the alarm. The video surveillance system on the country’s roads, consisting of 9000 roadside cameras, captures up to 34 million images daily, replenishing the database with the numbers of passing cars. At the moment, the database already contains 22 billion records. The collected data is stored for two years.

Based on the information available in the database, you can easily restore the route of the vehicle by its number. These data are mainly used by the police . So in 2014, she was requested information for 300758 requests, which is approximately 1.5 times higher than the same indicator in 2012. In addition,

Asked by a representative of the Sky News agency in the United Kingdom’s ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) “why is such a huge amount of information collected and stored, the vast majority of which concerns law-abiding Britons, which is very reminiscent of total surveillance?” Was the answer:

“The automatic identification system for license plates is a valuable source of information and evidence in the process of disclosing and preventing crime by the police. Its use is fully consistent with the Personal Data Protection Act. “

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Novosibirsk chemists have found a replacement for platinum



To this day, the main catalyst in the fuel cells was platinum. With all its merits, this, alas, is a very expensive metal. So, for example, electrodes with platinum account for 2/3 of the cost of the entire fuel cell.

The chemists of the Novosibirsk State University set out to find a cheap substitute for noble metal. He was a cobalt-iridium solution, obtained with the help of a very effective method – thermolysis of a double complex metal salt. The new technology allows you to get a metal solution much faster than before – in a matter of hours instead of months. The finished connection is in no way inferior to its expensive predecessor – platinum, being thus twice cheaper and having a longer service life.

Fuel cells are promising energy sources with impressive efficiency (from 55%). Also they differ in unlimited time of operation provided timely delivery of fuel and oxidizer. To form a chemical reaction on the electrodes, a catalyst is required, which is platinum.

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For “Armata” came up with a camouflage “invisibility coat” in the form of foam



A fire protection complex, quickly solidifying and masking mixture developed by the specialists of the company “Modern Fire Technologies” (St. Petersburg) is equipped with a complex of protection and camouflage “Beast”. Due to its multifunctionality, unique qualities of foam can be appreciated by firemen and crews of combat vehicles.

This is a two-component foam liquid, which includes a foaming agent and a composite substance based on silica nanoparticles. When hit on the source of fire, “Beast” covers it instantly with a frothing foam blocking the access of oxygen to the flame. As a result of the sudden cooling, it goes out.

Foam not only extinguishes, but also masks

The second “profession” of foam is disguise. In order, for example, to cover combat equipment on the basis of “Armata” protective layer will take a few minutes. The formed crust to everything else is capable of absorbing and reflecting certain types of radiation, making military equipment virtually invisible to the enemy radar and its satellites.

Eliminate the foam, when it does not need, you can use a jet of water. The washed foam also does not pose a danger to the environment.

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