Perhaps in a sign of things to come, China has officially usurped the United States as the world’s #1 exporter of Technology goods. The numbers are pretty astounding. In 2004 China shipped $180 Billion in Laptops, cell phones and various other technology devices. This massive amount compares with the US figure of $149 billion. Both Nations increased their technology exports from 2003 where the US was #1 with $137 billion and China #2 with $123 billion.
While other automotive companies have focused on the development of crowd pleasing, dancing, humanoid, soccer playing robots the Japanese car company Subaru has focused its efforts in a more down to earth application. Subaru’s (a division of Fuji Heavy Industries) cutting edge robotics development team has moved their “mine-clearing” robot into testing. The tests are not what you would ordinarily expect; these tests involve real minefields, specifically those left in Croatia from the devastating Balkans wars of the 1990’s.
This robot hopes to not only make the land and land mine clearing more safe but also more economical with the current price tag of clearing a 15,000 square meter field estimated at roughly $30,000 US.
Electronic Arts, widely viewed as the largest developer of video games has opted to enter the Mobile Gaming Market. BusinessWeek on line reports that EA has opted to purchase mobile phone game developer jamdat. This purchase gives EA not only the expertise but also the market base to immediately move its games onto the mobile platform.
This latest move by EA may signal a further diversification of EA’s efforts to dominate the gaming market in every form. With a stream of releases due over the next several months, it will be interesting to see if EA decides to port some of it’s classics to the mobile platform, or if they decide to develop new titles.
Over the next 4 years NASA plans on spending $500 million on developing the capability in the private sector to be able to deliver payloads and possibly people into space. The hope is that by 2010 (or sooner) private companies will be able to support the International Space Station by bringing supplies up. With the Shuttle on blocks the United States has no way of reaching the station. That reveals a serious hole in the capability of the country to maintain a presence in space. It also means that the US has to rely on Russia to be able to reach the astronauts on the space station.
Julie Krause, A 27-year-old mother of one from Centurion, South Africa was drawn as the winner of a space trip aboard one of Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital space â€˜aeroplanesâ€™ expected to take to flight within three years. Julie will be among the first 150 space adventurers to brave such a flight.
This young Woman was drawn as the winner in the eBucks and First National Bank of South Africa â€˜Greatest Rewards on Earthâ€™ promotion, perhaps one of the most innovative competitions in the world to date.
The Pentagon (The United States Military) leaders are considering drastically reducing spending on Futuristic and High-Tech Weapons systems. The Program’s current operating budget is about $161 billion making it the second largest program in the U.S. military. But as expenses continue to surge due to increasing costs and continuing development and technical difficulties, pressure to reduce spending builds.
“Future Combat Systems consists of 18 manned and robot-controlled weapons systems linked by a massive communications network. Among the weapons under development for use in FCS: four types of robot aerial vehicles, three types of robot ground vehicles and eight types of manned ground vehicles.
The Xbox 360 will soon have launched on every continent in the world. The “worldwide launch” of the console will soon be completed, as long as you consider Asia to be Japan.
The Xbox 360 launches thus far have made famous the term “supply shortage” and have generated an economy of profiteering all their own on eBay where a supreme bundle xbox 360 recently sold for more than 11,000$ US.
With all the customer frustration being generated and the fact that Microsoft seems to be largely oblivious to the fact that more than 60 percent of the people on Earth live in Asia, it will be interesting to see how many decide to wait for the Nintendo “Revolution” and Sony Playstation 3 and avoid this Chaos.
Well The dreaded human version of the Bird Flu H5N1 may be here just in time to celebrate the holidays.
Reports are emerging from Thailand that the first human to human transmission of the virus has more than likely occurred. Thailand joins China in it’s strong suspicion that H5N1 has mutated and is beginning to spread more rapidly.
Furthermore, in Indonesia, the bird flu is spreading very rapidly. The spread of infection is particularly rapid in the national capital of Jakarta leading some health officials to strongly suspect that the long talked about and feared mutation of the virus has already occurred.
Today NASA Announced the formation of 2 new Centennial Challenges. Each of these new competitions boasts a hefty $250,000 US first place prize and has an intense focus in robotics.
The first of the new competitions, The Telerobotic Construction Challenge, challenges teams to construct a robot to build complex structures. While the focus of the developed robot should be autonomy, some human input and direction is permitted unlike previously announced Challenges such as the Lunar Regolith Challenge.
The second of the newly announced challenges, dubbed the Planetary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge requires a team to construct an autonomous aerial vehicle which can navigate a tricky flight path.
Cnet News.com has posted a nice photo gallery of robots in action. The site features several hundred images of all sorts of different types of robots. Everything from household robots, to battlebots, to space elevator climbers. They’ve covered most of the state of the art designs, in all of the categories.
So go and be awed.