Handwrite Your Gmails
The future seems like it's right around the corner. From curved smartphones to lightweight "Iron Man" suits to solar-powered cars, humans continue to push the boundaries of technology. See what we've accomplished this week.
This week, as part of the Human Brain Project, IBM Blue Gene Q Supercomputer was started up to do the big job of developing new methods to deepen the scientific understanding of how the human brain operates.
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Samsung unveiled its first curved smartphone, the Galaxy Round, a 5.7-inch handset with a display that is slightly rounded on both sides. The phone will enter the South Korean market on October 10.
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The United States Army is calling on the tech industry to build a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) that would provide soldiers with superhuman strength, night vision and the ability to walk through a barrage of bullets.
World Solar Challenge
Delft University's Nuon Solar Team won the Challenger class of Australia's World Solar Challenge, a race from Darwin to Adelaide that tests the mettle of solar-powered cars. It took the Nuna 7 a little over 33 hours to travel 3,021 km with an average speed of 91 km/h or 57 mph.
Tangible Media Group
A shape-shifting material being developed by researchers at MIT is lightweight, compressible and runs on an environmentally benign energy source. Its ability to change shape could lead to a wristband that changes from a bracelet to a smartphone when a call comes in.
The World Architecture Festival, held in Singapore this year, is considered the world's largest festival and live awards for the global architecture community. One winner was the Statoil Regional and International Offices located in Fornebu, Bærum, Norway, and designed by Oslo, Norway-based a-lab.
The SOL Dome, created by volunteers and London-based design studio Loop.pH for Michigan's "Fall In Art and Sol Festival 2013," is a solar-powered light display inspired by the structure of molecular bonds between carbon atoms. An onsite carbon dioxide sensor monitors the air and then sends signals to a computer that lights up the fiber optics in response. Its display is meant to mimic the way planet Earth reacts to carbon dioxide.
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The $100 bill -- the most commonly counterfeited banknote in the world -- has gotten a major tech facelift. It now has a 3-D blue strip and a holographic bell within an image of a copper inkwell, both of which change when tilted.
Walking Dead fan Anson Kuo used the show's Chop Shop app to turn a Hyundai car into a zombie killer. His concept, which sports knife blades, an automatic crossbow, razor-wired windows, three machine guns, a samurai sword, aluminum armor and a muffler silencer, was one of 82,500 submissions to a contest. It was turned into a real vehicle by Galpin Auto Sports and was unveiled on October 10 at the New York Comic-Con show.
Richard D. James / University of Minnesota
A team from the University of Minnesota’s Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics has created a shape-shifting metal alloy that can be heated and then cooled thousands of times and still return to its original state. The material could be used to convert heat into electricity.
Get out the pencil, it’s time to send an email. In a move that feels like a throw back to the 1990s when PDAs and the stylus were king, Google is introducing a new tool to Gmail and Google Docs — the ability to handwrite words, instead of type them.
But according to Google product manager, Xiangye Xiao, who announced the feature earlier this week on a Google blog, the handwriting capability was introduced to make it easier to communicate in foreign languages, such as Chinese or Greek. Instead of searching around for a special key combinations for foreign characters, just simply write them with your mouse or trackpad.
Oh, but first, don’t forget to turn on the new feature. Go to enable input tools in Gmail or Docs and select the handwriting input (represented by a pencil icon) of the language you want to use. There are more than 20 available.
Xiao says, “Whether you’re a student trying to include a foreign phrase in your paper or an international consultant hoping to begin your message with a friendly local greeting, now you’ll be able to use your own handwriting to input words directly into Gmail and Google Docs.”
Next on Google’s list of innovations: mimeographs.