Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Your Electric Vehicle 'Fuel' Will Be Free

How can EVs become more attractive to consumers price-wise? One of the ways can be from the realistic prospect of free 'fuel.' Imagine this scenario happening in the not so distant future: You get in your EV for a day of errands and your display screen notifies you that your battery is low. A quick scan on the navigation system says there is an available charge spot at a nearby grocery store where, best of all, charging is free to customers. With a few touches to the navigation screen, your vehicle automatically routes you to the location and you're able to refuel while grocery shopping is checked off your list.

Pie in the sky you ask? Not at all and here's why: depending on battery size, the cost of the total electricity needed to charge your vehicle should be around $1.00 - $1.50. Retailers will likely see this as good business: spending a $1.00 per customer in exchange for the $100 you'll spend at the grocery store is a high return; especially when considering the amount they normally spend on advertisements and reward programs to get you in the door. Essentially, electricity as fuel will be much more than a commodity—it will be a retailer's bargaining chip.

Read more at Free Fuel

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feds Plot ‘Near Human’ Robot Docs, Farmers, Troops

Robots are already vacuuming our carpets, heading into combat and assisting docs on medical procedures. Get ready for a next generation of "near human" bots that'll do a lot more: independently perform surgeries, harvest our crops and herd our livestock, and even administer drugs from within our own bodies.

Those are only a few of the suggested applications for robots in a massive new federal research program. The military's blue-sky research arm, Darpa, is pairing up with four other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Homeland Security, to launch a major push that'd revolutionize robotic capabilities and put bots pretty much everywhere, from hospitals to dude ranches to "explosive atmospheres."

Read more at Push-for-near-human-robot-doctors-farmers-troops

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Computerized Grenade Launcher Heads to Afghanistan

It looks like a piece of riot-control gear. It's got a computerized in-board targeting system. It can kill someone from 2,300 feet away, while he takes cover. And it's on its way to the 101st Airborne Division and Special Forces units in the Afghanistan war.

The XM-25 grenade launcher shoots a 25 mm high-explosive round that's basically a "smart" grenade. What makes it smart? Sensors and microchips inside the round talks to the gun's guidance system, known as the Target Acquisition Fire Control unit, to learn where and when to explode, minimizing the likelihood of collateral damage.

Need to take out an insurgent who's popping out from behind a clay wall? Set the guidance for the distance to the wall and adjust a bit more for his body's position and fire — actually using Plus and Minus buttons on the side of the gun. Watch the round release bursts of shrapnel right over him. You can't do that with a regular mortar tube, even if you were able to shoot the mortar like a gun.

Read more at Computerized-grenade-launcher-heads-to-afghanistan

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Comments on my blog

You can now comment on my blog posts if you like. I didn't know until recently that Blogspot was changed so that blogs were set to a default of "no comments". To comment on a post click on "comments" at the end. A new window will be opened to allow you to leave comments. You can choose an identity such as your Google Account or just click on "Anonymous".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Darpa's Self-Aiming "One Shot" Sniper Rifle Scheduled for Next Year

A sniper crouches near an open window and zooms in on his target, who sits a half-mile away. He peers through a scope and holds his breath, preparing to squeeze the trigger. But it's windy outside, and he can't afford a miss. What to do?

A new DARPA-funded electro-optical system will calculate the ballistics for him, telling him where to aim and ensuring a perfect shot, no matter the weather conditions.

Read more at Self-Aiming Sniper Rifle