There’s no power outlet, land-based internet connection or even a decent cell signal in sight, yet we’re posting this live, at fast broadband speeds. We’re miles deep into Camp Pendleton, connected to ViaSat’s SurfBeam 2 Pro Portable mobile satellite transceiver and sending data to and from ViaSat-1 located more than 20,000 miles above our heads. SurfBeam 2 wasn’t designed for us to kick back and surf the web in the middle of nowhere at speeds that we could barely achieve while tethered to a cable connection just a few years ago, but we’re doing just that, with ViaSat’s roughly $20,000 go-anywhere satellite broadband rig. We first heard about Pro Portable last month at CES, which the company is marketing towards military, emergency management personnel and even broadcasters — that’s right, the sat truck of the future fits inside a hand-carry suitcase, and sends HD video from the world’s most remote locations right back to broadcast centers at record speed, nearly eliminating that lag that makes certain CNN reports painful to watch.


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A start-up called Chamtech Enteprises has an answer to the problems of poor cellphone reception and other shortcomings of traditional antennas. The company has developed a spray-on antenna that it says is more lightweight, energy-efficient and effective than the old-school version.

The Sandy, Utah-based start-up’s nanotechnology, unveiled last week at Google’s inaugural Solve For X gathering, can be painted onto a tree, a wall, the ground or even the back of a soldier, enabling a more portable, lightweight way to get reception for a variety of uses.

The company has already patented critical aspects of its technology and begun to sell to government customers, whom it can’t identify due to the sensitive nature of the technology’s applications.

In 2012 the company plans to expand its focus from government customers to mobile phone and medical device makers. CEO and co-founder Anthony Sutera believes the technology could be used by weather and oceanographic researchers, underwater welders, rescue workers, military special operatives in the field, airlines, and by manufacturers of cars, phones, TVs, radios and other consumer electronics.


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It’s another nail in the coffin of expensive, dirty, smelly physical cash and coins. PayPal has released the 3.0 version of its Android app and, through that, users can directly exchange money from one NFC-equipped phone to another. Just add the Request Money widget to your (probably already rather cluttered) desktop, type in an amount, then pick up your Nexus S and do a little fist bump with your best bro’s celly — assuming said bro has a similarly near field communication-equipped Android device. Of course, you can still use Bump to exchange cash if you like, but neither that nor NFC will ensure your friend will ever actually pay you back. Maybe that’s something Bluetooth 4.0 can manage.


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Kudos to the IEEE for rushing this new ‘super WiFi’ standard through so very speedily for the sake of rural communities with poor web access. Designated IEEE 802.22, it promises to bring speeds of up to 22Mbps to devices as far as 100km away from the nearest transmitter. How’s that possible? Well, the standard carefully exploits swathes of unused white space within transmission bands that were originally reserved (and jealously guarded) for analogue TV. These frequencies currently contain nothing but hiss and occasional communications from dead people, but one day they could and should be filled with the hopes, aspirations and Facebook updates of country folk who are very much alive. Full PR inside.


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Jealous of Comcast customers with their 105Mbps cable hook ups or those lucky residents of the Kansas cities relishing in Google’s 1Gbps service? Well add Londonites to the list of people that drive you to indulging in one of the seven deadly sins. Virgin Media has finally started testing its DOCSIS2-powered 1.5Gbps network in the heart of merry ol’ England. Right now it’s being enjoyed by a group of test sites around Old Street that also get a 150Mbps upload connection. Virgin claims it’s the fastest broadband in the world, which may be true if you’re not counting lab experiments. The really good news is that it’s based on the same tech already delivering 100Mbps to residents across the country so, if the trial goes well, it should be trivial to deliver these mind numbing speeds to the rest of its customers. Full PR inside.


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A global smart buzzword, Galaxy S 2 set a record of 3 million global sales only in 55 days. Samsung Electronics said on July 3 that its flagship smartphone Galaxy S 2 has marked the accumulated global sales of 3 million units, 55 days after its initial release: Within the period, a unit of Galaxy S 2 was sold in every 1.5 seconds. This record shortens the record of 85 days of its predecessor Galaxy S, a ten-million global seller, by 30 days.


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Everything can be hacked — that’s an important detail to keep in mind as we start cramming wireless radios into our bodies attached to medical implants. Researchers have been working on ways to protect devices like pacemakers from ne’er-do-wells looking to cause, not just e-harm, but physical injury or even death. A new system developed jointly by MIT and UMass is much more sophisticated that earlier solutions, can be used with existing implants, and is worn outside the body allowing it to be removed in the event of an emergency. The shield, as it’s called, acts as a sort of medical firewall, protecting implants from unauthorized access — doctors send encrypted instructions to it which are decoded and relayed to device, while it blocks any signals not using the secret key. All that’s left to do is figure out what sort of person would mess with someone’s defibrillator.


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Have you ever wanted to find an inexpensive way of communicating with your Android phone wirelessly, but without relying on the likes of Bluetooth or Google ADK? If you also happen to be one of those people who has spare Arduino boards about, you’re in luck. Joe Desbonnet combined an Arduino micro controller with a magnetic coil to create what he calls the “Poor Man’s NFC”.

The hack allows for a one-direction, low-bandwidth connection between an Arduino board and Android phone (you’ll need one that has an electronic compass). Using a one-meter-by-one-centimeter copper cable, the Android app Tricorder, and a 120-ohm resistor, Joe made a coil from all the copper wire, which then connected to the Arduino via the resistor on one end. At this point a diode may come in useful to save the Arduino from a possible EMK kick, but not essential.


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Rogers has announced it’s lighting up 150Mbps LTE in four Canadian cities this year. Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are setting the stage for an additional 21 market rollout in 2012. Sure, that theoretical 150Mbps — with an announced upstream of 70Mbps — may shift a whole lot when this all gets real, but seriously, compared to HSPA+ those speeds are astounding. Canadians eager to get a bit more info can take a peek at Roger’s new LTE site (link inside) and cast a vote for your hometown to be part of the 2012 expansion. Rogers hasn’t mentioned a date just yet — or if they plan on all four areas going live at once — but you can be sure that we’ll be keeping close tabs on all the details and grabbing some hands-on experiences with launch devices as soon as we can.


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This office on wheels is the second-generation business class creation from Brabus tuning studio. The new S600 iBusiness 2.0 is bloated with the latest technology. It offers two iPad2 tablets with built-in WiFi connection and a special iPad app that allows you to easily manage a proprietary COMAND system from Mercedes-Benz, including navigation, music, telephone and options to control the passenger’s comfort.

Small tables are situated right underneath the tablets for your bluetooth keyboards. On top of everything else (literally!), there is a 15.2-inch LCD screen, which hides in the roof.

As for the car specs, Brabus iBusiness 2,0 stands up to its name with 800hp and 1047Nm of torque from a twin-turbocharged V12, accelerating this piece of real estate from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds (with a limiter set to 350 km/h). Brabus also offers a full iBusiness 2.0 package for any S-class – from a modest S350 to S65.


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Festo SmartBird

The geniuses at Festo’s Bionic Learning Network are well known for their fascination with robotic animals, and their latest creation is no exception. Dubbed the SmartBird, this autonomous bionic bird — modeled on herring gulls — graces the sky with its sophisticated two meter-long wings, which utilize a bending torso for lifelike directional control. What’s more, this robot is also capable of taking off and landing on its own, but it can also be controlled and monitored from afar using ZigBee radio. Amazingly, all of this round up to just one pound, meaning the SmartBird can happily float about with moderate flapping. See the video inside for some agile in-flight action, accompanied by an animation detailing the inner workings.


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Microsoft Research had its TechForum event yesterday where it showcased some of it’s latest projects to the press. Windows Phone 7 happily took the center stage this year in several demonstrations. In the first video after the break you will see Microsoft Chief Research and Technology Officer, Craig Mundie, demonstrated a new UI controlled by an HTC HD7. This may or may not be what we can expect to see in the upcoming Windows 8 but it definitely shows us where Microsoft is heading with regards to UI and NUIs.


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Dropcam released a full-fledged app for Android smartphones running Android 2.2 or higher. The key advantage with a Dropcam setup is that it’s entirely cloud-based, and doesn’t need to be connected to your home computer to record or share video (unfortunately, that convenience comes at quite a cost).

 

As for the Android app, it will let you receive things like motion and audio alerts, and of course let you check in on a live stream or access recordings -those just looking try the service can also simply access some public webcams to test it out.


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Our French colleagues became bored one day and decided to write an application to control the AR.Drone. What’s more, they utilized their new Microsoft Surface to act as the world’s biggest remote control. They’ve integrated live feed from both on-board cameras (front-faced and downward) for extremely easy landing/takeoff and navigation… around their office. Google-translated version from their site:

We started with the idea of making a cockpit for the drone and fly it from the touch interface of the table So we downloaded the SDK for Win32 ARDron and after we developed a suitable layer in .Net. Then we brought in a Designer and Interactive Designer for prototyping the interface, and finally released the application in WPF. All that’s left was to compile and play with the drone on the Microsoft Surface table.


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Car thieves of the future might be able to get into a car and drive away without forced entry and without needing a physical key, according to new research.

The researchers successfully attacked eight car manufacturers’ passive keyless entry and start systems—wireless key fobs that open a car’s doors and start the engine by proximity alone.

Keyless entry systems typically work by sending a low-powered signal from the car to your key fob, with the two working only when they’re near each other, but the wily Zurich profs were able to intercept and extend that signal via antennas acting as repeaters, resulting in your key activating your car even when it’s nowhere near it.

Source: MIT Technology Review


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