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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Searchme: Visual Search Engine With Exciting New Features


Back in March, visual search engine Searchme has raised $31 million from early Google backer Sequoia Capital and other investors. Mountain View based SearchMe has been around since 2005 and has raised $31 million from Sequoia, DAG Ventures and Lehman Brothers.

And just yesterday, Searchme launched two new visual search features that help users quickly find, organize and share information. These include Media Search for videos and images with content from YouTube and Flickr; and Stacks, visual bookmarks that users can share on email, blogs, web sites, Facebook pages and MySpace.com, all with the click of a button.

SearchMe is one of only a handful of companies that indexes the entire web, so they’re serious about evolving into a big search player over the years. Search volume is up to 100,000 - 200,000 queries per day, said CEO Randy Adams. so they must be doing something right. Some users just want the quick text search results that they’re used to, and SearchMe’s visual results just slow down the process. But others like seeing the page before clicking on it.

Read Also:
SearchMe Launches Stacks, Gets Serious About Search Relevance (TechCrunch)
SearchMe Launches New Search Engine With Heavy Backing From Sequoia (TechCrunch)

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Bill Gates Says Farewell To Microsoft

Bill Gates

Bill Gates said a teary goodbye on Friday to Microsoft Corp, the software maker he built into the world's most valuable technology company based on the ambitious goal of placing a computer on every desk and in every home.

He leaves his full-time executive role at Microsoft, which he co-founded with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, to focus on his philanthropic organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest charity, funded in part by his vast fortune.

At an event at Microsoft's headquarters campus here, Gates, who will become a non-executive chairman and work part-time, joined Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on stage to deliver a short speech and field questions from employees.
"There won't be a day in my life that I'm not thinking about Microsoft and the great things that it's doing and wanting to help," said Gates, who wiped away tears as the group of employees rose to give him a standing ovation.

Ballmer, a Harvard University classmate who joined Microsoft at Gates' behest, got choked up as he tried to describe Gates' impact on the company and society at large. "There's no way to say thanks to Bill. Bill's the founder. Bill's the leader," said Ballmer. "We've been given an enormous, enormous opportunity and it was Bill that gave us this opportunity."

Watch the following video made by Microsoft about its founder, Bill Gates:

This is Part 2 of the video ...

Thank you, Bill. Thank you for Microsoft.

Read Also:
Bill Gates bids a teary farewell to Microsoft (Reuters)
Bill Gates: Looking Back, Moving Ahead (Microsoft PressPass)



Friday, June 13, 2008

REEM-B: UAE's First ‘Home-Grown' Humanoid Robot

REEM-B Robot

Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Pal Technology proudly announced yesterday the launch of Reem B, a prototype for the development of one of the most sophisticated humanoid service robots in the world, during an exclusive launch event on Reem Island, Abu Dhabi.

Reem B is the next generation prototype of a humanoid robot designed and built by Pal Technology, a UAE based multi disciplined business established in 2000. The 60kg robot's customized hardware and software development makes it a truly autonomous, self-contained service robot, able to communicate with humans and perform a number of unique and sophisticated tasks.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, REEM-B, & Prof Noel Sharkey

Reem B is the evolution of the first humanoid robot REEM-A created by Pal Technology Robotics, REEM-B has the unique ability to map and self localize itself, both elements that distinctly set it apart from REEM-A. Although both robots can perform face recognition, object recognition, voice recognition and walking, Reem B, can also converse with humans, walk dynamically, recognize and grasp objects, accept voice commands, and even remind appointments.

"REEM-B is equipped with an infrared laser on its feet, allowing it to find its way and generate autonomously a map of its environment onto a computer screen which guests are able to witness in real time." said Davide Faconti, Team leader and coordinator of the REEM-B project.

REEM-B is also able to carry up to 25% of its weight, making it the world's strongest humanoid robot. In addition, the 1.47 meter tall robot has a fingered hand with 12 motors, and is able to maneuver up and down stairs, with added sensors to ensure that it avoids any obstacles. REEM-B also boasts the longest battery autonomy of any robot - an impressive 120 minutes.

"REEM-B is still at the prototype stage, but all robots in world are prototypes at the moment. This [project] picks up on a lot of skills that other robots have, to make an interesting collection of skills - I would say it is probably among the top ten in the world," said Noel Sharkey, professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, who attended the event as a guest of Pal Technology.

During the exclusive launch event, Pal Technology presented Abu Dhabi University with a scholarship program for outstanding post graduate students, from the Computer Science and Robotics department. As part of this program, students will be given the opportunity to work with the team of experts behind the advancement of REEM-B and to assist first hand with Pal Technology's future research and development plans.

Read Also:
Pal Robotics (Official Website)
Abu Dhabi based company PAL Technology unveils latest generation humanoid Robot Reem B (Press Release)
Pal Technology launches new robot (Gulf News)
Brave new world of robotics (The National)
Robot with a difference! (Khaleej Times)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

BMW Gina Light Visionary Concept: Lighter, More Flexible, & Cooler

BMW GINA Concept Car

The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model that was seen in the BMW Museum in Munich last week has finally been revealed, and the futuristic design study shows how BMW designers are thinking outside of the box when it comes to the materials that make up a car and also how the car relates to the driver.

GINA stands for "Geometry and Functions in 'N' Adaptations", which basically means that designers from both BMW and BMW Group DesignworksUSA were allowed to throw out the rulebook. This is most evident in the GINA Light Visionary Model's outer skin, which is made entirely out of textile fabric that's pulled taut around a frame of metal and carbon fiber wires. The skeleton of the car is controlled by electro-hydraulic devices and can actually move and change shape beneath the fabric skin. For instance, the headlights of the concept can be exposed or hidden by the car's skin just like blinking eyes, and the hood opens from the center as the fabric parts to expose the engine.

Watch Chris Bangle, head of design for BMW, talking about GINA:

Bangle and is team actually built GINA six years ago, but BMW kept it under wraps until Tuesday. It's built on the Z8 chassis and has a 4.4-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the fabric skin - polyurethane-coated Lycra - is resilient, durable and water resistant. It's stretched over an aluminum frame controlled by electric and hydraulic actuators that allow the owner to change the body shape.

BMW says the shape of the body can be changed without slackening or damaging the fabric. The fabric is opaque so the taillights shine through, and small motors pull the fabric back to reveal the headlights. The interior is equally innovative. The steering wheel and gauges swing into place and the headrest rises from the seat once the driver is seated, making it easier to get in and out of the car.

Hmmm, I liked cartouche's comment in Wired when he said, "After seeing the opening in the hood, I see how GINA must be pronounced."

Read Also:
BMW GINA Light Visionary Model: Premiere (BMW-web.tv)
BMW GINA Light Visionary Model revealed (Autoblog)
BMW Builds a Shape-Shifting Car Out of Cloth (Wired)
BMW concept points to a lighter future (BusinessCar)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Washing Machine That Uses One Single Cup of Water

Single-Cup-of-Water Washing Machine

Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine. The revolutionary technology will provide alternatives to both domestic washing and dry cleaning, heralding the world’s first “virtually waterless” washing system.

Xeros, a University of Leeds spin-out, is commercializing the technology with some of the biggest names in the washing and dry-cleaning industries.

The process is based on the use of plastic granules (or chips) which are tumbled with the clothes to remove stains. A range of tests, carried out according to worldwide industry protocols to prove the technology performs to the high standards expected in the cleaning industry, show the process can remove virtually all types of everyday stains as effectively as existing processes whilst leaving clothes as fresh as normal washing. In addition, the clothes emerge from the process almost dry, reducing the need for tumble-driers.

Xeros' technology uses as little as a cup of water in each wash cycle and could also bring benefits to other industrial processes such as wastewater treatment and metal degreasing.

The new technology could be on the UK market as early as 2009. Xeros has recently received funding of £500,000 from the University’s commercialization partner, IP Group, subject to certain milestones being met.

Read Also:
Virtally waterless washing machine heralds cleaning revolution (Leeds University Media)
Washing machine that uses just a cup of water (The Independent)

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Explore Disney World In 3D With Google Earth

Disney World 3D With Google Earth
Click above for larger image

The above image I have just captured with Google Earth for Disney's Magical Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. This is a creative promotional campaign for Disney World with great help of Google Earth. Now you can explore Disney World Florida interactively in 3D using your Google Earth 4.3 . This is what Jay Rasulo, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said about this new creative technology for interactive tourism:

"Last May, Eric Schmidt and I met to talk about The Walt Disney Company’s focus on technology. We started to explore innovative ways we could work together to bring one of the world’s most magical destinations to Google Earth’s millions of users… and how our guests could be a mouse-click away from visiting the place where dreams come true. The result is Walt Disney World Resort in 3D, an interactive, virtual Walt Disney World completely recreated on Google Earth."

The following is the promotional video from Disney World:

If you have Google Earth installed in your PC, then go ahead and open the this KMZ file that will take you directly to Disney's Magical Kingdom in Orlando. Explore Disney in 3D yourself!

Read Also:
Walt Disney World Resort In 3D (Disney World)
Explore Walt Disney World® Resort in 3D (Official Google Blog)

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Firefox Download Day 2008: To Set World Record For The Most Software Downloaded In 24 Hours

Download Day 2008

Mozilla is hoping to set a Guinness World Record for the most number of downloads of an application in a day, on the release of its Firefox 3 Web browser. There is currently no official Guinness World Record for the total number of downloads of an application in a day.

"This is the first record attempt of its kind so there is no set number. We'd really like to outdo the number of Firefox 2 downloads on its launch day, which was 1.6 million. Let's shoot for 5 million--the sky is the limit!", said Spread Firefox website.

There will be official participant certificates available for people participating in this campaign. A special form will be available on the Download Day Headquarters as soon as Firefox 3 launches and Download Day kicks off. Simply enter your name and select print for your very own certificate.

Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) had "fixes and improvements to platform features, to improve security, Web compatibility and stability", according to Mozilla. There are more than 175 million users of Firefox, which is available in more than 45 languages and used in more than 230 countries.

So are you in or out? As for myself, I'm in!

Read Also:
Download Day 2008 (Spread Firefox)
Will Mozilla get a world record for Firefox 3? (ZD Net)

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