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Tag Archives: News

Help DARPA, Play a Video Game

Darpa Game

Be a good citizen: help DARPA by playing a video game today! The agency has created Verigames, which features puzzle games that are a lot like the games you probably already play on your smartphone or tablet. The difference is that there’s a bit more to these games than meets the eye. DARPA is on a mission to hunt down bugs in commercial software. Since money is pretty tight in the government (now that I think of it, it’s probably tight everywhere), they’re indirectly sourcing the work out to the public by bundling the software up in the form of a fun game.

Each of the games DARPA is offering features a possible that must be solved before they can move on to the next level. But what does this have to do with the bugs? Well, the code behind each game is actually math problems that represent specific programs. When the player passes a certain level, algorithms are created that reveal security bugs in the software itself. Fresh puzzles are generated on the spot for the problems that need further review.

When a player stumbles upon any issues while they’re playing, DARPA will contact the company responsible for the software, who will then deploy a team of professional analysts to study and fix the problems.

The five games are called CircuitBot, Flow Jam, Ghost Map, Stormbound and Xylem and can now be played on Verigames.

VIA [ Dvice ]

This Restaurant Lets People Trade Their Crappy Gifts for a Gift Card

White Elephant Gift Exchange

It happens every year. It’s true that the thought behind the present matters the most, but some are just so bad or so ugly that the gift itself has no true value in your life. (In short, you’ll never use it, wear it, or display it around your house.) With this in mind, Houlihan’s Restaurant put on their thinking hat and came up with a promotion that will let people trade in their ugly presents for something else that could be better.

To sweeten the deal, all participants stand a chance to win a $25 gift card that they can spend at the restaurant. The only condition is that the presents can’t cost more than $10. To join in on the fun, send in your unwanted White Elephant presents to Houlihan’s at 8700 State Line Rd., Suite 100, Leawood, KS, 66206. They’ll send you a random present for your troubles that might come with the bonus gift card if you happen to be the lucky winner.

Gifts must be received by January 3rd, 2014.

VIA [ Food Beast ]

McLaren: ‘No More Wipers For Us, We’re Going For Fighter Jet Technology’

McLaren Fighter Jet Technology

Driving a car without windshield wipers in the rain is an accident just waiting to happen. However, that won’t be the case with McLaren’s future vehicles because even though they won’t come with wipers, they’ll come installed with technology used in fighter jets that’ll keep windshields clear, even in the strongest of rains.

While the car manufacturer hasn’t unveiled too many details on the exact technology they’ll be using, experts suggest that the system will use high-frequency system that will course sound waves through the windshield. This movement will create a forcefield of sorts that will deflect rain, mud, and insects.

McLaren’s Frank Stephenson said: “I was told that it’s not a coating on the surface but a high-frequency electronic system that never fails and is constantly active. Nothing will attach to the windscreen.”

No more wiper blades. Now isn’t that something?

VIA [ Gizmodo ]

 

Safety Mode Locks Your Phone, So You Can’t Text While Walking

I’ve sure you’ve seen the clip above a few times before. It’s of a girl using her phone while walking in the mall. She’s completely oblivious as to where she’s headed that she falls into the foundation while texting. A lot of people get into accidents or scrapes because they pay more attention to their mobile phones instead of their surroundings.

Japanese cell phone provider DoCoMo wants to change that by adding a voluntary “safety mode” feature on their phones. The phone locks when it detects that the user is on the move and displays the following warning: “Using your smartphone while walking is dangerous. The phone senses you are walking. Please stop.”

If it’s an emergency and the user does need to use his phone while walking, he can tap the close button on the screen to use the phone for ten seconds, or hold down the power button to use the phone for five seconds.

VIA [ C|NET ]

Social Garbage Can Encourages Kids to Put Trash Where They Belong

Social Trash Cans

No one is truly incorrigible, including litter bugs. Sometimes, all it takes to change someone’s attitude is a little prodding and a bit of encouragement. For people who don’t really mind where they’re throwing their stuff, there’s the Social Trash Box aka STB. It’s an interactive garbage can that twists, bends, and reminds people not to litter and to throw their trash where it belongs: in the bin.

STB was developed at Toyohashi University’s Interaction and Communications Design Lab. The robot comes equipped with a microprocessor, a video camera where it spots would-be litterers, and a speaker to chide aforementioned litterers.

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Want Pizza? Just Hit That Button on PiePal and Wait

Piepal

Pizza is the ultimate comfort food. Failed your finals? Get pizza. Got dumped? Get two pizzas. Got yelled at by your boss? Throw a pizza in his face. Nah, we’re just kidding, because that’s just a waste of good pie.

If you crave for pizza frequently, then here’s a bit of good news for you: ordering it just got easier with PiePal. It’s a 3D-printed button that you can hit whenever you feel like getting a pie. All you have to do is turn the dial to indicate how many pies you want delivered and push to order. Developed by iStrategyLabs, PiePal works via WiFi to place your order through Domino’s online ordering system.

PiePal is powered by Arduino and Raspberry Pi. There’s currently a call for beta testers, so this would be the perfect gig for you if you love pizza and tech.

VIA [ C|NET ]

Protect Your Privates: Radiation-Proof Underwear Released in Japan

Radiation Proof Underwear

Radiation exposure kills. It also damages parts of your body that’s exposed to it. Most people find no reason to come into contact with radiated waters, but the Fukushima clean-up crews do, and that’s exactly who these radiation shield wear undies are for. Made by Yamamoto Corporation, the underwear is lined with lead to block harmful gamma rays in the abdomen and lower spine area. A beta-ray shielding suit should then be worn over the gamma ray crotch guard to ward of the beta rays. The shielding suit is effective as its seams are completely fused, keeping the radiation out and keeping its wearer safe.

The Yamamoto drysuit will cover the wearer’s entire body, with the only opening being for the face mask. The suits will be available this month for $1,072, while the gamma ray guard will cost an additional $825. Extremely expensive, but hey, they could save your life–that is, if you plan to go swimming in exposed waters.

VIA [ Dvice ]

McDonald’s Happy Meals in Japan are All About Super Mario

McDonalds Mario Happy Meal

Happy Meals are truly happy in Japan.

While McDonald’s stores in the US are all about NFL-themed toys, the ones in Japan right now are particularly super as they feature none other than Super Mario. They’re doing it as a way to celebrate one of Nintendo’s most well-known franchise. In a way, it’s also celebrating Nintendo as a video game company, as they’ve been making games (and making the lives of the people who play them a lot more fun) since 1889.

The toys feature Mario in various costumes and positions, and include figures of the Princess and Yoshi, too. But what about Luigi?

VIA [ That's Nerdalicious ]

Black Hornet Looks Like a Toy, Is Actually a Military Drone

Black Hornet

You’ll never look at toy helicopters the same way again. The Black Hornet, officially named the “PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System,” looks like the ones you commonly see at toy stores, but they’re actually surveillance drones that are controlled remotely by a soldier.

The drone was recently unveiled at the Association of the United States Army Expo in Washington DC, but it’s not something new for those on the field as it has already been used by British personnel in Afghanistan. Small enough to fit in the palm of a child, the Black Hornet can be used to scout for potential enemies, survey at-risk areas, and spy on suspects.

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