Archive for August, 2010

Google will now facilitate Gmail users to call telephones directly from their email. It will be in direct competition with Skype and traditional operators like AT&T and Verizon Communications.

After offering computer-to-computer voice and video chat services, Google will now allow calls to home phones and mobile phones directly from Gmail. Calls to the U.S. and Canadian phones from Gmail would be free of cost this year and for calls to other countries, there would be certain charges fixed at a lower rate. Google said calls to Britain, France, Germany, China and Japan would be as low as 2 cents per minute.

According to analysts, this service would likely be a bigger competitive threat to services like Skype’s than to traditional phone companies, which have already been cutting their call prices in recent years in response to stiff competition.

“This is a risk to Skype. It’s a competitor with a pretty good brand name,” said Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier. Like Skype, Rethemeier said the Google service will likely be much more popular among U.S. consumers making international calls, than among people calling friends inside the country.

Bangalore: Imagine searching the internet simply by thinking. Well, your imagination may soon turn into reality, say scientists who claim to be developing a computer which reads human minds.

A team at Intel Corporation is working on a new technology which will directly interpret words as they are thought, unlike current brain-controlled computers which require users to imagine making physical movements to control a cursor on a screen.

In fact, the scientists are creating detailed maps of the activity in the brain for individual words which can then be matched against the brain activity of someone using the computer, allowing the machine to determine the word they are thinking, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Preliminary tests of the system have shown that the computer can work out words by looking at similar brain patterns and looking for key differences that suggest what the word might be.

Dean Pomerleau, of Intel Laboratories, said, “The computer uses a form of 20 questions to narrow down what the word is.” So a food related word like apple produces activity in those parts of the brain related to hunger. So the computer can infer attributes to each word being thought about and this lets the computer zero down on what the word is pretty quickly.

“We are currently mapping out the activity an average brain produces when thinking about different words. It means you’ll be able to write letters, open emails or do Google searches just by thinking,” Pomerleau said.

Bangalore: Germans have discovered a new technology to make the virtual world real and this may enable people to meet the desired person online. Through this method virtual copies can be turned to real objects and these copies can be touched and even sent via the web.

By the sense of touch the user can get deep into virtual reality. This is an attempt to make sci-fi possible in real world. The scientists wanted to transmit a virtual object to a remote person who could not only see but feel and remove it.

Their first step was to successfully transmit a virtual object to a remote person, who could not only see the object, but also feel it and move it. The degree of immersion is higher in virtual reality when more senses are stimulated. As of now, it has not been possible to touch a virtual object. The researchers developed a method for combining visual and haptic impressions with one another.

A user senses the object using a haptic device when a 3D scanner records an image of the object. The internet has the provision to send a VR copy to the desired user. Data goggles with a monitor onto which the virtual object is projected, and a sensor rod which is equipped with small motors are required for a person to be able to see and feel the VR. When the VR object and the sensor rod meet, signals are sent to motors in the rod. By the usage of brakes, resistance is stimulated and the user has the sensation of touching the virtual reality frog whereas from outside it appears that he or she is touching the air.

Whereas earlier attempts simulated the virtual object largely on the basis of assumptions, the method developed by the ETH researchers is based more heavily on measured data. So very aptly people are looking forward to accept this as the technology of future.