February 15, 1990 |
A robot vacuum cleaner that can tidy up on its own and maneuver around tables and chairs is expected to go on sale within the next three months. Cybervac, which looks like a square version of the R2D2 robot in the "Star Wars" movies, with a nozzle attached, took five years and $1.7 million to develop. "Cybervac simply has an on-off switch. You take it out of the crate, turn it on.
May 8, 2005 |
The fate that awaits Anakin Skywalker, portrayed by Hayden Christensen, is by now well known, but fascination with the way his transformation plays out remains high -- 28 years after "Star Wars" forever altered our perceptions of science fiction movies.
November 17, 1987 |
It looks like a cross between R2D2, the robot of "Star Wars" fame, and a garden hose with a sprinkler attached. Called the Cobra RPB-2010, or "flying boroscope," it is a computer-controlled small camera system used to conduct visual inspections of jet engines, steam turbines, pipes and other places where people can't go.
July 18, 2008 |
The mobile trash compactor is a symphony of squeaks, thunks and rattles, rolling forward on treads to bring its pivoting eyes to bear on us. Within moments we identify completely, launching "Wall-E," one of the rare films to feature robots as the lead characters. Pixar knows how to create identity in a few signals. Research on "facebots" at MIT shows that the mere impression of a face's essentials -- sympathetic eyes and a mouth -- can evoke emotion from us. We read facial features in machines and take them as social signatures.
January 7, 1993 |
Mrs. Paul's has introduced a fishy product called Sea Pals: minced cod shaped like anchors, sea horses, sharks, starfish and just plain fish. A 5.8-ounce box has a suggested retail price of $1.59. Going Against the Gator A & W Brands, the root-beer outfit, is getting into the sports drink market with a colorless isotonic beverage bearing the hard-bodied name Everlast.
February 17, 1997 |
Forget about ISDN lines and fiber optic cables, Kelly Christensen helps manage a network with really huge bandwidth: the Orange County sewer system. As a source control supervisor with the county Sanitation Districts, Christensen is responsible for catching companies that dump hazardous materials in the sewer. The high-tech industry is one of the worst offenders, he said, but it is also part of the solution.
January 11, 1998
Tim Appelo accurately paints a picture of declining enthusiasm and hope in our culture ("The Future Isn't What It Used to Be," Jan. 4). This trend is prime fodder for the debate as to whether Hollywood and the arts community reflect societal attitudes or create them. Nevertheless, the author seems to slightly deride the Disney view of a great big beautiful tomorrow as passe and irrelevant--a perspective that couldn't be more off the mark. Philosophies, faiths and self-help gurus around the world know that "without vision a people perish," and you generally get what you expect.
September 13, 2005 |
IT wasn't long ago that telescope manufacturers thought amateur astronomers were millionaires or majored in astrophysics. Telescopes were too expensive and complicated, and offering a product that was simple to use and easy on the pocketbook was an engineering challenge. Until now. Meade's new ETX Premier Edition proved heaven sent during a test gaze last week -- and just in time for amateurs to home in on Mars, which on Oct. 29 will pass closest to Earth.
April 1, 2008
How much do Americans love their cars? So much that when it seemed a vehicle on the planet Mars might be taken off the road, the media, government and public all stepped in to put a stop to the idea. At issue: A relatively measly $4-million cut proposed in NASA's Mars program, detailed in a recent letter to program directors from planetary science director James Green.