[video] – Connect Your Mailbox to the Internet

Recently I found a video on the web demonstrating a simple system sending push notifications to your iPhone whenever the mailman has delivered your post.

As a part of their “Internet of Things” series ReadWriteWeb came up with an article describing how Make Magazine built the system using an Arduino. This is a nice way of using this technology. In the following you can see the video demonstrating the system.

[youtube W45c9UOvWSo]

I definitely have to try out an Arduino as soon as possible. Anybody interested in hacking up an Arduino project?

[via RWW]

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Google released Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Yesterday Google released a new version of Android 2.3 called Gingerbread. The following video explains some of the new features:

[youtube Jx3pdWBlZ34]

I am looking forward to updating my HTC Desire when it receives the update.

Update: Apart from this information ReadWriteWeb found some interesting new features as stated on their weblog:

Yesterday, Google launched a new version of the Android operating system, Android 2.3, code-named “Gingerbread.” Since then, developers have been scouring through the software development kit (SDK) to see what’s new. A few have found some interesting items – including hints at possible video chat in Google’s GTalk app, references to a Playstation controller and even a fabulous “Easter egg” painting depicting an Android surrounded by zombies.

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Scientist developes a Brain-To-Twitter Interface

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Adam Wilson, biomedical engineering doctoral student at University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a brain to computer interface which makes it possible to directly write tweets through thoughts. ReadWriteWeb writes:

Technically, what Wilson did was come up with an interface combining an Electroencephalogram, or brain wave monitor, with an on screen keyboard for selecting letters. The system lights up each key on the keyboard but is able to notice a difference in brain activity when the desired letter for input is lit. Wilson compares it to clicking through multiple letters when texting on a mobile phone.

Once you’ve found a new way to input text – what are you going to do with it? Use it to Twitter, of course!

Clearly, there’s some gimmickry going on in the news of Wilson’s interface. Who knows if this is better or worse than saying that a technology is developed to assist physically disabled people when it’s really going to be used by the military? Wilson does say that the technology will be helpful for people with active brains but immobile bodies. Now they’ll be able to Twitter, among other things, he says. Fair enough.

[UPDATE] Here is a little video showing how the Brain Twitter Interface workes:

[youtube 205dHV55XWQ]

Personally I think it is a great idea to use the currently hyped microblogging service for research activities.

(via ReadWriteWeb)

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Google Flu Trends – Google Uses Searches to Track Flu’s Spread

Google Flu

It stands to reason that people who are “starting to come down with something” often take the opportunity to search for information on what ails them, even before they discuss their symptoms with a healthcare professional. Who gets more of those searches than anyone? Google, of course. [ReadWriteWeb]

Google offers a new service called Google Flu Trends. The service uses an analysis of Google’s millions of search queries every day to calculate flu trends.

The New York Times writes in an article called: “Google Uses Searches to Track Flu’s Spread“:

Tests of the new Web tool from Google.org, the company’s philanthropic unit, suggest that it may be able to detect regional outbreaks of the flu a week to 10 days before they are reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [New York Times]

Interesting is the fact that trends can be observed a lot earlier than by traditional institutions. Google’s users search for symptoms on internet and through these searches Google generates reports and can inform health institutions to react on these trends.

By now Google Flu Trends is just available in the United States but I am looking forward on using these service in Austria too.