Track Points lower price point Precision Guided Firearms

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So again ars Technica has a great article on Track Points latest products, $10,000 AR15 class weapons with their tracking/guidance package.

This is a remarkable technology and if I wanted to hunt it’s one I’d consider since you’re much more likely to get a clean kill.

These weapon’s make almost anyone a one shot one kill marksman, eroding a little the ‘advantage’ of a professional and increasing my concerns regarding their use in politically motivated murder.

The use of the weapon wit a remote sight also increases my concern in this area though the existing versions are heavy very expensive and near useless at short range.

However those disadvantages will rapidly dwindle, the technology is not that complex and I can see many bells and whistles I would work in over time.

In the not to distant future advanced combat forces will be using this and derived technology on all of their firearms, the battlefield will become deadlier and counter measures, operational, tactical and technical will be deployed.

Some in the political arena will want this tech banned, they may succeed in the short run. Some may demand it become mandatory, with the development of a human target recognition element and over ride…an expansion of the smart gun push.

But for now, it’s a cool use of technology by some pretty savvy guys and it’ll be fascinating to see where it goes.
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iPad Next

Still waiting for the next iPad. Having used an iPad from its second year on I have decided that it really, really needs an update in the usage department.

What do I mean?
I really have tried to use my iPad to take notes and to do real work, I have a blue tooth keyboard but it requires a table for me to use and is one more item to carry.  Really one needs pen, audio as well as keyboard input, and to be honest I would like keyboard and mouse input because the damn screen is not as easy to interact with as a mouse for heavy writing/editing.

For note taking I worked with just a stylus with several note taker apps but the poor wrist rejection and poor accuracy of the stylus make the payoff poor given the effort it takes to use well.  I bought the Jot blue tooth stylus and its accuracy is absolutely abysmal and the ‘feel’ of the hard nib on glass just sucks.

My little Moleskin note-book is better than the iPad.  It would seem to me that one could create a very useful iPhone size note pad if the screen were a little draggy like pen on paper and the accuracy of the stylus was as good a pen on paper.

There has been commentary about tablet sales topping out, especially iPad sales.  I think that’s because a lot of people who thought they could use the iPad or equivalent as a more general computing tool have slid back to using it as a consumption device and that makes the cost of these high-end devices too high.

To pick up more users and re-energize those of us who have found ourselves slipping into a reader only mode the iPad needs to replace the note pad.  That means the useable surface needs to expand to something more like 8.5 x 11 and it needs to have a high accuracy high feel-quality stylus. Letting the Surface Pro 3 and the Galaxy Tab S go without a strong response will slide the iPad into a lesser position and let MS retain and perhaps expand its Business core. It could even kill the iPad Air sales entirely since for a pure reader the iPad mini is a better deal.

So I hope the rumour of a larger iPad is right and that it has the technology required for a high accuracy high  ‘feel-quality’ stylus.  Even better if they can do this on the iPad mini and iPhone I would expect them to be leading the pack again.

This is not to say that the non stylus start of the iPad was wrong or that the capacitive touch interface should fade.  You do not always have or want the stylus or pen, and learning the new touch interface was important but as the market matures and the users understand how they do and could use devices their wants/needs expand.  And as the Galaxy and the Surface demonstrate to some degree the stylus/pen is a needed adjunct.

One thought here, sapphire might be a very good material for the right type of ‘pen’ sensor, hard enough to allow one to use a metallic tip perhaps?

 

I gotta say it: The iPhamily refresh I want…

Have to say that the finger print sensor on the iPhone 5s is really a great idea and somewhat unobvious.   As always it was the quality of integration and superior tech selection that gave it the Apple imprimatur.20130911-121516.jpgNow we have a projected 4.5 – 4. 9 in iPhone 6 and possibly an iPhone max at 6 in, and iPad max (Pro?) at 12.9 in.  This is the Samsung version of innovation not Apples.

One of the things about the Apple sparked smartphone race is the well noted but sometimes missed integration of an absolutely crazy (by standards of 6 years ago) set of sensors in every unit.  The iPhone and its genetic descendants are sensor rich platforms that software, skins and blivets modify for an uncountable number of applications.

Apple has identified a key (and missed it with the 5c) people want ease of use, ruggedness, power and flexibility so they can personalize their technological jewel and use it to enhance their life.

SO?

Follow the logic:  Make it more general purpose, more flexibile, more rugged, more capable, easier to skin, easier to add plivets to, while staying bullet proof.

Sizes:   I would think about the iPhone/pad Family:  4″, 4.5″, 6″, 7.9″, 9.8″ and 12.8

Screen size:  I think apple needs to push the screen to the edge and around the edges of the frame [on the smaller models] at least on one side, to enable side scan and programmable side switches.

Physical buttons: Minimize, three in total all programmable though one will need a hard wired on/off/reset function.

Physical buttons, the center finger print sensor [an iconic item that got its start with the iPod. ] :  Bury it under the face and make it part of the functional screen, or make a cutout in the screen for it   [that would be a real game changer style wise and make the tech maximalists scream bloody murder. [Do it for the front camera and speakers and some would go up in spontaneous fireballs.]

Radio:  Every unit should have WiFi and Phone / Data functionality built in.  Work with the pipe suppliers to get them to do what they should want to do, enable the use of Phone/Data flexibly so people get hooked.

Protection:  The smaller units should have a sapphire screen to add even more ruggedness.

Cameras:  Apple, keep up the good work, quality over quantity and work with the guys who want to add specialist lenses to provide more and more camera functionality. The two cameras in the iPhone are key, critical tools in its bag.  I love photos, love cameras but they are doomed to become a relatively rare specialist device.

Speakers: Need to be better, stereo, along with stereo microphones to add acoustic sensing to the repertoire.  Maybe one should put the speakers on the face?

Inductive charging: not in already, really?  Understood its bulky but its needed for the next level of rugged etc.

Waterproof….ehe…the question is how to do the speaker connection (assuming inductive charging) I think one can make the connector waterproof and I don’t think its a problem unless you get salt water in it, in which case some kind of sensor to make sure its not leaking current. [I think that the audio jack is going to last a lot longer than maybe it should.  But I will hope Blue Tooth makes cable-less headphones the standard in 5 years or less.]

Oh well, guess I will wait to see where Apple goes, I hope they see their premier post PC tool the way I do.  Maybe they have even better ideas, we can always hope.

Additive Manufacturing in Space- Two favorites in One!!!

3D / Additive Manufacture in Space! Two favorites in one!

And its an SBIR…Small Business Innovative Research, program, how cool is that on top?  The SBIR program is a personal favorite of mine.  It basically provides entrepreneurs and engineers with ideas with funds to develop a concept and put together a prototype then helps them either commercialize it or work with a big company to bring to the market or to NASA, USAF, Navy, Army, DoE, DoT, DHS etc.  When done right which NASA, the Navy and to some extent the AirForce and Army have done this can provide fantastic bang for the buck.  Its only downside is that it can be seen as a substitute for bigger development programs and it’s not.  SBIR works for initial concepts, for components, basic materials, small-scale projects (App scale maybe) but it’s not enough bucks to do anything major.  The only program that does something similar on a larger scale is DARPA, which is also a world leading organization in this area.

On Thursday, NASA announced the selection of 39 proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. ……  Made in Space, a Silicon Valley company working on 3-D manufacturing in space.
Made in Space, Inc.
Moffett Field, CA

PROPOSAL TITLE: ISS Additive Manufacturing Facility for On-Demand Fabrication in Space
SUBTOPIC TITLE: ISS Utilization
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Begin: 6 End: 8
TECHNICAL ABSTRACT
Made in Space has completed a preliminary design review of the Additive Manufacturing Facility. During the first half of Phase 1, the design went through conceptual development, simulation testing, cost analysis, and comparison testing of which off-the-shelf parts can be used. The deliverables for Phase I include a written report detailing evidence of demonstrated technology (TRL 5) in the laboratory and will outline in detail the path taken toward hardware demonstration for Phase II (TRL 6). The preliminary design is ready to be manufactured as an engineering test unit in Phase II. A feasibility study was created to demonstrate what could be fabricated for the inside of the ISS (parts and spares) and for the outside (possible satellites). It is anticipated that many of the sample uses that the AMF will make possible on-orbit have not yet been envisioned.

Catching the Watcher | NaNoWriMo 2012, Day 9

  • Target Word Count 50,000 Target Average Words Per Day 1,667
  • Words Written Today 2,737
  • Total Words Written 15,795
  • Current Day 9
  • Average Per Day 1,755
  • Words Remaining 34,205
  • Days Remaining 22
  • At This Rate I Will Finish On November 28, 2012
  • Words Per Day To Finish On Time 1,555

Ah sweet progress, not much yesterday (its rolled into today’s count.) I should have gotten more done today but I kept on hitting blocks and getting the urge to get up and go do something else. Hopefully I can get another good stint tomorrow and Sunday, fortunately for NaNoWriMo progress and very unfortunately for my real life the work I am having done on my house is taking longer than expected, this time the coating for the new cork flooring needs to harden for 72 hours before I can start moving furniture in so another damned weekend down the drain!

Better Pharmaceutical Manufacturing via Continuous Processing | MIT Technology Review

Better chemistry: To produce drugs in a continuous-manufacturing method, MIT engineers had to develop several new pieces of equipment, including this reactor, which enabled a faster reaction and eliminated the need for a toxic solvent.

This is a big breakthrough, this is part of the maker revolution though a long way from maker bot.  In the long run such a system can be miniaturized and stocked with a range of precursors which will allow a single system to produce any number of different drugs on demand. In the early days such systems will be huge and hugely expensive but will make drug exploration exponentially quicker and less expensive. In the long-term the system makes the whole pharmaceutical infrastructure we have today obsolete…except that it will probably increase the need for scientists, physicians specializing in individualized medicine, etc, etc. Old jobs go away new ones come on-line. And the new ones will generally be much more about the outer edges of technology and the connection between people and between people and their machines, instead of embedding people as cogs in the machines.

The article is pretty high level but a good quick read on the topic.