First Map-Based Car Navigation System Debuted 14 Years Before GPS – IEEE – The Institute

36 years ago, released in 1981, Honda’s Electro Gyrocator is now an IEEE Milestone

Source: First Map-Based Car Navigation System Debuted 14 Years Before GPS – IEEE – The Institute

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Why Georgia Tech Built a Tarzan Robot That Swings Around on Wires – IEEE Spectrum

You know that I take a fancy in robots. Mostly we talk about those who are flying. But here is one that is high-strung:


The creators of Tarzan the robot explain how it works and its potential applications

Source: Why Georgia Tech Built a Tarzan Robot That Swings Around on Wires – IEEE Spectrum

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This Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes From Rigid to Flexible When It Crashes – IEEE Spectrum


For a biologist it is always interesting to hear about technical designs that have been created according to solutions found in nature. Especially when the innovation comes from Switzerland.

Inspiration for this design came from insect wings:

Source: This Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes From Rigid to Flexible When It Crashes – IEEE Spectrum

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Exhale and Drink Up! [Researchers accidentally turn carbon dioxide into ethanol]

Source: Researchers accidentally turn carbon dioxide into ethanol

And you thought that small molecule organic chemistry was already researched far and widely. What a surprise to find a catalyst with the capability to turn CO2 into C2H5OH.

Read the full article here:

This would have very interesting industrial applications and could potentially partly solve the issue of Global Warming by “recycling” CO2.

Well who knows–one day we might even have a small gadget which turns the air we exhale into the liquid to spice up our drinks . . .

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Frightening!–Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway


Jeep driven remotely into a ditch

Car driven into the ditch controlled remotely. Picture from Wired article

A Wired journalist volunteered as a test dummy as hackers took complete control of his car remotely from a laptop:

Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It | WIRED.

When will we learn that security is not some frosting you can add to the top of the cake after making it. Security has to be architected in from the beginning!

This story clearly shows how deadly important cooperation between all trades in making a car became. It had been already difficult when the first anti-block breaks came into cars. The mechanical engineers did not trust the electronic guys (as I was told by a colleague in 1978 who came from the car manufacturing industry).

I just hope the car industry wakes up and acts before driving mom and pop cars into lakes becomes a large scale internet game.

Read the full article on Wired here.

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Great Book: Tim Cole, Ossi Urchs—Digital Enlightenment Now!

I met Tim Cole around 12 years ago when we discussed the need for digital identity for transactions on the Internet. We met at many conferences since and we became good friends. He asked me recently to review the book that he wrote together with Ossi Urchs (1954–2014). Here my five cents:

Book Cover of the book reviewed

Digital Enlightenment Now!–Book cover (source:

This book is a must read for everybody who has had electricity available during the last couple of years. The authors, Tim Cole and Ossi Urchs, take us on a philosophical, historical and sociological journey on innovation and the thing called Internet, shedding light on diverse aspects that are usually not discussed in a technology context.

In our society we usually witness a lot of technophobia and neophobia—eschewing the new and novel. The book gives us the tools to fence off the doomsayers.

The authors have analyzed the historic context (ancient Greek philosophers, Indian culture, etc.), looked into changes for society and commerce, discussed digitalisation leading to acceleration, pointed out how networking leads to change and predicted an end to the mass media market as we know it today.

The power of networking is explained using Metcalf’s Law and swarm intelligence. The Digital Native is being redefined and the behaviour of the young generation in light of the new technologies is defended—attention disorder (ADHD) might be a gift and not an illness.

Acceleration in network adoption (25% in 2000—85% now) went hand in hand with technical progress: In 20 years our internet speed went from 56 kb/s to 56 Mb/s.

National identity will lose importance, the young generation is pushing for a new understanding of democracy. This trend will affect business: a company that blocks Facebook is becoming “unworkforcable.” Turning into digital Bedouins we will let the border between work hours and off-time blur. Work 2.0 will make the 9—5 job disappear.

Having been a spokesperson for the international Liberty Alliance Project (2001—09; defining Network Identity, Federated Identity, Privacy Trust) I was very interested in the further chapters discussing the diverse aspects of privacy, anonymity and pseudonymity—again in a historical, ethical, societal and business context. These chapters alone are worth getting your hands on the book.

I enjoyed reading this book very much and I will come back to single chapters for re-reading. The authors have to be congratulated for writing such a rich encyclopaedia on the technology that drives our time and affects all aspects of our lives.

Highly recommended—a must read. Bet you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Here the text from the back cover of the book:

During the Enlightenment of the 18th century societies in Europe threw off oppressive regimes, freed cities from the bondage of the medieval estate-based society, and defined a set of basic human rights that helped shape their sense of self to this day. Today, we as citizens of an increasingly digitized and networked world are in a similar situation. We, too, need the muster the confidence and creativity to rethink rules, values and categories that define our society and the courage to dare to think for ourselves, as Immanuel Kant, the father of modern Enlightenment, demanded in his famous dictum “sapere aude!”

Tim Cole is an expert on Internet, eBusiness, Digital Identity, Social Web and IT Security. Born 1950 in Washington, he has lived in Germany and Austria for over 40 years, pursuing a career as a journalist, book author, TV moderator and public speaker on technology trends and their impact on business processes and markets.

Ossi Urchs (1954 †2014), public speaker, moderator and TV expert, was the original German „Internet Guru“, not only because of his signature red dreadlocks. His formed a successful media production company, FFT, and joined Tim Cole as moderator of the TV show “E-Talk” on n-tv, the German cnn affiliate.

Links to the book:

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New Exoskeleton Lets Paraplegic Walk

Paraplegic walks with exoskeleton

Paraplegic Man strolls the streets in NYC with an exoskeleton. Image from (Eliza Strickland)

The article quoted below starts:

[On July 14th, 2015,] a paralyzed man strapped on a pair of robotic legs and stepped out a hotel door, joining the flow of rushing pedestrians on a sidewalk in midtown Manhattan. The user, Robert Woo, was demonstrating a new exoskeleton unveiled this week, the ReWalk Personal 6.0 from Israel’s ReWalk Robotics. He got a few curious looks as he strode forward in his sleek black gear, but the fast-walking New Yorkers didn’t slow down or clear space for him.

Read the full story here and have a look at the videos:

ReWalk Robotics’s New Exoskeleton Lets Paraplegic Stroll the Streets of NYC – IEEE Spectrum.

This is a nice follow-up on my last weeks post with the seeing cane for the blind.

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