A Canadian company is fighting counterfeiters by employing one of the most sophisticated structures in nature: a butterfly wing.
To be precise, Nanotech Security Corp. in Vancouver is using the natural structure of the wings of a Morpho butterfly, a South American insect famous for its bright, iridescent blue or green wings, to create a visual image that would be practically impossible to counterfeit. The technology was developed at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University, and licensed to the company.
The phenomenon Nanotech employs is similar to the way some animals, including male peacocks, produce iridescent colors: instead of using proteins and other chemicals to produce a hue, the creature’s feathers or scales play with light, using very tiny holes that reflect different colors or wavelengths. The Morpho does this with complicated scales on its wing that produce shimmering blues and greens.
GE said today it would start moving far more complex machines to the cloud and build the first big data and analytic platform robust enough to manage the torrent of information generated by turbines, jet engines, medical scanners and other technology.
The company has partnered with Amazon Web Services, which pioneered the development of the cloud ‑ and coined its name ‑ to broaden GE’s data software and analytical offerings. GE also expanded its partnerships with Accenture and Pivotal to develop new Industrial Internet services and deploy new high-volume machine data management software based on the powerful Hadoop open-source framework.
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The GE “machine cloud” technology will undergird the Industrial Internet, a robust data network designed to bring machines into the digital age, equip them with sensors and software, and use the data they generate to make customers more efficient.
In the 2008 blockbuster film “The Dark Knight,” Batman taps into every phone in Gotham City and, like his namesake bats, uses sonar-like imaging to map the world from echoes he overhears. Now scientists have invented a real-world version of that technology, researching a way that might one day calculate the shapes of rooms by listening to the cell phones within them.
Animals like bats and dolphins—and even some blind people—navigate the world by listening to sounds reflected off their surroundings, a sensory technique called echolocation. Electrical engineer Ivan Dokmanic at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and his colleagues have developed a computer algorithm that can generate a 3-D model of a simple room using four microphones that can pick up echoes from sounds such as finger snaps, literally making it a snap to map a room.
“If someone told me some years ago that you can grab a couple of microphones, put them in a room, snap your fingers and have your computer calculate the shape of the room from the echoes, I’d be surprised,” Dokmanic says. “We turn something that’s usually considered to be annoying and what people usually try to get rid of — the echoes — into something very useful.”