Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research have developed a prototype system that enables one to access e-mail messages or World Wide Web pages using any touch-tone telephone, including a cellular phone. For those away from the office, or with no laptop readily available, the system promises to fill one of the last communication gaps. Called DICE (Delivering Information in a Cellular Environment), it uses a computer algorithm and speech synthesis tools to analyze e-mail and HTML documents, and then play them back as audio. The algorithm not only analyzes a document's text, but also its structure for audio presentation. To use DICE, one simply dials up a service provider and uses the telephone keypad to access web pages; to respond, users key in a number on the phone to record a voice message. "We're working on converting the verbal response back into an e-mail message at the other end, and should support this feature soon," adds Arding Hsu, department head, Multimedia/Video Technology. Contact Guy Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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