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 communications gaps. Called DICE (Delivering Information in a Cellular Environment), the system uses a computer algorithm to analyze e-mail and HTML documents, then play them back as audio. Siemens has three patents pending for the special algorithm that also analyzes the format and layout elements of a document to convey not only a document's text, but also its structure. In this way, even highly structured HTML documents can be converted to an audio format--without confusing the listener. To use DICE, one dials up a service provider, then, using the touch-tone keypad, accesses web pages from a list of selected bookmarks, or retrieves e-mail. For many tasks, Siemens says, it's sufficient to press a few keys and then simply listen. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Major global metropolitan areas are implementing a vast number of technology, energy, transportation, and Internet projects to make the metropolis a friendlier, greener, safer, and more sustainable place to be.
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