Vincent Darley, a research scientist with BiosGroup (Santa Fe, NM) who also studies ants, says that "swarm intelligence" of ants makes sense for scheduling problems in manufacturing settings. Ants lay down a chemical called pheromone, creating a trail between food sources and their nests. The trails become the system of routing for the ants. Darley uses small pieces of software that travel through a network and deposit an artificial pheromone as they seek optimal routes through networks. Because the Internet uses packet switching—breaking down of e-mails and other data into small bundles taking different routes before reassembling at their destination—better routing is necessary, according to Darley. His approach relies on virtual ants that wander large databases, pick up pieces of information, and deposit them according to various criteria that he sets up. The result is a cluster of clients with common attributes—similar to the way ants collect seeds for their pantries. For more information, send e-mail to email@example.com, call (505) 992-6700, or send snail mail to: BiosGroup, 317 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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