Monthly Archives: November 2013

Smartphones Getting Smarter

Smartphones Getting Smarter

by Ed Barry

Since the mid 90’s we have had more computing power in our phones than NASA did in the first Apollo mission. What have we been doing with all of that technology? We launch birds at pigs and send smiley faces to each other. Although things are changing now, companies like Sony, Motorola, and Samsung to name a few have begun creating interchangeable accessories for their smartphones; and no I’m now talking about sparkly covers and stylish key chains. The Nokia Lumia currently has a 41 Megapixel camera built in, but it’s quite bulky.

The new idea is to make a camera lens to increase the phones capability without adding to its size. Other attachment such as microscopes, high powered microphones and HD web cams are in the work or for sale already. This means that you would not have to pay for all these features up front, you can pick and choose from these advanced features. Don’t trust it or don’t want to spend the money?

Watch the video in the link posted below for a DIY on a homemade microscope for under $10 you can make at the Discovery Learning Laboratory, with just a few cheap items and basic training. Microscope Turns Mobile

So what does all this mean? Well I think with the rate our phones are advancing, it is making the PC industry a little nervous. The question becomes now is where does it end? Let us compare; the human brain needs energy to fire electrical impulses as does a smartphone, although there are limits on the energy consumption on the smartphone we have a pretty strict limit on the energy we can consume and actually use.

Researchers at Cambridge have been working to determine how the internet and smartphones affect our memory, and so far it seems that we do not retain as much information when we search it on a computer or we have a large dependency on the computer for our answers. This is a problem but it is also a solution. As it seems we are at capacity with the amount of information we can store and use in our brains, maybe augmenting some of that information to the computer isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand as generations proceed how dependent will we become on the computer?

This dependency can be a good thing if you ask almost any user of Chegg or Wolfram Alpha though I think John Connors would disagree. If you don’t know who that is, I guess you will have to rely on a computer for the answer. All things considered, whether it is good or bad I think only time will tell.


Dickinson, Boonsri. “Scientists Figured out Why We Can’t Get Smarter.” SmartPlanet. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

GRIFFITHS, SARAH. “The DIY Smartphone MICROSCOPE: Turn Your Mobile into a Piece of Expert Kit Using a Block of Wood and a Laser Pointer.” Mail Online. GlamEntertainment, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.


The Poppy Project

by Adam Stroud

While 3D printing is hot topic, I thought I’d post this interesting example of how 3D printing is allowing engineers to do research that would otherwise be pretty out of reach.

The Poppy Project is a humanoid robot made mostly from 3D printed plastic in Paris. The thing about this robot that is so cool is its incredibly human-like walking capabilities. The robot uses bent femur-style legs (much like humans) that would be very difficult to machine out of aluminum or whatever other material you wanted to use. With 3D printing, the Poppy Project gave this robot curved thigh sections that are strong enough for repeated walking impact.

You can do anything you want with 3D printing, so you might as well get really creative like these folks!

Check out the Poppy Project here: