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Science & Technology

Robots to aid tourists, clean floors at South Korean airport

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 Robots to aid tourists, clean floors at South Korean airport

Robots will start roaming South Korea's largest airport this summer, helping travelers find their boarding gates and keep its floors clean as the country prepares for its first Winter Olympics game. Starting this month, Troika, a self-driving robot made by LG Electronics, will rove the Incheon International Airport, telling travelers how long it takes to get to boarding gates and escorting them to their flights. A jumbo cleaning robot will help cleaning staff swab the wide expanses of floors in the airport west of Seoul.

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Einstein's theory provides new technique to size up stars

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theory of relativity

Astronomers have found a new application for Albert Einstein's century-old theory of relativity - using it to directly measure the size of a star beyond the sun. In research published on Wednesday, scientists said they used the Hubble Space Telescope to plot minute changes in the path of light coming from a distant background star as it passed by a relatively close target star, known as Stein 2051B.

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What can you expect from Windows 10 S

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During the #MicrosoftEDU event, May 2, 2017, the Redmond-based tech giant revealed its first PC running Windows 10 S, a scaled-back version of its operating system aimed primarily at students. Other compatible devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba are expected soon at highly competitive prices. So what does Windows 10 S have to offer users on a budget. Windows 10 S is a specific, pared-down version of the Windows 10 Pro operating system. This OS only supports applications available via the Windows Store. Anyone needing to use professional tools or non-Store software will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Note that Edge is the default internet browser. This streamlined OS promises security and performance and adds to new option to the range previously comprising only Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro.

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7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life

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7 Earth-size worlds found orbiting star; could hold life

For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life. This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday. The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three are in the so-called habitable zone, the area around a star where water and, possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep.

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Is Microsoft back in the game again?

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Is Microsoft back in the game again?

We ask ourselves this question once every year, laugh and then go back to whatever else is worth the hype. The only exception is probably the Surface by Microsoft; which is a godsend. The Surface Studio launched on 26 October and our jaws dropped. The sleek design, the alluring curves, a 28-inch touch display – are certainly enticing. And the Surface Dial, which is albeit slightly gimmicky, might just have some application in the creative industry. It's a breath of fresh air in a market that's trying to sell matte black as an innovation.

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Patients greeted by robot at Belgian hospital

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New recruit

A Belgian hospital has just welcomed its newest staff member: Pepper, a humanoid robot that speaks 19 languages. Developed to improve social and health care by the Belgian company Zora Bots, Pepper joined the medical team as a receptionist at Ostend hospital AZ Damiaan. Pepper will introduce visitors to the hospital, provide information and guide visitors and patients to the correct floor and room. With a speed of just 3 km/h (1.8 mph), Pepper is also able to guide slower patients. Fully charged, it can work for up to 20 hours on its own.

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Stephen Hawking seems to be of two minds about alien life

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Is Stephen Hawking having trouble settling on whether we should try to make contact with extraterrestrial life? The celebrated physicist -- whose life was the subject of the 2014 Oscar-winning movie, "The Theory of Everything" -- has long warned of the dangers of letting aliens know we're here. In a recent interview with the Spanish news site El Pais, Hawking once again addressed the topic of why we shouldn't try to contact aliens. "If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

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Canadian company gets patent for 20km-high space elevator

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Canadian space company, Thoth Technology, has been granted the US patent for a 20-kilometre-high space elevator.The company CEO Caroline Roberts announced the news saying, “Landing on a barge at sea level is a great demonstration, but landing at 12 miles above sea level will make space flight more like taking a passenger jet.”Roberts also referred to SpaceX’s tinkering with landing rockets so they can be used again. Reusable rockets would be a killer breakthrough and a moneymaker for Musk’s crew. In reality, SpaceX and Thoth could easily work together, reports techcrunch.com.

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'Microsoft has no plans for Salesforce'

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Microsoft Corp currently is not weighing an offer for Salesforce.com Inc, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, dampening speculation that Microsoft could be drawn into bidding for the cloud software company. Bloomberg News, citing people with knowledge of the matter, reported earlier this week that Microsoft was evaluating a bid for Salesforce after the latter was approached by another unnamed would-be buyer.

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Dark matter mapped

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In a first, cosmologists have generated an enormous map of the distribution of dark matter in our universe, tracing the invisible substance by monitoring its gravitational effects on light. The picture maps clumps and voids of dark matter in a patch of sky covering around two million galaxies and showing features hundreds of millions of light years across, the scientific journal Nature reported."The observations fit the standard picture of cosmology strikingly well, as dark matter is thought to be the main driver in the formation of large-scale cosmic structures," said lead developer Chihway Chang from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

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Good news via Google Glass

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Good news via Google Glass

A startup serving doctors in the US with real-time patient recordkeeping via Google Glass plans to employ 7,000 Bangladeshis for its backend office in Dhaka. Ian Kazi Shakil, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Augmedix, has set up its office at Panthapath where 45 young Bangladeshis are building the solution that allows patient documents to be entered into the US government-mandated electronic health records (EHRs) without manual data entry by doctors.

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Microsoft is reportedly investing in Cyanogen's custom Android mod

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OnePlus I'm hoping...

Now here's something we've never expected to write: Microsoft is investing in Android -- well, sort of. The software giant is reportedly planning to become a minority investor in Cyanogen, best known for its customized version of Android, according to the Wall Street Journal. Neither company is talking about the deal, naturally, and we still don't know how big Microsoft's investment may be. Bloomberg reports that the two companies are in negotiations to create a version of Cyanogen's image that features Microsoft's services (similar to what Nokia did with its X series, which Microsoft killed off). The report comes only a few months after Cyanogen refused a Google buyout offer, supposedly because it wants to keep the dream of a truly open version of Android alive. The more likely reason? Cyanogen will probably end up being worth a lot more after additional investments than what Google was willing to pay.

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Dell XPS 13 Meet the world's smallest laptop

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Dell XPS 13 review (2015): Meet the world's smallest 13-inch laptop

CES has come and gone; the holidays are long past; and now all we're left with are a few months of dreary weather. No fun, right? Right. Except if you're a tech writer. Now that most major companies have revealed their new lineups, we have the exciting job of testing all this stuff; seeing how it holds up in real life. The first product of the year to cross my desk: none other than the Dell XPS 13, a compact 13-inch laptop that ranked as a finalist for our annual Best of CES awards. In addition to being the first system we've tested with Intel's new fifth-generation Core processor, the redesigned XPS is notable for its nearly bezel-less display -- a design feat that allows it to have the footprint of an 11-inch machine. Particularly with a starting price of $800 (pretty reasonable for a flagship laptop), it seemed poised to become one of our new favorite Ultrabooks. And you know what? It actually is.

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Rare rock studded with 30,000 diamonds found

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A professor from the University of Tennessee in the US is studying a rare rock covered with as many as 30,000 diamonds. The diamonds may hold clues to the gem's origins.The golf ball sized chunk of rock contains diamonds, each less than a millimetre in size (rendering them worthless), along with speckles of red and green garnet and other minerals.  The rock was found in Russia's Udachnaya diamond mine in northern Siberia.  "It is a wonder why this rock has more than 30,000 perfect, tiny octahedral diamonds - all 10 to 700 micron in size and none larger," said earth and planetary sciences professor Larry Taylor.  Taylor and his colleagues are examining the sparkly chunk using a giant X-ray machine.  They also beamed electrons at the materials inside the diamonds to study the chemicals trapped inside.  This created two and three dimensional images which revealed abnormal carbon isotopes for this type of rock, indicating it was originally formed as part of the crust of the Earth, withdrawn by tectonic shifts and transformed into the shimmery rock we see today.

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Sharp's new 4K TVs include a set that acts like it's 8K

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Sharp Aquos 4K TV with Pixel Splitting

Now that 4K TVs are no longer a novelty, manufacturers are bending over backward to show you that their sets are somehow more 4K than everyone else's. Need proof? Just look at the flagship of Sharp's newly unveiled 2015 lineup, the 80-inch AQUOS 4K UHD TV with Pixel Splitting Technology (yes, that's the name). Its namesake trick both cuts pixels in half vertically and lets subpixels create their own color values, leading to a near-8K (7,680 x 4,320) effective picture. The boasts of extra resolution stretch credulity a bit -- you can't add detail that wasn't in the original picture, folks -- but you'll at least know that your TV isn't to blame for fuzzy imagery. As it stands, this ultimate set has a few down-to-earth upgrades over Sharp's previous efforts, including better upscaling and an improved LED backlight that widens the color range. The company hasn't nailed down pricing, but it'll be reportedly be competitive with other high-end sets when it arrives late this year.

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Best tech products of 2014

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http://www.thedailystar.net/upload/gallery/image/arts/moto360.jpg

It's that time of the year again when everyone goes all emotional about achievements, failures and new resolutions. We, however, swoon over the best tech products that were unveiled all throughout 2014.

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Sun's sizzling X-rays photographed from space

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sun

An "X-ray eye" designed to study distant galaxies and black holes has turned its attention to our own star and snapped a remarkable portrait.

Nasa's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (Nustar), launched into orbit in 2012, views the universe in very high-energy X-rays.

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