US and China scientists have teamed up to make an experimental array that can sense pressure in the same range as the human fingertip. The advance could speed the development of smarter artificial skin capable of “feeling” activity on the surface. It’s a fundamentally new technology that allows to control electronic devices directly using mechanical agitation. The researchers used zinc oxide nanowires to build arrays consisting of about 8,000 transistors, each of the transistors can independently produce an electronic signal when placed under mechanical strain. It will provide a sensitivity comparable to that of a human fingertip. It would allow the skin to feel activity on the surface. This could make artificial skin smarter and more like the human skin. The sensors could finally give robots a more adaptive sense of touch. We just hope the ’smart skin’ won’t be adopted in adult toys.
Bicycles are seen hung up along the 200 meter long fence of a residential compound in Shenyang city in northeast China. The 60 bicycles are not used to perform a bicycle art work, but a last-ditch move of the property management company to strengthen the surrounding fence for security concern. Some lazy residents secretly destroyed the iron fence so that they can get in and out to a nearby supermarket by shortcut. The authorities had to repair the fence with iron bars and rods welded in the fence holes, to keep strangers and potential thieves away. But it got broken again shortly. Finally they came out an idea by collecting some discarded bicycles and used them to fill the holes of the fence. And it works pretty well, every bicycle is bound with iron wire to the iron rods of the fence left undestroyed. The holes are sealed off with the bicycle tires, which makes it impossible for a person to get through. It’s strange to see rotten bicycles hung up on the fence for security and inadvertently become an art work.
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The 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition is being held at Shanghai this week. In China, auto shows are always the right places to see sexy hot chicks prancing around. The event will always labeled as “a boobs exhibition with many famous cars.” Last year, we had seen the almost naked boobs ran wild at Chengdu auto show. The Chinese have already learned about the importance of selling metal with flesh. Beijing authorities said that the revealing clothing of some models at automotive exhibition has had a “negative social impact,” the “vulgar publicity” has been criticized by officers. Well, this kind of publicity stunt is still happening over at Shanghai auto show. Despite the dress codes have upgraded to look more elegant, some babes are still wearing deep cut top to capture attention with their huge boobs. The call for a more family-oriented posture show is unlikely to be achieved in China …
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A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county last week in China’s southwest Sichuan province. Three types of disaster relief machines have been dispatched to quake-hit areas. The machines were rushed to the quake zone in batches. The first batch, including three technicians, arrived at the quake epicenter on the second day of the disaster. The other two arrived within the next 12 hours. The robotic machines were jointly developed by the Shenyang Institute of Automation, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Earthquake Response Support Service. Two of the machines are designed to enter ruins to detect life, while the third type, a flying remote helicopter, uses a high-definition camera to catch aerial images and send them instantly to relief departments. This is the first time these three types of machines, which is made in China, to be used in an earthquake rescue and relief mission …
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A French graphic artist has beautifully captured the geometrical patterns of Hong Kong’s booming skyscraper city in his photo collection “Vertical Horizon.” Immersing into the city’s thick atmospheres, he used his Nikon DSLR camera to showcase Hong Kong’s vibrancy, giving us a surprising perspectives and glimpses of his architectural visions. A few more amazing photo after the jump. Honestly, it’s not so pleasant to live in the relentlessly growing city. Hong Kong people are coping by living in smaller spaces …
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Iron Man 3 has arrived today in Hong Kong cinemas. Robert Downey Jr is back in the luxury superhero extravaganza. The film is a joint production of the Disney-owned Marvel Pictures and Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. The overseas openings of the Hollywood blockbuster begin April 24 and upon domestic launch May 3. What we’re watching here in Hong Kong is an international version, which the storyline has not provided too much significant Chinese elements. We may have to watch the movie again in China to find out what are those extra bonus footage, which are specially filmed for the Chinese audience. There is a product placement for Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL, but it’s not obviously to be seen. Tony Stark has smashed one of the Alcatel’s phone (made by TCL) inside the movie. Such a scene is considered to be a rather poor marketing plot for TCL. By the way, we watch the movie in classic 2D version, we just hate 3D glasses …
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Last week, Microsoft said that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, which makes 40 percent of consumer electronics worldwide including a variety of Android and Chrome-powered products, had agreed to license its patents. Now, the software giant announced another patent-licensing deal with ZTE, the fourth largest telecom producer in the world. ZTE makes a whole lot of Android-powered smartphones and tablets. The licensing agreement with the Chinese handset maker marks a major advance in Microsoft’s quest to extract patent payments from all its competitors making Android phones. With the ZTE deal in place, a full 80 percent of Android phones sold in the US have now taken a license to its patents. Unlike Foxconn, the official announcement regarding ZTE does not explicitly say that Microsoft is getting paid. A Microsoft spokesperson said the company’s patent agreements are “generally royalty-bearing.”
Huawei has decided to stop focusing its priorities on the U.S market, and instead will focus its efforts on bringing its telecommunication products to the rest of the world. The company stated that its change in focus is due to “geopolitical reasons.”The company estimated that the U.S. accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s carrier business. For quite a while now, Huawei has been under fire from the United States due to allegations that the Chinese government is using its network equipments to spy on other nations. While Huawei always insists that its equipment is safe to use. The concerns surfaced again late last month, when the US government reportedly demanded to oversee equipment purchases by Sprint and SoftBank in the US as a precondition for their proposed merger. According to Huawei, the plan to pull out of the US network equipment market won’t affect its smartphone business in the country. They have also outlined plan to regain its share of European smartphone market, after losing up to a staggering 90 percent of its smartphone partners in Europe.
Apple CEO Tim Cook just said on the company’s earnings call, record revenue in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, are the only regions of the world where Apple’s revenue grew from last quarter. The iPhone 5 and iPad Mini didn’t launch in China until December 2012, so most revenue from those launches was recorded in the first three months of 2013. And China has been a huge growth area for Apple over several quarters. During the earnings call, Cook also mentioned figures from research firm IDC indicating that the smartphone market could double in size in the upcoming years. Most of that growth is certainly going to happen in emerging markets. Right now China is dominated by cheap smartphones running Android. Cook noted that the company is selling the iPhone 4 as its low-cost device for first-time buyers. In China, the 8GB iPhone 4 cost 3088 yuan (UD$500) unsubsidised, while a 16GB Xiaomi Phone 2S cost only 1999 yuan (US$324), which has a better specification. So what’s your pick ?
Spring Airlines, a Shanghai-based budget airline, has taken unique measures to draw passengers, now requiring its flight attendants to serve passengers dressed as butlers and maids. Influenced by Japanese anime and the popularity of its female characters, it has become increasingly common to see young women dressed as maids to hand out flyers for various promotion in Southease Asia. Spring Airlines hopes to cash in on the craze and believes the move will appeal to a greater number of young people. Some Chinese netizens have objected the idea, saying the airline should improve its level of service, rather than resort to a gimmick. Many also said the maid theme does not fit in with traditional Chinese culture — a suggestion that contains more than a hint of anti-Japanese nationalism. Meanwhile, EVA Air, Taiwan’s second-largest carrier, undertook a similar measure last year by launching Hello Kitty-themed planes to increase its appeal to female passengers in particular. The Japan maid costume often has sexual connotations, we just hope it won’t create any perverted situations on Chinese flight.