Wi-Fi Heartbeat

Post ImageOh man I totally need to get me one of these! BoingBoing posted yesterday about a DIY project that can give you a “sixth sense for wireless networks.” Here’s the project description:

This project is for a small electronic unit that allows the user to sense the presence and relative signal strength of wireless hotspots. It can be worn as a pendant or carried in a pocket. It is “always on” and communicates the presence and signal strength of an in-range hotspot by way of sequences of pulses – like a heartbeat you can feel. The stronger and faster the “heartbeat”, the stronger the wireless signal detected.

Just imagine walking around a city’s downtown with this thing on…it would never stop pulsing! Very cool idea though.

Read: BoingBoing

Want to build a satellite?

Post ImageWhat would you do if you could launch your very own satellite? What would you design your satellite to do? I don’t think I know enough about the possibilities to even hazard a suggestion! Check this out:

An ambitious program called CubeSat, developed at Stanford University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is giving students and companies the opportunity to build and launch functional satellites into low Earth orbit, or about 240 to 360 miles above the planet.

The satellites are tiny–they weigh a kilogram and generally measure about 10 centimeters on each side–but they cost far less than conventional commercial satellites. A CubeSat unit costs roughly $40,000 to build and only $40,000 to launch. As part of the program, Cal Poly takes care of the bureaucratic and logistical hurdles.

By contrast, a conventional satellite can run between $150 million and $250 million to build and $100 million to launch.

Think of this like the start of computing. Computers were finally “inexpensive enough” for an individual to buy (though far more expensive than they are today), and so they did. And look what happened! Is the information age going to have to make way for the true space age, where it’s not governments exploring the galaxy but you and me?

Read: CNET News.com