Control by thought
Using sensors, the brain can control computer programs. These man-machine interfaces are developed, and their operation reveals a huge potential.
Control games by thought, be able to walk in a virtual world just by imagining his movements make clear the blurred image of a screen just by focusing: it is no longer science fiction but the real science today. And perhaps these brain-computer (or BCI for “Brain Computer Interfaces”) interfaces become commonplace tomorrow.
How to control a computer by thought? For simplicity, it is necessary to capture the brain activity and translate it into computer program.
An electrode encased helmet charge capture electrical signals in the brain, as in the case of electroencephalography. Software will then translate these signals into computer commands. This is precisely what the Open Source software performs OpenVibe, developed by a team at INRIA, french research institute (France).
The accuracy of helmets clad electrode
This software can be downloaded free and ready to use, will specifically be responsible to acquire the signal, but also clean and classify before translating. “The fewer sensors have less signal quality will be good. Because there may be noise will interfere with the signal. Other electrical signals can indeed come face or the outside …” said Anatole Lecuyer, director of research at the Inria in charge of OpenVibe project. Helmets with few electrodes will be less accurate and their potential clamped.
This does not prevent some companies currently developing simple bands, barely visible as Google Glass, supposed to allow control by thought.
Under the control of thought, another limitation may appear during the learning phase because the software requires calibration. It is comparable to that of voice recognition technology learning, requiring the user speaks before recognize and understand his voice. Here it is, for example, start making hand movements, so that the corresponding electrical signals in the brain can be recorded before being recognized.
Consequence: it is then possible to make the same movement of the hand, or … simply imagine. This is why some people may not exercise such control “imaginary activity” because they will not be able to “imagine” the movements correctly.
Like buttons on a controller of video game
For others, an imagined movement may therefore correspond to a command. Thus, it is possible to combine one, two or all three orders of imaginary movements. As if it were a joystick buttons. The OpenVibe technology has also demonstrated several years ago that it was possible in a virtual world, to move in several directions only by thought, although exercise can be tiring in the long run.
OpenVibe team was also able to work with the video game industry to develop more games, and even a serious game. This “serious game” worked through a slightly different process: the more the player is focused on a fuzzy screen, the image of the screen became clear. “This game can therefore quite used to learn to focus and channel attention. What, for example, help children with hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder,” said Anatole Lécuyer.
In this serious game based on OpenVibe, when the player is focused, the image and sound of the video projected on the far right become sharper.
The medical sector is also one of the outlets OpenVibe project, in addition to the gaming industry. A sapling after Inria Mensia Technology , has already launched in medical applications enables the OpenVibe technology. The latter can indeed be used for therapeutic purposes but also for the well-being it provides or the brain training, to resolve tensions, sleep disorders, or learning to relax …
Today and tomorrow
OpenVibe code is available as open source. Therefore difficult to know the purpose, but it is now possible to find on the Internet helmets fifteen sensors for less than 200 euros. There are also games already available on the Web working with such helmets. Moreover, the principle of Open Source, open Open Vibe code has external contributions, which allows him especially today being enriched the necessary drivers for new helmets coming on the market.
And tomorrow? The technology will she one day mature enough, for example, replace a computer mouse? “We’re not there yet, the mouse movements on the screen are not accurate enough,” slice clearly Anatole Lecuyer, who admits that the scientific research and publications in this area are experiencing exponential growth in recent years.
1. Openvibe software from INRIA: http://openvibe.inria.fr/
- The Brain Computer Interface (biodaher.wordpress.com)
- Samsung Demos a Tablet Controlled by Your Brain (technologyreview.com)
- NYTimes Bits Blog: Brain-computer interfaces moving closer to the mainstream (hunscher.typepad.com)
- Re: Radio Frequency Hearing Effect by Mark Dice (forum.prisonplanet.com)
- Mind Control Is Going Mainstream (motherboard.vice.com)
- Human wags rat’s tail using mind control interface (wired.co.uk)
What is Google Glass?
Google Glass is a mobile solution that could replace SmartPhones. Google is thinking to put it on the market in 2014. These glasses are displaying information from Internet superimposed on the classical view which is a solution respecting the principle of augmented reality.
First video explaining the concept (2012)
The film shows the concept before the finalization of the prototype.
Last video presenting v1 of Glass (2013)
The film shows first version of Google Glasses with current Apps in situation.
Functions of Google Glass
Google Glass includes a processor, a flash memory, a battery, a photo camera / video camera, one speaker, two microphones, a wireless antenna, Bluetooth and an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a compass. Google Glass does not have 3G modem, so you have to connect the phone to the glasses via Bluetooth to communicate and surf the internet.
They include most of the features offered by Google: Calendar, SMS / MMS, GPS, camera, email, etc.. These commands can be activated by voice through voice recognition. A small trackpad located on a branch of Google Glass scroll pages eg to move from a menu. You can also control the scroll pages or click nodding.
Specifically, to use these glasses, you have nothing to do, or just talk to them!
- Say “take a picture” to immediately take a picture
- You can record what you are seeing
- These photos or videos can be shared with friends / contacts
- Get a GPS guide your route directly super
- Record an audio message to send
- Ask an encyclopedic information
- Get an instant translation of a phrase that you dictate
- Get information without even asking
See how to use Google Glass: http://worldofinnovations.net/2013/05/09/google-glasses/
Other french products in preparation
- Would you try Google Glass? (thedailyquirk.com)
- Could This Be the Future of Google Glass? (mashable.com)
- Looking to try Google Glass? This guy 3D-printed a pair and released the design (thenextweb.com)
- Augmented Reality: Google executive musing over Google Glass (wired.com)
- Product Spotlight: Google Glass (InsuranceFiles.com)
In April, Reybier Bernard, CEO of Fermob, returning from the Milan Furniture Fair, the Mecca of designer furniture. For fifteen years, the company exhibits his collections. But beyond the commercial present on its stand, four people in-house design studio and house technicians have turned down the aisles, camera in hand. They came back with eight cents for tracking shots in this world high creative talents and lines tomorrow concentration. Because the value of Fermob, one of the pillars of its development, the bold design of its furniture.
Iron, a source of creativity
Bernard Reybier bought in 1989 the company installed Thoissey in Ain, a region of France. It manufactures furniture iron since 1953 and reduced to a workshop of 10, suffers from devastating competition from plastic. “What interested me was the whole creativity induced by a material such as iron. From the outset, the design has become an added value. ” This choice requires collaboration with external designers. Pascal Mourgue, one of the most industrial designers French side, who had already signed in 1983 the chair Silvermoon long collaborated with Fermob. Patrick in June also with the chair Facto 1998. Off to the Fair of Milan, Bernard Reybier also identified Harald Guggenbiechler who signed new models … We understand that sees pioneer, immersing themselves in exhibitions, competitions schools, to find “new blood.” However, its position in respect of departure: simple lines, accessible and non-statutory. What state in the time an image and brand.
Fermob has revolutionized the furniture
Around its internal design studio, Bernard Reybier also ensures look of a “broader creative sphere” involving fifteen engineers, technicians and marketing experts. The creative dimension inscribed in the DNA of the brand also involves the color. In 1996, Fermob upsets the small world of furniture, confined to green or white, featuring lime green, tangerine and vanilla. Then come poppy, black, eggplant … When in 2000, retailers (garden centers, stores, outdoor furniture specialists) bristle at the fuchsia, education and determination are needed to convince. Accompany, build loyal relationships with their network is actually a prerequisite for getting this message condition for innovation.
No place in supermarket
“Innovation must be backed by distributors, there must be arguments. That’s why from the beginning I took Fermob circuit supermarkets, there was no place. ” This commitment also requires accepting the risk and failure. In 1993, “Tutti Frutti” chair becomes, against all expectations, a commercial failure. And it will only fall 2012, two years late, that can be marketed chair Andrée Putman: some elements were found defective, not meeting the specifications require that the manufacturer is required.
12,000 chairs in the streets of New York
This approach leads quickly to the international Fermob. In 2012, the company exports 44% of its total turnover (35 million euros in 2011) to 36 countries, including the United States and Germany, two countries attractive for manufacturers of French furniture.
The strategy involves investing consistently and persistently country, mostly through trade shows, before turning to another: “We have to wait three years to be profitable.” The manufacturer has indeed in its catalog folding chair “Bistro” with lines dating from the nineteenth or mythical chair the Luxembourg Gardens reinterpreted in 2004 by Frederic Sofia. In late April, Bernard took off for New York Reybier for a project to store the sign.
These outlets exclusively Fermob, apply only a few very large cities in leading countries. After Paris, Munich, Cologne, New York was required. Established for fifteen years in Atlanta through a sales office, a meeting Fermob marked overseas and particularly in New York success: 12,000 chairs made in Ain discover in public parks, along the streets .. . Bistro chairs deployed in Bryant Park on behalf of the foundation kicked off this American onslaught.
This company operates in a free market world leader, but each geographical area has given rise to a leader, a potential competitor. Beyond its design and its “French touch”, the company relies on the “environmental” aspect to compete. The industrial process claims to “zero waste” Bistro chair is recyclable to 30%, “These arguments are,” according to the CEO. Remains a major challenge: the production for an outdoor environment knows the vagaries of seasonality: do not miss the boat on sunny days.
This requires an ultra fine control of deadlines and therefore production, and also justifies this production is integrated: it is one of the major pillars of the development strategy. However, the challenge becomes more complex for further afield. To invest more heavily in the Asia-Pacific region, where it makes a small percentage of 3% export, the company has signed an industrial partnership with a Chinese. Part of the range will be manufactured locally from a tool for the design which Fermob teams competed. Besides export Fermob turns to the professional market to diversify its business, and fits the standards of the hospitality industry. Today, this pillar represents nearly a third of its sales, and helps to balance its growth.
Fermob, whose capital is held overwhelmingly by Bernard Reybier, strongly embodies through him. He laid the groundwork for its development, inscribed in stone and its basic door again. He built a company of 200 people, located in rural areas and low turnover in its management of human resources. This strong incarnation can still be a source of weakness as leaving little room for others and ultimately threatening the sustainability of the company. Bernard Reybier is well aware that recently surrounded himself with two assistant general managers. He now wants to devote himself mainly to development. Without releasing his hunt for the design, his personal brand.
- Les amoureux de new york qui se becotent sur les bancs fermob (LaTribune.fr)
- +Fermob Opera 26 Round Table Color: Rust (fermoboperaroundtablecolori7sale.wordpress.com)
- I Like…Luxembourg Chairs (carolstandil.wordpress.com)
- *Fermob Bistro Metal Chair, Set of 2 (fermobbistrometalchairsetj1sale.wordpress.com)
In 2013, French government is trying to find a way to push France to be more innovative. France is considered a moderately innovative country in Europe (see more details with the previous article TOP4 Leaders in Europe). French government is focusing on education aspect: how to infuse the spirit of innovation at school?
Art and Engineering Can Co-Exist
At the beginning, people thought she was nuts. Sue Mellon, working in United States, gifted support coordinator for Springdale Junior and Senior High/Colfax School in the Allegheny Valley School District, thought 7th and 8th graders could develop a deeper understanding of poetry by playing around with robotics.
“Originally, people looked at me like I was crazy,” Mellon said. Now, two years later, Robotics Poetry is a staple of language arts classes at Springdale and a new grant has students preparing to be peer mentors.
Poetry isn’t always easy for students. But with hands-on engagement, they gain new understanding. Take Robert Frost’s “Pasture.” Instead of just reading and discussing the work in a typical classroom setting, students made 21st-century dioramas with robotic tool kits containing sensors, motors, LEDs, and a controller. One student made a blue plastic wrap lake in an old cardboard photocopy-paper box that vibrated, thanks to the motor, and, lit up, thanks to the LED. When the student said the word “water”—students record themselves reading the poems aloud in the audio-editing program Audacity—the LED turned the plastic wrap a deeper shade of blue. When he got to the bit about the “tottering” calf, the motor made the toy calf vibrate.
Critical for Innovation
The move to include art and design in the push to advance science, engineering, and math is not just a “feel-good” move. It’s critical to the future economy and families’ standard of living. Researchers are finding that although children’s IQ scores have been steadily rising, results on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking—a key measure of creativity—have been on the decline since 1990, just as the demand for more creative thinkers is rising. In a 2010 IBM survey, 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as a top leadership competency of the future.
At a professional development event for local superintendents, the participants had all read Daniel Pink’s book, “A Whole New Mind,” and then Pink came in to discuss the importance of creativity. An executive director of state agency that support the Sue Mellon’s school, spoke to the participants about the importance of “right-brain qualities” like empathy and inventiveness. “The message was loud and clear, and that’s when the movement started. Being strong in math and science wasn’t enough. To meet future workforce needs, we had to address the whole-brain needs of our students.”
See more details on original article
- More Poetry For Gamers (voidpoetry.com)
- The Kiski School’s David (DJ) Gress Wins Poetry Out Loud Contest (prweb.com)
- Poetry For Gamers (voidpoetry.com)
- Robotics gets respect as an undergraduate major (stanforddaily.com)
- FIRST Student Robotics Teams Wrap Up 2013 Build Season (prweb.com)
Innovation at the heart of the strategy
The manufacturer of building materials Lafarge intends to place “innovation at the heart of his strategy”, said the group’s CEO Bruno Lafont, who wants to reach 450 million to innovation of the period 2012-2015.
This objective should be achieved one year ahead in 2014, he confirmed in a press conference devoted to programs of research and innovation group.
“The challenge is to move from being a material manufacturer to a provider of solutions for the construction”, he added. “We are in acceleration phase”, assured the CEO.
Innovation budget to be increased by 2.5
In 2012, the Group recorded € 80 million related to innovation and target in 2013 200 million.
In this context, new products, offers and services expected to account for 60% growth, 40% is related to business improvement and new market segments,
The Group has strengthened its presence in emerging markets, which in 2012 accounted for 59% of its sales totaled, against 32% in 2005. Lafarge has also made a refocusing its activities on heart of business: cement (66% of sales), concrete and aggregates (34%).
In its 2012-2015 strategic plan announced last year, Lafarge aims to generate 1.75 billion euros thanks to cost reductions ($ 1.3 billion) and development innovations (475 million).
The group aims to increase sales due to innovation in this period of “more than one billion,” said Mr. Lafont.
Building Better Cities
To mark the strategic development, Lafarge has adopted a new slogan: “Building Better Cities” to focus on technological improvements, environmental, targeting both mature markets as emerging markets.
The group wants to meet the expected trend of urbanization. In 2050, nearly 70% of the world population (expected to reach 9 billion people) will live in cities, against more than 50% today, according to Lafarge.
The group wants to grow especially in the “special concretes” (self-compacting concrete, fiber, decontaminating or draining): he wants to reach 45% of its concrete volumes in 2015 with these products immovants against third now.
Lafarge in 2012 spent some 118 million euros in R & D will remain at the same level this year, said Mr Lafont.
The group opened in the last 18 months three new development laboratories in France, China and India, and will continue this year with Algeria and Brazil. The goal is to have 10 such centers by 2015.
Post based on this article
- Lafarge predicts high cement demand (daily-mail.co.zm)
- Summit-Lafarge deal alters local market for building materials (bizjournals.com)
- Lafarge forecasts demand growth (postzambia.com:3128)
- Co-production of Cement and sand, the best way to save the cost for cement industry (prweb.com)
The Rossignol company continues their relocation to France. Its policy of relocation is heralding the return on French soil a part of its production carried out in Asia, a policy justified by the improved competitiveness of France.
In 2013, the ultra-modern factory in Sallanches (Haute-Savoie) who will take over the production of 20,000 pairs of skis Junior hitherto made in Taiwan. This repatriation is the second phase of relocation of production of the group that started this new strategy in 2010 with the return of 75,000 pairs of skis then manufactured in Taiwan to Sallanches.
For the group, this choice is justified by industrial economic arguments profitability, music to the ears of a French government that plays the card of “Made in France” to curb offshoring. “The cost of products, agility production, proximity to markets, in terms of these three criteria, it became necessary to relocate our production,” explains Bruno Cercley, the President of the Rossignol Group. “We are more competitive in France and Taiwan,” he adds. “The raw material is more than 70% of the cost of our products, and as it comes to Europe, it is very expensive to transport and the Asia back to Europe.”
A FRANCE “AGILE”
Another argument in favor of relocation: the “agility” of production, that is to say, the bringing together on a single site the whole industrial chain, from research to production, through the establishment development, prototype manufacturing and logistics.
“The chain of command is more agile if we control everything in place and we have the opportunity and respond in a few days to a last-minute order, which is unthinkable if we manufacture in Asia,” says the director. This is precisely what happened last winter, when the market has ordered U.S. in the early season of 5000 additional pairs of skis. Finally, the group emphasized the need to produce closer to its markets. “The day we have a large Asian market, we rethink the issue of on-site generation, but for now, the market is Europe and North America and we need to stay close to our customers.”
This strategy of relocation of manufacturing, which since 2010 has lower production costs, but also a strong innovation policy have enabled the group to return to profit after a critical period. The French brand has experienced significant difficulties in the mid-2000s that led to its owner, the U.S. Quicksilver, to part in 2008.
Acquired by the company Chartreuse & Mont Blanc, headed by Bruno Cercley, Rossignol has chosen to focus on skiing which is its core business, reduce its workforce by 35% worldwide, including 270 people in France, and imagine new products.
He presented a turnover in 2012 of € 207 million, a slight increase with a net profit of 5 million euros, despite a sharp decline in market due to lack of snow. Rossignol currently 1,221 employees worldwide, including 694 in France, located on the sites of Saint-Jean-de-Moirans (Isère), Sallanches (Haute-Savoie), Nevers (Nièvre) and Saint-Etienne-de-Saint- Geoirs (Isère).
The relocation of part of Asian production has enabled the creation of forty new jobs in Haute-Savoie and sustainability of existing. The Rossignol Group, which includes the Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange, Look, Kerma Risport and is today one of the leading global sporting goods winter. 75% of its turnover is from exports.
Today, Rossignol China retains a portion of the production of its snowboards. Manufacture its Nordic skis is insured Eastern Europe, as part of its bindings and shoes in Poland and Romania. The rest of the production is shared between France, Spain and Italy. The capital of the company is now owned by the Australian bank Macquarie, the American Jarden, and up to 6% by the group’s president, French Bruno Cercley.
See the Rossignol web site
This post is based on an European memo provided on March 26, 2013 about Innovation Union Scoreboard. It provides an overview of the research and innovation performance of EU Member States and associated and neighbouring countries, as measured by the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013. No surprise, the four leader in Europe are: Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland.
What are the main indicators used for the Innovation Union Scoreboard?
The Innovation Union Scoreboard captures a total of 24 different indicators with three main categories:
- Enablers: human resources, open, excellent and attractive research systems, and finance and support.
- Firm activities: firm investments, linkages and entrepreneurship, and intellectual assets.
- Outputs: innovators and economic effects.
Who are the innovation leaders in the European Union?
- Innovation leaders: Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland, all show a performance well above that of the EU average.
- Innovation followers: Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Austria, Ireland, France, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia all show a performance close to that of the EU average.
- Moderate innovators: The performance of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta and Lithuania is below that of the EU average.
- Modest innovators: The performance of Poland, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria is well below that of the EU average.
Is the innovation performance of Member States converging?
No global convergence about Innovation in Europe. Two main groups: over 0.550 and below 0.550. A certain convergence for 11 countries : Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and last & least France.
How does the EU fare in comparison to its international partners?
3 leaders better than Europe with South Korea, United States and Japan as the three main leaders in Innovation.
See the complete European memo
- Ireland is No 1 in Europe for enjoying economic effects of innovation (siliconrepublic.com)
- Sweden again dominates EU innovation ranking (thelocal.se)
- Bulgaria again bottom of EU’s innovation scoreboard (sofiaglobe.com)
- EU Bloc Trails South Korea, US in Innovation (hispanicbusiness.com)