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Tech 5 - News

Tuesday, October 02, 2012    

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New Cyborg cockroaches may be emergency responders

You may only think of cockroaches as pests, but researchers at the North Carolina State University saw these creatures skin-crawling ability to get into the tiniest of spaces and their plague like resilience as the perfect features necessary to gather information and look for in disaster zones.

The researchers have figured out a way to create cyborg, remote-controlled cockroaches, by attaching a lightweight chip with a wireless receiver and transmitter onto Madagascar hissing cockroaches and wired a microcontroller to the insects' antennae and cerci -- the sensory organs on the roach's abdomen that cause it to run away from danger.

The researchers used electrical signals to stimulate the cerci, tricking the roaches into thinking they needed to get away from a predator. Once on the move, more charges are sent to the antennae, which control the insects' direction.

"We decided to use biobotic cockroaches in place of robots, as they are experts at performing in such a hostile environment," NC State researcher Alper Bozkurt said in the statement.

Google upgrades Maps, while Apple's Maps stays failing

The king of all search engines, Google, announced last Friday that they have updated Google maps with high-resolution satellite images and added more 45-degree aerial views. High-resolution aerial shots have been added for 17 cities worldwide and 112 countries and regions.

Another 51 urban areas now have 45-degree aerial views, including 14 international cities. This news comes with almost unbelievable timing as Apple CEO Tim Cook apologised for the geographically distressing state of its iOS 6 Maps on the same day.

Apple, who replaced Google Maps on its newly released phones and tablets with its new, popularly called Apple's Maps received unending complaints from their customers for the shoddy application. Amongst other faults, Apple's Maps has no public transit directions and more factual location errors than can be counted.

Cook said in his apology that Apple is "extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better." In the meantime, he recommends that customers use third-party mapping apps, including Google Maps.

Twitter will allow users to download their tweets by year's end

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced recently that Twitter users should be able to download their entire archive of tweets by year's end.

Costolo made this announcement at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco. He stated that Twitter expects to provide its users with one of its most-desired capabilities -- being able to download their entire tweet history.

"The caveat is that this is the CEO saying this, not the engineer who's building this," Costolo joked. "But It's a priority we absolutely want to have out by the end of the year."

Though there is no word on whether or not this feature will include retrieving deleted tweets, we are sure this news will still make a lot of Twitter users happy.

By the way, don't forget to follow us on twitter at Twitter.com/TEENageObserver.

— Kristen Laing

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