August 11, 2010
My Fox New York
by Luke Funk
Your thumbprint might soon be the key to an afternoon candy bar. A Massachusetts based vending machine company is joinng the growing ranks of companies that are field-testing new technologies.
Next Generation Vending and Food Service is experimenting with biometric vending machines that would allow a user to tie a credit card to their thumbprint.
“For a certain demographic that is pretty cool,” says company president John S. Ioannou.
Next Generation is currently testing about 60 of the biometric machines in various locations in the northeast.
The company is also testing other technologies. Ioannou says the key to the transforming the vending machine business is making the consumer feel more engaged.
The days might be numbered where a consumer watches a bag of chips roll through the machine and drop. Next Generation is also testing a machine that includes a 46″ touch-screen display that acts similarly to an iPhone display. The user can click on an item, flip the image and even see the nutrional information on the back of the packaging.
Ioannou says initial results are good saying, “The feedback is extraordinary.”
The machines include internally mounted cameras to monitor what is going on outside of the machine.
The tests are scheduled to run through the end of 2010. After that, Next Generation will decide if it is worth rolling out across its sales region in the northeast and Pennsylvania.
The company is also installing wireless or Ethernet connections on all of its current machines so there will be real-time reporting of the amount of goods in the machine for restocking purposes. Monitors will even be able to report when a coin is stuck in the machine. All of the current machines will be upgraded by the end of 2011.
There are other innovations that are being tested outside of the United States, including machines that use retinal scans to identify and charge consumers for their purchases.
August 9th, 2010
By: Heidi Blake
The humanoid machine, called Nao, hunches its shoulders when it feels sad and raises its arms for a hug when it feels happy.
It has been designed to mimic the emotional skills of a one-year-old child and is capable of forming bonds with people who treat it with kindness.
Nao is able to detect human emotions through a series of non-verbal “clues”, such as body-language and facial expressions, and becomes more adept at reading a person’s mood through prolonged interaction.
It uses video cameras to detect how close a person comes and sensors to work out how tactile they are.
The wiring of the robot’s “brain”, designed to mirror the neural network of the human mind, allows it to remember its interactions with different people and memorise their faces.
This understanding, along with a set of basic rules about what is “good” and “bad” for it, allow the robot to indicate whether it is “sad” or “happy”.
The actions used to display each emotion are preprogrammed but Nao decides by itself which feeling to display, and when.
“We’re modelling the first years of life,” said Lola Cañamero, a computer scientist at the University of Hertfordshire who led the project to create Nao’s emotions.
“We are working on non-verbal cues and the emotions are revealed through physical postures, gestures and movements of the body rather than facial or verbal expression.”
Cañamero believes that robots will act as human companions in future.
“Those responses make a huge difference for people to be able to interact naturally with a robot,” she said.
“If people can behave naturally around their robot companions, robots will be better-accepted as they become more common in our lives.”
Nao was developed as part of a project called Feelix Growing, funded by the European commission.
Though some scientists believe that robots could be used to help around the house, or to care for the elderly, in the future, others have warned that the humanoids could spin out of control and attack their owners by accident.
April 30, 2010
By Paul Joseph Watson
European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet’s announcement that the Bank for International Settlements is to become the primary engine for global governance is a shocking admission given the fact that this ultra-secretive menagerie of international bankers was once controlled by top Nazis who, in collusion with global central banks, funneled money through the institution which directly financed Hitler’s war machine.
During a speech to the elitist CFR organization earlier this week, ECB head Trichet said that the Global Economy Meeting (GEM), which regularly meets at the BIS headquarters in Basel, “Has become the prime group for global governance among central banks”.
The GEM is basically a policy steering committee under the umbrella of the Bank for International Settlements. In its current form, the BIS, which itself is not accountable to any national government, is comprised of banking chiefs from global central banks, most of which are private and also have no responsibility to their nation states or their citizens.
The board of directors who control the BIS include Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Bank of England head Mervyn King, as well as Trichet himself.
So how did the Bank for International Settlements get started? The BIS was founded in 1930 by Governor of The Bank of England, Montague Norman and his German colleague Hjalmar Schacht, who later became Adolf Hitler’s finance minister.
The bank was initially founded in order to facilitate money transfers related to German reparations arising out of the Treaty of Versailles, but by the start of the second world war, the BIS was largely controlled by top Nazi officials, people like Walter Funk, who was appointed Nazi propaganda minister in 1933 before going on to become Hitler’s Minister for Economic Affairs. Another BIS director during this period was Emil Puhl, who as director and vice-president of Germany’s Reichsbank was responsible for moving Nazi gold. Both Funk and Puhl were convicted at the Nuremberg trials as war criminals.
Other BIS directors included Herman Schmitz, the director of IG Farben, whose subsidiary company manufactured Zyklon B, the pesticide used in Nazi concentration camp gas chambers to kill Jews and political dissidents during the Holocaust. IG Farben worked closely with John D. Rockefeller’s United States-based Standard Oil Co during the second world war.
Baron von Schroeder, the owner of the J.H.Stein Bank, the bank that held the deposits of the Gestapo, was also a BIS director during the war period.
As Charles Higham’s widely acclaimed book Trading With The Enemy, How the Allied multinationals supplied Nazi Germany throughout World War Two points out, several parties at the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944 wanted to see the Bank for International Settlements liquidated, because its role in aiding Nazi Germany loot occupied European countries during the war. Norway called for the bank to be shut down, a view supported by Harry Dexter White, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Morgenthau, but the BIS survived despite its highly contentious Nazi influence.
Higham writes that the BIS became, “A money funnel for American and British funds to flow into Hitler’s coffers and to help Hitler build up his machine,” founded by Nazi finance minister Hjalmar Schacht on the basis that the “Institution that would retain channels of communication and collusion between the world’s financial leaders even in the event of an international conflict. It was written into the Bank’s charter, concurred in by the respective governments, that the BIS should be immune from seizure, closure or censure, whether or not its owners were at war.”
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