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The Google Medieval Weapon

Thursday, March 03rd, 2011

Workers at a Google Data Center recently used modern technology to control a trebuchet, a medieval weapon that was used to catapult rocks, fire and dead bodies over fortifications.  They were competing in the first Storm The Citadel Trebuchet Competition at The Citadel military college in Charleston, South Carolina.  Using a tiny computer, an Android cellphone and a Blue Tooth receiver to trigger the wooden contraption, the Google team competed against high school and college students and other corporate teams.

The trebuchet uses a long swing arm and counterweight to slingshot its payload into the air.  It was an important weapon during the Crusades and was featured in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” where it was used to hurl a cow over a castle wall.

The Google-sponsored event was part of The Citadel’s National Engineering Week.  Read more about it on The Citadel website.

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Android: Coming to your Netbook?

Sunday, May 17th, 2009


Android is Google’s mobile operating system, currently restricted to cell phones. That may not be the case for long. Several consumer electronics companies would like to use the Android OS for other gadgets, including e-book readers, digital photo frames and netbooks. There are even some working prototypes being shown by manufacturers such as Fujitsu.

There is pressure on consumer electronics companies to market devices with more functionality at a lower price. An open source OS that runs on multiple platforms will facilitate development of such devices. Android, which is based on the Linux kernel, is an open source OS with the backing of Google. It remains to be seen if Microsoft can come up with something or if Android will satisfy this new demand.

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