SciTech Briefs

Xbox 360 Elite to be released

Microsoft recently released details about its new Xbox 360 Elite video game system. This upgraded system will include a 120–GB hard drive, HDMI output, and a new paint design for a manufacturer–suggested retail price of $479.99. The Xbox 360 Elite will hit stores on April 28th. The decision to make a newer version of the Xbox is based on feedback from current owners requesting a larger hard drive and HDMI output.

The increase in hard drive space will allow users to store large files, such as high definition video downloads from Xbox Live. Many analysts don’t see the new black Xbox 360 with a larger hard drive and HDMI as a response to the PlayStation 3 made by Sony — rather, many feel it is a response to the new Apple TV. Microsoft currently offers high–definition cables in the box and a larger hard drive than its competitor, Sony.


Robot uses sensors to lift humans

A robot made by University of Tokyo engineers is intended to help nurses in hospitals. The human-shaped robot can currently lift people weighing 145 pounds The robot itself is 154 pounds. A demonstration of the robot was given in Toyko last Thursday.
The secret behind the people-lifting robot is that it runs on a system of sensor-based controls rather than relying on large motors, which developers consider unsafe for household use. The sensors tell the robot how it should lift the weight.


Dell to pre-install Linux OS

Dell Inc. will soon offer Linux pre-installed on new desktop and notebook computers. The option to install Linux resulted from a survey in which more than 70 percent of Dell customers said that they would use Linux OS for home and office use.

The survey also showed that most people thought that online forums would be sufficient for technical support for a Linux operating system. Dell said that it will provide more information about the Linux pre-installation in the near future.

Source: PC World

Melamine found in pet food

The FDA has found melamine in wheat gluten, an ingredient that the company Menu Foods uses to make its pet food. The wheat gluten was imported from China.
The melamine was also found in the urine of dead cats. Melamine has not yet been found to cause sickness in pets, but researchers suspect that there is a link between melamine and pet deaths.

Menu Foods recently issued a recall of wet foods because of kidney failure in at least 14 pets. On March 14, the company’s factory in Kansas stopped its production of wet foods.

More than 8000 people have contacted the FDA by phone to report problems with the health of their pets. The FDA said that it has not yet found the wheat gluten from China to be used in the making of human food.

Source: Reuters