Sensor-based “puppet” allows easy animation of digital characters [#Animation]

3D “joystick” for animation artists takes shape
“Working in collaboration with the Autonomous Systems Lab (ALS), the Geometry lab team led by ETH-professor Olga Sorkine-Hornung developed the “input-puppet” using set of 3D-printed modular construction blocks that can be connected together to approximate any virtual character. With integrated sensors in each joint measuring the angle of bend or degree of twisting motion, the assembled model can be used to directly transfer this information to software that calculates the way that the virtual characters should move.” via Gizmag

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Netflix-like rental of Lego sets with Pley [#Renting]

Pley Is like Netflix for LEGO
“LEGO bricks have a variety of great uses for kids of all ages. For many of us though, the real fun is the challenge of the build rather than owning of the finished project. Pley bridges the gap by letting you rent LEGO sets for a monthly subscription fee. Similar to Netflix, you set up a queue of sets that you’re interested in. Pley’s price varies based on the size of the sets you want, ranging from $15 for smaller sets up to $39 for the largest sets (Death Star, Millenium Falcon). ” via LifeHacker

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A photo of the copyright page of your physical book unlocks a digital version [#Publishing]

Publishers offer free/discounted ebooks of the print books you own with Bitlit
“you use the free app (Android/Ios) to take a picture of the book’s copyright page with your name printed in ink, and the publisher unlocks a free or discounted ebook version. None of the Big Five publishers participate as yet, but indies like O’Reilly, Berrett-Koehler, Red Wheel Weiser, Other Press, Greystone, Coach House, Triumph, Angry Robot, Chicago Review, Dundurn, and PM Press (publishers of my book The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow) are all in.” via Boing Boing

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Beta THe Game lets you learn to code and play a game at once [#Coding]

Teaching Game Has Players Code The Levels As They Play Them
“The language the inventors decided to use is called codePOP, and the programmers boast of its conciseness and ease of use, calling it “tweet-sized.” The interface of the game allows codePOP to give players instant feedback on their use of the language without needing to interrupt the action for compiling. “The instant-gratification model was really kind of the key,” said King. “Today’s gamers, it’s all about [being] in the moment, in the now. And sometimes the patience to learn how to code a lot of lines and kind of just get this small result [can be hard to come by]. How do you get that positive feedback where they can play and code and have instant feedback all at the same time?”” via PSFK

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Brain-muscle interface used to allow paralysed man to control his hand [#Brains]

Watch a Paralyzed Man Move His Hand With the Power of Thought
“The process began in April, when doctors drilled a small hole in his skull and implanted a chip in his brain. This enabled doctors to install so-called “Neurobridge technology” that help send signals from Burkhart’s brain to a special sleeve that stimulates the atrophied muscles in his arm. Thanks to 96 electrodes, the chip can read the signals from Burkhart’s brain and send them to the sleeve which zaps the specific muscle segments needed to move Burkhart’s hand.” via Gizmodo

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Connected watch will keep you up to date with your football teams scores [#Wearables]

HotBlack Watch On Kickstarter Shows Live Football Scores (And That’s It)
“Created by London-based watch designer Richard Hoptroff the HotBlack Watch will “look and behave like a regular watch… But when your football team is playing, and for an hour before and after, the top dial will show your team’s score, and the left dial will show your opponent’s score; the bottom dial will show how much time is remaining.” via TechCrunch

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New metamaterial hides objects under it from touch [#Nano]

Scientists discover new material that makes objects invisible to touch
“According to the the scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, this “crystalline material structured with sub-micrometer accuracy [...] consists of needle-shaped cones, whose tips meet.” It perfectly adapts and absorbs the shape of anything under it.

The metamaterial structure directs the forces of the touching finger such that the cylinder is hidden completely. ” via Gizmodo

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Using augmented reality to find items in the supermarket [#AR]

Google’s Project Tango Will Power Augmented Reality Shopping
“For now, the new augmented reality shopping experience will enable shoppers to use Project Tango not only to find what you’re looking for but also to discover deals which will apparently “pop out” from the shelf, thanks to integration with inventory-searchable indoor maps of the store. Consumers can even earn points simply by walking down aisles, hence the video game analogy. The program will be piloted in retailers across the country in coming months.” via Gizmodo

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Self-driving car system that fits on your existing car [#Driving]

cruise kit could bring self-driving capabilities to your existing car
cruise‘s ‘RP-1′ kit utilizes sensors and advanced machine vision technology to monitor lane markers and other automobiles in your surroundings, to keep you on your course, as well as ensuring a safe following distance to those around you. it also assists in collision avoidance by automatically slowing down your speed, or even stop your vehicle completely in cases when you encounter traffic.” via DesignBoom

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Interesting new social and technological trends culled from the web by Richard Banks.