Toys that connect

Cute Friends to Collect, and Plug in to the Internet
“The U.B. Funkeys starter kit ? which is being shipped to stores in the United States ? contains a hub that can accommodate several of the colorful little figurines, each of which looks vaguely like an animal or a space alien. The hub also comes with two Funkeys characters, which transmit data to the base when placed on top. Once the Funkeys are set up, their owner will be able to go to www.ubfunkeys.com (which is not yet operational) and enter Funkeys Town. There, each Funkey on the base will appear in avatar form on the screen, ready to play games.”
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New York Times

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Auto-measuring

VisualSize To Give Accurate 3D Measurements From Photos
“To measure things accurately they need two photos of the same thing, but from different angles. The VisualSize algorithm automatically detects feature points in the two pictures and finds the matching pairs. It then uses the matching pairs to calculate coordinates of the two camera positions (x, y, z axes and origin in a 3D coordinate frame), and uses triangulation from the image to plane to the 3D coordinate frame to reconstruct the 3D scene. VisualSize can then measure length, angle, area and volume with a high degree of accuracy.”
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TechCrunch

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Directions by SMS

Directions via phone ringing true / Alameda company makes it simpler for cellular users to get free help without GPS
“Users call (347) 328-4667 from a cell phone and begin explaining where they want to go, either an address or an intersection. The voice recognition service discerns your intended location and asks where you’re coming from. The system is smart enough to search for nearby cities, just in case you’re uncertain where you’re headed. And it can understand where you’re going, even if you don’t know whether your intended location is a street, road or boulevard. Before the call is over, Dial Directions will have sent you a text message with simplified directions supplied through MapQuest.”
SFGate

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GPS for kids

Backseat GPS for kids teaches mindless compliance early on

“Using Volkswagen‘s prototype child navigation system, children can watch an animated worm eat down the time until they reach the destination, and play games and “in-seat” exercises (hopefully not involving hitting the nearest sibling) as instructed by the all seeing screen. Personally, we’ll not rest until someone develops a direct video link with the driver, so parents can yell at their kids while keeping their eye on the road. Dem kids gotta get teached.”
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Engadget

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Faster networks

Researchers develop multi-gigabit WiFi

“The system is still in its infancy, as data rates drop off steeply with just a little added distance (10Gbps at two meters, 5Gbps at five meters), but the possibilities for speeds of this sort are promising. At 10Gbps, researches say you could download the entire DVD of Beaches to a cellphone in five seconds, although the ultra-high frequency 60GHz band used for transmission is unable to pass through human skin, creating line-of-sight issues which engineers have yet to unkink.”
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Engadget

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RFID tickets

Printed organic RFID circuits set to collect statistical data

“about 1,000 printed organic RFID tickets will be tested at the Organic Electronics Conference this September in Frankfurt, Germany. The badges will be converted by Bartsch and are “set to be used to monitor the flow of attendees during the two-day conference and exhibition.” Deemed the “first ever printed, low-cost organic tickets,” these devices will be trialed in order to judge their data collecting abilities and to show whether or not these would be good candidates for use in “public transportation and logistics” applications.”
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Engadget

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Better batteries

NC State researchers working up longevous capacitors

“Thanks to their research on the electromechanical properties of the commonly used polymer polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), they have discovered that when combined with CTFE (that’s yet another polymer), it may allow capacitors to store “up to seven times more energy than those currently in use.” According to Vivek Ranjan, the process moves atoms within the material “in order to make the polymer rearrange with the least voltage,” and this storage booster could even be used to allow electric cars of the future to sport the “same acceleration capability as a gas-powered sports car.”
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Engadget

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