Archive for August, 2008
emotionally vague survey results
"a collection of mainly graphical results from a research project that focused on revealing how people feel anger, joy, fear, sadness & love. a simple survey asked 250 participants between the ages of 6 & 75 years from 35 different countries to graphically represent these emotions on a set of human silhouettes. the resulting drawings were compiled in layered Photoshop documents. in addition, participants could express emotions textually or choose appropriate colors."
Invisible Journeys: Mapping the Connections Around Us
"The picture above is a data visualization of the wireless access she picked up on a 45 minute car ride from a village to a city. 451 wireless nodes were recorded, with the red circles representing those with WEP encryption, the blue = WPA encryption, and the yellow = no encryption. Interesting to see the shifting levels of security and access moving from small town (non-existent) to big city (ubiquitous)."
Featured Firefox Extension: Auto Dial Puts Frequently Visited Sites in New Tabs
"The Auto Dial Firefox extension automatically places shortcuts to your most frequently visited web sites inside all of your new, empty tabs."
Solar Chargers: Photosynthesis Solar Tree Concept Is the World’s Best Looking Solar Gadget Charger
"Great concept from designer Vivien Muller for a modular, Lego-like little bonsai tree with 54 mini photovoltaic panels as leaves to soak up juice from the sun and charge your gadgets. Adapters get tucked away beneath a nice little tray, and your gadgets lay on top, basking in the shade."
JamLegend Takes On Guitar Hero On The Web (1,000 Invites)
"Once you sign up, you pick a song from a variety of genres (although right now there are only songs in rock, alternative, and acoustic) and a difficulty level. Once the song starts playing, notes come down as dots on a guitar fret, and you have to press the right buttons on your keyboard and “enter” as they pass by. You can play “Jam Style,” holding your keyboard like an air guitar, or “chill style” (see illustration.). I’d recommend chill style—you never know who might walk into the room and catch you geek rocking with your keyboard. The game will will also support game guitars plugged into our computer for serious faux fretters."
Video: Sony’s ODO wind-up camera really works
"We’ve seen pictures of Sony’s ODO Twirl N’ Take, wind-up camera before. Here in Berlin, we actually had a chance to take this eco-friendly digicam for a spin. Ha, get it? We said spin to refer to this kinetic concept camera! Amazing."
The Visual Assistance Card by Kyle Lechtenberg
"The card lays on top of the debit/credit card reader and through the use of Braille imprinted on the card, the user is able to keep their personal information private thus increasing their independence while shopping in any store. The Visual Assistance Card is light weight and can be easily stored out of the way until future use. Definitely designed for usability – a must in today’s world."
Miele CAVE -VR design for around the home
"CAVE technology lets products appear in a virtual worldhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_world before they exist in reality, thus enabling a number of different doctrines and technologies to be integrated much faster and the process of development and innovation accelerated in speed and quality. Product developers, designers and engineers can see the end result before it is crafted with real atomshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom , enabling them to discuss and refine the end result without much effort and cost. The speed gained by avoiding errors in communication between the design modalities enables more experimention in a shorter time-frame and more importantly, a better end result."
Cars: Is this the Futuremark 3D OpenGL-Powered Car Dashboard of the Future?
"We’ve seen all-digital concept dashboards before, but none seem as impressive 3D (or close to reality) as Futuremark’s. It scraps everything behind and to the right of the wheel in favor of a smooth, uninterrupted display onto which an OpenGL powered 3D engine renders everything you might need—instrumentation, navigation, entertainment system controls, climate controls, everything."
Space Cube, the tiny PC that looks great next to an apple
"PC Pro’s ProBlog has turned up a tiny PC that really is tiny: about 2 inches square. It’s running Linux on a 300MHz processor, and has plenty of ports. The story says:Most intriguing, though, is the Space Wire port. It may sound like a mere science fiction fantasy, but this incredibly thin socket is a crucial part of the Space Cube’s armoury. That’s because it’s a type of proprietary interface use by the ESA, NASA and JAXA when the Cube actually goes into space."
lifeviNe: Automatic, Geo-tagged Lifetracking
"As well as tagging all your media’s locations the app will track where you’ve been (so you need to be careful when you have it switched on!), and plot your journey on the web based map when you sync it at the end of the day. Uploading is a cinch too, as lifeviNe can be set to automatically upload whenever you’re in a trusted wireless zone.Online you can look at and share your journeys, filtering by user, place or time. There’s also an online widget which you can place on your blog or Facebook page, allowing others to see what you’ve been up to."
The Ad Changes With the Shopper In Front of It
"In a separate test, Procter & Gamble is placing radio-frequency identification tags on products at a Metro Extra retail store in Germany so that when a customer pulls the product off the shelf, a digital screen at eye level changes its message. When a consumer picks out a shampoo for a particular type of hair, for instance, the screen recommends the most appropriate conditioner or other hair products, says John Paulson, president of G2 Interactive, a digital-marketing arm of WPP Group’s G2 Network."
The Scope Camera for Kids
"The Scope is shaped like a car steering-wheel and has a windowless viewfinder, helping bring the photographer closer to the action and his/her subject. The picture is captured with a simple squeezing of the sides of the wheel. Groenendaal designed the camera “to be used as a therapeutic instrument for underprivileged children, e.g. children living in (former) warzones."
Featured Firefox Extension: Ubiquity Prototype Offers a Natural Language Web Command Line
"you invoke Ubiquity with a key combination and the text field drops down command suggestions as you type. Ubiquity’s built-in command set consists of "user-centric mashups" that let you perform tasks using various web services in one place using natural language. For example, you can insert a Google map into a new Gmail message (invoke Ubiquity and type "map [business name]"); you can look up a topic on Wikipedia in-page without switching tabs; you can select a paragraph of text in a foreign language and translate it in-page, or map a list of addresses from Craigslist by just selecting them. See these examples and more in practice in the introductory video."
ProofHQ: Designers finally get our own web-based collaborative app
"What sets it apart, though, are the details: multi-page files can be uploaded and reviewed; navigation and version tracking is clean and intuitive; file support includes several different image types, including native Photoshop); and specific views are maintained when switching through versions and pages, allowing easy comparison with minimum fuss. They’ve also gone out of their way to make it as flexible as possible, allowing ProofHQ documents to be embedded in websites, blogs and Basecamp sessions, and providing a Flickr-like drag-and-drop uploading client."
Keep an Eye on Your Home with Home Heartbeat
"Eaton has introduced a product called Home Heartbeat that can alert homeowners to problems of all sorts via text message while they are gone. The system includes a base station, home key device, and sensors. The DIY kit can be installed in 20 minutes and additional sensors can be added. The entire setup is wireless and provides real-time monitoring of your home. The sensors can be used to warn you of leaks or notify you of doors or windows left open. The sensors can also remind you if appliances were left on. Available sensors include power, motion, attention, water shutoff, garage door, open close sensor, reminder sensor, and more."
‘maxdoor’ by nodesign
"‘maxdoor’ uses a remote control instead of a key and it also opens automatically by touching the doorknob. it uses a digital door bell, LED lock and number lighting, sound proofing, hidden peephole and a backup battery which allows it to work for up to a week without power. although the door is very high-tech, it has a simple interface making it approachable to all users."
US utilities plot remote switch off
"HomePlug, the networking standard for sending data over mains wires, is to implement ZigBee’s Smart Energy protocol, allowing utilities to reach out and the thermostat turn down, or up, when power is short. An array of US utility companies is pushing the initiative, which sees HomePlug extending ZigBee Smart Energy to work over electrical mains wiring and integrating with ZigBee-based devices. The standard allows utilities to reach out and control non-critical devices when needed, such as pool pumps, thermostats and water heaters."
"One of the new features of FriendFeed (a Twitter-like thingie) is "fake following". That means you can friend someone but you don’t see their updates. That way, it appears that you’re paying attention to them when you’re really not. Just like everyone does all the time in real life to maintain their sanity."
Very Long-Term Backup
"This business side of the disk is pure nickel. Picking it up you would not be aware there were 13,500 pages of linguistic gold hiding on it. The nickel is deposited on an etched silicon disk. In effect the Rosetta disk is a nickel cast of a micro-etch silicon mold. When the disk is held at the right angle the grid array of the pages form a slight diffraction rainbow. You need a 750-power optical microscope to read the pages."
RiSE climbing robot
"RiSE is a small six-legged robot that climbs vertical terrain such as walls, trees and fences. RiSE’s feet have claws, micro-claws or sticky material, depending on the climbing surface. RiSE changes posture to conform to the curvature of the climbing surface and a fixed tail helps RiSE balance on steep ascents. RiSE is about 0.25 m long, weighs 2 kg, and travels 0.3 m/s."
Research aims to put tongues in control of devices
"Georgia Tech researchers believe a magnetic, tongue-powered system could transform a disabled person’s mouth into a virtual computer, teeth into a keyboard – and tongue into the key that manipulates it all. [...] The group’s Tongue Drive System turns the tongue into a joystick of sorts, allowing the disabled to manipulate wheelchairs, manage home appliances and control computers. The work still has a ways to go – one potential user called the design "grotesque" – but early tests are encouraging."
Aussie school trials use of gadgets in exams
"Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Sydney is running a trial among year nine English students, allowing them to access information from the net, speak to friends by mobile phone and listen to podcasts during a series of 40-minute tasks. For example, one session asked pupils to discuss Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. They were allowed to search for information about the speech online and get friends’ points of view, but the girls were only marked on use of persuasive language. The girls aren’t allowed to check the web for answers in, say, a maths exam. The school requires pupils to cite all sources, in an effort to discourage plagiarism."
Audiophiles’ Delight: Vinyl LPs Still Sell
"Rising LP sales are proving that every fashion comes back if you stick around long enough. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reports that shipments of vinyl records, measured by dollar value, increased 36.6% from 2006 to 2007. But, while demand for albums has increased, record sales remain significantly lower than those of compact discs and digital media. More than half a billion CDs were purchased in 2007, compared with about 1.3 million vinyl LPs."
Technology’s low powered future
"The buzz phrase for this is "energy scavenging". This means not just using solar power, but capturing energy from any light source, any sound, any vibration, any heat. An office, home or a car engine might produce three milliwatts of energy and that is now enough to run diagnostics, monitor and control other things."
Yamaha Bodibeat Now Shipping
"The device is an MP3 player that matches the tempo of music stored to the heart rate of user. The Bodibeat includes Bodibeat station software that automatically categorizes each downloaded song in terms of heart rate per minute. A small heart rate monitor clips on the users ear to track heart rate during a workout."
"Ply Phone" by Hideo Kambara
"Each section is tabbed to core functions like a dialpad, keyboard, gamepad, touchscreen, pico project, and printer! Will it ever see the light of day? Hard to say. Miniaturizing some of those proposed functions seems beyond what science and technology can achieve now but never underestimate kooky designers and crafty engineers."
Intel demos a wireless power broadcasting system, villagers terrified
"Intel’s demo of a wireless power system that can broadcast 60 watts of power up to three feet at IDF with 75 percent efficiency has us giddy with excitement. The system works using essentially the same magnetic induction principle as all the others, but Intel’s seems the furthest along, and the company hopes to one day be able to charge laptops with it."
Digital lightbox for hospitals
"Connected to the hospital PACS, the new digital platform can be installed both in meeting rooms and in operating rooms, where clinicians can then access, manipulate, and utilize data for surgery planning. By displaying the human body in 3D, Digital Lightbox helps clinicians to more clearly demonstrate to patients what effects a disease can have and which procedures may be necessary. Digital Lightbox enables clinicians to select the most valuable images from large amounts of existing medical data."
Home Phone Overkill: Hands On With OpenPeak’s Atom-Powered Home Media Phone
"The base station (which doubles as a speaker phone) has its own software platform, developed in flash and furnished with a full API, and serves many purposes of a PC in a picture frame-sized package. The current set of apps is adequate, but after using it for a few minutes it became very clear that the Home Media Phone could actually be a fantastic net appliance."
Fwix Gives Your City Its Own News Feed
"Fwix isn’t concerned with your friends – instead, it keeps track of what’s going on in your physical region. The site pulls data from over 30 APIs including Yelp, Twitter, and Eventful, with more on the way. Every 15 minutes it combs through thousands of potential stories, using a series of algorithms to determine what the hottest items are in your city – it’s sort of like a regional News Feed."
Iterasi Evolves Into A Must Have Research Tool
"Instead of the Delicious approach of simply bookmarking a URL and some descriptive data, Iterasi let users create a Wayback Machine like copy of the webpage, including with dynamic alterations from being signed in, cookies, etc. [...] Prior to today users had to manually bookmark a site. Great for a one-off, but if you want to scroll back and view how a site changed over time you had to remember to go there periodically to set a save. Not any more. Users can now schedule automatic saves of sites as often as daily and add them to folders, tag them, sort by date, etc. Also, all pages are fully indexed and searchable."
Concepts: KDDI’s Concept Cellphone is Half Transformer, Half Musical Box
"Box To Play is less "robot in disguise," and more "hi-fi in disguise" because when it’s a phone, it’s a normal phone—keypad, camera and such—but when it transforms it’s its own speaker system with a graphical visualizer around its faces. Neat, and exactly the sort of innovative design I’d like to see in future phones."
"My Speed" bike vest
"Here’s a light-up bike vest that lets people behind you know how fast you’re going. It uses electro-luminescent wire in the shape of the numbers to give a nixie-tube-esque appearance."
Asphalt Power: Unlocking 4 Million Miles of Solar Energy
"For one, blacktop stays hot and could continue to generate energy after the sun goes down, unlike traditional solar-electric cells. In addition, there is already a massive acreage of installed roads and parking lots that could be retrofitted for energy generation, so there is no need to find additional land for solar farms. Roads and lots are typically resurfaced every 10 to 12 years and the retrofit could be built into that cycle. Extracting heat from asphalt could cool it, reducing the urban ‘heat island’ effect. Finally, unlike roof-top solar arrays, which some find unattractive, the solar collectors in roads and parking lots would be invisible.”
Peek: the handheld that does e-mail, and only e-mail
"Take a glance at Peek, which is churning out a dedicated handheld that handles e-mail, a few chain forwards, and more e-mails when you’re done with that. At first glance, one may consider such a one-trick-pony quite ridiculous, but it’s hard to say what will end up catching on these days."
Your very own focus group: personal image appraisals tell it like it is
"German consumers can now upload a few pictures to checkyourimage.com, and have impartial strangers evaluate their appearance, solving dilemmas like: "My wife says I look boring, I think I look professional and modern." "My boss says I come across as cool and distant. I think I look reliable and friendly." "Does my long, red hair look good on me, or would I look better with a short, blond cut?" The website points out that just as brands routinely use focus groups to test a product’s image and appeal, anyone can benefit from an honest appraisal by a crowd of strangers."
How con-men make their faces look trustworthy
"By studying people’s reactions to a range of artificially-generated faces, Oosterhof and Todorov were able to identify a set of features that seemed to engender trust. Working from those findings, they were able to create a continuum: faces with high inner eyebrows and pronounced cheekbones struck people as trustworthy, faces with low inner eyebrows and shallow cheekbones untrustworthy."
Artificial Intelligence Gives Gliders a Lift
"By examining the temperature of ground surfaces, the Roke software can anticipate and identify thermals. It simultaneously measures wind speed and other factors and processes the data to create a flight plan that directs aircraft toward rising air and away from downward drafts. The flight plans could be integrated into on-board flight navigation systems and eventually shared with other area aircraft. Roke believes that its AI system has applications that go beyond leisure aircraft, including extending the flight range of powered military and communications aircraft, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles. "
"ItSpace creates a network of pages within the social networking site MySpace. Instead of featuring people, the pages feature everyday household objects. Each page has a photo of the object, a description, and most importantly, a 1-minute piece of music composed of recordings of the object being struck and resonated in various ways. All the pages, or objects, are ‘friends’ with each other, so that visitors who discover one object may jump to the others by clicking on the ‘friends’ pictures at the bottom of each page."
Swany’s g.cell snowboard glove secretly doubles as Bluetooth handset
"Unless this description is positively inaccurate, there’s actually a Bluetooth module, speaker and microphone tucked within one of the g.cell gloves. When it detects an incoming call, it gives your wrist a shake (read: there’s a vibrate function) and enables you to quite literally talk to the hand. Swany asserts that it’ll last for 12 hours on standby (4 hours of talk time), though your phone may crap out a few hours earlier in extreme temperatures."
Games Without Frontiers: Fun Way to Lose Weight: Turn Dieting Into an RPG
"When you first log in to Weight Watchers, it determines how much food you’ll be allowed to eat that day, expressed as a number of "points." My friend gets 23 points per day. Each time she eats a piece of food, she enters it into the online database, and it calculates how many points she’s used. A small apple is one point; a piece of fried chicken is seven points. When she first started the program, she was stunned at how quickly she burned through her daily points. A single bagel was six points — more than 25 percent of her daily quota. "How the hell am I going to do this without starving?" she wondered. But pretty soon she learned to hack her daily eating to suit the system. She snacked on vegetables that took zero points — like bell peppers — or only one or two points, like a tasty brand of microwave popcorn. Then she’d save up the big points for a really decent dinner."
Gartner Tech Forecast: Cloudy and Getting Cloudier
"The service suppliers, Mr. Tully said, should be able to provide computing to companies more efficiently than companies themselves, benefiting from economies of scale and accumulated knowledge. The pattern is similar to what happened with electricity in the early 1900s, when companies found it was less costly to buy power from the new breed of utility suppliers instead of owning and running their own electric motors. “On that basis alone,” Mr. Tully said, “the impact on overall IT spending would be neutral to negative. But all sorts of new uses and new companies may spring up on the back of the cloud phenomenon. And no one knows what those might be yet. There’s a big unknown. We can’t put a metric on it.”
New York Times Blog
Credit Card: Visa and Eight Banks Test Real-Time SMS Notifications For Transactions
"The 2000 pilot beta customers can pick alerts for ATM cash withdrawals, internet or telephone charge, an out-of-country charge or a charge that’s over a pre-defined amount. You can choose to have these alerts go to your phone or your email (if you’re cheap like us and don’t want to burn up all your messages), which you can then immediately use to alert Visa to any fraudulent activity."
The RFID photo booth · Touch
"Every attendee’s RFID tag contained a link to their profile within the Picnic network site (their tags were registered and connected at the registration desk). This profile contained their name and any descriptions or tags that they had decided to include, we also had access to their contact details and payment information if we had chosen to do so. When the photo booth detected their tag, it could look them up in the Picnic social network, get their details and manipulate their profiles."
Microspaces: Playing With Nested GUIs
"We’re seeing a lot of desktop metaphors moving to Web interfaces in the browser. The latest example to cross our inbox is Microspaces, a service in private beta that lets you organize Web pages in folder-like Microspaces. But unlike desktop folders, the contents are made up of Web pages, so they are constantly updated. In that sense, each Microspace folder is somewhat like a browser tab, except you can collect multiple Web pages in each one. Thus the pages are nested inside one another."
Digital Camera Swim Mask: World’s First Digital Camera Swim Mask Saves Underwater Pool Memories For Later
"The on-board 5-megapixel camera goes down to 15 feet and can take up to 30 pictures in its 16MB memory. You can expand that with a microSD card (no size limitation specified) in order to record more than 52 seconds of video as well. There’s an LED inside the mask that tells you which mode you’re in, but the whole thing requires two AAA batteries to operate. It’s only $99, and can be used in snorkeling or just at the pool."
M2E Charges Your Cell Phone With Kinetic Energy!
"M2E will announce the development of an external charger later this month that will generate between 300 and 700 percent more energy than current kinetic energy technologies, and may eventually replace cell phone batteries altogether."
Old Sewer Mapping System Undergoes a Welcome Update
"More than just digital replicas, these maps are linked to millions of bits of information, or attributes — the size of the pipes, the dates they were built and repaired, what they were made of — that can be called up and sorted with the click of a mouse. The maps can be updated instantly when water mains and sewers are installed, removed or repaired. “This is a real live snapshot of what we have in the ground,” Mr. Roberts said. “These maps can now see in one spot what was on five or six drawings before.”
Lighting Up Tumors
"The imager, which is being licensed by GE Healthcare, augments a normal video feed with near-infrared imagery to show the location of targeted contrast agents–microscopic particles made up mostly of fluorescent proteins administered to the patient before surgery. During a surgical procedure, a boom carrying one visible-light camera and two for different bands of the near-infrared spectrum is suspended above the patient, sending live video and infrared footage to a computer that displays a combined picture on a screen next to the operating table."
Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games
"The subtlety of the timing of eye movements is a big one. People also have a natural asymmetry – for instance, in the muscles in the side of their face. Those types of imperfections aren’t that significant but they are what makes people look real." Previous methods for animating faces have involved putting dots on a face and observing the way the dots move, but Image Metrics analyses facial movements at the level of individual pixels in a video, meaning that the subtlest variations – such as the way the skin creases around the eyes, can be tracked."
Using QR Codes To Check Food Safety
"In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer content percentage (as opposed to chemical), use of pesticides and herbicides and even the name of the farm it was grown on."
Featured Firefox Extension: AutoPager Automatically Loads the Next Web Page Inline
"The AutoPager Firefox extension automatically loads the next page of a site inline when you reach the end of the current page for infinite scrolling of content. By default AutoPager works with a ton of sites, including Lifehacker, the New York Times, Digg, and, of course, Google. At first blush AutoPager is a little difficult to understand, but just set it as Always Enabled by clicking the AE link on supported sites and it’ll take care of the rest."
"In a Swiss experiment, two entangled photons 18 km away from each other were able to communicate with each other almost instantaneously. On the basis of their measurements, the team concluded that if the photons had communicated, they must have done so at least 100,000 times faster than the speed of light — something nearly all physicists thought would be impossible."
RFID-activated retrieval system brings urns up for viewing
"Japan’s own Nichiryoku has evidently created a unique urn retrieval system that enables family members with deceased loved ones to return to a reverent storage facility, swipe an RFID card, and watch their late mother / father / etc. emerge from the underground for viewing."
Wear Your Photos on Your Feet!
"Each part of the shoe is customizable, from the canvas panels, the stitching, to the lining and midsole. There are four different women’s and kids’ Keds styles to choose from and Betty can include text, if she feels like it. Our first design above (just for her) features one image of blurred headlights (sides and heel), jet black details, and a close-up of a scary plant (upper)."
Exploring the virtual ant colony
"Ground-penetrating radar has been used to nondestructively map an ant colony for the first time. The results have been digitised and fed into an interactive visualisation system so that the colony can be explored virtually. The system is inexpensive compared to earlier approaches and could be used in many fields."
CircleDock Surrounds Your Mouse with Files, Folders, and Shortcuts
"Free application CircleDock automatically puts files, folders, and shortcuts within a few pixels of your mouse when you invoke it for quick action. CircleDock is completely customizable, from the skin and hotkey to the items you place in the dock. You can rotate the items in the circular dock with your scrollwheel, which is cool despite its questionable usefulness."
Smart self-service scales
"’The scales automatically recognize which fruit or vegetables are to be weighed and ask the customer to choose between only those icons that are relevant,’ such as various kinds of tomatoes. These scales are equipped with a camera and an image evaluation algorithm which compares the image with other ones stored in its database. These scales are now being tested in about 300 supermarkets across Europe."
Take your profile with you online
"The mEgo.com body-shaped widget, which resembles a high-tech baseball card on your screen, stores all your profile information and is interactive. Click on the avatar’s hand, for example, to access an Amazon wish list. Mouse over the heart to learn essential details about someone. Peer into the eyes to access a Netflix queue or YouTube favorites. It’s also possible to leave messages for the person – on their animated person. (Users can opt for a photo instead of an avatar.)"
EnergyHub minds your electricity, saves you cash
"The device uses a touchscreen control panel (familiarly referred to as a "dashboard") to help gauge and adjust energy levels for satellite outlets that it communicates with. The data will be accessible and adjustable online, and users will also be able to compare their stats with other eco-tweakers or neighbors."
Fixing Video with Photographs
"Video might contain artifacts like overexposure and low-resolution imagery and this system takes cues from still images of the scene to bring almost the entire video up to photographic quality."
ShootBooth Adds Party Playfulness
"Beneath it’s comical appearance, the ShootBooth is actually a modern digital SLR behind a one-way mirror. Once inside the booth, the experience is tailored to promote playfulness. The team is happy to customize themes for your party and can provide a LED pen to draw on the just-taken image."
Crowdsourcing industrial design
"How it works: product manufacturers pay RedesignMe to establish "RDM Challenges," through which a new product concept is presented and the site’s 1,000 or so active members are asked to react to it. Beginning with an initial proposed concept, users are free to modify the current design or upload their own ideas, using any combination of comments, sketches, pictures, mood-boards, movies, prototypes or total redesigns. Ideas generated on the site are then used as input by the manufacturer’s R&D team or professional designers, who decide on the final concept."
iHitch: Social Networking For Hitchhikers
"On your mobile phone, type in your desired destination. Using GPS to note your location, drivers on the iHitch network that are going to, or near your destination will be alerted of where you are, and where you want to go. If it matches up with where they’re headed, and they like your rating, you get picked up and the iHitch system facilitates a small payment."
Nano-sized Olympics Logo: Scientists Demo New Nanoprinting Tech with Microscopic Golden Olympic Logos
"2,500 of the images, made 20,000 90-nanometer dots, would fit on a grain of rice. The polymer pen lithography uses an array of millions of tiny flexible polymer "pens" that can be used to make marks on various different nano-scales, and in this case deposit "ink" made of 16-mercaptohexadecanoic acid onto a gold substrate (what else would do, in Olympic season?) The team thinks that the technique, which can print out tiny dot-matrix imagery, will find uses in computational tools, medical diagnostics and the pharmaceutical industry."
GPS: Kapsys’ Kapten is Screenless, Voice-Driven, Key Ring-Sized GPS
"There’re a bunch of led-lit icons at the top, indicating car-, pedestrian-mode and so on, but that’s it. All navigation requests and instructions are made by you talking to the Kapten and it talking to you. It’s apparently aimed mainly at pedestrian users, and measuring 2.9 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches is small enough to slip onto a key ring."
Dual-display laptop design has wings
"It’s certainly not as elegant as some other dual-display laptops we’ve seen, but what it gives up in looks, the Electronic Keyboards, Inc. design makes up for in practicality. They’re currently pitching it to OEMs and will gladly sell you the related US patents if interested. Though given our choice, we’d be more interested in patents related to an elongated trackpad which doubles as a secondary glass display or e-Ink informational widget."
Lightning Review: GirlTech Stylin’ Studio
"GirlTech Stylin’ Studio, a drawing pad with built-in webcam and bundled PC app to give virtual makeovers to yourself, your friends, your enemies and even—as you can see in the gallery below—Gizmodo staff co-workers."
William Shatner signs off on new video autographs
"The message on screen — which was submitted by the fan — was just too odd. But as an investor and partner in Live Autographs, a new video service in which celebrities appear on camera to deliver a personalized greeting as they sign an autograph, Shatner had to say something. "Are you nuts? You want me to say, ‘When I’m smoking and sipping whiskey with Allen’ — who’s Allen? — ‘I’m secretly thinking of you and your dog?’"
A 3-D look down the RabbitHole
"In a two-dimensional world, a pixel is the smallest piece of information in an image. If you look closely enough, newspapers and computer screens are little more than grids of dots. In the 3-D world of RabbitHoles, a poster-size print contains about 275,000 holopixels, each with 1,280 angles or perspectives, meaning the viewer is actually seeing 353 million bits of visual information. Data from virtual or digital cameras is sent to a printer, which divides each frame into holopixels. The finished product is transferred to Plexiglas, which can be framed and mounted. A halogen lamp is then shined onto the surface from above or below at a 45-degree angle, which produces the three dimensional effect. When examined closely without illumination, the finished print looks like thousands of ant-width boxes."
RoofRay’s Solar Calculator Makes Green Power Easy
"It’s a website that helps you calculate the value of putting solar panels on your roof. Using Google Maps, you zoom in on your house, then use RoofRay to draw in solar panels. The site will then figure out how much energy you should expect to generate, as well as the cost to install a solar setup."
Shock-absorbing carbon springs to protect falling gizmos
"In working with researchers at UC San Diego, the crew has determined that layers of tiny coiled carbon nanotubes can act as "extremely resilient shock absorbers." The team envisions their discovery finding its way into body armor, car bumpers, bushings and even in shoe soles, but we’re hoping that cellphones and PMPs get lined with this stuff to protect from those butter-finger moments"
"Touch Sight", Camera for the Blind by Chueh Lee
"Touch Sight does not have an LCD but instead has a lightweight, flexible Braille display sheet which displays a 3D image by embossing the surface, allowing the user to touch their photo. The sound file and picture document combine to become a touchable photo that is saved in the device and can be uploaded to share with others–and downloaded to other Touch Sight cameras.”"
Using their phones, crowds create heat maps of hot gigs at music festival
"Using familiar web terminology—Hot or Not—the festival’s visitors will be able to let others know which of twelve venues is hosting the hottest show at any particular moment. The voting system will run on a mobile app that users can download to their internet-enabled phones. (Those with wifi-enabled phones will be able to use 3VOOR12′s free festival-wide wifi.) Considering the distance between venues at large events like Lowlands, a crowd-controlled, up-to-the-minute heat map seems like a clever idea, especially if users can view voting results from people who like the same bands they do. "
Sensacell: LED Floor Captures Digital Footprints
"Covered in strong, architectural glass, the floor responds to pressure by lighting up. And while that alone doesn’t sound all that exciting, the system tracks the pressure over time, allowing users to create a transient series of footprints that, I dunno, looks all futuristic"
Helping the deaf to ‘see sound’
"Called Lumisonic the software translates sound waves into circles that radiate on a display. It creates a real time representation of sound and is designed to elicit responses quickly in the human brain. "If I make a sound and lower the pitch, the rings contract," said Dr Mick Grierson, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who developed the system. Lumisonic can respond to computer-generated noises or those from a microphone"
Philips Incubator intros Shapeways Creator
"For the first time,consumers without 3D modeling skills can shape, mash, imprint anddesign their own 3D products in just a few mouse clicks at Shapeways.com. From lamps with a personal message to fruit bowls linking back to memorable moments, the Shapeways Creator Engine has a beta library of predesigned product templates which is expected to grow rapidly over 2009."
Shake It: Polaroid Bringing Back Classic 4×3 Insta-Prints With Forthcoming Digital Zink Cam
"the company looks like it’s finally getting serious about building its Zink instant digital printing tech into a camera. And it won’t use the diminutive 2 x 3 inch format currrently spit out by the PoGo printer, which is the only product that currently features Zink tech. Instead, the new camera is planning to use the classic 4×3 vertical rectangle size, which became the company’s trademark. And they’re even taking (or pretending to take) suggestions from the public on the camera’s features."
littleBits are like Legos for circuit boards
"Tiny, pre-assembled circuit boards that create a library of mix-and-match electronic components for building that next amazing wonder widget. Oh, and they’re open source. The "blocks" snap together via magnets, and there’s an ever-growing selection of modules to choose from."
Location Awareness: Fire Eagle Shares Your Location Across Applications
"Fire Eagle allows you to share your locations with other sites and services safely through a secure server – you are always in control. You can decide to share your location with any site that can use it, and even choose how much detail to give that application (exact point, neighborhood, city, state, country). There are many applications that can use your Fire Eagle location! For example, you can use Fire Eagle to update your location on your Facebook profile; or embed a badge on your blog or MySpace that shows roughly where you are."
Light bent the wrong way–can an invisibility cloak be far behind?:
"In a study to be published in Nature, the Berkeley group, led by Xiang Zhang, bent red light using a fishnet-shaped stack of 21 layers of silver and magnesium fluoride, each a few tens of nanometers thick (see diagram). (One nanometer is a billionth of a meter.) The group will also report in Science that it bent near-infrared light using a thinner sheet of aluminum oxide containing silver nanowires. The researchers believe that the second material ought to work on red light as well. Both devices absorbed relatively little of the incoming light—a problem in earlier metamaterials, the group says."
Scientific American Blog
AP’s Ethnography of News Consumption
"News is connected to e-mail; Constant checking is linked to boredom; Contemporary lifestyles impact news consumption; News is multitasked;
Television impacts consumers expectations; News takes work today but creates social currency; Consumers are experiencing news fatigue; Consumers want depth but aren’t getting it; Story resolution is key and sports and entertainment deliver"
Japanese researchers craft "e-skin" to let robots feel
"researchers created a bendable rubber sheet filled with carbon nanotubes, which lets the "skin" conduct electricity even when it’s stretched. When combined with sensors, that would let robots feel heat or pressure, which the researchers say is essential "as robots enter our everyday life." They also, not surprisingly, see a whole host of other applications for the technology, including on steering wheels that could judge whether people are fit to drive and in stretchable displays that could start out as a tiny sheet and be stretched to a larger size when you want to watch TV."
Camera drones without mirrors or lenses to monitor future battlefields, you
"QinetiQ is developing a lens-less, mirror-less, battlefield imaging system with some help from
your DARPA’s deep pockets. The LACOSTE project (Large Area Coverage Optical Search while Track and Engage) aims to set aloft high-altitude (about 20km) drones and air-ships fitted with a special, thousand-strong microscopic sensor array (a "first of their kind," according to QinetiQ), a "mask," and image processor to decode the scene and extract an image of the quickly changing conditions on the battlefield or, you guessed it, city streets. The resulting lightweight and highly-durable system should feature a "super resolution" mode with the ability to "detect and simultaneously track large numbers of moving vehicles in dense urban areas with a high degree of accuracy, 24-hours a day."
A Plastic That Chills
"Changing the electric field rearranges the atoms in the polymer, which in turn govern its temperature; this is called the electrocaloric effect. In a cooling device, a voltage would be applied to the material, which would then be brought in contact with whatever it’s intended to cool. The material would heat up, passing its energy to a heat sink or releasing it into the atmosphere. Reducing the electric field would bring the polymer back to a low temperature so that it could be reused."
Digital Photos: Wanokoto Labs Makes Your Photos Look Ancient
"The Wanokoto Labs web site converts any image into a super old-timey pic in one quick and simple step. You can either upload an image to the site from your computer or point it to an image URL online, then just click Convert. A few seconds later, you’ve got an ancient looking version of that image. Applied to print, the results (as you can see) look like a weathered newspaper, but browsing through the gallery on the site’s front page shows impressive results with every image."
Uber Holograms: MIT Team Developing Eye-Catching, Super Realistic 6-D Imaging Device
"By using an array of tiny square lenses instead of the linear ones, [those inexpensive postcard 3-D images] can also be made to change as you change the viewing angle up or down – making a "4-D" image. This reveals different views with horizontal as well as vertical movement of the viewer. The new "lighting aware" [6-D] system adds additional layers of lenses and screens to add two more dimensions of change. The image that is seen is then not only based on the position of the viewer, but also on the direction of the illumination."
Flic your bic after you’re done calling home
"The BIC phone will cost 49 Euros (US$78) and is capable of just making phone calls and sending text messages. It comes with a SIM card, 60 minutes of free calls, a phone number included in the packaging and a fully-charged battery. Extra minutes can be bought through the use of a mobicarte and works the same way as most pay-as-you-go schemes. The phone will initially only be available to buy in France."
Material bends, stretches and conducts electricity?
"Sekitani’s team developed their material using carbon nanotubes, a long stretch of carbon molecules that can conduct electricity. They mixed these into rubbery polymer to form the basic material. Next, they attached a grid of tiny transistors to the material and then put it to the test. They stretched the sheet of material to nearly double its original size and it snapped back into place, without disrupting the transistors or ruining the material’s conductive properties. The elastic conductor would allow electronic circuits to be mounted in places that would have been impossible up to now, including "arbitrary curved surfaces and movable parts, such as the joints of a robot’s arm," Sekitani and colleagues wrote."
Y Combinator’s Popcuts Pays You To Find Good New Music
"When an artist signs on to the store, they allocate a certain portion of the revenue generated by their songs to go back to their fans. This money is then distributed according to how early each user purchased a song (the earlier you buy, the more you make). For example, the band My First Earthquake has decided to pay out 30% of its revenues to its fans. The earliest adopters (say, the first dozen people to buy the song) will break even after the song has been purchased by around 25 other people. Fans buying the song later on will still earn credit, but it will be earned at a much slower rate (the site will tell you how quickly you’ll be earning credit before you buy a song)."
Flash Drives: Biodegradable Flash Drives Were a Long Time Coming
"It’s constructed of the corn-based plastic polylactide, and just in case you forget that fact, they’ve shaped the drive like an ear of corn. We don’t have a lot of information on the device, but it appears they’ve figured out how to make the entire drive biodegradable, not just the casing (though that cop-out is certainly a possibility)."
"A new website that attempts to quantify the association between colors and words, making it simple for designers to choose the best colors for the desired emotional effect."
Wired-Marker Highlights Text on Web Pages
"Firefox extension Wired-Marker permanently highlights text on web pages. Unlike web-based highlighters or offline options like previously-mentioned Scrapbook, Wired-Highligher is a hybrid of online and offline highlighting. So while you can’t send highlighted content to someone else or view your content offline, you can see your highlighted content automatically any time you browse to the original web page. You can highlight content in a variety of colors and customize what your highlights mean to better categorize your highlighted content."
Nissan Puts the Meddle to the Pedal
"The ECO Pedal, for those of you who haven’t already complained about it, is a device that causes a reactive force in the gas pedal when the car senses the driver is accelerating too rapidly for optimum fuel economy. In other words, if you push too hard, it pushes back. Nissan estimates that the Eco Pedal, coupled with the already ubiquitous instant fuel readout on the dash, can increase fuel economy 10 to 15 percent. That’s enough to make your real-world mileage start looking like the numbers on the window sticker."
Elastic electronics see better
"Hoping to improve digital imaging, the Illinois-based researcher and his team, joined up with a group of mechanical engineers from Northwestern University, to make a camera shaped more like an eye. The challenge was to import the thin, brittle wafer-based camera technology to a curved surface. The result was a 2cm-wide camera with a single, simple lens and a concave light detection system."
SizeChina Creates Database for Chinese Population
"Despite the fact that Asian heads are shaped differently than ‘Western’ heads, products such as sunglasses and helmets have conventionally been based off of Western anthropometric data, resulting in a poor fit for Asian users. Scanning the heads of over 2,000 male and female individuals from six different regions across China using state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology, SizeChina aims to create a database containing virtual models of heads that will help ensure that the designs of medical, optical, and sports equipment in China will fit comfortably and safely for a population of 1.3 billion."
3D: Seiko Epson Designs Simple 3D Display for Cellphones
"An object is photographed with up to eight cameras, a compound image is created, and when displayed each lens sends a slightly different view to your eyes. Because your eyes see different views of the object, just like in real life your brain reconstructs a 3D image."
EU grabs 30MHz of spectrum for talking cars
"The EU has agreed to reserve 30MHz of spectrum (around 5.9GHz) for cars that want to talk to each other, in the belief that doing so will save lives rather than add more driver-distracting gadgets. The idea is that cars driving along a road will be able to spot hazards, such as a slippery surface, and will decide – presumably for the common good – to inform those following to take care. Quite how the cars following will alert their fleshy drivers to the problem remains to be seen, but that’s not the EU’s problem."
Blog: Fabric gesture controller
"The fabric is stretched in an embroidery hoop and draped over an inverted circular bowl. A piece of conductive plastic cut in a special shape forms a corolla on the surface of the bowl. The tips of each petal are folded inside the bowl and taped with conducting adhesive copper tape. The microcontroller board measures the electrical resistances of these petals from their tip to a common center established with a conductor at the flat of the bowl. As the conductive stretchable fabric (the “calyx” to complete the flower analogy) is displaced towards the bowl it shorts out different lengths of each conductive plastic petal. The result is a circular array of nearly mass-less displacement sensors. The gesture-to-displacement relationship changes according to distance from the center of the bowl (variable “gearing)”. This allows for several different playing styles."