Scanning everything

The Paperless Office
“The sheet-fed scanner has three slots: one for business cards, one for cash register tapes or credit-card receipts, and one for sheets up to standard business size. You can put as many as 10 documents in any of the slots at once. Hit the scan button, and the documents shoot through the system and are parsed by the NeatReceipts software, which runs on Microsoft Windows and on the Mac OS. I was especially impressed by the system’s ability to handle cash-register receipt tapes. These are generally produced by low-quality thermal printers and can be quite difficult to read, even for humans. The software tries to figure out the vendor, the date, the total purchase price, and the sales tax. If it can’t read the vendor’s name, you can type it in by hand, and chances are good the system will recognize the name the next time it appears on a receipt. I found that the software also excelled at reading larger receipts, such as hotel bills, fed through the document slot.”
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BusinessWeek

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Air interface

air interaction
“It’s called BYU-BYU-View and it basically adds air to the interaction between a user and a virtual environment, and communication through a network, by integrating the graphics presentation with wind inputs and outputs on a special screen”
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Pasta&Vinegar

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Very thin displays

Oled: Flexible OLED Display is .05mm Thick, Flaps Around in the Wind
“Samsung has unveiled an ultra-thin ‘flapping’ OLED screen at FPD International 2008, demonstrating the flexibility of the display by letting it bend and flutter in the wind. At a paper-thin .05mm, the 4-inch screen is still able to create an image of 480×272 pixels, with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 100% reproduction of the NTSC color gamut, which is in line with most new flat panel screens on the market.”
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Gizmodo

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Fast e-ink displays

E Ink: E Ink’s AM300 Dev Kit Capable of Quick Animations and Touch Input
“Cambridge-based E Ink is turning some heads with it’s AM300 Developer Kit, which promises refresh rates fast enough to support animations (think dynamic ads), interactive touch input, and 16 unadulterated, detailed shades of grey (!). Developed in conjunction with Epson, the kit uses the New York Times as an example, which makes sense, as those enamored with E Ink technology have long fantasized about its use with newspapers and magazines.”
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Gizmodo

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Tiling displays

NEC tiling e-ink displays for massive coverage
“What’s better than a single low-power e-ink display? How about eight of them stuck together to form one massive sheet? NEC is indicating it can now tile up to eight displays together to achieve maximum reflective real estate, composed of digital sheets matching standard A4 (8.3- x 11.7-inches) and A3 (11.5- × 16.5-inches) sizes, the latter having only a 1mm border. Eight of those stitched in two rows of four could make a display nearly two feet tall and over five feet wide.”
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Engadget

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Gardening hardware + service

Gardening: EasyBloom Makes Gardening Plug-and-Play Compatible
“You put the EasyBloom in the ground wherever you’d like to track light, temperature, humidity and soil moisture patterns over 24 hours. Once said time has passed, you pull the EasyBloom from the ground, wipe it off (our tip, not theirs) and stick it in your computer. The data then syncs with EasyBloom’s web database, where it digs through 5,000 different plant species to either find plants that would do well in your conditions or diagnose why the plants you have aren’t growing better.”
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Gizmodo

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Body language recognition

Biometric identification by body language
“The goal of the project is to train a computer to recognize a person based on his or her motions, and to identify the person’s emotional state, cultural background, and other attributes. [...] The current focus is the analysis of national and international public figures while they are giving speeches, with future plans to investigate many other domains. The research team is building a large database of people’s motions, using cable television recordings and web video downloads. Through techniques similar to those used in speech recognition, this project applies machine learning (an Artificial Intelligence technique) to train a computer system to compare the detected body language of an individual in a video, to that of a database of other subjects.”
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Boing Boing

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Behaviour trackers

You May Soon Know if You’re Hogging the Discussion
“With the array of sensors, the badges can detect what Dr. Pentland calls “honest signals, unconscious face-to-face signaling behavior” that suggest, for example, when people are active, energetic followers of what other people are saying, and when they are not. He argues that these underlying signals are often as important in communication as words and logic. For example, the badges register when listeners respond with regular nods or short acknowledgments like, “Right.” Such responses, he argues, are a kind of mirroring behavior that may help build empathy between speaker and listener. He also examines patterns of turn-taking in conversations, as well as gestures and other, often unconscious signals.”
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NYTimes.com

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Old technologies

Typewriter stays relevant in technology-saturated world
“But the typewriter part of Flores’ business never went away. In some ways, it’s even made a small resurgence. The simplicity of the typewriter is alluring to writers who may be overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by increasingly elaborate technology. A typewriter is also appealing in its transparency — whack a key, and watch the typebar smack a letter onto a piece of paper. Try figuring that out with a laser printer. Many people also find typewriters charming ambassadors of a bygone era. One recent customer asked Flores to fix her mother’s college typewriter so she could type letters home when she went off to college.”
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Los Angeles Times

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