Archive for February, 2009
The New Boxed Set Comes Streaming To Your iPhone for $2.99
"The Presidents of the United States of America, a rock band from the 1990s, just released an iPhone app (iTunes link) that represents what could become a replacement for the boxed CD set. The iPhone app comes with access to four albums, an early demo tape, and regular updates. Instead of paying $50 or more for the complete collection of a band’s music, you get an equivalent collection of music on your iPhone for $2.99. The catch is that the songs are all streamed and played in random order (or you can choose various playlists). But this is really a marketing vehicle for the band. Any song can be bought and downloaded from the iTunes store directly from within the app."
Sifting, sorting and manipulating data with Siftables
"Siftables are small devices which have a graphical display, a number of sensors and wireless communication capabilities. They are small tangible user interfaces which can function individually or in a group, and can be manipulated to interact with digital information and media."
SIMSense Motion Detecting SIM Card: Drunk Dial Even When You Pass Out
"Why the hell would you need a motion-sensing SIM card you ask? Well first off, it could give any run-of-the-mill handset the capability to navigate menus, send calls or SMS messages with a simple shake or tap. It could even allow users to pre-program an emergency contact into the phone that could be called or sent a text message on a trigger of rapid movement—like a fall. So you are covered should you fall and break a hip or pass out in a bar."
OpenFeint: A Plug-And-Play Social Platform For iPhone Games
"The OpenFeint Platform allows developers to integrate features including user profiles, Facebook-like ‘walls’, and chat rooms (which can either be game-specific or globally shared across all games). OpenFeint founders Jason Citron and Danielle Cassley say that the platform will save developers around two months of coding and only takes around two hours to integrate with its default UI (though developers will be free to customize the system to suit their games). And all chats will be hosted on the OpenFeint servers, so developers won’t have to worry about managing resources."
"BeatMaker is a new generation of mobile instruments and music creation software. Inspired by hardware beatboxes, loop samplers and software sequencers, it combines them to turn the iPod into a unique, inspirational software instrument."
Anonymous Caller? New Service Says, Not Any More
"TrapCall instructs new customers to reprogram their cellphones to send all rejected, missed and unanswered calls to TrapCall’s own toll-free number. If the user sees an incoming call with Caller ID blocked, he just presses the button on the phone that would normally send it to voicemail. The call invisibly loops through TelTech’s system, then back to the user’s phone, this time with the caller’s number displayed as the Caller ID."
Nano Tattoo Ink Monitors Blood Sugar Levels
"Draper Laboratories of Massachusetts is developing a tattoo ink which changes color based on glucose levels inside the skin. This invention could spare diabetics from daily painful blood glucose tests."
Bluetooth Over Wi-Fi Zoomtastic Speed Shocks Our Pants Off
"The two devices discover each other and shake hands using Bluetooth (being cellphones, computers, or any other shiny thing supporting the standard). When you start any file transfer, the communication gets passed to the Wi-Fi hardware layer, which will transfer your data at 54mbps. Once the transfer is over, Wi-Fi is disconnected and the control passes again to Bluetooth."
Augmented reality experiment from gamemaker Introversion
"Introversion Software, makers of thermonuclear war simulation Defcon, are experimenting with an augmented reality version of the game."
Twisten.fm Turns Twitter into a Music Station
"Still in its incubation phase, the mashup provides a current list of the most recent micro-messages involving music and a link to the song in the Grooveshark catalog for your listening enjoyment. If you’re looking for something new and random to listen to, culling tunes from the millions of tweets sent every day is a pretty novel way to go about it."
Safe Arduino-controlled light switch
"No need to play with the wiring just bolts onto any standard light switch. Doesn’t interfere with normal operation. (there’s still room to flip the switch on and off manually). The project possibilties are endless. (automatic nightlight, motion sensing, controlling electrical sockets, your own homebrew clapper, etc.) "
Printies Design Studio Lets Kids Create Stuffed Toys at Home
"The system uses a PC and a normal ink jet printer with special Printies fabric sheets. Once printed the design can be removed from the dual sided sheet and stuffed. The system works with no gluing, the sheets are pre-sewn, and no mess is associated with the project."
A diary makes you happier and helps brain cope with emotional upsets, psychologists say
"Brain scans on volunteers showed that putting feelings down on paper reduces activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling the intensity of our emotions. Psychologists who discovered the "Bridget Jones effect" said it worked whether people elaborated on their feelings in a diary, penned lines of poetry, or even jotted down song lyrics to express their negative emotions."
Playful augmented products workshop
"Interaction Design students at the Oslo School of Architecture & Design participated in a three-day Touch workshop where the brief was to design a playful, exploratory or characterful RFID interface. The emphasis of this workshop was on exploring the relationship between material, tactile properties of physical objects and digital interaction through RFID and required material experiments made to a high level."
Downloadable Dashboard Apps for Cars Coming in 2010
"Hughes plans to start rolling out the new dashboard consoles in about 2010, and gives examples like an emissions monitor, web-connected security camera, and even Twitter integration as what might soon be appearing in your car. Think about it: on a cross-country trip, your car takes panoramic photos of your surroundings every half hour, or of that little punk that keyed your front door in the Wendy’s parking lot. You could lock and unlock your car with your iPhone, or control the stereo with it. What about updating your Facebook status with exactly where you are? That way your friends can have even more specific data about your personal life to not care about."
Tattoo Doubles as a Blood Glucose Level Monitor: Rebellious Yet Cautious
"A Cambridge laboratory has developed a special ink for tattoos that changes color based on glucose levels in the blood. On a related note, diabetes is now the hippest metabolic syndrome in town. The ink is made up of a bunch of tiny spheres, about 120 nanometers across, that contain "the glucose detecting molecule, a color-changing dye, and another molecule that mimics glucose." Those molecules are moving around in the spheres, and when they near the surface, they grab onto either glucose or the molecule that mimics glucose. If they mostly latch onto real glucose, the ink (and consequently the tattoo) will look yellow, but if they grab the fake glucose, the tatt will look purple, indicating a low level of glucose in the bloodstream."
Mattel Mindflex reads Minds at Toy Fair 2009
"When you focus your concentration, a small foam ball starts to levitate as the sensor signal controls an air stream in the Mindflex base. The more you concentrate the higher the ball rises. When you relax your mind the ball descends. With a knob you then have to guide the foam ball through an obstacle course."
WhatTheFont For iPhone IDs Fonts From Text in Snapped Photos
"The process is really easy-snap a photo, crop it down to the area where text is the clearest, then help the app’s text recognition divine which letters are which, and presto, your identification comes back with a list of choices. The app nailed each font I tried with black text on a plain white background, but it has a little trouble when different colored backgrounds enter into play (like when I tried to identify the font for the Gizmodo logo on our page)."
BUGPLUG: A Kid-friendly Power Monitor
"Simply attach it to a power strip of appliances and an infrared sensor will monitor the room to determine if anyone is around. If no one is, it pulls the plug on any power-sucking unused gadgets."
Related Pages: Visualizing the Proximity of Wiki Content
"Contrary to the conventional hierarchical way to navigate online (i.e. following an hierarchical "menu"), the focus of this kind of navigation is on the "proximity" (relevance?) of the content that is being displayed. The proximity of a page is calculated as followed: it must have at least 1 tag in common with the current page, being linked to the current page, being linked with outgoing links on the current page, or being at a level above in the breadcrumb-navigation. The red dot represents the actual webpage. The gray tones denote the time since the last update of the webpage. The distance between the nodes conveys the distance of the content."
Tracking one’s sex life online
"Bedpost is an entirely personal application, password-protected from the prying eyes of others, and stresses that it offers absolutely no social networking features. Rather, it is a way for consumers to keep track of the sexual encounters they’ve had by logging in and entering some key details after each one. Users begin by creating a profile for the partner involved in their most recent encounter and then clicking on the calendar to indicate when the encounter happened. Then, they enter not just the time it happened, but also how long the encounter lasted, some descriptive tags and a star-based rating of the experience. The site then records all that information and presents it in a map of activity for the month on the user’s dashboard. For a historical view, Bedpost tracks summary statistics including frequency, average rating, and totals for the month and year so far."
Tiny Fuel Cell Offers New Power Possibilities
"The world’s smallest fuel cell, measuring just 3mm x 3mm x 1mm (roughly 0.1 inches square by 0.04 inches tall), has been built by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The tiny cell is able to produce about 1 milliamp at 0.7 volts for 30 hours. The cell is so small that it simply eliminates some of the components typically found in larger fuel cells."
Power-Generating Shock Absorber Is Surprisingly Strong
"The prototype shock absorbers use a hydraulic system that pushes fluid through a turbine attached to an engine’s generator. When the vehicle hits a bump, an electronic system cushions the shock and uses that jolt to generate electricity to recharge the batteries or operate electrical equipment. The inventors also worked in a feature that allows the shock absorber to act like a regular one if the electronic system fails."
Eco-Neighbuzz Apartment Buzzer Converts Your Building Into a Local Facebook Directory
"You can think about the Eco-Neighbuzz as a way to build a local Facebook in your own building. Neighbours would be able to drop messages into your unit and viceversa, enabling an ongoing communication with the people around you, and opening the possibilities to collaboration between everyone in the building."
Emoti-Chair Enables First Ever Concert for the Deaf
"This chair acts as a kind of beat translator which transfers sound frequencies into different types of physical actions which can be felt by the body such as motion, vibration and blasts of air to the face. Captioning, interpreters and music visualizations will round out the efforts to map sound into other sensing modalities."
I-Quad – Interactive Tiles
"The I-Quad uses tile shaped LED electronic boards held together by a simple frame and interacts with external devices via USB or wireless. Each tile is capable of a low-res, almost dot matrix-like resolution. Essentially anything can be displayed across these tiles; from communication, entertainment, even ambient lighting."
Create Stunning Diagrams On The Web With LovelyCharts
"In terms of features, LovelyCharts has pretty much all the basics covered, but you really need to try it out to get a feel of how rich the web-based app really is even with its relatively simple feature set. You can draw, align, insert symbols and icons, snap, zoom, import & export, and so on – for a good overview, check the tour and the (non-embeddable for some reason) screencast. My only gripes are that the app is not always as fast as I would like it to be at times, and there’s no way to upload and insert custom symbols, although the latter feature is underway."
BabySays by Hansook Lee
"This is how the BabySays works: there is a transmitter placed in a baby pillow that receives the baby’s signal (crying) and analyzes the pattern. It then sends a message to the receiver, which is a bracelet that the parents can wear. It displays the appropriate message (like hungry etc.) accompanied with either the actual sound of baby’s cry or a silent vibration."
YouDiligence Helps Parents Combat Cyber Predators
"When a child (or one of their friends) post inappropriate or questionable content on their page, an email alert is sent to the parent. A pretty comprehensive report is also stored on the user’s dashboard. Reports include time, the inappropriate words used, the context of how the terms was used, where it was posted (i.e., on a profile page, caption, wall comment, or if child writing a comment on someone else’s page) and a link to the exact URL."
Finally, E-Paper That Challenges a Real Paper
"Spotted at a Taiwanese book show, these two Delta Electronics displays, though formally spec-less, are clearly astounding in quality. Coming in monochrome and color configurations, apparently the black and white version has better contrast, but both feature very sharp visuals. Indeed, even when shrunken and compressed in our lead image, you can still make out some of the headlines along with the specific anatomy of Obama’s impressive earlobes."
Color Study Looks at Effects of Red and Blue
"In a study on Olympic uniforms, anthropologists at Durham University in England found that evenly matched athletes in the 2004 Games who wore red in boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling defeated those wearing blue 60 percent of the time. The researchers suggested that red, for athletes as for animals, subconsciously symbolizes dominance."
Add-Art: The Entire Web as Art Gallery
"Add-Art is a free FireFox add-on that transforms website advertising into a curated art show featuring rotating works by emerging artists that are selected from a submissions database."
"Even with the myriad systems for keeping them organized, it’s almost impossible to beautify gadget-charging hubs. So it makes sense then to stop trying to hide all these wires and start making them into something that can be proudly displayed. The Vine cell phone charger is a step in the right direction. And although it’s still just a prototype (made by Microworks in Japan, the nascent studio of designer Shunsuke Umiyama), it’s nice to see a company with a sense of humor and a new take on an old problem."
Fences is a Seriously Awesome Desktop Icon Organizer
"Desktop icon organizer Fences arranges your cluttered desktop icons into containers so you can clean up the mess into useful groups of shortcuts—or optionally hides them altogether. Once installed, Fences will run through a couple of first-time beginner screens asking if you’d like to use one of the built-in layouts, and will attempt to auto-detect which icons should be placed inside each fence."
I Like B-Sides Analyzes Your iTunes Library to Suggest New Music
"To use i like b-sides (their non-capitalization, not ours), browse your computer to find the XML file that contains your iTunes database—and consequently all of your music information, most frequently played songs, rated songs, etc.—zip it up and upload it on the webapp’s main page. Once you’ve uploaded your musical fingerprint, i like b-sides analyzes your library and suggests new music that you may be unaware of, as well as songs in your collection that you may have overlooked. It’s basically a more automated way of building a "lost songs" playlist."
Danny Johnson Breaks World Record (and a Controller) in Guitar Hero III
"Danny said he had destroyed about 80 plastic Guitar Hero controllers in the last nine months with his intense play, which is the subject of a regular live Webcast (at ustream.tv/GH3Phenom) and which recently earned him an endorsement deal with a gaming team and event promoter, eMazingGaming.com. “When you’re hitting that many notes and playing that fast, it just terrorizes the controller,” said Scott Johnson, 45, Danny’s father. Danny, who plays piano, guitar, drums, saxophone and oboe in real life, said his Guitar Hero prowess made it easier to complete complicated sequences on an actual guitar"
Yahoo SearchPad: A Better Approach to Web Research?
"Once Yahoo notices you’re doing research, a “Take Notes” option will appear, right in the search pages. Follow the option and you’ll enter SearchPad, where, as opposed to a blank canvas, you’ll already see all of the research you’ve conducted on the given topic that Yahoo has identified. You don’t need an account – you can keep SearchPad open, add to it, and when you’re done, either print it or save it to your Yahoo account."
Maestro Tries to Teach You Guitar With Lasers
"Strap the Maestro onto any guitar, load a music file with the songs you need to learn, and then little laser lights will point out the way to play chords. Only, the hardest part of learning the guitar for me was switching your hand fast enough between chords, not actually knowing which to press since most tablatures already had that covered…"
ING application for G1 phone uses camera & compass to point out nearest ATM
"A cash-seeking user opens Wegwijzer, selects the camera mode, and holds the phone as though to take a picture. Layered over the live image of what’s in front of him, is a label showing where the nearest ATM is, literally pointing to the building that houses the machine. Which, for most people, is a far more intuitive way to find an object than by looking at a map; it’s the phone equivalent of asking a human and having them point to what you’re looking for."
Friend Finding Maps on Smartphones and PCs
"Google says its been useful for family members to find out if they’re stuck in traffic, or on their way home. I tested the service with some people I know, but its been hard to say if its useful for a guy who has loved ones in generally predictable places. I generally know where my friends are, more or less, or can find out by texting them. I’d probably use this service more often while skiing or picking up friends at the airport, but not day to day. I mean, sure, I can turn off my privacy, but wouldn’t people used to seeing your location at all times be suspicious if you suddenly turned off permissions when you want privacy?"
Managing Energy with Swarm Logic
"A startup based in Toronto says that it has come up with a way to reduce energy use by mimicking the self-organizing behavior of bees. REGEN Energy has developed a wireless controller that connects to the control box on a piece of building equipment and functions as a smart power switch. Once several controllers have been activated, they detect each other using a networking standard called ZigBee and begin negotiating the best times to turn equipment on and off. The devices learn the power cycles of each appliance and reconfigure them to maximize collective efficiency."
Computer chips may ‘repair’ nerve
"Edinburgh University has developed a technique, which allows neurons to grow in fine, detailed patterns on the surface of tiny computer chips. Neurons are the basic cells of the human nervous system. The scientists said the development may eventually enable chips to replace damaged nerve or muscle fibres. They also said the development could possibly be used in the development of prosthetics in the future. "
Too Damn Awesome – NY Times Superbowl Twitter Chatter
"Very very nice data visualisation. The NY Times get that stuff so right. So often."
Zilok Helps You Rent Out Your Unused Gear
"After listing items on Zilok, you’ll be notified when another user submits a booking request for your item. If you accept, Zilok provides a rental agreement, and the rest is as simple as meeting up with the person you’ll be loaning the item to. Both the renters and the owners of the items can then evaluate the quality of the transaction and leave feedback. Zilok is free to browse and sign up for."
Sony’s Mofiria Authentication Technology Scans Your Scary Finger Veins
"Sony has announced "mofiria," a biometric technology that relies on the unique vein pattern in fingers to authenticate users. Apparently, this method is more accurate than traditional fingerprint techniques. "mofiria" uses a unique method where a CMOS sensor diagonally captures scattered light inside the finger veins, making a plane layout possible. As a result, a small and more flexible design can be realized in building this technology into mobile devices."
"since aka-aki automatically notices who is crossing your path while you’re on your way. this is how your personal diary of encounters begins to grow. here you can see who was in your direct vicinity, and when. you can click your way through the profiles of people you have met – consciously or unconsciously. and afterwards you can easily get in contact with them. this way aka-aki gives you a second chance to flirt. or makes business cards superfluous. or shows you what you have in common with the anonymous faces on the underground this morning."
Wireless Detectors for Dementia
"To test the approach, the USF researchers put RFID tags on the wrists of residents at two assisted-living homes in Florida. These tags transmitted signals that were picked up by receivers placed around each building, revealing the wearer’s movements in all three spatial dimensions to within 10 inches of accuracy. The researchers analyzed participants’ movements for telltale signs of cognitive decline: a tendency to wander, veer suddenly, or repeatedly pause. In a study involving 20 residents the researchers found a statistical relationship between those who showed abnormal walking patterns and those whose mental test scores indicated dementia."
Spreed News: Speed-Reading the News on Computer Screens
"Their algorithm parses text based on semantic and syntactic content to maximize contextual inference, and then renders the text in a way that virtually eliminates speed deterring eye movements. One can try out the interface for reading news, sports, gossip or blogs from various outlets."
Online Coloring Book TheColor Sports Web 2.0 Features
"You can browse coloring pages by categories covering everything from animals to seasons. Kids can rank images by popularity and add their votes to the mix (My First Digg, without the "fail" comments?). Each coloring page can be printed or colored with a virtual palette and saved to a personal or public gallery. There’s even an option to share pages by email if your budding designer wants to show Grandma how awesome a squirrel can look with red eyes and a purple tail."
Adopt a Word to Save it From Extinction
"Save the Words is a website dedicated to keeping underused English language words in the dictionary. Pick an underused word and pledge to save it from extinction."
Printing The NYT Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle
"Not that it’s anything we think the New York Times Company should do, but we thought it was worth pointing out that it costs the Times about twice as much money to print and deliver the newspaper over a year as it would cost to send each of its subscribers a brand new Amazon Kindle instead."
Silicon Alley Insider
GigaPan Epic Captures Photographs by the Gigapixel
"The Epic, by GigaPan (the actual folks behind the inauguration shot’s technology), is a $380, AA-powered robotic system that automates large scale photography. You calibrate the system using your desired width and height thresholds, and the mechanical arm/finger automatically take the shots at perfect intervals. These many shots can then be assembled into one giant photograph, the actual stitching done by bundled software. It’s a simple idea that’s just inexpensive enough to be very promising."
A Minimalist Approach to Flickr Viewing
"On the heels of our interview with Justin Saunders, we’re directed to another minimalist website ihardlyknowher.com, a service that allows users the ability to view and share Flickr photos in an easy to navigate, streamlined manner. The site has been designed by Muxtape – a site that has recently found a second life – creator Justin Oulette as a means to eliminate the distractions and somewhat awkward interface of the Flickr site. The simplicity allows the photographs to stand on their own merits and more closely resembles the feeling of paging through an actual photo album, albeit in a vertical format."
Samsung Memory Breakthrough Will Give Us 32GB RAM Sticks
"The breakthrough behind the story is the development of a 50-nanometer, 4Gb (gigabit) (512MB) chips, which allow for a significant reduction in complexity, and therefore power consumption for currently popular sizes of RAM modules. The 32GB possibility will no doubt be an expensive one, as it will require the sandwiching of two 16GB modules into a single dual-die unit, a method which can double the capacity of a single stick with negligible increases in size."
WideNoise · Ever heard of sound pollution?
"With WideNoise you can monitor the noise levels around you, everywhere you go. You can also check the online map to see the average sound level of the area around you. Do you live in a "sleeping cat area" or in a more noisy "rock concert area"?"