Archive for March, 2009
Film-maker turns into ‘eyeborg’ with camera in eye socket
“A film-maker is putting a mini video camera in his prosthetic eye to record a documentary highlighting the issues of privacy and the surveillance society. Rob Spence, 36, says he will secretly record people for his “Eyeborg” project using a tiny camera, battery and wireless transmitter hidden inside his false eye”
A Better, Cheaper Multitouch Interface
“It consists of two plastic sheets, about 8 inches by 10 inches, each with parallel lines of electrodes, spaced a quarter inch apart. The sheets are arranged so that the electrodes cross, creating a grid; each intersection is essentially a pressure sensor. Crucially, both sheets are covered with a layer of force sensitive resistor (FSR) ink, a type of ink that has microscopic bumps on its surface. When something coated in the ink is pressed, the bumps move together and touch, conducting electricity. “The harder you press, the more it conducts,” says Rosenberg.”
A true augmented reality experience?
“The video shows a photobook like any other. It doesn’t contain strange symbols with extreme contrast, but is realistic. When holding it in front of a camera magic seems to happen. I really like the simplicity of the graphics used. It’s not 3D, but kept simple… making it a nice experience. A great detail about this video is the camera. Notice how it is combined with a desk lamp, making it natural for people to aim at the part you are reading. This way you don’t have to hold up the book in front of the camera anymore. Really nie.”
Timelapse Garden Video Camera Watches Your Garden Grow So You Don’t Have to
“The Timelapse Garden Video Camera (henceforth TGVC) is a weatherproof digital camera that’ll take interval photos and combine them into a neat 1280×1024 video file presumably via some custom software. The intervals can be anywhere from every five seconds to every 24 hours, and can shoot objects as close as 20 inches away or as far as a 54-inch wide view. It comes with a removable 2GB of storage and the battery will last for up to 4 months while taking a picture per hour. It costs $159.99, which is awfully cheap considering you’ll pay about the same for a half-decent point-and-shoot that’ll explode upon the first morning dew.”
“By placing physical project cards on an interactive surface, the visitors can explore an organic network of projects, people and media.”
Japanese Cellphones Control This Giant Billboard Video Game
“Nikkei has a post about Toshiba’s new Digital Billboard in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, where passerbys can dial up a number and connect to an interactive game which is displayed on the giant sign. Cellphone gamers square off against other players connected through Toshiba’s Youtube channel. The number keys are used to control a paintbrush, and the goal is to cover squares on the grid in paint while searching for the Toshiba mascot. ”
“As the weather change registers across the social sphere, so does its visibility to people who might not have witnessed the weather itself. However, the weather has the ability to ‘go viral’ in a sense, and create second and third-hand musings on the weather change. Thus what might start as one person’s disdain for the sprinkles on the hood of his car, becomes a torrential downpour as that singular comment ripples through the interlaced network of status messages. If enough ‘social weather’ data is aggregated it can be used to form a multi-dimensional picture of the weather and the effect is has on our lives. However, the triviality of the small talk and the topic of broadcast is what makes social weather mapping so interesting. We found this beautiful and hilarious at the same time.”
Online Project in UK Could Expand Your Family Tree
“The wide variety of sources include parish registers, wills, land deeds and school records, painting a comprehensive portrait of daily life in London that dates back nearly 400 years. Beyond its sheer scope – this will be the biggest collection of documents in the UK outside of the National Archives – what makes this venture especially significant is the fact it will enable millions of people to trace their roots back further than ever before. The Telegraph explains: Because of London’s size in comparison to other cities before the industrial revolution, the organisers believe that as many as 50 per cent of the British population will be able to find ancestors in the collection, as will an estimated 135 million people in the United States, Canada and Australia.”
Using Bio-Feedback to Customise Amusement Park Rides
“The team is studying how the physiological data correlates with the emotions a person reports experiencing during a ride. Knowing how to tell when a person is having fun, bored or fearing for their life could make it possible to have rides automatically alter their behaviour to give the best possible experience. For example, the individual cars of a roller coaster could each deliver a ride customised to the occupants.”
If Objects Could Talk They’d Say, “SendMeHome.”
“The site is wacky but brilliant. It lets you register any object with a unique code, which is printed out on a small sticker that you place on the object. The object can be anything from your wallet or iPhone to a beloved frying pan. […] The lost-and-found feature is the only practical reason you would use the service. But once you’ve attached a sticker to a favorite object and registered it on the site, there are other things you can do with it. You can tell a story about the object, pass it around, or put it on a mission. It is on its way to becoming a spime,. These spimes are “always associated with a story. . . . they are protagonists of a documented process,” as Sterling once described it.”
When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking
“Many online commentators are appalled at the practice of enlisting ghost Twitterers, but Joseph Nejman, a former consultant to Ms. Spears who helped conceive her Web strategy, said there was a more than a whiff of hypocrisy among critics. “It’s O.K. to tweet for a brand,” he said, remarking how common it is for companies to have Twitter accounts, “but not O.K. for a celebrity. But the truth is, they are a brand. What they are to the public is not always what they are behind the curtain. If the manager knows that better than the star, then they should do it.””
“Inside the telescope exists a 3D simulation of our entire known universe. Pointing the telescope in any direction immediately shows us what exists in that area of space, so now we can get a greater understanding of where the planets are and where we live in the Milky Way.”
Support Radio: Internet walkie-talkie concept is like audio Twitter
“For the computer users who have decided to reduce time spent online I created Blink, a product that refers to cognitive behavioural research to ease the transition to a life less dependent on the computer. A miniature camera that takes snaps at twelve random intervals throughout the day. The timer gives a three second warning when it is about to go off causing the wearer to take stock of their current activity. Another snap of the computer? At the end of each day the person is required to put all the photos into an album to display their progress.”
All the News That Fits: Liberia’s Blackboard Headlines
“The man behind what is surely the most widely read report here in the capital is a self-taught newshound with little more than a high school education and a nose for a good scoop. He is Alfred Sirleaf, the 33-year-old managing editor of The Daily Talk, a white plywood shed trumpeting the latest headlines along Tubman Boulevard, one of the capital’s main thoroughfares. “Those who don’t have opportunity to buy newspaper, go on the Internet, who can’t afford to buy generator to buy TV,” he said, describing just about everyone in this battered city, “I do all the dirty work for them, and I just give them exactly what they want.” ”
New York Times
Experimental tongue music
“The Tongue Music system is an experimental instrument using the tongue, rather than the hand, to generate sounds. There is one person performing in front of projector, which displays an abstract video image consisting of hundreds of dots. The performer controls the mouse with his tongue to simultaneously manipulate the video images (the color and size of dots are changed along with music), the piano sound, as well as the presence or absence of a beat.”
WikiRank: Graphing What is Popular on Wikipedia
“WikiRank [wikirank.com] shows a series of sparklines to denote those Wikipedia articles that are the most read, and those pages that are gaining in popularity. In addition, one can explore each article’s detail page via search, which includes an article excerpt, traffic numbers and a web-embeddable traffic chart that compares the relative popularity of up to 4 other topics.”
Vis/Space: A Client-Server System for 3D Visual Data Exploration
“Seemingly conceptually similar to the iFree3D system that has been blogged earlier this week, Vis/Space [hfbk.net] is a client-server system to visually explore data-structures in 3D virtual space. It allows the placement of various data sources in a three-dimensional environment. Custom search terms can be entered into a query field, or can be navigated to and from an existing object. All objects like images and “text screens” can be moved around. A single click on an image shows the full-resolution version in the foreground. Whole collections of images can be moved with a orange cube handle. A click to the cube also toggles among several different possible layouts”
Given “Expert” Advice, Brains Shut Down
“A brain-scanning study of people making financial choices suggests that when given expert advice, the decision-making parts of our brains often shut down. The problem with this, of course, is that the advice may not be good. ”
Teleportation, the last battle, and the Creator talks: How the world ends inside an online game
“Asheron’s Call 2 was the one of the first really big modern MMO worlds to shut down, so when the world actually came to an end, not much happened: The logged-in players got a perfunctory note from the developers, and then they were booted offline. But now that economic hard times are here, more online worlds are dying, and here’s the interesting thing: They’re realizing that they owe it to their long-time players to make it into a sort of event. Game designers are realizing that ending their world in a dramatically satisfying way is actually a very interesting logistical, ludogical, and emotional trick. In essence, we’re slowly seeing the emergence of eschatology as a design challenge.”
F.lux: Location Based Computer Lighting Control
“Designed to help moderate the negative effects of constantly staring at a bright computer screen, F.lux is software that will change the brightness and temperature of your monitor to be appropriate for your location, time of day and ambient lighting situation. It was created to help soften the biorhythm disrupting nature of the computer screen – if you’ve ever stayed up late doing computer work and had trouble getting to sleep, or waking up in the morning, F.lux could help.”
Every Memory in Place
“ReQall Pro’s “memory jogger” software determines how to issue reminders to users. It performs keyword analysis on memos that a user enters in an effort to link together relevant information. For example, if a meeting with John Doe is approaching, ReQall will present the user with other stored items related to John Doe. A user will also automatically receive reminders when he arrives at certain locations, for example, receiving a grocery list when he reaches the grocery store. Vemuri explains that the system also tries to avoid overloading the user by paying attention to how many notes a user has stored and optimizing the number of reminders issued.”
Ford Offering 3G-Connected Dashboard Computers in 2009 Trucks
“Beginning this spring, 2009 Ford F-Series and E-Series vehicles – and later in 2009, Transit Connect vehicles – will offer an in-dashboard PC with internet connectivity via the Sprint Nationwide Mobile Broadband Network. This capability provides the opportunity to leverage productivity application solutions via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network, including real-time labor and material-cost capture, inventory updates, invoice generation and work-order edits and completion.”
Face.com Brings Facial Recognition To Facebook Photos (We Have Invites)
“Even though this is an Alpha version of the app and there are occasional bugs, it works remarkably well. I was quite surprised that it was able to correctly identify individuals in side shots, backgrounds, or in extremely poorly lit photos. It all depends on the amount of photos available, but as a rule of thumb the Face.com team aims for 90% accuracy.”
OnLive Streaming Games Turn Any TV or PC Into a Bleeding-Edge Gaming Machine
“Through a cheap set-top box or a simple PC software client, OnLive streaming games can deliver the latest system-melting titles to crappy hardware you already have. The service’s secret? Cloud rendering. In a nutshell: OnLive runs the games on their powerful servers, the output is then rendered as a video stream and then sent to your OnLive set-top box, PC or even netbook, taking expensive, loud, obsolescence-prone gaming PCs out of the picture entirely. 720p HD streams are said to be possible over a 5mbps connection, while SD gaming only calls for a 1.5mbps line.”
New LG Lollipop Phones LG-SV800, KH8000, LH8000 are Cute
“The fashionable clamshell phone features 220 LEDs on the outside that can display pixel animations. Additionally the Lollipop phone can light-up in 35 color shades that can be associated with specific callers.”
D.C. Homeless People Use Cellphones, Blogs and E-Mail to Stay on Top of Things
“This time, he got a pay-as-you-go cellphone and gave his boss the number. “I live up near the Capitol — give me a call anytime if you need extra hands,” he told his employer, being vague about where he bedded down each night. He received numerous calls to come in early or to work an extra shift. After less than a year on the job, he was promoted. “No one there knows I’m homeless,” he said. “I would never have been able to do this without the cellphone.”"
Fwix’s Regional News Feeds Come To The iPhone
“It’s not quite there yet, but the app’s most potentially useful feature is its heat map, which presents a visual representation of the most active areas in your city. An area’s ‘hotness’ is determined by the number of status messages, news stories, and other activity that has occurred in a region within the last few hours. It’s a great idea and it looks nice, but in its current form it’s not very useful because there’s no way to actually see which stories have made an area ‘hot’ (Shirazi says this feature will be included in the next release).”
Sanwa Throat Mic, For Your Very Tactical Cellphone Conversations
“Sanwa‘s hands-free throat mic looks like a military headset, but it’s made for use with your cellphone (which we’re assuming isn’t part of your black ops kit, but we’re not judging). Good for noisy environments and just those times you don’t want the cabbie to know about your ass rash, Sanwa’s system should be available for import soon.”
Key Ingredient Debuts Kitchen-Safe Digital Recipe Reader
“The device is powered by the digital recipe archive at keyingredient.com website with a library of over 100,000 digital recipes. The device also allows users to build their own digital recipe collection by cutting and pasting from other sources, typing recipes in, and importing from other websites. The demy device has a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen and measures 5 x 7-inches with a weight of under three pounds. It is designed to sit flat or stand upright on a counter.”
Touchpad Smart Remote Seamlessly Morphs Into Other Remotes
“what’s brilliant about the remote is/was not only the laptop-like touchpad allowing for a new level of universal functionality, but its smartphone-like ability to orient function based upon portrait or landscape positioning. In other words, when you hold the remote like a remote, it acts as a remote. When you turn the remote like a game controller, it acts as a game controller.”
Online game gets banking licence
“Online game Entropia Universe has been granted a licence to be a bank. Issued by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, the licence means the game can be more closely tied to the real world finances of players. Mindark, the developers of the game, said it aimed to launch a fully-functioning in-game bank within the next 12 months. At current exchange rates, 10 PED (Project Entropia Dollars) are worth one US dollar. ”
These Carbon Nanotube Muscles Are 30 Times Stronger Than Human Muscles
“These next gen carbon nanotube muscles have “diamond-like” stiffness side to side, but are as flexible as rubber when moved perpendicularly. When voltage is applied to the structures, they contract with a pulling force 30 times the force per unit of human muscles. They’re also quicker. A human’s muscle fibers can contract 10% per second, but these can contract 40,000 percent.”
Philips Emotion Jacket Touches You In Movie Theaters
“Philips senior scientist Paul Lemmens and a team of researchers have devised a jacket—but sorry dudes, no matching pants—that augments your emotions with gentle nudges, squeezes and taps. The point? To cause “a shiver to go up the viewer’s spine and creating the feeling of tension in the limbs,” Lemmens told IEEE Spectrum, on the eve of the World Haptics Conference where he’s presenting the jacket. Lemmens says that during a Bruce Lee fight scene, the jacket can pulse with the gu-goong gu-goong gu-goong of an elevated heartbeat. (All good, until you remember that Bruce Lee’s heart rate never went above 42 beats per minute his whole life.)”
Social Collider: Revealing Connections between Twitter Conversations
“One can search for usernames or topics, which are tracked through time and visualized much like the way a particle collider draws pictures of subatomic matter. Posts that did not resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.”
Watchdog windows: motion sensitive glass could boost home security
“The motion sensor enables window panes and glass doors to detect movements thanks to a special coating. If anything changes in front of the pane, or someone sneaks up to it, an alarm signal is triggered. “The glass is coated with a fluorescent material,” explains IAP group manager Dr. Burkhard Elling. “The coating contains nanoparticles that convert light into fluorescent radiation,” so when the invisible light of a UV lamp “illuminates” the window panes it generates fluorescent radiation in the coating which is channeled to the edges of the window, where it is detected by sensors. Therefore if someone blocks the light of the lamp, less light reaches the coating and less fluorescent radiation is produced, which the sensors detect.”
The electrical inlet
“…a concept that would see household electrical outlets accompanied by an electrical ‘inlet’ that would make it easy for householders to feed power back into the power grid. The designers, Carla Diana and Jeff Hoefs, say energy could be captured from obvious kinetic sources such as exercise equipment, and emerging solutions such as cells that convert heat into energy. The concept could also be used in commercial settings with gyms being the obvious example. They also believe that such a system could encourage the development of new devices that capture wasted energy to feed back into the grid.”
A Heatstroke-Sensing Helmet
“The system, which is coming to market next month from an Atlanta startup called Hothead Technologies, is initially aimed at football players. Since 2005, heatstroke has killed 33 American football players, most of them high-school students, according to a study carried out by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. The new device consists of a rugged and highly sensitive sensor encased in a helmet cushion, with the probe pressed against the wearer’s forehead in the vicinity of the temporal artery. Temperature readings are beamed to a PDA held by a coach or trainer on the sidelines via a short-range wireless link.”
The Financial Times Launches Its Own Business News Search Engine (Newssift).
“Newssift indexes about 4,000 business news sources, from online newspapers and blogs to news portals and research sites. It is ingesting about 120,000 articles a day right now and applying semantic tags to each one. In the end it can categorize each article by business topic, organization, place, person, and theme. When you type in a search term, each of those columns gets filled in with associated keywords, allowing you to drill down to exactly what you want even if you are not sure at the outset what you are looking for.”
Podcasts are now magazines, magazines are what newspapers used to be, and music files are now…
“I follow the Economist on twitter and I think I saw a link from them mentioning that they now have the latest edition posted online. I spent the eight bucks to see what I would get. It turns out that they’ve broken every story into an audio file, numbered and titled it correctly. The sound quality is great and the production value is really nice. The only issue is that it’s over eight hours. I think I started listening to it on Saturday and I just finished the whole thing today. I went from cover to cover, next week I would re-order things so I get the important stuff to me first, just in case I don’t listen to the whole thing.”
The Sound Advice Project, waveforms as bracelets
“Designed as a jumping-off point for parents to discuss drug use with their children, the “Sound Advice Project” converts voice recordings into bracelets with rings representing the waveform of a parent’s recorded admonishment. They’re $18.”
Wireless in the world
“Right now I am sitting near fourteen objects sending and receiving radio signals, from Oyster cards to mobile phones and wireless routers in a multitude of overlapping and competing fields. Here we are creating communicative material that uses dashed-line abstractions to visualise the presence of wireless technologies in the everyday environment. What if we could see every field produced by an Oyster card or NFC enabled mobile phone for instance?”
Death Switch Sends Out Emails Upon Your Demise
“Why would you want to do such a thing? The company’s web site points out a variety of potential reasons, like not leaving your coworkers and family high and dry without important passwords or information and getting a secret off your chest now that you’re gone. Over at the CNET news blog Technically Incorrect they highlight another potential use of the service: The ability to contact people you don’t have real life contact with after your death. You could set up the service to send out emails to members of mailing lists, gaming guilds, discussion boards, and other virtual communities you participate in. The basic service is free and includes a single email. The pay service, $20 a year, allows you to compose up to 30 emails with 10 recipients each. Only the pay service allows you to include attachments. Death Switch determines when to send out the messages by sending out messages to you on a regular basis. If you fail to respond to enough of those messages in a row, the emails are mailed out.”
Students Stop Surfing After Being Shown How In-Class Laptop Use Lowers Test Scores
“Diane Sieber, an associate professor, teaches writing and ethics to engineering undergraduates. She told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper that last semester, she identified 17 students in one of her classes who were using laptops most frequently. After the first test, she told them that they did 11 percent worse, on average, than their peers who did not have their faces in their computers as much. Lo and behold, the number of laptop-nosed students dropped to a half dozen, and the test scores of those who stopped using their computers during class went up.”
HRP-4C fashion model robot
“With 30 motors in her body, the 158-centimeter (62-in) tall, 43-kilogram (95-lb) HRP-4C can walk around and strike a range of poses. The black-haired robot also has 8 motors in her face, allowing her to wow the crowds with expressions of simple emotions like anger and surprise.”
Barcodes Can Now Hold Entire Videos and Games
“Mobile Multi-Colour Composite (MMCC) is a 2D barcode technology that can transmit text, video clips, ringtones and games to mobile devices. Better than a QR code (pictured here), the user doesn’t need internet access to discover associated media—the data is all in the picture.
Based upon the technology’s name, we’re assuming that this extra information storage was discovered in the color spectrum (by rainbow-izing the pattern), which is a similar to the way fiber optics have boosted their transmission rates over time.”
Lithium Ion Battery breakthrough promises 100-fold boost in performance
“Researchers have developed a new advanced Lithium Ion battery that will allow mobile phone and laptop computers to be fully charged in seconds. Electric car batteries may be charged in as little as five minutes, removing one of the main barriers to wider uptake of EVs. Solar and wind power generation could also benefit as better batteries could be used to store surplus energy.”
Glasshouse injects 3D representation of data into a virtual world
“Glasshouse by Green Phosphor is a gateway which can take a database query or a spreadsheet and place a 3D representation of it into a virtual world. Users can see data, and drill into it; re-sort it; explore it interactively – all from within a virtual world. Glasshouse produces graphs which are avatars of the data itself.”
Innovative ‘caseless’ computer housing concept from BMW
“Created by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the Level 10 concept features an open modular structure that renders the inside components of the computer visible. Rather than housing the components of the computer inside one all encompassing case, each individual component is enclosed within its own protective case. BMW says this innovative approach is not only an integral part of the design, but also guarantees interchangeability and transportability. The open modular structure, which gives the Level 10 a look reminiscent of a cityscape placed on its side with the individual component housings appearing as buildings, also serves to enhance the cooling of the components”
Poken: Tiny RFID thingies that share all your personal data with others
“Poken is a tiny USB key with an embedded RFID reader/transmitter. When you press a little button on the dongle and place it next to another Poken it passes all of your pertinent information to between Pokens – Pokenii? You then plug the Poken into a laptop and connect to your online manager and you can then “add” that person to your contact list. The contact information includes all of your social media contact information including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and all those weird ones they use Europe. There is a great audience for these little guys – kids. They’re collectible, they’re high tech, and they only transmit information when you press the button, ensuring relative privacy. ”
A Sound Machine That Stays Alert While You’re Asleep
“Set the dial to ocean sounds, for example, and it produces the sounds of continuous rolling waves, fog horns and the calls of sea gulls. But if a truck suddenly rumbles by outside the bedroom, the machine detects the racket and masks it by producing an extra crashing wave or two.”
The Wall: A Next Generation Retail Experience
“The Wall is an interactive life-sized display that brings online capabilities into the store and onto products. Customers can place physical products against The Wall display and interact with related content aggregated from multiple online sources such as product info, related info, opinions, analytics, demonstrations and media.”
Contxts is a Text Message Replacement for Business Cards
“Sign up at Contxts with a username and phone number, then customize the information you want to be given out over SMS. You can write whatever you want within 140 basic characters, and add social network contacts for visitors to Contxt’s web site who want more info. Give out your username and ask people to text it to
50500, or text your friend’s number to Contxt from your registered cellphone, like so:
send 5551224567. The recipient gets all the data you want them to have, you don’t have to hand out anything or kill any trees, and it’s a small enough message to put on a presentation screen, send in an email signature, or otherwise share.”
Mapping a City’s Rhythm
“Over the course of any day, people congregate around different parts of a city. In the morning hours, workers commute downtown, while at lunchtime and in the evening, people disperse to eateries and bars. While this sort of behavior is common knowledge, it hasn’t been visible to the average person. Sense Networks, a startup based in New York, is now trying to bring this side of a city to life. Using cell-phone and taxi GPS data, the startup’s software produces a heat map that shows activity at hot spots across a city. Currently, the service, called Citysense, only works in San Francisco, but it will launch in New York in the next few months.”
Touch me I’m slick: the shape and the sound of Steph Thirion’s Eliss
"Your job is to keep up harmony in an odd universe made of blendable planets. Touch-control multiple planets at once, join them together into giant orbs or split them up into countless dwarf planets, and match their size with the squeesars. Wipe off the stardust, resist the attraction of the vortex and other space phenomena, and slow down the passage of time. Each of the 20 levels will require creative ways and strategies in using your fingers. Warm up your hands, you’re up for some serious finger gymnastics in the bizarro galaxy."
Brain Scanners Know Where You’ve Been
"The researchers used an fMRI machine to measure hippocampal blood flow in four subjects who navigated a room in virtual reality. They focused on groups of neurons identified by Maguire in an earlier study of London taxi drivers, whose hippocampi were hyperdeveloped by years of mental navigation through the city’s mazelike streets. After analyzing activation patterns and correlating them with a record of test subjects’ movements, Maguire’s team found that patterns could actually be used to predict location."
Dockers Launches World’s First Motion-Sensitive Ad on iPhone
"The ad is called Shakedown to Get Down and features a freestyle dance expressionist named Dufon from a dance group called Circle of Fire. In the ad, the dancer dances on the screen wearing Dockers Vintage Workwear khakis. The iPhone user is prompted to shake the iPhone to start the dancer dancing around the screen with sound. The interactive ad will launch in early March and run for four weeks on the free iPhone apps iBasketball, iGolf, iBowl, and iTV."
Online game focuses on real-world kindness
"Launched into public beta in December, Akoha challenges players to carry out missions that involve performing small acts of kindness for others. Each player gets equipped with a deck of 24 mission cards—priced at USD 5—each of which describes a challenge to be carried out. Examples include “Donate an Hour of Your Time,” “Give Someone a Book” or “Send Drinks to a Couple in Love." Each card also includes a Mission ID number that’s used to track the mission online. Every time a player performs one of these missions, he or she hands the card to the mission’s beneficiary, or the person who receives the act of kindness. That person can then log onto the game’s site to register receipt and write a short description of their experience of the mission, complete with photos or videos if desired. From there, they can explore the game and begin conducting missions of their own."
In online auction, banks bid on consumer savings
"Instead of researching which bank offers the highest interest rate, Dutch consumers can now put their money up for auction, getting banks to bid on their savings. […] Spaarbod sends their data—minus personal details—to participating banks, who make an offer in a sealed-bid auction. Within a day, a user receives an email listing the five highest bidders, and can pick the best offer. The service is free for consumers, and banks pay a commission for every bid that results in a savings deposit. "
DocJax Finds and Previews Documents on the Web
"DocJax understands most of the search box tricks you learned over at that other, dominant engine, so
site:microsoft.com outlook would return all the PDF, XLS, DOC, and PPT documents it found on the Redmond giant’s web space. From your first search, you can narrow by file type using the links in the upper-right corner of the results."
The Incredible HULC: Lockheed Martin unveils exoskeleton technology
"The HULC is a completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry 200lb loads for extended periods of time and over all terrains says Lockheed Martin. An onboard micro-computer enables the exoskeleton to move in concert with the wearer eliminating the need for a joy stick or other controllers. The HULC is capable of performing deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting and potentially move where the wearer wants to go. Lockheed Martin says the modularity allows for major components to be swapped out in the field and its power-saving design allows the user to operate on battery power for extended missions."
Sentience intelligent cruise control demonstrated: you steer, it works the pedals
"The ominously titled Sentience system runs from a mobile phone that’s connected to the car’s onboard ECU. It sucks in huge amounts of data as you travel, analyzing your planned route in terms of traffic, gradients, curves, speed limits and even probable speed limiting features such as junctions, crossings, schools, speed bumps, roundabouts and traffic lights. It then manages your acceleration and deceleration in such a way as to deliver maximum efficiency from a hybrid engine, resulting in demonstrated fuel savings of between 5% and 24%, depending on traffic and topology. Scale that out to a large number of vehicles and you’re looking at huge benefits, fuel-wise and in terms of emissions."
Flickr Photos Become Stock Photography at Getty Images
"[…] Getty Images, the popular site for print and media stock photography buys, is hoping to make the search for, and purchase of, high quality Flickr images for commercial purposes less of hassle with the Flickr Collection — which made its debut last night. In the exclusive partnership that was initially announced last July, Getty Images editors handpicked photographs from Flickr’s community of 3 billion images and plans to refresh the collection with thousands of new ones each one month."
Foursquare, Hot New Phone App, Is Dodgeball on Steroids
"Users rack up points based on how many new places they visit, how many stops they’ve made in one night and who else has been there. You become a "mayor" of a hot spot if you’re there often. Mr. Crowley used an example of Spitzer’s Corner, where Nate Westheimer, N.Y.T.M.’s head organizer, hangs out. "If you check in there one more time than Nate, then you get a message, ‘Oh you stole the title of mayor from Nate,’" Mr. Crowley told the Observer in a phone interview this morning. "People get kind of competitve about this." There’s a "Leaderboard" which lists the most adventurous users with the most points."
The New York Observer
Fusion-io ioDrive Duo is the Worlds Fastest SSD
"Fusion-io’s original ioDrive was stupid fast, but the next generation makes even that look pathetic. Try 1.5GB sustained read speeds and 1.4GB sustained write speeds. Yeah, let that sink in for a minute."
Mitsubishi ’3D Touchscreen’ Knows How Far Away Your Finger Is, Prevents Sneaky Pokes
"It measures your finger distance in steps of about .08mm, up to a distance of 20mm, and does so quickly enough that it can accurately guess its approach speed. Because of its short range, Mitsubishi says this tech will be most useful for mobile devices, which could add an extra method of interaction—hovering—to devices."
Sixth Sense Technology May Change How We Look at the World Forever
"The camera recognizes objects around you instantly, with the micro-projector overlaying the information on any surface, including the object itself or your hand. Then, you can access or manipulate the information using your fingers. Need to make a call? Extend your hand on front of the projector and numbers will appear for you to click. Need to know the time? Draw a circle on your wrist and a watch will appear. Want to take a photo? Just make a square with your fingers, highlighting what you want to frame, and the system will make the photo—which you can later organize with the others using your own hands over the air. But those are just novelty applications. The true power of Sixth Sense lies on its potential to connect the real world with the Internet, and overlaying the information on the world itself. Imagine you are at the supermarket, thinking about what brand of soap is better. Or maybe what wine you should get for tonight’s dinner. Just look at objects, hold them on your hands, and Sixth Sense will show you if it’s good or bad, or if it fits your preferences or not."
Making Robots Give the Right Glances
"Several research teams are exploring ways for robots to both recognize and mimic the subtle, nonverbal side of human communication: eye movements, physical contact, and gestures. Mastering these social subtleties could help machines convey meanings to supplement speech and better respond to human needs and commands. This could be crucial if robots are ever to fulfill their potential as personal assistants, teaching aides, and health-care helpers, say those involved."
"The electronic textile acts as a static mirror responding to the usually invisible charges generated by people interacting with materials and making them visible. Equipped with tiny LED lights, transistors and woven electronic circuits seamlessly integrated into the electronic textiles structure, the installation is able to create transient shadows on the textile display in areas which detect a presence of electrostatic fields, feeding on the charges created by viewers and objects. Simultaneously it acts as a simple sonic instrument in response to the presence and intensity of charges and human proximity."
Interactive Architecture dot Org
Teens rate their college chances online
"The Los Angeles Times points to a new wrinkle in the college admissions process – students are posting their GPAs, test scores, extracurricular activities, and other personal information online for their peers to rate. Sites like Mychances.net, Yahoo Answers, and City-data.com, have respondents “calculating” students’ likelihood of admission to top schools. The “What Are My Chances?” forum on CollegeConfidential.com is the most popular place for “chance me” interactions, according to the Times article."
Fake Security Camera Uses Motion Sensing to Look Realistic
"This "camera" mounts up on your ceiling and looks like it’s taking video of any potential intruders. It goes so far as to have a motion detector that makes it swivel back and forth whenever somebody passes nearby. It doesn’t, however, actually capture any video, so you’d better hope that just seeing a camera will be enough to deter any potential thieves."
Magic Ring Allows You to Control Every Gadget Remotely, No Buttons Needed
"The device can detect tiny electrical currents going around the body. To work, it generates a current that goes into the index finger. When you press your finger and thumb together, the ring detects a closed circuit and interprets it as a signal, sending a device a control order wirelessly. According to Noda, this could be used to control any kind of device without touching it, including phones, music players, cars, and whatever you can imagine."
Virtual reality for all five senses
"This ‘Virtual Cocoon’ will consist of a headset incorporating specially developed electronics and computing capabilities. Smell will be generated electronically using a technique that will deliver a pre-determined smell recipe on-demand while the team intend to provide a texture sensation relating to something being in the mouth and tactile devices will provide touch input."
gCubik Display Puts Touch-Sensitive 3D Models In Your Palm
"It’s purpose is to give the impression, via its six touchscreens, that it contains a 3D model. Cleverly, it does this while remaining a "naked-eye" tech, which means that the effect succeeds without glasses, from all angles, or even from multiple angles simultaneously. It pulls this off with a complex lens system, which reflects different images depending on the viewer’s perspective, much like a simple hologram toy."
"A kiosk inside the space as well as facing the outside of the window on Fitzroy Street allowed visitors to put their Oyster card on a reader and have their card trigger a unique color to travel throughout the light sculpture. Additionally, a color sensor inside the space would allow visitors to place an object of color on a reader, select the color and send it traveling through the installation."
Fossilized iconic modern objects
"In a special process, these items are reproduced in a proprietary blend of concrete and other secret ingredients, giving them the look and feel of real stone fossils. Each fossil is made one at a time, by hand, in an individual mold. Because of the hand-made nature of the item, there will be variations in pigmentation, and small imperfections in the surface. While you can choose a general color range, please keep in mind that each fossil is unique, and color variations are inevitable."
Airborne microbots to create wi-fi zones in disaster situations
“The bots are equipped with satellite navigation, GPS, and VIA Pico-ITX hardware. They are designed to fly to various points on high ground, for example the top of a building, and provide network coverage. But while the bots themselves cost €300, the batteries to power them cost €1,000 (US$1,265), and provide just 20 minutes of flying time. After the bot has landed, it can remain operational for “several hours.””
Time the Postman with Stop Postcard
“Ever wondered how long a postcard takes from sender to recipient? Well a nice little design from Tal Mor and Shlomi Azulay of DAG-designlab answers that question. Based out of Tel Aviv, they produced the Stop Postcard, a slim and simple timer that is embedded in a postcard.”
24 Solid State Drives Open ALL of Microsoft Office In .5 Seconds
“Samsung techies linked 24 of the company’s 256GB SSD drives together in a RAID with the hopes of making the fast SSD drives even faster. The system actually reaches transfer speeds of 2GBps. What’s that much speed mean to you? All of Microsoft Office opens in .5 seconds. 53 programs from the test rig’s Start menu open in 18 seconds. The complete system defrags in about 3 seconds.”
The Online Experiments That Could Help Newspapers
“The reason is the paper’s 2005 launch of an online social network, called Bakotopia.com, aimed at reaching nonreaders, especially the young people in this city of nearly 329,000. The Web site has caught on to the point where Bakersfield Californian now publishes 20,000 copies of a free magazine with content from Bakotopia twice a month. The articles range from reviews of the local theater scene to goings-on at various hot spots. Because the magazine’s audience is young, hip, and hard to reach, “advertisers do pay full rates,” says Dan Pacheco, senior manager of digital products at the company. The magazine even turns a profit.”
Topps Adds a 3-D Angle to Baseball Cards
“Beginning Monday, collectors who hold a special Topps 3D Live baseball card in front of a webcam will see a three-dimensional avatar of the player on the computer screen. Rotate the card, and the figure rotates in full perspective. It’s called “augmented reality,” a combination of a real image with a virtual one.”
StripGenerator Helps You Create Comic Masterpieces
“You get up to six panels per strip and a roster of drag-and-drop humans, beings, objects, shapes, and speech bubbles. The editor has lots of handy little features, like scaling of objects and the ability to clone panels, which is extremely convenient when you want to use the same background and objects as props in each panel. Once you create the strip, you can print it or publish it, which saves it to the StripGenerator servers. If you choose to publish it, you can grab a direct link, embed code, or BBcode for showing it off in forums.”
KidsMenu is a Kid-Friendly Interface for Windows
“Although KidsMenu can be run from within your Windows account to create a simple application launcher for your child, the real benefit of KidsMenu is when you use it as a full-on Windows shell replacement. Create a limited account for your child, and when you run KidsMenu for the first time in that account you can press ALT+CTRL+I to set KidsMenu as the default interface for Windows when logged into that account. From that point forward, instead of being presented with a overly complicated start menu and all the sub-menus they don’t need, your child will instead see something like the screenshot above—customized with your own background and programs of course.”
OLED Windshields May Provide the Evolution of the Middle Finger
“The concept features both front and rear displays, and they’re user-customizable so you could show support for your favorite local sports team (go Philadelphia Kixx!) or flash a big stop sign to augment your brake lights. But isn’t this just asking for pranks?”
FUJIFILM demonstrates 3D camera, 3D photo viewer, and 3D printing technology
“FUJIFILM demonstrated a compelling 3D photo and movie technology, that uses a dual lens/sensor camera to record 3D images. These images can then be played back without the need for special glasses on a digital display, or even printed. Both the display and prints generate their 3D effect by use of a special lenticular lens laminated to their surfaces. FUJIFILM is claiming that the prototypes shown could be commercialized as soon as this summer in some form.”
Ulysse Nardin Hybrid Smart Phone
“Inherently green, the phone pairs cutting-edge kinetic technology with the pedigree of the 163-year-old timepiece innovator. It incorporates a Ulysse Nardin-designed kinetic rotor system into the mechanical and aesthetic design of the gadget that will be hand-assembled under the strictest guidelines mandated by Ulysse Nardin. While there are few details currently available, it has been confirmed that the Chairman will be able to use any mobile phone service provider in the world and includes several components never seen before in a smart phone.”
Pling Plong: the story telling pillow
“a media player for stories and sounds, placed inside a pillow. It is designed for the home environment and is meant to stimulate children´s imagination and interest for books. Its low-tech appearance in form, material and its simple functions makes the pillow seem magical. The fact that you can lay your head on it makes the toy very calming and it is meant for relaxing play alone.””
Thumbs up for 3D bone printer
“There are several steps in the new process. Firstly, you need a 3D image of the bone you want to copy. If the bone has been lost or destroyed, you can make a mirror image of its surviving twin. This image is then fed into a 3D inkjet printer, which deposits thin layers of a pre-selected material on top of one another until a 3D object materialises. Weinand loaded the printer with tricalcium phosphate and a type of polylactic acid – natural structural materials found in the human body. The resulting bone “scaffolds” contained thousands of tiny pores into which bone cells could settle, grow and eventually displace the biodegradable scaffold altogether.”
Visualisation Vol2 – Circles
“this magazine collates some of the most creative and innovative visualisation of information that try to simplify the complex. this volume is based around circles.”
Visualisation Vol2 – Circles
Tangible sequencer with Trackmate
“Trackmate is an open source initiative to create an inexpensive, do-it-yourself tangible tracking system. The Trackmate Tracker allows any computer to recognize tagged objects and their corresponding position, rotation, and color information when placed on a surface. Trackmate sends all object data via LusidOSC (a protocol layer for unique spatial input devices), allowing any LusidOSC-based application to work with the system.”
Flexible, Cuttable ViVid Screen Turns Any Window Into an Obnoxious Video Advertising Display
“While the ViVid screen is technically an LCD device, it’s not a full-fledged display, as its imagery is supplied by a separate projector. It’s a flexible, cuttable film that changes from opaque to transparent when electricity is supplied. That, specifically, isn’t a breakthrough tech—it’s the versatility of the system that matters. The LCD layer is made up of a sponge-like polymer acrylic, meaning that the film can be bent, punctured or even cut into odd shapes without losing function”
Flickr Video Clock
“Flickr Clock [flickr.com] created by Stamen is a visual browser for the videos that people have recently started uploading to the site. The videos are arranged chronologically, and drawn from videos that people have posted to the flickrclock group on flickr. The bottom of the interface allows users to scroll back and forth in time, so one can get a broader sense of what the community has recently been posting”
World’s largest virtual desktop deployment underway
“Userful Multiplier software effectively turns one computer into up to 10 independent PC workstations, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 15 tons per year per system* and electronic waste by up to 80%. Additional users can work on a single computer by simply attaching extra monitors, mice and keyboards. “This deployment alone saves more than 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, the same as taking 28,000 cars off the road, or planting 41,000 acres of trees”, said Sean Rousseau, Marketing Manager at Userful. ”
WriteSpace Turns Word Into a Distraction-Free Editor
“Once installed, switching to distraction-free mode is simple—go to the View tab and click the WriteSpace button to immediately switch into full-screen mode with a slick animated effect. The writing area can be resized by moving your mouse to the left until the divider lights up, and dragging the window to your preferred size.”
RSSFeed.me Puts Your RSS Feeds on a High Contrast Display
“Once the feeds are added to RSSFeed.me, every new headline on the feed pushes onto on the top of the RSSFeed.me interface, while old headlines are slowly pushed off screen as new ones arrive. You can keep it all black and white, or customize the color of your feeds and other display options.”
White House Drops Youtube Clips Due to Privacy Issues
“Google tracks visitors with long term cookies through YouTube and because Obama’s Weekly Address is an official government function, the underlying technology should be hosted and controlled by government servers. After running a campaign driven by internet media and cutting edge technology, Obama is facing a tough digital transition to the bureaucracy of Washington.”
What’s the ideal number of friends?
“They usually consist of an inner circle of five “core” people and an additional layer of 10, he says. That makes 15 people – some will probably be family members – who are your central group and then outside that, there’s another 35 in the next circle and another 100 on the outside. And that’s one person’s social world. Friendships help us develop as people, says Mark Vernon, author of The Philosophy of Friendship, but the very term “friend” covers a whole range of relationships. You have a very close friendship with your partner but with others it may just be a common interest or history or simply children the same age.”
Geocaching, gaming and the optimistic future of human interaction
“Gowalla combines the physical activity of geocaching with the virtual activities of collecting virtual goods and sharing your travels with your networks. Location-based applications have seen a boon in the past year — Wired described “the GPS revolution” of smart phones in this month’s issue — though few have yet incorporated social features like Gowalla will. Whereas we know and love Facebook for transporting our real-world relationships and interactions into an online venue and there enhancing them, Gowalla works in the opposite direction. Gowalla will be transporting a social online game into the real world, creating real-world interactions that users wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
The Pop!Tech Blog
Solar panel industry achieves Holy Grail – $1 per watt grid-parity
“Using cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology in its thin-film photovoltaic cells, First Solar claims to have the lowest manufacturing cost per watt in the industry with the ability to make solar cells at 98 cents per watt, one third of the price of comparable standard silicon panels. The efficiency is in part due to a low cycle time – 2.5 hours from sheet of glass to solar module – about a tenth of the time it takes for silicon equivalents.”
Amplified Journeys Creates Custom Travel Playlist
“Amplified Journey’s uses Google Maps to calculate your trip and will quickly pair songs based on your genre recommendations. A sample trip from DC to New York kicked off with a song from the Beastie Boy’s album, “To the 5 Boroughs” and chose “New York’s Not My Home” by Kid Rock when entering the Lincoln Tunnel at the end of the journey.”