Archive for January, 2012
Side Effect of Technological Advancement: Children Not Recognizing Fairly Recent Artifacts
"Writer and blogger John Scalzi shows his 13-year-old daughter a vinyl LP, something she has never seen (or apparently heard of) before"
Augmented reality poetry book can only be read via webcam
"The Between Page and Screen poetry book has no text printed on its physical pages. Rather, each page is covered with a stark black and white geometric shape and a web address leading to the book’s website. To read the book, readers must visit that site and hold each page up in front of their webcam, one at a time. Using the reader’s webcam, the site then detects the black and white markers and displays corresponding textual animations mapped to the surface of the page. The animations move with the book, creating the digital equivalent of a pop-up book."
Smallest-Ever Nanotube Transistors Outperform Silicon
"For over a decade, researchers have promised that carbon nanotubes, with their superior electrical properties, would make for better transistors at ever-tinier sizes, but that claim hadn’t been tested in the lab at these extremes. Researchers at IBM who made the nanotube transistors say this is the first experimental evidence that any material is a viable potential replacement for silicon at a size smaller than 10 nanometers."
via Technology Review
Researchers cloak free-standing 3D object using plasmonic metamaterials
"Now researchers at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) claim to have brought invisibility cloaks that operate at visible light frequencies one step closer by cloaking a three-dimensional object standing in free space with the use of plasmonic metamaterials. Although, like previous studies, the UT team was only able to cloak an object to microwaves, they claim the technique enabled by the use of plasmonic metamaterials could, in principle, be applied to visible light. Additionally, unlike previous flat, "carpet cloaks" that had to be placed on top of the object being cloaked, the new plasmonic metamaterial-based technology can cloak an object positioned away from the cloak, in free space."
ShoeBox App Now Integrates With Facebook Timeline, Lets You Add Photos To Years Past
"ShoeBox is one of the first Timeline-integrated apps that’s letting you post photos into the past. By that, I mean you can edit the date on your photo, and it will post to the correct place on your Facebook Timeline. Nifty!"
Foursquare App Shows Check-Ins On A Mock Airport Arrivals Board
"‘Arrivals‘ is a Foursquare app styled after a classic airport arrivals board. Its clean and attractive design enhances a user’s experience of the social media platform by showing the location of friends without being too intrusive. The app is intended to be displayed on a spare second screen like a tablet or phone so you can see at a glance where your friends are."
Digital Film Preservation
"According to the Academy, the total content associated with a single digital movie is well above three petabytes. (Each petabyte is a thousand terabytes or a million gigabytes). Cohen writes: "Digital storage, be it on hard drives, DVDs or solid state memory, simply isn’t on a par for anything close to the 100-plus-year lifespan of film. The life of digital media is measured in years, not decades, and file formats can go obsolete in months." "The best archiving solution today," says Cohen, "is to print out to film, ideally with a three-color separation printed onto black and white archival film. That’s a very expensive solution.""
via Gurney Journey
Bootstrapper recognizes tabletop computer users by their shoes
"When a user interacts with the tabletop computer, the Bootstrapper system, which consists of one or more depth cameras mounted to the table’s edge, observes their shoes and matches them to a database of known shoe images that are associated with specific user profiles. When multiple users are interacting with the table at the same time, the system also takes into account the hand orientation of the touch inputs so they aren’t mismatched."
Thousands of Industrial Systems Unwittingly Hooked Up to Internet
"Computers online tend to get hacked, of course, and you wouldn’t want your local power plant under rogue control. But a graduate student was able to locate and map more than 10,000 industrial control systems that are directly connected to the Internet, as reported by Kim Zetter at Wired’s Threat Level Blog. What’s more, only 17 percent of those devices bothered to ask for authorization to connect, suggesting that network managers simply didn’t realize that their control systems were online. The finding adds a discouraging twist to worries that hackers might take over critical infrastructure."
via Scientific American
Highlight: The Nearby Social Network
"Highlight uses information from your Facebook account to determine if other Highlight users in the vicinity should know about each other. It also tells you when one of your actual friends is nearby—roughly within one-and-a-half blocks. The app will send a push notification once someone journeys into that radius."
The Love Box Video Mixer by Honest & Smile
"Presented as "the lowest-tech accessory for the highest-tech phone", The Love Box consists of a wooden base and a mirroring system that, when mounted in front of an iPhone, records two-sided videos in one single iPhone shot."
Vinyl Continues Unlikely Recovery, According To New Numbers
"For the fourth year in a row, more LPs were sold than in any other year in the SoundScan era; last year, sales soared to 3.9 million, up from 2.8 million LPs in 2010. Of the 228 million physical albums sold in 2011, nearly 2% were vinyl. Two-thirds of those albums were purchased at independent music stores. The top-selling vinyl album wasn’t much of a surprise–The Beatles’ Abbey Road moved 41,000 units to claim the honor. But of the top ten LPs, the remaining nine were released by contemporary artists–the Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues (29,700) ranked second, followed by Bon Iver’s self-titled LP (27,200) and Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More (26,800). Other efforts by Radiohead, Bon Iver, Wilco and the Black Keys round out the top ten."
Homebrew, 3D printed Fisher-Price record-player disc plays "Still Alive"
"This is my brand new 3D printed Fisher-Price record player record (for the old clockwork music box one, not the new electronic one) playing "Still Alive" from Portal. It’s entirely made using Processing and printed at Shapeways and, now I know how to do it, I really hope I can make more with different tunes"
via Boing Boing
tumblecloud Unveils A Collaborative Take On Slideshows
"When describing the service, Andreas puts a big emphasis on two aspects — collaboration and “true” multimedia. The collaboration can happen between individuals, where users work together on a single cloud, or share media with one another (one of the most striking clouds created during the private test period mixes photos of the Occupy movement taken by Jessica Lehrman and music by Gabrile Quin, who live on opposite sides of the Untied States). It’s also happening on a community level, because tumblecloud offers a library of Creative Commons-licensed media, which Andreas is hoping users will contribute to. As for multimedia, Andreas notes that tumblecloud isn’t just about mixing photos and music, but also supports things like websites and PDFs."
$999 will get you a hexacopter drone designed for aerial photography
"The eye3 also makes use of some excellent open source software called APM Planner that is built on the APM2 platform. APM Planner is an autopilot software that allows you to use Google Maps to plot out the path of the UAV, allowing you to dictate the speed and waypoint’s around an area. The software takes care of the takeoff, flight path, and landing, allowing you to focus on the photo’s you are trying to get. This along with the auto-stabilization features that have been built in make UAV flight incredibly simple."
Infographic Of The Day: Could Twitter Help Us Create Smarter Transit Routes?
"Traditional city maps visualize just one aspect of urban design–the city’s intended structure, full stop. But add in a layer that visualizes how people actually use the city, and then the map becomes much more interesting. Eric Fischer did exactly that when he used Twitter’s API to collect tens of thousands of geotagged tweets and map them onto the streets of New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay area. The maps amount to something close to a desire path on a macro scale: The maps show where our buses and subways should be, if they conformed to the way we actually move and live."
Sony Claims New RGBW Sensors Improve Exposure, Low-Light Performance
"Sony has announced a new line of image sensors that will, in all likelihood, end up in dozens of smartphone models. The improvement is not in megapixels, which have more or less hit a ceiling, but in the actual layout of the light-sensitive wells that make up the pixels in the image. The new sensors have, in addition to the usual red, green, and blue-filtered pixels, an unfiltered pixel element as well that will accept any wavelength of light. It can’t be used to determine color, but it will add (they say) to both sensitivity and brightness. Essentially what they’re doing is including a hard luminance-detecting element. This is good, much more accurate than taking the average from the RGB elements, and should in fact make low-light photography significantly better."
cellCONTROL keeps mobile phones from working in moving cars
"Don’t want your teenage kids using their mobile phone while they drive? Well, hopefully explaining the dangers to them will do the trick. If it doesn’t, however, you could always install Scosche’s cellCONTROL in your car. The device is activated whenever the vehicle is in motion, and uses a Bluetooth signal to disable calling functions, text messaging, email, app use and internet access on phones within the car. The trigger device is installed in the vehicle’s under-dash OBD-II interface, and reportedly doesn’t need to be tended to in any way once it’s been installed. Should a disgruntled driver attempt to "tend to" it, however, it will send you a text or email, letting you know that tampering has been attempted."
Man Publishes Father-In-Law’s Entire Life One Picture At a Time
"The late Nick DeWolf—a MIT engineer who designed more than 300 semiconductor and electronic systems—really loved photography. So much that he carried a camera for most of his life. Now his son-in-law is digitizing all his pictures and publishing them one by one. So far Steve Lundeen—his son-in-law—has 50,000 already, and counting. It’s a huge task, but the results are great. It feels like a #superlatergram Instagram fee. Or a 1,000,000memories."
Eye-Tracking Takes Viewers Into The Stadium From Their Couch
"Technicolor demonstrated their new technology called ‘Personalized Content Rendering’ at this year’s CES. The tech device is able to enhance the viewer’s experience of watching a wide-angle sporting match such as football, baseball or soccer. Incorporating six different camera angles at a stadium, the device tracks the movement of your eyes to allow you to control and see what you want to view. It can even zoom into a scene to give you better details and focus."
iPhones And iPads Become Fluffy Interactive Stuffed Animals
"The remarkable intuitive design of iDevices can now be experienced in furry plush toys for kids as creative agency Carnation Group unveils Totoya Creatures, a hybrid toy composed of a friendly monster pet brought to life by your iPhone or iPad. Totoya Creatures offer a wide variety of “edutainment” features for children to enjoy, such as playing chimes and tunes, repeating voices with effects, tactile commands and touch controls (tap, pan, pinch, swipe, or hold), and interactive features where kids can “draw” on the creatures’ faces, use them as pillows, and scratch and comb their fur."
Toyota Finds Way to Make Hybrid and Electric Vehicles without Rare Earth Elements
"Toyota Motor Corp has developed a way to make hybrid and electric vehicles without the use of expensive rare earth metals, in which China has a near-monopoly, Japan’s Kyodo News reported. China produces more than 95 percent of the world’s rare earth metals. Its efforts to limit exports, citing resource depletion and environmental degradation, have alarmed its customers and trading partners and have sent prices soaring. Japan accounts for a third of global rare earth demand and is aiming to cut consumption, providing subsidies for recycling and investing in new ways to limit their use."
via Scientific American
#McFail: McDonald’s Loses Control Of Their Twitter Campaign
"McDonald’s social media campaign backfired on Twitter last week after the fast food giant started using the #McDStories hashtag to encourage people to share their experiences. Instead of positive reactions, consumers mainly used the hashtag to make fun of and hurl abuse at the company."
EU proposes ‘right to be forgotten’ by internet firms
"It says people will be able to ask for data about them to be deleted and firms will have to comply unless there are "legitimate" grounds to retain it. […] "These rules are particularly aimed at young people as they are not always as aware as they could be about the consequence of putting photos and other information on social network websites, or about the various privacy settings available," said Matthew Newman. He noted that this could cause problems later if the users had no way of deleting embarrassing material when applying for jobs. However, he stressed that it would not give them the right to ask for material such as their police or medical records to be deleted."
via BBC News
Startup Makes ‘Wireless Router for the Brain’
"Optogenetics relies on genetically altering certain cells to make them responsive to light, and then selectively stimulating them with a laser to either turn the cells on or off. Instead of a laser light source, Kendall Research uses creatively packaged LEDs and laser diodes, which are incorporated into a small head-borne device that plugs into an implant in the animal’s brain. The device, which weighs only three grams, is powered wirelessly by supercapacitors stationed below the animal’s cage or testing area. Such supercapacitors are ideal for applications that need occasional bursts of power rather than a continuous source. The setup also includes a wirelessly connected controller that plugs into a computer through a USB. "It’s essentially a wireless router for the brain," says Wentz. "
via Technology Review
Lego Launches Social Media Platform, ReBrick
"The main purpose of ReBrick — which is not about products made by the Lego Group, according to Online Community Lead Peter Espersen — is to be a hub for all Lego-based creations and projects made by the Lego fan community. Several websites dedicated to the Lego fan community already exist and count large numbers of users, such as MOCPages, Brickshelf and Brothers Brick, and it is not the intention of ReBrick to replace them. It is quite the opposite, actually: ReBrick would act as a gateway to all Lego fan sites by providing an index and user-friendly access to the latest and greatest user-made creations."
Tiny magnetically-levitated robots could change the game for robotics
"The robots are stripped of pretty much everything, including sensors, actuation systems and power source. The off-loaded components are incorporated into a complex, off-board control system. What is left are just simple clusters of magnets that can be customized with appendages designed for particular purposes. The robots hover in the air, controlled by the magnetic field generated by circuits below the work surface. This approach has several advantages over self-contained microrobots. These advantages may turn out to be significant enough for the idea to become a paradigm-shifter."
Lane-Keeping Systems Aim to Nudge Drowsy Drivers
"Ford’s technology relies on a camera mounted to the rear-view mirror. When the system is switched on and the vehicle is traveling more than 40 miles per hour, it will use the road’s lane markings to sense veering near one edge of the lane or the other. If the turn signal is off, the system will assume that the drift is unintentional and will send a vibration to the steering wheel as a warning."
augmented reality ceramics by andrew tanner
"british ceramic designer andrew tanner has developed ‘english hedgerow‘, a chintz wall plate for royal winton that is the world’s first to interface with augmented reality to feature an animated world. tanner’s design is based on the flora and fauna of english hedgerows. an application developed by jason jameson and james hall of unanico group lets users of iOS devices watch as birds and field mice scurry among the brambles, flies buzz, and butterflies flutter through the flowers."
OLED panel could switch between sunroof and light source
"When switched on, the panels glow, lighting the cabin of the car – when switched off, they simply go transparent. […] Because the film is just 1.8 mm thick, it can also be combined with transparent solar cells. This would allow the roof panels not only to provide illumination at night, but to generate electricity during the day."
“Walk your movie”: An interview with the founder of “Walking the Edit”
"Walking the Edit is a mobile application that empowers the user to compose a unique and surprising movie based on existing audiovisual fragments, through the act of walking. It works the following way: The user generates his movie with the help of an iPhone app that translates in real time the form of his or her path into a narrative playlist of previously geolocalized media files. First comes the active experience where the user (walker) hears the sound of the movie (walk and listen), then comes the reception where it is possible to watch the resulting personal movie (watch and listen)."
AntiCrop "Uncrops" Your Photos by Extending the Picture’s Background
"You’ve probably heard about content-aware fills before, which remove blemishes from photos by using information from elsewhere in the picture. AntiCrop uses that same technique to "uncrop" your photo from the edges out, so you can get a bit more of that beautiful sunset in the photo, even if you didn’t get it in the original shot. It also lets you straighten the photo without having to crop it down (see the image to the right for an example of what I mean by this)."
Smartphone Booklet by Ilshat Garipov
"The Booklet unfolds like a pamphlet with each side representing a commonly used application or function. Manufacturers can cut it to any size and once it’s worn out, just recycle it. Don’t worry about private information because everything is served from a cloud. Power is supplied by, SURPRISE, the sun thanks to energy absorbing nanoparticles."
via Yanko Design
‘Years’ by Bartholomäus Traubeck is a record player that reads wood and translates it into music
"Using a ps eye camera, the grain on the slices of wood is read and converted into music. Includes modified turntable, computer, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm. Technical components include arduino, ps eye, stepper motor for moving the tonearm, vvvv and ableton live, all connected via midiyoke and/or serial. A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music based on the year ring data. Those are analyzed for their thickness and growth rate and are then mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appeareance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently."
@WalmartLabs Crowdsources Walmart’s Product Selection With New “Get On The Shelf” Contest
"The effort is meant to be just a “fun experiment,” but for companies itching to get their products placed on Walmart’s shelves – real or virtual – something like this could be their big break. Previously, getting products into a retail store has been at the sole discretion of the store’s buyer. This contest will eliminate that barrier by giving anyone and everyone a chance to have their products chosen through an online selection process."
Peavey Electronics and Parker Guitars first to launch Auto-Tune guitars
"As well as automatically keeping an out of tune instrument in perfect concert pitch (without relying on robotic tuners like Gibson’s Les Paul Dark Fire or Firebird X), and providing impressive intonation, the technology also offered guitar and pickup emulation (which allows one guitar to sound like many different models, similar to Music Man’s Game Changer guitar), and popular alternative tunings like open D and DADGAD in an instant. Auto-Tune for Guitar can also extend the scope of the electric guitar beyond what is usually possible – players can split a guitar’s string setup, for instance, so that the low E and A strings can be used for bass lines, with the rest remaining in standard or alternative tuning, or turn a six-string into a twelve string without so much as touching the hardware setup."
Village Defense reinvents Neighborhood Watch with real time communication
"Social software start-up Village Defense has created software that links neighbors to form a real-time communication system – one phone call notifies all neighbors (by text or phone) when a crime or suspicious activity is in progress. In the first pilot study of the new system, the increased awareness, greater availability of witnesses and shorter response times facilitated by Village Defense saw crime rates dropped 58% in the first year."
Watch A Drum Solo Recorded With Motion-Tracked Sticks
"What Odaibe’s video hints at is something even more intriguing about the much-ballyhooed "Internet of things"–when everything we touch and use has a connected sensor in it and a harvestable data exhaust, our everyday patterns and daily routines can spawn surprisingly beautiful art. What would the "kinetic art" of a master chef at work–or just your spouse making dinner–look like? Uncovering the sublime in the mundane: That’s a kind of Web 3.0 revolution we can get behind, and "Portrait of the Ghost Drummer" offers a stirring preview."
Wireless Sensor Posts Temperature, Humidity, And Radiation Levels To Twitter
"Japan-based UC Technology Corp. [JP] has developed a wireless sensor that can automatically post data like temperature, humidity, illuminance, or radiation levels to Twitter. The so-called “Tsubuyaku Sensor” [JP, PDF] is mainly designed for use in food warehouses, plants, or wine cellars. The data can be checked remotely on Twitter (the account can be set to private or public). UC Technology says that the sensor has a battery life of a year when it posts data once per minute."
QR code stickers turn real-world objects into digital conversations
"QRawr encourage users to be creative, suggesting the stickers could be left in restaurants linking to photos of ordered meals, or at the end of a hiking trail with a message for others who complete the trek. Spotters of QRawr stickers can scan them — once they’ve downloaded the app — and post comments, pictures and videos in response."
Teenagers Sharing Passwords as Show of Affection
"Young couples have long signaled their devotion to each other by various means — the gift of a letterman jacket, or an exchange of class rings or ID bracelets. Best friends share locker combinations. The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts."
OrcaM “Reconstruction Sphere” Digitally Recreates Any Object Placed Within
"Inside that enormous ball are seven high-definition cameras that rotate around the object you put inside, looking at it from every angle and with many kinds of special lighting applied to help determine texture, reflectance, and other factors. What you get is, within a few minutes, a 3D model accurate to under than a millimeter, in full color and with color and texture included. Perfect for, say, submitting to Shapeways or the like and getting yourself a copy. I can think of many uses for this thing."
Robot Balls and 3D Cubes
"Sphereo is a radio-controlled robotic sphere, about the size of a tennis ball. While driving around a white sphere with an internal colored LED with your smart phone is pretty fun in itself, the Sphereo creators are dedicated to having an open API so that makers can link up the Sphereo with their own robotic algorithms!"
Cuckoo Clock Gives Gumball To Lucky Staff Member For Each New Twitter Follower
"U.K-based ad agency Uniform has created a specially designed cuckoo clock that gives out a gumball whenever they get a new follower on Twitter. The Sweet Tweet clock dispenses bubble gum treats in real time and is a useful tool that alerts and rewards the staff."
sony NFC smartTags
"users can easily program each ‘smart tag’ with a set series of behaviours. then, by placing the tag in a convenient location and swiping the phone when nearby, (s)he can enact that set of actions. for example, a tag hung in the car may be programmed to– when swiped– automatically launch GPS and turn on the phone’s wifi. upon entering his workplace, perhaps the user swipes a second tag to silence the ringer volume but launch the calendar application. at night, a tag near one’s bedside table could automatically launch an alarm application and disable wifi, bluetooth, and GPS to conserve battery."
Cuddly Babyloid Robot Comforts Lonely Senior Citizens
"According to the initial prototype studies in Japanese nursing homes, 8-minute interactions totaling 90 minutes a day alleviated residents stress and depression. Babyloid’s creator, Masayoshi Kanoh, gave the robot a simple smiling face “to avoid the creepiness a realistic baby face can have.” If the prototype is produced for the mass market, a Babyloid interactive robot baby will set consumers back around $1,250.00. Although Babyloid has good intentions, we aren’t sure if buying a human replacement to interact with is any less depressing than being lonely in the first place."
Portable fuel cells arrive: Will your next battery be a water fountain?
"Enter Signa Chemistry, which provides a clever way of using a powder, sodium silicide, plus water, to generate hydrogen on the fly. The hydrogen is mixed with air in the fuel cell itself, combining to create electricity and water. The hydrogen produced by SiGNa’s fuel can be used to power a traditional fuel cell, from briefcase-sized models from Jadoo down to a tiny hand-held version from Swedish company MyFC. The hand-held model is being introduced to the US market this spring, under the name PowerTrekk — and is designed for portable re-charging of smartphones or other small electronic devices. The PowerTrekk can output up to four watts, allowing it to directly power almost any smartphone, even if it’s dead."
Augmented Reality: MIT Compressive Depth Acquisition Camera
"Looks like this new and extremely efficient 3d scanning system could be jammed into a smartphone. What’s more, it’s claimed to have a two-millimeter resolution, which in the world of augmented reality would be a hair-raising level of accuracy."
via Beyond The Beyond
Instant Messaging Service Imo.im Launches Real-Time Social Network
"he goal of the network is to connect users to new people from around the world, and to those who are looking to chat. These interactions are facilitated by the “Meet New People” feature which offers an online directory and search function. The public directory is searchable by location, interests or school and users can post Twitter-like public messages called “Broadcasts” which are meant to spark discussions. When you see someone’s discussion (which, also like Twitter, can contain links), you can join in the conversation in real-time."
With New See-Through Display, Samsung Puts the Window in Windows
"Samsung’s new Smart Window is a 22-inch LCD touchscreen that can perform a neat trick: It can disappear completely. On display at CES, the Smart Window was rigged up in a booth that looks out onto a miniature of a town, reinforcing the fact that this could be an actual window in your house (or overlaid on one) with functionality that can be summoned and banished with a few taps"
Breakthrough Silver Ink Could Lead to Cheaper, Lower-Impact Flexible Electronics
"Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new method of printing silver ink that could lead to dramatic decrease in the price of flexible electronics. Previous conductive silver inks used in electronics had to be printed at very high temperatures, mandating that the plastics they were printed on be able to hold up under the heat — which increased the cost of materials. The new ink lowers the energy usage needed during the process and it can be printed at 194 degrees Fahrenheit, so lower-cost, flexible plastics can be used as a base."
BodyWave lets you control a PC with your mind – without a headset
"A bio-feedback armband called BodyWave is the first of its kind to measure brainwave activity through the body, not the scalp. Instead of an EEG headset recording a user’s concentration level, the Bodywave reads brainwaves at the arm by measuring the electric current given off by neurons firing in the brain. Bundled with an interactive software package called Play Attention, it reportedly enables interactive feedback and training towards peak mental performance."
An MRI-Powered Robot Can Swim Through Your Guts
"When it’s subjected to strong magnetic fields produced by MRI machines, the robot can be forced to vibrate in such a way that it can swim. It’s still in development, but eventually it’s hoped that it will also feature a camera, so it can beam images to outside the body to help with diagnoses. It’s the fact that it’s powered by the large magnetic fields from the MRI machinate that is the smart part. It means that the robot doesn’t have to have power supplies or propulsion systems attached to it — both of which would make it, umm, a harder piece of technology to swallow."
CES: Intel Interactive Lifeform Generator
"Conference attendees can use any of six stations around the perimeter of the booth to create a shape using their hands, phone, keys — pretty much anything — and the silhouette of that object will be used to generate a unique bioluminescent lifeform on the massive projection surface overhead. The animated lifeforms interact with one another in playful ways, dancing with one another or chasing other lifeforms around the ecosystem."
Vending machine for reused and recycled products
"Creator Lina Fenequito says the goal of Swap-o-Matic is to promote a shift from unconscious consumption to more sustainable living, and hopes the vending machine will show consumers that reusing and recycling can be as fun buying something new. Users create an account by entering their email address on Swap-o-Matic’s touchscreen and are immediately issued three credits. Once logged in with their email address they have the choice to donate, receive or swap. Donating an unwanted item earns the user one credit, whereas receiving an item will costs one credit. Swap-o-Matic has travelled to various venues in New York, including a design gallery and a café. Details of its current location can be found on the website, which will also soon show the items currently inside the vending machine."
Mattebox App Turns Your iPhone Into A Virtual DSLR
"It’s one thing to pack your camera app with features that let you control every possible aspect of the image. It’s quite another to design them so that they don’t get in the way of actually making an image in the decisive moment. An example: professional shooters are used to having a two-stage shutter release that lets them acquire focus and lock exposure before snapping the shot. That’s easy enough to do with a physical button, but how do you translate that to a touchscreen?"
Twitter feed gives Swedes a new picture
"An organic sheep farmer, a priest and a Bosnian immigrant are among those who have helped double Sweden’s Twitter followers in the past month. As part of what the country is calling "the world’s most democratic Twitter experiment", a different Swede takes sole control of the nation’s official Twitter account each week, sharing their daily experiences and opinions and recommending things to do and see where they live. "
via BBC News
"HABU comes with an intuitive "mood map," a circular visualizer that groups songs based in their position on two axes. Songs are plotted between "positive" and "dark" on the y-axis and "calm" and "energetic" on the x-axis based on their classification by Gracenote, which takes a range of variables into consideration when assigning them a specific emotional tag. The results get placed into 25 mood groups with 100 individual moods. That way, your gloomy, energized, yearning and upbeat personas are never without a constant stream of music. The intensity of a mood’s plot signifies the quantity of content for that mood, and users can share their maps with friends over Facebook."
WiFi Enabled Power Outlets Will Reduce Home Energy Usage
"In this set up, a central system communicates with each power outlet to understand energy usage, which in turn helps track which sockets are using power — including those vampire-like chargers. The system allows different zones to be put in low-energy mode — say when the family goes to bed — and also offers the option to program energy supply to rooms for times in the future. The system can be accessed remotely using an iPhone app for residents away from home which is useful for people with weekend rental properties, or who travel often for business."
Polaroid’s Android-powered, 16-megapixel Smart Camera
"The Polaroid SC1630 packs a 16-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom (5x digital) and 6.5 – 19.5 mm lens to provide a 35 – 108 mm equivalent lens range. Around back is a 3.2-inch touchscreen for displaying images and accessing apps and the Android Market. The device stores captured images on microSD cards of up to 32 GB capacity and has a Smart Album feature that automatically organizes photos by date, location and people. There’s also geotagging and face and smile detection. Onboard image editing features include cropping, red-eye removal, resizing and color correction – with the Android Market also providing access to a range of image editing apps."
Scientist closes in on creating a superlens
"For his superlens, Guney is looking to plasmons – particles of oscillating plasma. In his model, plasmons located near the surface of thin metal films are combined with special nanostructures. When they’re subjected to an electromagnetic field, they take in light waves reflected from an object, and negatively refract them. In so doing, the diffraction limit is overcome. According to the model, such an arrangement should allow for the viewing of items less than one one-thousandth the width of a human hair, using natural light. According to Guney, such lenses would be inexpensive to create, which is why they could conceivably end up in consumer products"
New e-book system promises a more paper-like reading experience
"Called the Smart E-book System, the "algorithm-based conversion technology" incorporates the off-screen border area of touchscreen devices, which is known as the bezel. By placing a finger or thumb on the bezel then sliding it into the screen (or sliding it off the screen and onto the bezel), users can do things such as flipping through pages one at a time, or quickly riffling through whole sheaves of them – forwards or backwards. They can also stick a finger on one page to bookmark it, continue flipping using another finger until they get to a different page that catches their interest, then cross-reference between the two pages by virtually folding the stack of intervening pages back and forth."
The jaja stylus uses sound to transmit pressure
"The jaja has a transparent tip, so you can see the surface of the screen through it. That tip is attached to the main stylus by a ball-and-socket joint, which is in turn attached to a pressure sensor. Proprietary onboard electronics translate that pressure into high-frequency sound, which is emitted through a built-in speaker. The mic on a device such as an iPad is reportedly capable of picking up that sound, although the human ear isn’t (there’s no word on whether or not use of the jaja might bug any dogs in the area)."
Eyes On IntoNow’s New iPad Interface
"Adam Cahan, CEO and Co-founder, was happy to show off the amazing new app that turns the iPad into the ultimate TV companion — at least that’s what it seemed like to me. As you can see in the video above, the app intelligently figures out what TV show you’re currently watching. This is done through scanning closed caption feeds, Adam explained. It feels like magic to me. "
Facebook Launches “Listen With” For Turntable.fm-style Simultaneous Music and Chat
"New “Listen With” buttons in Chat and news feed stories allow you to select a friend as your personal DJ. When clicked, you’ll instantly launch Spotify or Rdio and start hearing whatever that friend plays in real-time. Other friends can also join your group chat listening room where you can discuss and rave over what you’re hearing, just like if you were listening together in person."
Magnetic Memory Miniaturized to Just 12 Atoms
"The magnetic memory elements don’t work in the same way that today’s hard drives work, and, in theory, they can be much smaller without becoming unstable. Data-storage arrays made from these atomic bits would be about 100 times denser than anything that can be built today. But the 12 atoms making up each bit must be painstakingly assembled using an expensive and complex microscope, and the bits can hold data for only a few hours and at low temperatures approaching absolute zero, so the miniscule memory elements won’t be found in consumer devices anytime soon."
via Technology Review
CES: Zik Parrot by Starck
"in a nutshell, you bluetooth pair or NFC tap your phone to connect it to the headset, you swipe the capacitative touch panel (left/right for song flipping or up/down for volume), it pauses the song if you take it off and instantly picks back up when you put it on, has 3 microphones and a bone conduction sensor for your calls and active noise cancelation, and even has an app to control it all."
How a Single Screen Can Show Several Interactive Perspectives
"Many displays these days are capable of showing images at a rate of 240 per second or more. Similarly, LCD glasses can match this rate. Of course, the human visual system cannot process images at a rate higher than about 60 Hz. So this allows several image streams to be displayed at the same time. For example, one might show the human body, another might show the vascular system, another the internal organs and another skeleton. One viewer might select the vascular system superimposed on the skeleton. Another might want to look at the internal organs and so on. Another option might be to show the same view from different angles. Then as the viewer moves his or her head, the perspective can be made to change. The big advantage, of course, is that all viewers look at the same screen and so are able to discuss what they see."
via Technology Review
Laptop Uses Eye-Control As User Interface
"They are currently featuring the world’s first eye controlled laptop, which has the potential to forever change the way users interact with their computers. Users will be able to switch between multiple windows, zoom in on certain parts of an image or lines of text, and dim or brighten the screen all by moving or focusing their eyes on certain areas."
Now You Can Totally Start That Barbershop Quartet Cover Band You’ve Always Wanted
"Using an effect similar to the notorious Auto-tune, Talkapella automatically shifts the pitches of your speaking voice to match a number of preset melodies and harmonies. With the aid of a couple more automatic effects, including stretching out your vowel sounds for more realistic "singing," and occasionally offsetting one of the harmony voices to simulate a round, Talkapella produces impressively musical renditions of whatever speech you throw at it."
Virtual gift wrap for online presents
"To gift wrap a virtual present, users first create a virtual gift box and select a wrap pattern. They then add a personalized message, enter the recipient’s email address, and set an unwrap date, which restricts recipients from viewing the present until they are supposed to. Giftwhip then assign a unique email address to the gift box created. Once the user has chosen a present from any online store — for example, iTunes vouchers — instead of entering the recipient’s email address they enter the newly created gift box email address. Giftwhip apply the wrapping, deliver the present to the recipient’s email address and ensure they can’t open it until the specified date. The service is free to use, and friends can share their virtual gift box via Twitter and Facebook for others to view."
Cube 3D Printer by 3D Systems
"The Cube 3D Printer is expected to go on sale sometime over the next few months for a reported $1299 USD. Plastic refill cartridges, available in 10 colors, will sell for $50 each. The printer is 14 x 14 x 18 inches, weighs less than nine pounds, and can print approximately 10 to 12 "average size" parts."
Eye Glasses Adjust Focus With A Simple Touch
"PixelOptics’ emPower glasses are able to adjust their focus automatically using a built-in accelerometer or manually by swiping the frame with your finger. So you can switch from reading a book to looking in the distance without changing glasses. They provide a larger viewing area than those on bifocals or progressive lenses and could prove very useful for an aging population."
MMT’s Monitor2Go adds a 15.6-inch display to mobile devices
"The 15.6-inch HD LCD backlit screen mirrors the displays of all mobile Apple devices, along with those of Macs, PCs and HDMI-compatible smartphones and tablets, plus it can also be used as a lockable protective case for the iPad2."
Lumarca on Display at Eyebeam
"Lumarca is a projection-based 3D volumetric display, which is collaboration between Albert Hwang, Matt Parker, and Elliot Woods. In 2010, they were the winners of Red Bull’s “Create the Future” contest at World Maker Faire New York. With a height of fifteen feet, the latest iteration of the Lumarca concept is the tallest yet and will be on display at Eyebeam in New York City starting tomorrow night."
Wi-Fi-enabled WF457 Front-Load Washer by Samsung
"a large capacity Wi-Fi-enabled front-load washer. The washer’s Smart Control system features smartphone apps enabling remote start or pauses from anywhere in the house, various notifications (eg., cycle complete) and other unique functions. "
iPad App Lets Children Create & Publish Their Own Hard-Cover Books
"The Scribble Press app lets kids draw, write and color using dozen of features and hundreds of different markers and tools. There are even 50 different story templates like “If I Were A Rock Star” and “I Love My Mom” to help kids get started. Once you’re happy with the layout and content, the eBook can be printed and published into a soft- or hard-cover book."
Gigabit wireless for everyone: Wilocity demos first 60GHz wireless devices
"The new standard, labeled as 802.11ad, provides for over 5 gigabits per second (Gbps) per pair of devices, and by using a very cool way of shaping the actual radio waves, pairs of devices don’t interfere with each other the way they do on traditional WiFi bands. Pictured right is the image of a demo I watched with a full 1080p movie playing on a wireless device across to a laptop, which in turn was re-broadcasting it in realtime wirelessly to a display. It ran without missing a beat, even when they spun the laptop around and hid it under the furniture. Wilocity also demoed a wireless connection to an SSD hard drive enclosed in stereo furniture which maxed out at over 1Gbps, as measured at the operating system level using a Windows disk drive benchmarking utility."
What Is Phone Stacking?
"Each person at the table is required to place their phone facedown, (for dramatic effect you can stack the cellphone pile in the center of the table) at the beginning of the meal. While eating, incoming email and text notifications will sound, and the first person who picks up his/her phone also picks up the entire bill. If no one gives into temptation, every participant is declared a winner and pays for his/her own meal."
Appifier Launches New Service That Turns WordPress Sites Into Mobile Apps
"Appifier is a new service, previously in beta, that turns WordPress sites into mobile apps. That’s not mobile websites, mind you, but actual mobile applications complete with push notifications, offline access, Twitter and Facebook sharing, plus a native look, feel and speed."
Glove Translates Sign Language Into Text
"Three developers, Oleg Imanilov, Zvika Markfield, and Tomer Daniel, have come up with a glove that interprets sign language and turns it into text using a custom Android app."
Massive Health iPhone App Gets You To Eat Better, Using The Crowd’s IQ
"You snap a photo of your meal and caption it. The app guesses where you are (you can adjust this as well as your portion size) and then you drag the picture onto a sliding scale from "Fit" to "Fat" based on how healthy you think the food is. You are then given the anonymous images of a few other people’s meals to similarly rate. After awhile, the crowd will have rated your meal. Every week, you can go back and track trends with a nice set of visualizations."
intel nikiski transparent laptop
"the laptop design centers on a clear touchpad that runs along the base of the keyboard (automatically distinguishing between use of the section as an input device versus a palmrest). when closed, the glass– visible through a cutaway panel– converts to a transparent touchscreen that utilizes a custom metro interface to display one to two rows of tiles, which users can click to access calendar, e-mail, facebook, or web browser functionality, or check on time, network, and power settings without opening the device. any function in use is automatically if the laptop is opened."
OLPC: xo-3 low-cost tablet
"the 8-inch tablet runs linux with the sugar interface as a default, although users can choose to run other linux and android interfaces. it features both mini and full-size USB ports, headphone and microphones jacks, and front and rear -facing cameras. a brightly coloured silicone cover protects the device, while a prototype case in development includes a 4-watt solar panel and battery pack. in the meantime, the tablet is chargeable via electrical outlet or a hand-cranked charger, which offers ten minutes of battery power for each minute of cranking."
Revamped Site Helps Indie Designers Go Green
"Using comprehensive but intuitive search tools, users browse a marketplace of thousands of kinds of fabrics, buttons, yarns, zippers, trims and lace, all of which is either recycled, organic, Fair Trade, handmade, or vertically integrated. Originally launched in late 2010, the site underwent a snazzy redesign last December and has grown to represent 40 suppliers from around the world to 1,500 registered design and apparel brands."
MakerBot + Interactive Fiction = Cool Product Launch
"To help introduce their new product they commissioned a text-based adventure from interactive fiction legend Andrew Plotkin. The adventure is called Key Features. The game uses the classic ’70s style text adventure or interactive fiction to give a hint about their new product. One twist is that in the game when you pick up an item like a key you will get a link to the design file on Thingiverse that allows you to print the item on a 3D Printer in the physical world."
Matchbook Saves Physical Places You Want to Visit for Later
"Like Instapaper but for physical locations, Matchbook saves locations you want to visit for another time. If you see a restaurant you like or a cool shop you want to remember, you can simply open Matchbook and bookmark it for later reference."
Sensor sleeves could maximize workplace efficiency
"Fraunhofer’s new system, designed under contract for engineering firm DR. GRUENDLER, incorporates two sleeves worn by the worker. Each sleeve contains three matchbox-sized sensors, located on the upper and lower arm, and the hand. These measure the acceleration and angular velocities of arms and hands in the X, Y and Z axes. After initially being "taught" by the user, the hardware can identify and isolate actions such as reaching, grasping, setting up, joining, checking or releasing. The system doesn’t require any extra infrastructure (unlike GPS), and allows multiple workers – wearing multiple sets of sleeves – to be timed simultaneously. Once the data has been gathered, a PC application reconstructs the motion sequences, breaking them down into precisely-timed individual actions."
BlackBox SMS Printer
"The BlackBox SMS Printer designed by Joe Doucet is exactly as the name would suggest. This is a simple solution to the long time problem of printing out SMS text messages and instant messages. The BlackBox plugs directly into your mobile device or computer allowing you to print a conversation of any length onto a tangible piece of paper."
Ohm Run: One-Atom-Tall Wires Could Extend Life of Moore’s Law
"One issue is that as wires shrink to just nanometers in diameter, their resistivity tends to grow, curbing their usefulness as current carriers. Now a team of researchers has shown that it is possible to fabricate low-resistivity nanowires at the smallest scales imaginable by stringing together individual atoms in silicon."
via Scientific American
Leaked Canon PowerShot G1X Can Distinguish Between Kids and Grownups
"parents should appreciate its "child-weighted face detection system" which we’ll hopefully have more details on later. Presumably it means the camera puts kids first when it comes to automatic focus and exposure settings."
christopher baker: hello world! video diary installation
"the artist’s massive video-graphical work consisting of 5,000 video diaries projected upon a wall within the gallery space. the personal video collection of ‘hello world’ was compiled through the use of online self-produced video archive resources such as youtube. in the gallery space the observer may interact with the soundscape in two distinct ways: he/she may focus in upon an individual voice or get lost in the rumble of the thousands of video diaries on display. in this way, the at-once singular and overwhelming quality to baker’s work is consistent with human sentiment towards the internet and democratic, modern media."
via Design Boom
Shoot 8mm Style Home Videos Without Film Or a Smartphone App
"Fuuvi’s Bee was inspired by 8mm cameras and lets you shoot aged videos and stills without having to sign a cellular contract. Without all the motors and mechanisms needed to drive a roll of film, the Bee is actually a lot smaller than a retro film camera. And at 100 minutes on a full charge, it can record for a lot longer than one of them too."
"More mag-lev madness, or quantum levitation as it’s being called here: The miniature track and vehicles constructed for the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s quant-lev demonstration wins cool points for being modeled after the PlayStation game Wipe’out:"
How-To: Your Home in a Snow Globe
"Visual effects artist Karl Stiefvater takes us through the tools he used to build a 3D model of his home (SketchUp and its handy “Photo Match” function), apply the photo textures (Maya), and produce the X3D file Shapeways requires for full-color 3D printing (MeshLab). He also covers such useful, decidedly non-virtual details as how to seal the model to prevent the color from bleeding, how to treat the water to prevent algal growth, and how to assemble the snowglobe kit itself"
The PINOKY ring turns your plush toys into soft robots
"Simply snap the ring around a plush toy’s limb, or any other plush extremity for that matter, and marvel at the sight of your favorite childhood friend waving at you vigorously. PINOKY rings are wireless and can be controlled remotely, so you don’t have to worry about your plush toy falling over some unnecessary cables. You can also teach the rings the right movements by manipulating the plush limbs manually in the recording mode and then replaying the sequence."
NASA Wants to Power Robots With Microbes
"Micro-robotic explorers, powered by microbial fuel cells, could represent an efficient and reliable energy source on a planet without human intervention. Microbial fuel cells harness the metabolic processes of bacteria, sending harvested electrons through an anode-cathode-resistor circuit to generate electricity. The advantages are that bacteria can be squashed into a battery with high energy density compared to traditional lithium-ion power sources, and the ability of microorganisms to reproduce acts like a natural battery charger. Scott reckons that a portion of the microbial energy would be used to maintain on-board electronics and control systems, while the rest would be directed toward slowly charging a battery or capacitor. Once enough energy is stored, the autonomous robot would be able to use a more power intensive scientific instrument or to propel itself forward."
Mineways: turn Minecraft creations into 3D prints
"Mineways is a tool that converts your Minecraft creations into 3D files that can be sent to the 3D printing bureau Shapeways, who will print them out in color plastic and send them to you."
via Boing Boing
Anti-Theft Car Seat Recognizes Drivers By Their Own ‘Seats’
"Researchers from the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, Japan have developed a car seat that can recognize a person when they sit in it. Using a series of 360 sensors to measure how much pressure people place on the seat, a personalized profile can be generated for the driver of a vehicle. This can then be used as an anti-theft device, identifying the car’s owner when they sit down but not allowing others to drive away with the vehicle."
CloudOn Brings Microsoft Office to Your iPad, Complete with Cloud Storage
"CloudOn isn’t really a touch-optimized version of Office; instead, it’s like using a screen-sharing app with a computer running Office elsewhere. You’ll need an internet connection to use it, since the program runs on CloudOn’s servers, but it actually works pretty well, despite being designed for a mouse and keyboard. You probably wouldn’t want to do all your document editing from it, but for quick edits, tracking changes, or reviewing presentations, it’s really useful, and doesn’t have the compatibility problems that might come with something like iWork. It also stores all your documents in your Dropbox, so you have easy access to them everywhere you go"