Archive for February, 2012
Never Lost: MIT Creates Wayfinding Arrows Projected From Your Cellphone
"Using a smartphone with a mini-projector and magnetic positioning, Guiding Light projects an arrow on the ground that points the direction to anywhere you want to go. Gorgeous, it’s not. But the utilitarian prototype is clear and easy to use."
The Prosthetics Breakthrough That Could Fuse Nerves With Fake Limbs
"To create that ideal interface, Dirk and his colleagues developed their own biocompatible polymers, meant to mimic the properties of nerve tissue. The material is also porous, so that nerves can extend through it, and lined with electrodes, to vastly enhance conductivity. When surgeons placed the scaffolds onto the severed leg nerves of rats, it didn’t take long before the rats’ own nerve fibers started to grow through the scaffold and fuse back together. Even better, the synthetic material wasn’t rejected by the rats’ immune systems."
This Incredibly Thin Card Could Bring Wireless Charging To Any Device
"Inductive charging means you’ll never have to plug your phone in again, and to avoid clunky add-on solutions if your device doesn’t have it built in, Duracell has created this wafer thin adapter card that slips in alongside its battery."
Stem by Diana Lange – Building stems from colour with #Processing
"This little program looks for photos on flickr by a given search word. Afterwards, the colors of the photos are analyzed. The color itself gets detected and how often each color is found. This data is the foundation of every stem. Each segment represents one color of the photo, the diameter shows the quantity. The cell resolution in all segments is based on the brightness of the color."
Photographs Document Millenials With All Their Possessions
"“All I Own” is a simple yet compelling project by Swedish photographer, Sannah Kvist where she asked friends (all born in the 1980s) to make a pile of everything they own – from furniture, records, computers, clothes — and bring it into the frame for a single shot. The resulting images are a visual testament to our modern lifestyle and throwaway culture."
Sporty Supaheroe cycle jacket boasts "intelligent" sensors and dynamic LEDs
"Together, an integrated "acceleration sensor" and gyroscope track the cyclist’s movement, conveying information for all to see on the jacket itself. Conceivably, this means that the jacket’s rear panels could glow red under braking, or flash on one side if the cyclist moves sideways. A particularly nice touch is a smartphone call alert system, which we gather employs a simple light sensor in the jacket’s inner pocket wired to the jackets outer LEDs. When an incoming call is received your smartphone screen lights up, triggering the sensor and LEDs. That said, anything that makes a telephone harder to ignore when cycling should be used with caution."
Oxfam’s Shelflife links goods with past using QR Codes
"A Shelflife phone app links stories and pictures provided by donors to tags attached to the goods. Browsers in Oxfam shops can scan the tags using the app to find out about an individual item’s past. The charity believes it can sell things more easily when they have stories attached to them. "Someone might donate a record and add that it was the song that they danced to at their wedding to its tag," said Oxfam’s Emma Joy. "We hope the pilot will prove that items with stories are more valuable and establish the monetary value of a story," she said."
via BBC News
Charge Your iPhone With Your Own Breath
"This concept design was created by Joao Paulo Lammoglia that utilizes the power of your breath to convert into electricity via small wind turbines. The user simply wears the AIRE mask hooked up to an iOS device, and by breathing into the mask, the gadget is able to recharge the phone."
DataSift Unlocks Access To Historical Twitter Data Dating Back To January 2010
"Developers, businesses and organizations can essentially use DataSift to mine the Twitter firehose of social data. But what makes DataSift special (besides the premier access to Twitter data) is that it can then filter this social media data for demographic information, online influence and sentiment, either positive or negative. As we’ve reported in the past, DataSift does not limit searches based on keywords and allows companies of any size to define extremely complex filters, including location, gender, sentiment, language, and even influence based on Klout score, to provide quick and very specific insight and analysis."
Scientists 3D Print Robotic Dinosaurs To Learn More About Them
"First, 3D scans of giant dinosaur bones are taken, creating a virtual image that researchers can manipulate and analyze. These can then be brought to life using 3D printing technology. Robotic models with artificial muscles and tendons will be created to help the researchers learn how the dinosaur’s body handled the physical stresses of the environment. Lacovara predicts that they will have a working robotic dinosaur limb constructed by the end of the year."
Personalized ticker pulls social network feeds into one place
"feedair is a small Wi-Fi connected device featuring a 21×7 LED display ticker screen designed to bring users a selection of updates and personal notifications from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, news providers, and anything with an RSS feed. The device is kept in a fixed position in the home or office and detects when the user has left the vicinity, allowing it to display any updates occurring since it was last looked at."
"It encourages fun, open ended collaborative play between parent and child. Combining creativity and imagination with the virtual world on screen. Select your vehicle within Makego, then interact with the drivers and their world through animations and sound. This release has 3 vehicles to play with: a race car, ice-cream truck, and river boat. More vehicle are coming soon."
Your Hands Will Sing with Aural Gloves
"American Sign Language may soon be obsolete if these motion-sensing gloves come to market. For now, a UBC team are the only ones to enjoy harmonizing with their own themselves. The gloves, designed by a team at the University of British Columbia led by Professor Sidney Fels, recognize their position in three-dimensional space and modulate an associated audible frequency. The right hand controls the basic sounds—an open hand creates vowels, closing it creates consonants while the pitch of the hand commands the pitch of the sound. The left hand controls "stops" for letters like B and P."
Detonate the transparency grenade to instantly collect and leak sensitive data
"The device is essentially a small computer with a powerful wireless antenna and a microphone. Following detonation, the grenade intercepts local network traffic and captures audio data, then makes the information immediately available online. The data obtained at the site of detonation streamed anonymously streamed to a dedicated server where it is mined for bits of emails, HTML code, images and audio material. These are then neatly presented in the form of a feed that can be accessed when clicking on the red dot highlighting the place of the leakage on a map available online. The ease of use and the mobility of this solution could make the transparency grenade a very powerful weapon in the hands of a concerned citizen or disgruntled civil servant."
Promise.tv: a PVR that records EVERYTHING on TV for a whole week
"It really does what it says on the tin: records the whole Freeview multiplex for a week at a time, which means that you don’t have to program your PVR with the shows you like: you always have the last week’s TV on tap (this’d be especially cool for when scandalous material is broadcast from Parliament — if you find out about it after the fact you can go back and check). The Promise.tv folks have worked out several ingenious ways of navigating all this stored material as well."
via Boing Boing
Facial Recognition Billboard Only Lets Women See The Full Ad
"The interactive advertisement uses a high-definition camera to scan pedestrians and identify their gender before showing a specific ad. The built-in system has a 90 per cent accuracy rate in analyzing a person’s facial features and determining if they’re a male or female. The £30,000 display is set up by Plan UK, a not-for-profit organization that helps children in third-world countries. Female passersby will be shown the full 40-second video of its ‘Because I’m a Girl’ campaign that promotes sponsoring a girl to receive proper education in a developing country. Males won’t be able to see the full ad and will be directed to Plan UK’s website instead. The purpose of this was to show men “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.”"
Visual-Based Navigation Could Replace Satellite GPS
"SeqSLAM uses the assumption that you are already in a specific location and tests that assumption over and over again. For example if I am in a kitchen in an office block, the algorithm makes the assumption I’m in the office block, looks around and identifies signs that match a kitchen. Then if I stepped out into the corridor it would test to see if the corridor matches the corridor in the existing data of the office block layout. If you keep moving around and repeat the sequence for long enough you are able to uniquely identify where in the world you are using those images and simple mathematical algorithms."
DrawBraille Mobile Phone Concept by Shikun Sun
"DrawBraille Mobile Phone is one of the most compelling concepts that focus on making mobile phones easy-to-use for the blind. The entire UI and input keys are in Braille and even the touch panel reflects this system."
via Yanko Design
Structural batteries to lighten load for frontline soldiers
"BAE Systems is developing structural batteries for both military and consumer applications including chargeable components for a Le Mans prototype race car. This is accomplished by merging battery chemistry into composite materials that can be molded into complex 3D shapes that form the structure of a device. The structure can be plugged in to recharge, then provide power to the device in a manner similar to a traditional battery."
In new mass-production technique, robotic insects spring to life
"ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2012) — A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet. Devised by engineers at Harvard, the ingenious layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices."
via Science Daily
Indie Film Created Using Computer Algorithm Changes With Each Screening
"Indie film project whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir by director Eve Sussman and her collaborative team at Rufus Corporation is assembled from thousands of clips of footage, voiceovers and scoring elements, spliced together by a custom-built computer system known as the “serendipity machine.” Edited live in real-time, working from tags assigned by Sussman, the film comes together in a random, ever-changing succession, meaning the final product is different every time it is shown."
Scientists develop child-like synthetic voice for children who can’t speak
"Presently, most voice recognition systems are tailored toward adult speech, and often have difficulty recognizing words spoken by younger users. In order for these systems to get the hang of children’s voices, they would need to be "trained" on recordings of children speaking – recordings that aren’t nearly as plentiful as those of adult speech. In order to remedy this situation, the researchers created a synthetic child’s voice of their own. In their case, they analyzed how children’s shorter vocal tracts affect the frequency distribution of their speech energy. They then altered the energy distribution of an adult speech program, to achieve a child-like sound. "We could apply our conversion technique to a large database of adult speech and generate a functional database of artificial childlike voices," explained Prof. Torbjørn Svendsen. "We then used this to train a separate speech recognition program for children.""
Alternative Ways to Think About Time with NOOKA’s iPhone App
"The full-fledged app includes a number of face designs from their popular product line, with playful names like "zot," "zenh" and "zirc." Each takes a different approach to showing time, from boxes and dots to a circle that represents hours and a line that represents minutes. Useful for world travelers is a world clock that displays multiple time zones intuitively in a single way."
Sony’s New Wireless Chip Prototype Can Transfer a Blu-ray’s Disc Worth of Data in Under a Minute
"Their latest achievement is a wireless radio component that operates on the 60 gigahertz frequency and can transfer 6.3 gigabits per second. According to The Verge, that’s good enough to exchange 50 gigs of data in under a minute. What makes the technology especially promising is that it currently only uses a max of 74 milliwatts at any given moment, which is more or less on par with the power consumption of current GSM radios."
MinION – $900 usb-powered DNA sequencer on sale this year
"The MinION is the size of a USB memory stick, and obtains both power and computer analysis from a normal laptop computer. No polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other DNA amplification technique is needed for optimum sensitivity. The MinION is capable of sequencing 100 million base pairs within its six hour working life. Samples of whole blood, plasma, and serum are accepted by the device for immediate analysis and the reagents needed for the analytic process come ready to use with each MinION."
Control Any Screen With Your Smartphone
"To try it out for yourself, simply visit Clik’s website in any web browser and scan the QR code with the app on your smartphone to sync the screen. Then you’ll be able to select and search for YouTube videos from your phone and they will instantly start playing on the connected screen. Clik also lets multiple people scan the QR code for a single screen to control it, allowing groups of people to share content from different smartphones."
IM Blanky: soft hardware
"IM Blanky is a 7’7" x 4’2" blanket composed of a distributed field of 104 soft tilt sensors, embodying simultaneously a physical and digital presence. These soft sensors form the most basic motif: the flower. The flower consists of 6 conductive petals, linked by resistors, and a conductive tassel in the center. The flowers are grouped together into 14 larger configurations or clusters and 2 half clusters. Working as a directional marker, the tassel’s contact with a petal registers a specific orientation or tilt of the blanket."
You Can Print Your Own OLED Display Now
"Konica Minolta has created the first printhead that can be used for electronics manufacturing applications thanks to its incredibly small inkjets that can create drops a mere picoliter in size. It’s just an inch and a half wide, but the company has managed to cram 128 nozzles across its width. The printhead will also be coupled to a system that can position and control the nozzles with pinpoint accuracy, which is pretty vital when you’re laying down pixels."
Infographically Enhanced Observation Deck at Zurich Airport
"The most magical addition consists of a set of see-through telescopes that overlay context-aware information on top of the live image, offering useful information about airport buildings and any airplanes that appear in view. To detect the exact physical position of the airplanes, specific data has to be gathered from the tower, such as a plane’s type, destination or point of origin. In addition, the graphics that appear on the floor and some of the walls resemble the markings on the runway and act as a guidance system."
via information aesthetics
Air-Powered Origami Robot
"This “multi-gait soft robot” may be moved by sequentially inflating its various air pockets. Kinda creepy-cool the way it undulates under an obstacle!"
Your Next Laptop Might Be Made of Paper
"Developed by PEGA, Paper PP Alloy is a paper-based material that’s designed to be strong, sturdy, and environmentally friendly. The ideas is that it could happily replace plastics — but because it’s made of paper it should, in theory, be far, far easier to recycle."
Daily iPhone App: Cherish Kids saves your children’s memories for a lifetime
"Cherish Kids does more than just snap photos. It’s a app that’ll record the date, time and location of a picture. It’ll also automatically calculate your child’s age when the photo was taken. You can play around with the pictures and add effects that’ll change things up, too. Right now, the filters only change the hue of the image to kiwi, mango, grape and so on. It would be nice if the app added more creative tools to let you add borders or even a collage, but those features are just not there yet."
Clear: Why This Simple To Do List App Has Everyone Talking
"Why the big draw for what’s typically been a rather ho-hum app category, the lowly to-do list? Clear is pure eye candy, for starters. But it’s also representative of a major leap forward in smartphone app design, as it’s been built from the ground up for the touch interface. The app is based solely on the use of now-common gestures: swipes, pulls and pinches. There are no buttons with Clear, and yet, it’s surprisingly simple to use. In fact, that’s the point."
Cupple for iPhone: A Social Network for Lovey Dovey Couples
"Cupple connects two people, presumably in a relationship, and lets them share stuff with each other. Cupple bills itself as a "private sharing app" which isn’t untrue; you can share pictures with each other, tag your locations and send messages back and forth. It’s like an app for just you two. Like if you two were the only person on this network. Like you’re the only two people in this world. OH ISN’T THAT JUST SPECIAL."
Upgrade Your Hard Drive to Infinite Size
"I downloaded a 27 megabyte application and a few seconds later was being told by the Finder that I had a hard drive with over 500 terabytes of free space, an instant upgrade of more than three thousand times. In fact, Bitcasa will swallow as much data as you can push at it, I was told last year, but they weren’t able to hack an infinity sign (∞) into Mac OS. Once you install Bitcasa it prompts you to choose which of your folders to “cloudify”. Cloudified folders are uploaded to Bitcasa’s cloud right away and get a Bitcasa logo added to their icons in the Finder. Any time you save, copy, or paste new files into a cloudified folder they also uploaded. The clever bit is what happens when you try and pile in more data than there is space for on your hard drive. Bitcasa arranges for some of your data to be stored only in the cloud, not on your PC, but it creates the illusion that all your files are stored locally. You can see them there using a file browser or a program’s open dialogue, but some files will be retrieved from the cloud when you try to open or access them."
via Technology Review
Why Is There an iPad In the Middle Of My Monopoly Board?
"The first enhanced title released is The Game Of Life which moves the spinner to the iPad and plays hi-larious clips from America’s Funniest Home Videos as you progress through the game. It’s available now for $25, minus the cost of the iPad of course. In June Monopoly will be available, which seems to be a little more useful, turning your iPad, iPhone or iPod into a portable banking unit that makes it easier to keep track of every player’s funds."
New Photo Technology Lets You Get Rid Of The People You Don’t Love
"Scalado has created a photo-taking system that allows you to selectively remove people in a photo. How does it work? It basically interpolates the “clean” version of the scene by watching the moving, live objects. It’s not rocket science, but it’s pretty cool."
The Guardian’s Immersive Travel App Lets You Explore Cites From Your Chair
"Released as part of the Guardian’s Tokyo travel guide, the interactive videos allow users to control what they want to see. As the video is playing, the user can swipe or tilt the device to look left, right, up or down. Guardian travel writer Benji Lanyado told Nieman Journalism Lab that the 180-degree video guides were perfect in giving people “immersive, armchair travel.” Users can get a better sense of the locations, culture and attraction sites, where often words and photos aren’t enough to get a proper sense of the majesty of a scene."
Texting Without Looking, on a New Touch Screen
"Researchers have created a prototype for a touch screen that can be used to send messages while it’s concealed in a jacket or pants pocket. The stealthy screen works when it is touched through the fabric, whether it is silk, cotton or even thick fleece. In classes or meetings of the future, with your hands tucked beneath the conference table or desk, you may rest a fingertip discreetly on the pocket that holds the touch screen and handle a call by tracing a message like “Running late. In a mtg.” on the fabric above the hidden screen."
TomTom GPS watches you drive, sets your insurance rate accordingly
"TomTom and Motaquote call it Fair Pay Insurance. A driver in the UK gets a modified TomTom Pro 3100 portable GPS with Active Driver Feedback and Live Services, and a Link tracking unit “allowing driver behaviour and habits to be monitored.” The feedback on “driving events” covers speeding, sharp cornering, and heavy braking. Since it’s location-based, the service might be able to tell if you’re driving the speed limit on on a high-speed road or 20 mph over on a local road. There are upsides. A driver with speeding tickets and at-fault accidents could use this to afford insurance or maybe it’s the only way to get insurance. The TomTom PND does provide instant feedback so it may collectively improve driving so the total number of accidents (and claims) goes down. The insurance industry in the U.S. has talked about geofencing as another part of usage-based insurance: you pay less if you don’t drive late at night when drunks are out and about, or if you don’t drive in or near high-crime neighborhoods. (That’s a problem if you’re a lower-income person and that’s the only place you can afford to live.)"
Record me – Home Recorder by Luc van Hoeckel
"Record me is an ingenious way to pass on messages and stay in touch with busy family members. Most of us have adopted the sticky-note-on-the-fridge routine; Record me changes this to a voice message that can be easily recorded and played back. The video explains the procedure and I think it is a clever way to stay in touch, I mean I’d much rather listen to my son speak than decipher his scrawny note!"
via Yanko Design
Service to link physical objects through dedicated digital identities
"EVRYTHNG works by first creating Active Digital Identities (ADIs) for the physical objects it is going to manage. A camera, for example, could be given an ADI, which would then act as its online presence in much the same way as a Facebook page does for humans. These profiles, called Thngs, store textual, binary and geo-location information about their associated object, which can then be used to drive third party applications and services. EVRYTHNG provides developers with an API toolkit, which enables them to manage these Thngs, access the online data associated with the physical objects, and create new services, enabling objects to communicate with one another and with the user. The result is that users are able to interact with EVRYTHNG objects in a way that would have been previously impossible. For example, a user’s camera could be setup to recommend a good time and place for a photo shoot, or smart meters could be used to turn on a washing machine at the cheapest times."
Nielsen: Cord Cutting And Internet TV Viewing On The Rise
"According to a new report from Nielsen, the number of U.S. homes that have broadband Internet, but only free, broadcast TV, is on the rise. Although representing less than 5% of TV households, the number has grown 22.8% over the past year. In addition, the behaviors within these homes are unique. These broadband/broadcast-only households stream video twice as much as the general population, says Nielsen, and they watch half as much TV."
OpenLabel Exits Stealth, Raises $80K To Turn Barcodes Into Public Labels
"For example, users could add notes about the manufacturer’s use of child labor, sweat shops, animal testing, toxic chemicals, and more, and then give the product a thumbs-down. While those types of things sound like they may give OpenLabel somewhat of an activist slant, there are other types of things that could be shared, too, like the company’s political leaning and donations, its support for or stance against particular political or rights issues, like SOPA or employees benefits for same-sex couples. OpenLabel could also be used to share information about whether the product was recalled or had child safety issues, contained allergens like gluten, or whether it was derived from GMOs."
Infogr.am gets HackFwd backing to democratise cool info-graphics
"The web-based application needs no programming or design skills, and works in the same way that you can snap a photo and share it on your social networks. Users make a statement or an argument graphically and then share it. An infographic can be embedded on a page or shared as a link or an image directly."
Stream Music From Your Favourite Store, Club And Restaurant
"Awdio is an online broadcasting platform that provides clubs, shops, hotels, restaurants, festivals and other places with a new way to “go online” and offers listeners a different form of music discovery. Instead of selecting a specific song or artist, they can choose the environment that they know plays music they like to listen to. The trendy and eclectic Colette shop in Paris is one place using the platform to broadcast live online and people can listen to the music playing there in real-time no matter where they are, as long as they have an internet connection."
Recording data using heat could lead to faster, more efficient magnetic recording devices
"For the past several decades, it has been assumed that in order to store data on a magnetic medium, a magnetic field must be applied. Recently, however, an international team of scientists discovered that heat can be used instead of a magnetic field. Not only is this method reportedly more energy efficient, but it also theoretically allows for ten times the storage capacity and 300 times the performance of current hard drive technology."
Inside the Mind of a Synaesthete
"The thrill of using the app is having it respond to optical nuances in real time as you move through spaces that come alive in new and surprising ways. Hall’s ethereal sonic palette may be a bit New Agey for some tastes, but the software offers a teasing glimpse of how much more we could be doing with these powerful multimedia platforms in our pockets. Sonified takes the often mundanely-applied concept of augmented reality (we were promised Terminator vision and got Plaxo QR codes instead) a step closer to the radical departure from sensory business-as-usual that 18th century multimedia pioneer William Blake described in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?"
SonicNotify: The inaudible QR codes your smartphone can hear
"A new startup called SonicNotify has developed a technology that will enable smartphone apps to receive data via high frequency sound inaudible to the human ear. Though limited, the signals would be sufficient to transmit, say, a web address that could be automatically opened by your smartphone. These frequencies could be embedded into any audio being played through a speaker, and provide contextual information to the user. So, museums and art galleries could effectively transmit detailed information on their exhibits via their apparently silent PA systems. The cliche applies, I’m afraid: the possibilities are unending."
Experimental optical fibers utilize built-in electronics instead of separate chips
"For the research project, the team deposited semiconducting materials within tiny holes at either end of optical fibers, to create high-speed electronic junction points – these would ordinarily be located where the fiber meets the chip. The scientists used high-pressure chemistry techniques to deposit the materials directly, layer by layer. Not only does this eliminate the need for an entire chip in the finished product, but the process can also be carried out with simple inexpensive equipment, as opposed to the clean-room facilities required for chip manufacturing."
Data Analysis for the People
"Wolfram Alpha Premium can recognize certain types of data and even certain types of content inside a file. Uploading an archive from an e-mail mailbox will produce a diagram showing the connections between different senders (see image at top) or a chart showing your most frequent mail recipients. If a spreadsheet contains country or city names, Wolfram Alpha will automatically offer a shaded map (see page 2). It can even draw on its own data sources to enhance that visualization with information on population, GDP, or other factors. Users of the service can upload more than 60 different types of data, ranging from audio files and video to 3-D models."
via Technology Review
Biological computer can decrypt images stored in DNA
"In the original Turing machine, a long strip of paper contains data and instructions. The data is fed into the machine, and rules (software) decide what kind of computation is done to the data. Basically, Keinan and co created a mixture of molecules in a test tube that were capable of performing the same, repeatable set of instructions on a helix of DNA. Encoded DNA goes into the biological computer and decoded DNA comes out the other. To track the progress of the machine, the DNA was tagged with fluorescent markers."
A Light Projection That Blurs The Boundary Between Physical And Digital
"Made in collaboration by Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza, Nervous Structure (Field) is an installation piece designed to confuse and then illuminate the line between the physical and digital. 144 vertical lines are strung and then 144 lines of light are projected on to them. The lines of light respond to the movement of visitors and the result is a hypnotic field of waves and moire patterns."
A Robot Recruit that Can Do It All
"Strong enough to tow a car, Warrior is designed to be a jack-of-all-trades for military, police, and rescue services."
via Technology Review
Robot readable world
"How do robots see the world? How do they gather meaning from our streets, cities, media and from us? This is an experiment in found machine-vision footage, exploring the aesthetics of the robot eye."
83 Year-Old Woman Gets the World’s First 3D Printed Jaw
"The replacement was 3D printed by researchers at the University of Hasselt out of titanium powder. The jaw bone was printed by LayerWise with a new technique called Laser Melting technology which creates a patient-specific bone replacement that will, when the patient has recovered, work much like the jaw-bone her body built."
Improved Augmented Reality Software Manipulates Anything Your Camera Sees
"This quick demo shows a Dr. Pepper can being bulged and warped in real-time, without also distorting the area around the can. So the software is obviously very adept at isolating the object from the rest of the scene. It also shows the can being augmented with glowing rings, and creepy little creatures dancing around it, possibly worshipping its syrupy goodness."
Heat Seeking Robot Absorbs and Shares The Warmth In Your Home
"Think of it as an autonomous roaming heater, but instead of generating its own heat, which would chew through a set of batteries in no time, it hunts down and steals the warmth from other items in your home. So for example, as the robot follows you into your living room, it would detect that the fireplace is producing considerably more heat than you are, so would park itself at a safe distance allowing its internal mechanisms to absorb as much warmth as possible. Then, when you went to your bedroom at the end of the night, the robot would follow you there and using its sensors would determine that room was a lot colder than the last. So instead of trying to absorb more heat, it would emit what it had stored, warming its surroundings as much as possible."
Haptic Weather Forecaster Lets You Feel Tomorrow’s Temperature
"Robb, an industrial design student at Rochester Institute of Technology, created the Cryoscope from a heat sink, cooling fan, and a Peltier element, which is kind of like a thermo-electric pump that can transfer heat from one area to another. All the elements are encased in an aluminum cube which heats up or cools down to reflect tomorrow’s predicted air temperature. A simple web app lets you specify your location, so the forecast is—you know—accurate. And on the underside of the cube a red and blue colored LED provides a visual cue to the predicted temp, in case the Cryoscope is hot enough to make you wish you hadn’t touched it."
Music Bloodline Is the Perfect Discovery Tool for Spotify-Using Music Nerds
"The Next Web just stumbled upon Music Bloodline, which is the coolest music discovery tool we’ve seen in a while. It catalogs artists according to who influenced who. Pretend that you’re listening the same T. Rex record over and over because nothing else comes to mind. Head to Music Bloodline and look up T. Rex instead. There you’ll find a bio, discography, and top tracks. There are even Spotify links, so you can listen to tracks and albums with a click. After clicking around on the site a little bit, you’ll find loads of artists you’d never heard before—or at least artists you haven’t listened to in a while."
Hybrid fiber optic cable carries data and power
"Invented by Sandia’s Titus Appel and Steve Sanderson, PoF is currently limited to a fairly low capacity, so don’t expect it to be delivering power to your house any time soon. It could, however, supply power to small electrical devices such as sensors, for which it would also be providing data transfer. In the cable’s present incarnation, optical power goes through a single glass fiber. A laser diode at one end of that fiber emits light, while a miniaturized photovoltaic cell at the other end converts it into electricity. Power is only delivered on demand, in order to save energy."
South Korea opens a Kinect-powered theme park
"Visitors wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to identify them, while Kinect sensors detect their movements, voices, and faces. Many of the attractions center around having users create an avatar of themselves that they can interact with and take on a virtual adventure, which is portrayed using 3D video, holograms, and augmented reality technology. Some examples include: Ender Mirror: visitors create an avatar of themselves that they can interact with. Live360: the world’s largest interactive 360 degree stereoscopic theatre, where visitors can follow their avatar through an interactive story that has multiple endings. Live Square: visitors play games with their avatar in a 150-meter (492-foot) wide projection square"
This 1000fps Camera Will Capture the Super Bowl in Super Slow-Motion
"Slow-motion video is nothing new to sporting events, but this NAC camera is really upping the stakes at this weekend’s Super Bowl. It’ll capture every kick, tackle and fight in glorious 1000fps footage, almost doubling what current cameras capture."
Verbling Pairs You with Native Speakers So You Can Practice Speaking New Languages
"Flashcards and topics for discussion (e.g., "What is the nightlife like in your country") are provided beneath the video screen to help guide your conversation. Each session lasts five minutes. I was matched up quickly with Paco in Spain, but then the video cut off, and then Jose connected. The quality of the videos can really vary depending on the user and, obviously, there may be difficulties understanding the other person depending on how far along you both are in your language learning, your personalities, and so on. Still, it’s pretty neat to instantly connect with a stranger across the world and try to boost each other’s linguistic skills."
Bird-Shaped Smoke Detector Chirps Louder As Smoke Thickens
"The Chick-a-Dee is a simple design that brings a fresh twist to traditional smoke detectors. The device is designed to look like a bird perched on a branch and gives out friendly chirps when it detects smoke. As smoke thickens, the sound becomes louder and more sustained at 85 decibels."
Play Smartphone Lazer Tag With New Gun Attachment
"The XAPPR gun attachment for smartphones is being debuted at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, this week. Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, it will provide an enhanced experience for players with enabled apps. The types of games currently available include shooting alien spaceships, zombies and robots and a multiplayer combat game called ATK. This lets you work against each other or in teams, running around and trying to “shoot” other players by aiming at them with the gun, like a game of Lazer Tag."
Creating Art From People’s Vanity and Digital Leavings
"The photographs in "Unintended Consequences" come from camera equipped devices in Apple Computer stores. On a daily basis people are leaving their portraits behind on iPhones, iPads and iPods. Customers are disregarding their own discretion and abandoning these photographs. Since these images are anonymous the participants can represent themselves however they chose to without scrutiny. Taking these images explores the change in behavior when people do not consider how these images will be used."
UPenn’s GRASP lab unleashes a swarm of Nano Quadrotors
"Remote-controlled quadrotor robots have been around for some time, but in the following video just released by a research team at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, science fiction edges much closer to science fact as a swarm of the Nano Quadrotors perform some astounding maneuvers. Admittedly, use of the term "nano" may be stretching things a bit, but even so, the capable little robots provide an interesting glimpse into what the future may hold for surveillance, search and rescue, light construction and warfare."
Mask stuffed with micro-components could work miracles for severe facial burn patients
"Engineers and researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington in collaboration with military medical institutions aim to develop a mask that would use mechanical, electrical and biological components to speed up the healing process following severe facial burns. The flexible polymer face mold is to be fitted with sensors for the monitoring of the healing process. If necessary, embedded components would selectively administer the appropriate pharmaceuticals to the right section of the wound. The aim of the Biomask project is not only to prevent further disfigurement, but also to facilitate facial tissue regeneration in injured soldiers."
Self-guided bullet could hit laser-marked targets from a mile away
"A group of researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have built a prototype of a small-caliber bullet capable of steering itself towards a laser-marked target located approximately 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) away. The dart-like design has passed the initial testing stage, which included computer simulations as well as field-testing prototypes built from commercially available parts."
Science decodes ‘internal voices’
"The team monitored the STG brain waves of 15 patients who were undergoing surgery for epilepsy or tumours, while playing audio of a number of different speakers reciting words and sentences. The trick is disentangling the chaos of electrical signals that the audio brought about in the patients’ STG regions. To do that, the team employed a computer model that helped map out which parts of the brain were firing at what rate, when different frequencies of sound were played. With the help of that model, when patients were presented with words to think about, the team was able to guess which word the participants had chosen."
via BBC News
SmartCap monitors workers’ fatigue levels by reading their brain waves
"The washable cap incorporates waterproof sensors in its lining, which are able to measure electrical activity originating in the brain, at the scalp level. No preparation of the scalp is necessary. Once every second, a custom algorithm analyzes the data, to determine the wearer’s level of alertness. This information is transmitted by Bluetooth to a linked device such as a smartphone or the dedicated SmartCap touchscreen monitor, where the user will be able to see a visual display of their fatigue level – if that level drops to dangerous levels, audible and visual alarms will be activated. The sensors are able to tell when the cap isn’t being worn, so simply taking it off to hide one’s fatigue isn’t an option."
Two iPhone Screens Become One In New Mobile Game
"A new multi-screen iOS game called Johnny Test: Roller Johnny uses Bluetooth to share screens across multiple devices. This development inspires new possibilities for apps, games, etc. It is the first iOS gaming experience with co-operative screen play, allowing people to team up and explore together."
Samsung outfits London Eye with Galaxy Tabs
"By doing this, [visitors] can access key information about 55 famous London landmarks, 24 hour time-lapse photography, 360 degree day and night views from the London Eye and bird’s eye views of some of the key landmarks as well as a unique ‘look inside’ some of the structures for a unique perspective,” the organization said in a statement. The London Eye, built in 2000, was already one of the most modern and high-tech tourist spots in Europe. The Galaxy Tab project, which is expected to be complete in May, further cements that designation."
Bass-thumpin’ rap music used to power implantable medical sensor
"The team’s device is classed as a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) and features a tiny ceramic (lead zirconate titanate) piezoelectric cantilever which vibrates when exposed to sound frequencies from 200-500 hertz. Babak Ziale, a Purdue University professor of electrical, computer and biomedical engineering likens the cantilever to a miniaturized diving board that generates electricity when deformed. Acoustic vibrational energy such as that from certain forms of music can penetrate the body and be captured and stored as electricity in the circuit’s tiny capacitor which can then be used to power the pressure sensor. Measurement data, converted to radio signals, could then be read by a receiver placed several inches from the patient."
Visualplanet’s Touchfoil Turns Virtually Any Surface into a Virtual One (i.e. a Touchscreen)
"Touchfoil is a proprietary technology that is designed to turn any large area of glass—a retail display window was their inspiration—into a "huge interactive surface that behaves just like the latest tablet devices." The transparent film can be fitted (or retrofitted) to the inside or underside of any nonmetallic surface to transform it into a touchscreen."