Friday, June 29, 2007

Touchable 3D Images

The Japanese company NTT has developed a system that can make a 3D image appear solid enough to hold. The prototype Tangible 3D system combines a 3D display with a "haptic glove".

The display creates a lifelike image that appears to be just in front of the screen; the illusion of depth is created by showing slightly different images to the viewer’s eyes (no special 3D glasses needed). A haptic glove is connected to the display and contains numerous force-feedback sensors, so that the user feels like they are interacting with the object.

The system can also translate real-world objects into virtual representations. Two cameras image the items in 3D so that they can be displayed on the screen. A connected computer then processes the 3D image to generate a tactile representation of the object.This set up means that if the object being filmed is moved, the three-dimensional image also moves in real-time and the user will feel the movement with their hand.
Looks and sounds pretty cool…

Source: New Scientist

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iPlayer Launching in UK

If you are in the United Kingdom, you might be pleased to know that the BBC’s on demand TV service ‘the BBC iPlayer’ will be launched on July 27. UK users will be able to download popular shows over the net seven days after broadcast to watch on their PC.

At the start the service will only be available to PC users, but Mac versions will be available later in the year, as will links from YouTube and other social network sites.

In brief:
· iPlayer will allow viewers to catch up on TV programmes for seven days
· Some TV series can be downloaded and stored for 30 days
· Viewers will be able to watch shows streamed live over the internet
· Users will not be able to download programmes from other broadcasters
· Classical recordings and book-readings are excluded from iPlayer

Programmes will include popular series such as Life on Mars; soap operas such as EastEnders and documentaries such as Planet Earth. Initially, 400 hours of programming will be available.

Source: BBC News

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Washable Mouse by Belkin

Belkin have recently announced that they will be selling a washable mouse for the bargain price of $29.99. The washable mouse is water-resistant (thankfully), so it can resist spills, and stays clean and disinfected. Its versatile Scroll Pad lets you scroll vertically and horizontally with one easy touch.

According to the Belkin website, the washable mouse has the following advantages:
• Works on a variety of household surfaces including upholstery and wood
• Featyres optical technology with 1200dpi
• Powered via USB cable

Source: Belkin via Techfresh

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Friday, June 15, 2007

BMW 1-Series Coupé Spied

Here are a couple of shots of the new BMW 1 Coupe that should be available at the end of 2007. The BMW 1 series is not new for those of you in Europe but in the States it might be. This is a very nice looking car and should be a very good performer and drive

In Europe the BMW 1 coupe wil be available in 4 and 6 cylinder versions, whereas the States will only see the 6 cylinder models. Now if BMW squeeze the twin-turbo 3.0 litre engine in this little car, it is sure to raise some eyebrows. Hopefully pricing will allow us mortals to have a chance at buying one. Stay tuned.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Philips BTM630 iPod Speaker System

There are plenty of iPod speaker systems on the market and Philips will be adding to the mix with their new BTM630 system. The BTM will play normal CD’s, CD’s with MP3’s and WMA’s. It will also allow you to dock, charge and play your iPod as well as play music from SD or MMC cards. If that is not enough the BTM630 will also receive Bluetooth signals from Bluetooth enabled cell phones or other music transmitting devices.

The price; a straight $199, and from the photo it looks like a nice system.

Source: Gizmodo

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Zurfer for Mobiles

Have you ever wanted to find photos from your current location on your mobile phone? Well, it appears that the folks over at Yahoo Research have developed an application that will do exactly that…

Zurfer is a prototype application for your mobile phone that allows you to look at Flickr photos that are tailored to your current location. Zurfer uses Yahoo’s ZoneTag technology to determine your location based on the cell phone tower that you are connected to, it then displays photos taken from near that location.

You can also do the more usual tasks on Flicker using Zurfer, such as, seeing contacts new photos, searching Flickr etc…

Sounds like an interesting concept, especially if you are new to an area or are on vacation in a place that you have never been before.

Source: Zurfer via Crave

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Nokia N76 Signature Edition

The Nokia will be offering a version of their N76 customized by Bjorn Weckstorm (a Finnish artist). The N76 Signature Edition unfortunately will only be available at the Helsinki Nokia Flagship store.

This N76 Signature edition will have a miniature sculptured relief on the back, handcrafted by Lapponia Jewelry. “The Nokia N76 multimedia computer blends style and substance to bring the complete Nokia N series experience to a sleeker body, with very little compromise.”

As you can see from the photo, it looks rather nice…

Source: Mobiledia

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Robotic Rescue Soldier The Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR)

The New Scientist is reporting that the US army is developing a 1.8 meter tall remote controlled robot codenamed Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) that will be able to travel over bumpy terrain to rescue injured or fallen soldiers. The prototype Bear can lift more than 135 kilograms with one arm, and is being developed by Vecna Technologies of College Park, Maryland. Recently the robot was shown climbing up and down stairs carry a life sized dummy.

The BEAR robot can also carry heavy loads over long distances without tiring like a human soldier. The robot can also carry a soldier while kneeling or lying down to avoid detection. The robot's hydraulic arms are designed to pick up loads in a single smooth movement, to avoid causing pain to wounded soldiers. Tracks on both the thighs and shins allow the robot to climb easily over rough terrain or up and down stairs while crouching or kneeling. Computer-controlled motors adjust the position of its lower body accordingly to prevent it toppling over.

The Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) should be ready for field testing in about 5 years

Source: Botmag via New Scientist

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Alien Abduction Lamp is Pure Genius

There is not much that needs to be said about this lamp, the photo says it all. The Alien Abduction lamp by Lasse Klein is just so cool; the sci-fi inspired lamp features a UFO that lights up, hovering above the ground, thanks to the glass support that looks like a tractor beam with suspended cow (in this case). One press of the antenna and the UFO light’s up, revealing the alien inside and down through the glass base. This is still in the concept phase, but I am sure that if it goes into production it will be a winner. This lamp is awesome.

Such an obvious concept, but then the best things usually are.

Source: Technabob

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Dreamate Helps You Sleep

The Dreamate is a new patented device that will help to improve your sleeping. The device is worn on the wrist and follows the Meridian Theory of Chinese Medicine. There are 3 specific acupuncture points on the wrist that form a "Golden Triangle" and when Dreamate is worn, small electrical pulses are emitted, stimulating these acupuncture points. This improves the blood circulation and leads to the release of Melatonin that reduces stress and helps you sleep better. The device massages the “Golden Triangle” area of the wrist and re-tunes your biological clock.

The Dreamate should be used for 15 minutes, approximately 30 minutes before going to bed and after several days use, you should start to notice an improvement (this is according to the manufacturer). I can not say how effective this is, but if you are someone that suffers with insomnia or poor sleep patterns, this might be worth a try.

The Dreamate is available at Amazon for $84.95

Source: Amazon via Coolest Gadgets

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HTC Touch Features Touch Sensitive Screen

HTC Corp., today announced the global launch of the HTC Touch, the first device to feature new underlying touch screen technology. The HTC Touch is now available in the United Kingdom and will be released later this month in Asia and throughout Europe. The North and Latin American version of the HTC Touch will be available in the second half of 2007.

The HTC Touch responds to the sweep of a finger across its screen and can distinguish between a finger and a stylus and responds accordingly.

The main animated 3D screen comprises Contacts, Media and Applications. By swiping your finger on the screen the interface is spun to provide access to the features the user uses the most. There is one touch access to emails, text messages, calendar and contacts.

The phone utilizes Windows Mobile 6 Professional, the Touch includes Outlook Mobile, Office Mobile, Windows Live and the capabilities to run thousands of third-party applications, and to surf the web.

General Specs:
• Dimensions: 99.9 x 58 x 13.9 mm
• Weight: 112g with battery
• 1 GB microSD storage card included / 64 MB RAM, 128 MB ROM
• 2.8-inch LCD touch screen with backlight, 240 x 320 px resolution with 65K-colors
• Battery Life: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 1100 mAh
• Standby time: Up to 200 / Talk time: Up to 5 hours
• Camera: 2.0-megapixel CMOS colour camera
• Windows Mobile 6 Professional with Direct Push Email and HTML email support
• Wireless Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE Tri-band: 900, 1800,1900, Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0
• Choice of two colors at launch - elegant soft black or alluring wasabi green

Source: Mobiledia

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Toshiba R500 Thin and Light Notebook

Toshiba will be releasing its all new R500 in Japan on June 22. Known as the Dynabook SS RX Series in Japan, this is the worlds thinnest and lightest (as of today) notebooks to be produced. The R500 will be released in the USA later this year.

There will be a version with 64GB flash memory storage and optical disk drive that weighs in at 848 grams. Another version with a hard drive and optical drive, that weighs just 959 grams (less than 2.4 pounds). The laptops will utilize Intel’s Core 2 Duo Processor U7600 (1.06GHz) and a claimed battery life of 12.5 hours.

If you are in the market for an ultra-light and slim laptop, you might want to wait to see this system, before taking the plunge.

Source: Digital World Tokyo and Toshiba Press Release

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Looking for a Laptop Bag?

If you have just spent your hard earned money on a new laptop, you want to make sure that it is protected as you travel around. Over on CNET they have produced a list of their favorite laptop bags; here is a summary:

Vaja Messenger Slim Laptop Case
This case is designed specifically for the 13” and 15” MacBooks and is a high-quality hand-made leather case, with over 50 color combinations. The bag measures 15 inches long by 11 inches wide by 2.5 inches deep. The main compartment is has a durable fabric, a front flap hangs over this, with no buttons, zippers, or clasps. The main compartment is not that spacious and with your MacBook inside, there's little room anything else. There are however, additional pockets under the front flap and on the rear of the case for papers, magazines, or MacBook accessories. Bottom line from CNET “Despite the space limitations, high price, and MacBook-only design, the Vaja Messenger Slim is the nicest laptop case we've seen to date, and it generated more than its share of envious stares.”
Priced around $230
CNET Score: 8/10

Lexie Barnes Echo
The Lexie Barnes Echo provides only three large pockets. The front pocket is a single zippered compartment that can holds your cords and accessories; the middle has a double zipper that is padded for your laptop; on the back there is a slim pocket for files, magazine, or newspaper. The Echo line includes bags in 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch sizes. Bottom line from CNET “the Echo an excellent choice for pedestrian or transit commuters and anyone who doesn't need a laptop bag to also serve as a briefcase.”
Priced around $95 the lexie barnes Echo is available at Amazon
CNET Score: 8/10

Timbuk2 Soma
The Tinbuk2 Soma is available in five subdued colors, it has two soft straps that let you carry the bag like a briefcase or throw it over your shoulder. A double zipper opens three quarters of the way down the sides, letting you see and access the bag's many organizer pockets. The central double zipper opens all the way down its sides, allowing easy access to all of the bag's contents; a central molded and padded laptop compartment protects laptops with up to 15.4-inch displays. On one side of the laptop compartment is an open section to accommodate writing materials; on the other side of the central laptop compartment are two deep pockets that can hold power cords etc… Bottom line from CNET “No matter how much stuff we stuffed in the Timbuk2 Soma, it kept its sleek lines and slim shape--a huge plus for business travelers who want to look put together even while lugging all their electronic necessities across the country.”
Priced around $100
CNET score: 8.5/10

Mobile Edge Milano
The Mobile Edge Milano is designed for females who are looking for something stylish to carry their ultra-portable laptops. This is a shoulder strap laptop case and contains three main compartments accessed via the double zipper that opens down the side of the bag. The three compartments are divided into; organizer pockets, central laptop storage pocket, and the third can be used for files and notepads. Bottom line from CNET “The shoulder-bag design is stylish and versatile--we can easily imagine using this as a briefcase even without the laptop--and we like that the straps flatten out at the top to keep them from sliding off your shoulder”
Priced around $90 the Mobile Edge Milano is available at Amazon
CNET score: 8.5/10

Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Roller
The Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Roller can hold a laptop with a display of up to 15.4”. The case is fitted with a set of wheels and telescopic handle to allow you to roll the bag like a suitcase. The case is made of water-resistant microfiber and measuring 17.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep by 7.5 inches thick. The case has three roomy compartments that will take writing materials, your laptop and various accessories that you will need with you. Bottom line from CNET “We were impressed not only by how quietly the bag rolled but also by its inherent stability; even when going down stairs, the bag never felt the slightest bit likely to flop over.”
Priced at around $100 the Kensington Contour Balance Roller is available at Amazon
CNET score: 8.5/10

Source: CNET

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Talking Paper

Researchers at Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden have created paper that is interactive and plays sounds when it is touched. “Paper Four” responds to a users' touch, by playing clips from music albums or spoken audio (in their current billboard examples).

In order to make the paper interactive the billboard is made in layers; a paper screen printed with conductive ink is placed on a base and a top layer showing the design is placed on top. The middle conductive layer is connected to a power supply and microelectronics that are used to play the sounds. The touch sensors are activated when the user touches the paper and alters the current flow (similar to a laptop touchpad). The billboards also contain speakers which “are made by printing electromagnets out of conductive ink and stretching the paper over a cavity like a speaker cone behind the billboard. The electromagnets vibrate in response to a current, creating a sound.”

Check out the video here

The video shows some cool uses of this technology and opens the door to such things as talking maps, interactive street signs etc...

Source: New Scientist

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Sony BDP-300 Blu-ray Player Price Cut

Originally due to be released at a cost of $599, Sony has just announced that,its BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc Player will be available for only $499.

As Sony States:

See and hear a whole new world of high definition with the incredible BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc® Player. The crystalline clarity of 1080p Blu-ray Disc movies and DVD upscaling has to be seen to be believed. Amazing 24p True Cinema output and cinema-tuned picture presets allow you to see movies exactly how the director intended. And with BRAVIA™ Theatre Sync, you can now you can control your compatible BRAVIA TV and AV systems from just one remote.

So if you are in the market for a Blu-ray player here are the specs:
• Dimensions (Approx.) 17 x 3 1/8 x 14 7/8" (430 x 79 x 375mm)
• Weight (Approx.) 10 lb. (4.5kg)
• HDMI™ Connection Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr) Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• S-Video Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• Composite Video Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• Optical Audio Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• Coaxial Audio Digital Output(s) 1 (Rear)
• Analog Audio Output(s) 2 ch; 1 (Rear)
• Analog-to-Digital Converter 192KHz/24bit
• Screen Saver Yes
• DVD+R Read Compatibility Yes
• DVD+RW Read Compatibility Yes
• DVD-R Read Compatibility Yes
• DVD-RW Read Compatibility Yes
• High Definition Full HD 1080/24p and 60p1
• MP3 Player Yes (Content must be in DVD+R/+RW/-R/-RW format.)
• DVD Upscaling to 1080p via HDMI
• BRAVIA Theatre Sync (HDMI-CEC)
• BD/DVD/CD playback(4) and AVC-HD with x.v.Color output
• Multi-channel Linear PCM & Dolby Digital Plus Decoding

Source: Slipperbrick

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Make a 3D Scanner From Lego and Milk

What can you do with a web cam, some Lego and a plastic box filled with milk? You can create your very own 3D scanning machine… The following video shows how with these three simple things you can scan objects and create a displacement map for use with Moviesandbox, or any other 3D App that would allow for displacement mapping.

The webcam is held in place over the milk by the Lego. The object that is to be scanned is placed in the box and milk is added slowly. The camera tracks the changing outline as it is slowly immersed in the milk. Milk is used as it provides a high contrast background. The software then layers the outlines together to create a 3D model.

Source: New Scientist via Instructables

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iPhone Released June 29

Well it's here, almost. June 29 (US only) will see the release of Apple's iPhone. If you want to get your hands on one, you will need to switch to AT&T. The price a mere $499. Hopefully there will be some incentives that bring this price down.

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