The sOccket is a soccer ball that captures and stores energy while being played. It was developed by four students from Harvard, as a project. They tried to connect two observations they had: (1) kids all over the world are playing soccer and (2) many kids in the undeveloped world don’t have electricity at home. They connected the two observations into one product, the sOccket. Jessica Lin, co-creator of the sOccket, explains that it works more or less with the same principal as one of those “shake to charge” flashlights, “where a magnet rolls through a coil creating an electric charge.”After some field testing in South Africa and Kenya, they improved the mechanism to be more robust, and they expect to roll the product in summer/fall 2011. Read More →
Lytro wants to change the way we take photos by introducing the concept of ‘living-pictures’. A ‘living-picture’ is a picture that the viewer can change the focus of it (check out the sample images on Lytro’s site). Lytro uses a technology based on (4D) light-field photography, which capture not only the amount of light at each pixel, but also how much light arrives along each ray. In order to capture the additional data, it uses more pixels, which means lower picture resolution. The innovation behind Lytho technology is in the ability to capture the ‘living-pictures’ in a single shot on a similar form-factor camera. Another advantage of the technology is the ability to shoot a 3D images from a single lens using a single shot. Lytro CEO Ren Ng said that he expects to see the first Lytho camera in the market by the end of the year, but no additional details are available at this point.
Nintendo had two successful products, the DS/3DS and the Wii, with each one of them provides its own benefits. The Nintendo 3D/3DS offers a two screen gaming experience and focuses more on hard core gamers. The Wii, on the other hand, is focused on the broader demographic and has provided more social experience when using its motion controls. As we reported earlier this month, Nintendo introduced its new gaming machine, the Wii-U, at E3. Nintendo presented a peak into the new console capabilities, but left us with many questions regarding the gaming experience we might get. Read More →
The jury is still out on the verdict regarding the usage of 3D TV’s at home. In the meantime, Sony has showed additional usage for the capability of showing a different image to each eye — Dual-View. Dual-View enables two players to watch one screen, but to view two different images (instead of the split screen implementation in some games). The 24” display Sony presented at E3 can provide dual view in 3D to two players. It achieves this by supporting a 240Hz refresh rate, when each of the 4 separated pictures are being presented in 60Hz. Providing a dual view might be a good reason to wear the special glasses. Read More →
D-Wave has introduced the D-Wave One, the first quantum computing computer. The processor of the D-Wave One is different from traditional processors, which are based on transistors. The Quantum Computer is based on physics behavior ,and it should be easier to model and solve problems of Artificial Intelligence (Markov Random Field), System Validation and Graph and number theories (like code breaking).
“The processor is a physical graph, where the nodes are devices called qubits and the edges are devices called couplers. Both qubits and couplers can be programmed to encode problems in a straightforward way. The chip computes answers to problems by attempting to minimize its energy. The lower the energy of the chip, the better the answer you get out.” (from D-Wave site)
As with computers in the 1970s, this is not an home PC, not by cost or size. Nevertheless, it enables researchers to explore the world of Quantum Computing.
Samsung has recently released 23” and 27” SyncMaster displays as part of the Samsung Central Station series (which was first introduced in CES’11). The Central Station uses UWB wireless technology to connect to a laptop, like the Samsung Series 9 that comes with built-in UWB. If your laptop doesn’t have a built-in UWB support, you can use the USB dongle. The Central Station will identify the laptop when it is near to it, and will operate as a wireless display and docking station. The Samsung Central Station is a LED LCD display with 1080p resolution (1920×1080). The base of the display operates as a docking station, and is equipped with HDMI and VGA outputs, a speaker port, an ethernet port, and 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 (to achieve full USB3.0 you will need to use the upstream USB port and connect it to a USB3.0 port on the laptop).
This is not the first product that use wireless technology to display images on a screen. Intel had introduced the wireless display technology that uses the WiFi network to connect to the TV wirelessly. Toshiba is selling the Dynadock Wireless U docking station, that operates as a wireless docking station. Apple had introduced the Thunderbold port, that reduces the connectivity (display, USB and LAN) to one cable. Nevertheless, in order to go completely wireless, we need to reduce the power cord as well.
See the CNET review of the ‘Samsung Central Station SyncMaster C23A750X’ and the Samsung press release for more details
Do you remember the phones from the 70’s (see the rear left phone in the picture above)? Well, Sagemcom Sixty looks like an old fashion phone, but is packed with today’s technology. The Sagemcom Sixty is a wireless DECT phone, with a built-in answering machine, phone book and a touch panel to display in coming calls and other information.
The phone is available in the UK for £100. More details can be found on their product web page.
Richard Branson who is known for the Virgin Galactic space travel program, has decided to launch another project: Vigin Oceanic. The goal of this project is to go where no man has gone before, the bottom of the ocean. To be more precise, they plan to dive to the 5 lowest points in the oceans, including the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which is 36,201 feet below sea level, and the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench, which at 28,232 feet below the sea. Note, that this is nearly four times deeper than military submarines travel.
To achieve it, Graham Hawkes (from Hawkes Ocean Technologies) has designed a special submarine that can dive into the deep oceans, where the pressure is over 1,000 atmospheres (approximately the equivalent of 8000 elephants standing on top of it) and the extreme cold (just slightly above freezing).
There are scientific purposes to the Virgin Oceanic’s missions for the research of bottom-dwelling microbes, bioluminescence and seafloor geology.
More details can be found at http://www.virginoceanic.com
Melody Shiue, an industrial designer of the University of New South Wales Australia won an award for her product design called, PreVue. It is a device that employs latest stretchable display technology over the abdominal region, letting other family members to connect with the fetus. The PreVue gives you the chance to watch the baby’s growth inside the womb and let the other family members watch the baby as well. I don’t know how safe it is to expose the baby for a long periods of ultrasound during the pregnant time, but the concept is interesting. No details on actual product development or release date. Read More →
At CES 2011, Panasonic released an SDK to enable applications development for its Viera Connect TV line. The SDK should help to increase the amount of applications available for Viera TVs. Panasonic promises an ease-of-use experience when using applications over IPTV, including sports, games, health and fitness, video-on-demand and others. The first application for 2011, NBA game time, was release last week, and NHL and MLS will follow in the coming weeks. Nordic Track will enable people to pair their treadmills with the Viera TV and simulate running all over the world using Google maps. Other devices that can be paired with the TV are fitness arm bands, scale and blood pressure devices. One of the apps to be released in the spring time is the Asphalt5 racing game, which promises to provide a gaming console experience but without the need of a console. Those applications will be available for purchase in the Viera Connect Market. The question is, do we need another SDK and a market for apps?
More details on the Panasonic Viera Connect technology can be found here.
The wireless power consortium is trying to drive a standard for wireless charging, called QI wireless charging. The goal is to enable a future where there is no need to connect your gadget to any cable for charging. Panasonic took advantage of the security show in Japan to show a solar power table with QI wireless charging capability. You can put your cellphone, camera or any other gadget with QI enable battery on one of the four charging pads, and the table will convert the sun light to electricity and charge your device. Panasonic is planning to offer this table for sale by the end of 2011/early 2012. Expect to see more products with QI wireless charging capabilities in the coming months. I wouldn’t mind to have wireless charging using solar panels capability in my car.
More details on QI wireless charging technology can found in the wireless power consortium site.
Last year, we reported that Nintendo planned to introduce a new game console that will support 3D displays without the need of special glasses. In the Nintendo keynote at the Game Developers Conference 2011, Satoru Iwata president and CEO of Nintendo announced that 3D content that will be available for the Nintendo 3DS. Beside recording 3D movies on the device, the Nintendo 3DS will feature streaming video from Netflix, including 3D video content. Nintendo will offer a special 3D video channel that will include movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. As for gaming, Nintendo announced a Super Mario game for the 3DS, that will be further detailed at the E3 expo this June. Nintendo will introduce an eShop, where you will be able to download games to the device, including 3D-remastered classic games. The Nintendo 3DS device will be available in the US on March 27th and will have a price of $250. Nintendo is working hard to offer interesting 3D content for the device. Do you think 3D games and movies are the next buzz?
The full keynote is available here.
The Xtreamer Prodigy is a next generation Realtek based media streamer with USB 3.0, Card Reader, 256Mb RAM and 512 Mb NAND flash memory, HDMI, an integral IR remote control and room for internal 3.5″ HDD (up to 3TB support). Just like previous Xtreamer models it will provide vivid and crisp playback of FULL HD multimedia files (including MKV, MP4 and other common used formats). The Xtreamer prodigy provides access to services like Apple AirPlay, Mediafly, Google Talk, Last FM, Pandora, Facebook, and more. You can search the media library and backup of DVDs and audio CDs using the system. Pricing and availability are not yet known.
Today Apple updated the MacBook Pro family with next generation processors and graphics, a new FaceTime HD camera and high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology. The Thunderbolt I/O technology (previously known as LightPeak) is a revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.
We first learned of this technology from an Engadget article. According to this article and the Apple press release, we can learn that Apple is going to use this technology in all of its product line, including the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It will be interesting to see if Apple will introduce this technology in the iPad 2 that is rumored to be announced next week.
More details on the new MacBook Pro and the Thunderbolt I/O technology can be found in the Apple press release.
HP decided to end its ‘Think Beyond’ event with a surprise: webOS is coming to other connected devices, including printers, PCs and some form factors you haven’t seen before. HP hasn’t provided any additional details and it plans to do so only in the coming months. Do we think it means that HP plans to release PCs running webOS (similar to Google’s ChromeOS)? While it sounds very exciting, this is not likely to happen. Why? Read More →
In May 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue Supercomputer won a fascinating match with the reigning World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov. In January 2011, IBM’s Watson handily defeated the two Jeopardy champions during a demonstration round. In February, Watson will compete against Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter over three nights. This is another progress in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) toward the ultimate test, the Turing test. According to the Turing test, a machine is considered intelligent if a person that chat with a human and a machine cannot define who is who. To achieve it, the machine needs to understand natural language including nuances. This is the challenge that Watson needs to handle as part of the Jeopardy game, and it has to do it fast.
In a different research lab at IBM, researchers developed an automated agent (or intelligent program) that can perform trading in a model similar to the stock exchange market. As shown in that research, the agents outperformed the humans and showed higher profits. While each of those examples enabled machines to be more intelligent, we are still far away from a human intelligent robot.