Archive for March, 2010

Glove Mouse brings both hands into your interface

Once again, someone has imitated the futuristic science of Minority Report to create a gesture-based computer. In this case, these developers from MIT decided to use black gloves, similar to the ones that Tom Cruise wore at the beginning of the film.

You can see the video of the Glove Mouse after the jump. According to the vid, it took less than $100 of technology in order to make the Glove Mouse work. It has an LED on the back of the index finger, then a low resolution webcam to make it act as a cursor.

I have to admit, I don’t remember Tom Cruise’s computer having two hands that act as cursors, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to interface with a computer using two hands. You will note how the user can expand and focus in on a map of MIT.

This Glove Mouse is designed by Tony Hyun Kim and Nevada Sanchez, and they have been working on this project for some time. They have even won MIT’s George C. Newton Project Prize in 2009.

I suppose this will eventually lead to computers where the user has a pair of gloves instead of a mouse, and I wonder if this will save us some time when we run certain applications. This should probably be the goal of a Glove Mouse.

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See your Inbox on your T-Shirt

I suppose that all of us don’t like to be away from our e-mail for a prolonged period of time, myself included. However, if I just knew that I didn’t have a lot of e-mails to check, I might be able to enjoy my time away from my computer.

As you can probably tell from this photo, this is a DIY project. Chris and Madeline Ball posted their work on the MAKE website, and have succeeded in their quest of showing the world just how much email that the wearer is getting.

There is a video after the jump so you can see how it works. You can see that it uses an Arduino Lilypad controller, connected to an Android device, which wirelessly syncs with a computer to light up how many emails that you have.

Some of you might have noticed that it uses a binary numbers (exponents of the power of 2) in order to show the number of e-mails, which means you have to add these numbers up to get the correct amount. The max it will show you is 127 emails. If you have that many after a few hours, then man, you are just way too busy.

I honestly don’t know why you can’t just get yourself a data plan on your mobile phone and check your emails that way. Still, if this couple can figure out a way to mass-produce this shirt, then it could be the latest fad.

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Garmin Forerunner 110 Sports Watch

Garmin has a penchant for all things GPS, and their latest effort would be the Garmin Forerunner 110 sports watch which is touted to come in a sleek package, featuring an intuitive and affordable solution which will definitely come in handy where runners, joggers and walkers are concerned. Of course, there are some of us out there who won’t mind exercising for the sake of sweating it out, but others prefer to have a better and more complete idea on how far they have gone as well as the time taken in order to outperform themselves later on, thanks to the ability of the Forerunner 110 to store the most essential of real-time workout data. The Garmin Forerunner 110 was announced to prepare folks for world-class marathons in Paris, Boston and London, where curious onlookers can check it out at Garmin booths in each location.

It takes but a few seconds of stepping outdoors for the Forerunner 110 to keep track of your distance, pace and time with but a press of the Start button, all without the need for complicated setup methods or excessive accessories. The Forerunner 100 is the result of numerous runners who have had the same request at race expos and retail outlets – “Show me the Garmin watch that has GPS and is easiest to use”, making it the ideal entry-level device that can easily track progress and goals in exercise and training. Apart from displaying time and distance, the Forerunner 110 can also show pace in two ways – averaged out either over the current lap/mile (if auto-lap is enabled) or over the entire duration of the run. For those who wear a Garmin heart rate monitor can also monitor just how hard their heart is working since the Forerunner 110 is able to display current heart rate data and features heart rate-based calorie computation. When you are taking a breather, the simplified menu system makes it a snap to review run data, change auto-lap, set an alarm or edit the user profile.

There is no word on pricing for this water-resistant GPS-enabled fitness watch, as the Forerunner 110 will come with a high-sensitivity SiRFstarIV GPS receiver and Garmin’s HotFix technology which will quickly acquire and sustain satellite reception, regardless of whether you are about to embark on wooded trails under dense trees or in the urban canyons of skyscrapers.

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Desktop Ballbot can keep its balance

I don’t really have a good sense of balance, as I know from playing on the WiiFit Balance Board. I don’t think that I could stand on a ball for too long, but this Ballbot, as it is called, seems to do a very good job of it.

Apparently, there was a larger version of this robot made a while ago, but this one is designed to be on the desktop, kind of like a toy. You can see a video of it after the jump.

As you can see, this guy can sit on an ordinary ball with treaded wheels that can somehow keep its balance. This DIY contraption has a tiny joystick of a controller that allows its user to steer it in certain directions, and pushing lightly on the ballbot doesn’t seem to be knocking it off balance any.

Perhaps it is just me, but I am somewhat jealous of these robots that can do what I cannot do, such as maintain a perfect sense of balance. I think it is odd that we aren’t even really impressed that our machines can maintain a better sense of balance than infant children. I feel that since the Segway, we just haven’t been amazed at our technology’s sense of balance. It’s a real shame, actually.

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Sphelar solar cells provide a transparent power generator on windows

What you are seeing here is the Sphelar solar cells. They are made by the Kyosemi Corporation, which debuted at the PV Expo 2010 in Tokyo.

The purpose of the Sphelar solar cells is to improve on regular solar panels. You know how most solar cells are flat, and are at only one angle? That isn’t really an accurate way to collect the sun, but Sphelar solar cells are solidified drops of silicon that can be molded into any shape. For example, they can be placed on a curved dome that allows the sun to hit it from any angle.

As you can see, the Sphelar material is also near-transparent. This allows the user to put it on any ordinary window, and it will make it into a solar power generator. It will also make it slightly tinted, which will keep out the blinding sunlight when it needs to be kept out.

I suppose that the potential for this tech is pretty endless. For example, can you imagine all glass skyscrapers becoming solar-powered energy producers? What if all homes had these Sphelar cells on their windows? Granted, I don’t know how much energy you can get from these things, but hey, every little bit counts when saving energy.

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NASA Hyperwall lets you really watch the stars in style

Imagine if you had a display like this. Yeah, I would probably put this view of space on it too, just to remind me of how small I am, I guess.

Of course, it is required that you be watching the galaxy on it, as this is the property of NASA. This Hyperwall has 128-screens (16 x 8), which comes out to about a quarter of a billion pixels. In case you are wondering, it has a 23 foot diagonal.

You can watch a video of it after the jump, and you can see a time-lapse film of the people at NASA working on it. I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking as they are pointing to certain things on it. Are they looking at other galaxies? Planets? An asteroid that is about to strike Earth and extinguish life as we know it?

I also can’t help but wonder where they get the images from. Are they live feed from satellites?

I’m guessing that the workers of NASA probably wouldn’t use this Hyperwall to watch a checkered version of Avatar on their lunchbreak, as that would be a waste of 1,024 processor cores. It also runs of speeds of up to 74 teraflops, which is about 74 trillion calculations per second, about the equivalent of 300 PS3 consoles.

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Cravendale Milk Jug alerts of sour milk

No one ever wants to make the mistake of drinking sour milk.  Personally I’m so careful about it that I’ve probably dumped perfectly good milk down the drain before.  It’s usually because I’ve noticed that the milk is right within that gray area and rather than risk it, I get rid of it.  This would be great for anyone that wants to be sure just where they stand when it comes to the freshness of their milk.  It’d also save a whole lot of good milk from being sent down the drain.

There is a front LCD display that will either read fresh or sour.  It decides how the milk is through a sensor at the bottom of the jug.  When milk becomes sour, it’s more acidic, so this just watches for a drop in pH.  It’s a great idea, but I’m not entirely sure if the concept will ever make it into the reality stage.  If it did, it would make a whole lot of households less wasteful, which is always a perk.

Source: GadgetLab


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SIMsystem keeps track of underwater status, wirelessly

Welcome to SIMsystem, which is being hailed as the world’s first electric underpants. I can scarcely believe that this is the first electric pair of undies. Hasn’t someone made a pair of electric underwear to keep your torso warm?

Anyway, the SIMsystem is designed for people who live in rest homes, and the workers who love them. Or, if nothing else, must work with them and change their Depends every once in a while. The SIMsystem uses this sensor strip in the underwear that will detect moistness, and then will send a report via text message, or even over an intercom.

Hopefully the intercom message won’t be something like: “Mrs. Fields has just wet her pants again”. Perhaps something like “Code 142 for Mrs. Fields” will do until everyone learns the code.

You might be wondering how the SIMsystem communicates wirelessly, and it has nothing to do with Bluetooth, bur rather Zigbee.

I suppose we are looking at rest homes of the future who have daily “bladder reports”. It is too bad that these cannot be put into diapers. After all, it is the babies that sometimes get neglected with their diaper changes. However, give it time, and I’m sure that this SIMsystem will get off the ground.

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Wrecking Ball and Crane Lamps

There are just those times when you really need a little extra lighting in some of the darker corners of your home.  Overhead lighting just never seems to cut it when you’re curled up with your favorite book.  Well for those of you that enjoy industrial looking items, Studio Job has come up with a couple of different interesting choices.  The Wrecking Ball and Crane Lamps were created specifically for a gallery upon request.

The Carpenter Workshop Gallery will have the commissioned lamps on display up until May 20th of this year.  Each one has a smaller sized light bulb inside of the cab of the vehicle then a larger one to help actually illuminate a room.  It would probably be tricky to get your hands on one of these bronze creations, but there’s no harm in dreaming.

Source: NerdApproved


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Thingamagoop now comes as a sequel

The Thingamagoop has received an upgrade, and will henceforth be known as (drumroll, please) as the Thingamagoop 2. Not exactly awe inspiring, don’t you think? Well, this awesome and yet diminutive light-controlled, analog synthesizer will rely on its LED-tipped tentacle to flash light at different speeds into its photocell. The photocell itself will communicate with the main oscillator, resulting in blips and bleeps of pure electronic amazement. Apart from that, both analog and digital oscillators are available on the Thingamagoop 2, alongside an improved speaker and an Arduino Programmer jack. Depending on your budget, you can bring home the Thingamagoop 2 as a fully assembled unit, or save some money to purchase the kit and assemble it yourself. That results in a price point that ranges between $99.99 and $159.99.


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