Archive for December, 2010

Skype’s updated app one-ups Apple with mobile video chat

The new Skype app offers video chat over 3G

Skype has launched a video chat feature for their iPhone app which adds 3G capability, as well as being able to chat with iPhone 3GS users in a limited one way video basis.

Users who have the iPhone 4 or 4th generation iPod Touch can initiate video calls with friends who use the iPhone 3GS, iPad, and 3rd Generation iPod Touch, while 3rd Gen Apple device users can only receive the video chat and while talking audio only. Mac Desktop users can also jump into the fray using the Skype client.

But what’s really challenging to Apple’s Facetime dominance is that Skype can video chat over 3G, not just WiFi only. And according to Red Ferret, the data usage isn’t too bad, chiming in at about 1.3MB per minute.

Frankly, I’m amazed that Apple approved this update, but it may be that they’ll be announcing a “one more thing” update next month that will do the same.

The Skype App update is free can is available right now at the App Store.

Hat Tip – The Ferret


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Microsoft Kinect Hacked to play World of Warcraft

Researchers slash their way thought World of Warcraft thanks to the Kinect

Living Rooms all around the world are shaking with fear of users actually taking swords and attacking their big screens thanks to a new hack for the Microsoft Kinect that allows gamers to play World of Warcraft without a keyboard.

It’s no secret that the Kinect is rapidly becoming the most hacked device since the Hackintosh, but students at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies have takent he next step in developing a software hack which enables gamers to use the motion device to immerse themselves even deeper into the online Mid-evil world.

The hack is called the “Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit, (FAAST) and it uses full-body motion control. Gamer can not only wield a sword or axe to take out a feisty orc, but they can also cast spells, making it nirvana for those who secretly love to dress up to play their favorite game. And it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to use their light saber collection to battle someone online.

But with everyone creating bold new uses for the Kinect and porting it over to the PC, the sky is truly the limit for what can be done with this game changing device. And it makes the world of Minority Report that much closer, but in a bold and exciting way. Imagine editing video’s just with a snip of your fingers and a wave of your hand? Designing in CAD programs Tony Stark style. And getting rid of the keyboard forever?

It’s not just for games anymore and that’s a cool thing.

Hat Tip – GizmoWatch


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Ocado fridge is self-cleaning

I’m sure that most of us don’t like cleaning our fridge, but certain scientists at the University of Central Lancashire have created the Ocado self-cleaning fridge.

I’m not certain how the self-cleaning works. This is not to say that the Ocado fridge doesn’t have these little brushes and buffers that can clean the fridge from the inside. Truth be told, we all want that, but the technology isn’t there yet. In fact, I sounds like this whole refrigerator works on some technology that isn’t there yet. It is “nano-articulated technology” that features “millions of independently micro-tiles, which will send food products that are scheduled to be eaten to the front of the fridge”.

The Ocado can scan its shelves for food and provide the user with recipes, teach the user how to cook with the foods that they have, and it will teach the user how to cook with fresh foods.

If you want to find out more about this fridge, then you should probably click on the Source link. I will warn you that the small font that you see here is only a little larger at my Source image, but still not large enough to read. You might have to do a little enlargement to read it.

I’m not certain if we’ll ever perfect the tech to make this refrigerator work, but there is a screen on the front that I like. I think some refrigerators have this now.

Source


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How the THKR-4 robot rings in the new year

I’m not certain if it is New Year’s Day by the time you read this, because I know our readers are worldwide and are in different time zones. I couldn’t think of a better time to post this than now.

This picture and attached video (see after the jump) were taken at the ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Project in Yokohama Japan, and it would appear that they were celebrating New Year’s Day early.

This is the THKR-4 robot, and it was able to serve at the party better than R2-D2 when he was forced to serve on Jabba the Hutt’s Sail Barge. As you can see, the THKR-4 is able to walk to the refrigerator, grab some champagne, and pour it. It can even do those party poppers. For an encore, it does a massage.

This THKR-4 has the potential to be the life of the party, but since it moves around rather jerkily, it is like a zombie. So for now, it is the death of the party.

Of course, we all want servant robots to deal with the mundane tasks that we don’t want to do. I find this one to be rather creepy with its fake skin on its hands. I hope they don’t put skin all over it, or we’re getting into Terminator territory.

Source


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Griffin Slap Nano Wristband

The latest iPod nano is definitely one of the smallest wonders of the world, according to diehard Apple fanboys. Well, we are wont to agree since something so small can actually carry so much stuff. It also goes without saying that the third party accessory market for the iPod nano is a growing (and lucrative) one, otherwise how can we see so many manufacturers throwing their lot into this area? One of the newer accessories to roll out would be the Griffin Slap Nano Wristband, where this slap style strap is actually a flexible ‘memory-metal’ wristband, specially designed to accommodate an iPod nano, allowing you to wear it like a wristwatch. All you need to do is whap the seemingly rigid silicone band on your arm, and see it fit your wrist perfectly, as though it had a life of its own. Start strutting this around like a peacock after you invest £14.99 in it.


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iPad Alarm Clock

Yeah, when it comes to docks, Apple devices are certainly king of the hill, what with a ton of iPod touch, iPhone and even now, iPad docks arriving to flood the market and help you part with your hard earned money. The iPad Alarm Clock is one of the later models to arrive, where this docking station will turn your iPad into a versatile bedside alarm clock. A pre-loaded app will allow you to wake up to the song of your choice, and with a snooze interval that can be set anywhere from 1 to 29 minutes, hardcore snoozers will definitely find this $199.95 purchase to be a good deal! All audio will be played through the dock’s built-in speakers, and the iPad’s display is used to show weather reports, personal reminders, and overnight updates from Facebook and Twitter. Talk about waking up connected to the rest of your social network! There is also a failover alarm in the dock just in case the app isn’t running as it should, making sure you will not miss that important meeting or flight.


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Moshi Voice Control Reflection Clock

Finding it hard to wake up early in the morning simply because of the cool weather and the fact that you’re extremely cozy under your sheets? The Moshi Voice Control Reflection Clock might add some spice to your life then, as this unique consumer electronics device will boast voice recognition technology which lets you set the time, dual alarms, snooze, ask for indoor and outdoor temperature and record up to an 8 minute memo – all using nothing but your speech alone. Similar to other Moshi alarm clocks of the past, the Reflection Clock will boast Technology That Listens, which translates to its ability to recognize your voice command without any setup required. Apart from that, you get a 9 minute snooze (is that a magic number?), custom alarm sounds, half a dozen nightlight colors to choose from and adjustable LCD brightness.Just in case you are hunting for the Moshi Voice Control Reflection Clock up and down the Walmarts around the country, bear in mind that this is a Brookstone exclusive, going for $59.95.


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Panasonic AG AF100 offers an above average video recording experience

Are you looking to be a budding filmmaker, and have the ambition to be one of the top movie makers when you grow up? Well, if that is the case and the answer is in a definite affirmative category, then you might be interested to know that Panasonic has rolled out its AG AF100 camcorder, making it the industry’s first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder that have been specially optimized for high-definition video recording. Of course, the price is not going to be cheap, as it has been listed at $4,995 which puts it out of reach for most of the working class since it is not an essential item, but then again, the AF100 does offer a new level of affordability for HD motion image quality. We will look into the AF100 in greater detail in the extended post.

Capable of affording the depth of field and field of view that is similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a more affordable camera, where it will target the film and video production communities. The AF100 won’t find it a challenge to deliver film-like shallow depth of field and the wider field of view of a large imager, carrying with it the flexibility and cost advantages of a growing line of professional quality, industry-standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. Not only that, it also offers the capabilities of a full HD 1080/720 production camera, delivering superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

According to Jan Crittenden Livingston, Product Line Business Manager, Panasonic Solutions Company, “The design of the AF100’s advanced, custom-designed 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a more affordable camera. What’s more, Panasonic engineering ingenuity has resolved the aliasing and moiré that has haunted the DSLR shooter. In fact, the AF100 was based on what we heard from and saw customers doing: purchasing DSLR cameras because they liked the look of the image, but then agonizing over all of the workarounds required to achieve an acceptable high definition recording.”

All purchases of this 3.5-pound AG-AF100 will be accompanied by a three-year limited warranty, as long as you register the camera with the PASS customer support program.

Press Release


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Crestron Sonnex 24X8 Multiroom Audio System begins to ship

For those of you who are more than willing to turn your living room into a home entertainment extravaganza, then you might be interested to know that Crestron’s starting to ship their Sonnex 24X8 Multiroom Audio System. Just what the Sonnex is able to offer? For starters, it transmits 48 channels of uncompressed 24-bit HD audio long distances across a single shielded CAT5-type cable to up to 74 zones. This features a breakthrough all-in-one high-efficiency hardware design and exclusive single-wire digital bus technology, where Sonnex will substantially reduce the hardware and cabling requirements of traditional systems without sacrificing on delivering maximum power and sound quality.

One of the main advantages of Sonnex to custom installers would be the need for never ever having to deal with speaker wire homeruns back to the central closet, reducing installation times by a significant margin, where it lets installers move on to the next job whereas their competitors are still pulling cable. If you’re an installer and want to up your business plan, then the Crestron Sonnex 24X8 Multiroom Audio System would definitely be a serious consideration for you.

Boasting installations of more than 8 zones, all integrators need to do is add a SWAMPE-8 zone expander locally instead of in the central rack. There is only one connection required back to the main rack, where it is a single shielded CAT5-type cable. This basically means that pulling bundles of speaker wire through walls and ceilings are a thing of the past, letting you heave a sigh of relief. When you add up to eight 8-zone expanders, you get a whopping total of 74 zones with 24 sources. As all speaker wire is local, there would be no more time-consuming speaker wire home runs all the way back to the central rack.


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Lumi Mask Sleep Goggles

Some of you might remember when we covered the Sleeptracker Elite Pro watch, a watch with an alarm that works by waking the user up at an optimal time.

This reminds me of this Lumi Mask, and it is designed to wake up someone by projecting “natural” light on the face. It begins 30 minutes prior to the wake-up time, so that wake-up time is a whole lot easier.

Just think of it as one of those days where you can sleep without the burden of an alarm clock, and you wake up as the sun beams into your room.

Unfortunately, you can’t seem to purchase this right now, and I believe that this is concept work for right now. I suppose that the science of this sleep and wake-up technology is valid, but I have to admit that I’m not certain whether or not it really works. Maybe I’ve just got used to the sleep patterns that I have had.

This project is on Kickstarter, and Taylor Franklin Hide is asking for $1 minimum investments to get this thing going. It apparently takes about $10,000 to get this thing started, and he’s got about half of this already. We will see if this one makes it to the usual commercial retailers.

Source


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