Archive for January, 2014

Fancy driving your car using your brain alone?


Driving a car has become second nature to many of us, and sometimes, it tends up as a reflex action that we do not pay too much attention to – which is a good thing most of the time, although there are moments when we take this particular moment for granted and start to focus on doing another thing such as checking out our e-mail, only to realize that we might have stepped on the brake a little too late shortly after, resulting in a fender bender afterwards. Well, I guess this is why a driverless car makes plenty of sense, although I am quite sure that it could prove rather disconcerting to some that you do not have full control over the vehicle in which you are traveling in. How about driving a car with your thoughts alone? Don’t you think that this would be cool beyond words?

This is what a bunch of engineering students over in India are working on. At Mount Zion College of Engineering and Technology, this particular project would involve converting a small van into a computer controlled vehicle, where the Emotiv EEG headset would function as a controller. We are talking about using off-the-shelf parts here, people, in order to get the job done – now how about that?

Of course, there are still plenty of questions which are left unanswered as at press time, as this particular concept would take years of refinement for it to become safe enough to drive. The thing is, how are we to know that our brain is able to tell the difference between switching gears and turning left while we are pre-occupied with the goings on at the office? What do you think of this proposition – does it sit down well with you? Do you think this is a better idea than a self-driving car?

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HappyBird digital backpack might help kids out


Do you think that kids these days have plenty more books to carry to school than you did back when you were a kid? Of course, it makes perfect sense for lockers in schools to be put to good use, since it would mean not having to tote around all of the books back and forth each day, easing the burden on one’s back, especially since a child’s body is not yet fully developed. Well, HappyBird, a new ‘digital backpack’, has been introduced in order to help bring an end to the back problems that has plagued up to 50% of children in the UK due to the fact that they have been carrying schoolbags and books that are way too heavy for them.

The HappyBird concept works this way – it is made up of a tablet, a Bluetooth pen, and a carry case, where the entire shebang would tip the scales at 94% less weight compared to your average schoolbag. All three of these will work in tandem with one another, providing students with access to millions of ebooks and apps so that they can improve their learning performance.

The asking price for the HappyBird stands at £69, and Jackson Anni, HappyBird co-founder, shared,”HappyBird improves both the health of school, college and university students in the UK, as well as their learning experience and performance. HappyBird is the first in a series of products to help us realise our vision of a world where companies and governments work more closely together to improve the education system via the use of digital tools and technology.”

HappyBird’s 8-inch tablet will be powered by the Android mobile operating system, where its Bluetooth pen is also capable of connecting pen and paper to the tablet in real-time, so that the user will be able to annotate work and send messages to friends. Apart from that, the HappyBird tablet is green enough to be recycled, so should one damage the tablet by accident, they are able to send it to a local recycling bank. Other hardware specifications of this tablet include a Mali TM-400 GPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory which can be further augmented via a microSD memory card slot, a 2MP camera at the back and a front-facing VGA camera.

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Kama Stereo Headset headed for PS4 and PS Vita


So you have decided to jump aboard the handheld console bandwagon, and realized that you prefer to pick on the beefier PS Vita from Sony rather than Nintendo’s 3DS console. Having said that, a pair of decent headphones for the PS Vita (or the Nintendo 3DS for that matter) is important if you want to make the most out of it as the built-in speakers on the PS Vita are not going to cut the mustard for any self-respecting gamer. Hence, the Kama Stereo Headset from Mad Catz is here to save the day, where it delivers affordable quality, comfort and a level of unprecedented simplicity to PS4 and PS Vita owners.

It will not skimp on quality despite carrying a $29.99 price tag, as the Kama Stereo Headset will boast of components derived from TRITTON’s premium headsets, where it will still be able to deliver an impressive audio performance. It has also been specially built for the PS4’s multiplayer online environments, letting you enjoy a comfortable audio experience while simplifying online chat. You can opt to hook it up to just about any device that has a 3.5mm jack, or connect it directly to the PlayStation 4 DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller – it does not matter. Not only that, Mad Catz has also thrown in a flexible performance microphone and uncomplicated inline audio controls to the Kama Stereo Headset that will further enhance your online gaming experience.

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Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e makes communications easier at the office


How much time have you spent in the past trying to set up a video conference? It is not all plug and play as most people would have you believe, and neither is video conferencing the reserved domain of executives in the boardroom. I am quite sure that a fair number of us out there have experienced the difficulty of deploying video conferencing software on PCs which are unable to hook up to meeting rooms, being a complex monster that might be considered too expensive to deploy, especially for start-ups that are tight on cash. Logitech intends to change the landscape of video conferencing by introducing the all new Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e.

The Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e happens to be a powerful solution which is able to transform any small or midsize conference room into a video collaboration room. Apart from that, it is also relatively affordable without passing the $1,000 price point, making it a whole lot more affordable compared to majority of the other systems that you would find in most conference rooms.

Specially optimized to cater to workgroups that number anywhere from six to 10 people, the Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e delivers no-IT-necessary ease of use and a number of unique features. For instance, you will be able to enjoy a 90-degree field of view with 10x lossless zoom, courtesy of a Carl Zeiss-certified glass lens as well as a remote-controlled 260-degree pan so that close-ups and whiteboard details end up crystal clear for parties on the other side. When you talk, fret not about misunderstanding since noise and echo cancellation in addition to omni-directional stereo or mono sound with a 20-foot diameter range are more than capable of delivering superior sound, while for added peace of mind, a Kensington Security slot has also been thrown into the mix to deter any thieving attempt.

The Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e has been specially optimized for Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber and WebEx compatible, Skype certified and integrated with Vidyo, so that you know how best to get started right out of the box.

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Zoom announces Q4 Handy Video Recorder

zoom-q4Zoom has made another announcement recently which will target those who would want to create a more professional home video. In this sense, they have rolled out the ultra-compact Zoom Q4 which is touted to deliver the perfect blend of high-definition video alongside high-resolution audio. It will be able to play nice with a range of applications, where among them include video streaming, online blogging, live concert recording, location shoots, electronic news gathering, as well as documenting important events. Let us check out what the Zoom Q4 has in store for us right after the jump.

First of all, let us take a look at the hardware aspect of the Zoom Q4 – this particular device will be able to record directly to SDXC cards of up to 128GB in capacity, where you will be able to choose from a range of HD, WVGA, AAC and WAV file formats, in addition to having up to 1080p/30fps video and 24-bit/96k audio. Not only that, it will come with a wealth of advanced features including a detachable full-color LCD display as well as a built-in speaker for instant monitoring, in addition to a stereo mic/line-level input and line-level/headphone output with a dedicated volume control. There is also a built-in 120˚ X/Y microphone that paves the way for stunning stereo as and when required.

Other features of the Zoom Q4 include a three-position Mic Gain switch with Auto-Gain control and Peak LED so that signal overload will not happen. Expect the Q4 to play nice with three prong action camera mounts, where it will be accompanied by a supplied tripod mount, hairy windscreen and low cut filter, so that you will be able to use it both indoors and outdoors. There is also an optional mic stand mount alongside a guitar clamp that will introduce the ability to shoot video from unusual angles, including a band’s live perspective onstage – now that ought to expand and enhance your portfolio by quite a bit, no?

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Beacon Audio Orion Headphones sports an In Line Mic as well


Not all headphones are created equal, which is why there is always a ready market for the higher end models, mid-range devices as well as entry level ones. Once in a while, something that is more special than the rest would also pop into the picture, and this is where the $49.99 Beacon Audio Orion Headphones makes an appearance. The Beacon Audio Orion headphones are colorful on-ear stereo headphones that be accompanied by a one-button in-line microphone and remote control, where you can pick from two color combinations – Red/White or Black/Blue.

Being more than just a pair of headphones, you could more or less call this a fashion accessory as well. After all, doesn’t your choice depict who you are as well as how you “consume” your music? At least this particular pair is stylish enough, and would be able to pass off as a decent purchase. Clearly sitting somewhere in the mid-range side of things, they will boast of the vibrant styling that you would find in modern over-ear headphones, where it will play nice with any audio device that has a standard headphone jack. As for the remote functionality of its in-line microphone, it will be compatible with majority of the other smartphones out there in the market.
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Treat your dog and test his smarts


Remember the Sharper Image. Well 3 former members of the design team got back together and made a great new time delayed puzzle feeding dog toy. It’s called the Foobler!

They’re down to the last few hours of their campaign. If they raise $80,000 in funding they’ll activate a new pledge level that will have a bluetooth controlled Foobler with iOS and Android Apps.

The Foobler combines the best of what’s available for dog puzzle toys. With the latest crop of time delay feeders. Now you can actually feed your dog measured amounts of kibble while they play throughout the day.

The dog is alerted in intervals of 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes and called with a real bell. One of the six kibble containing pods will align, and when the dog plays with the Foobler, they can get the kibble to fall out to eat. It engages and entertains your pet every single meal.

It’s great to make sure your dog isn’t just grazing all day. Also you’ll know exactly how much you’re serving and when they’ll get it. It’s great for diabetic dogs that are both encouraged to move around, and to have more meals of smaller portions. Just think, you can now finally deliver exacting portions while away at work all day.

It’s easy to clean (seriously watch their video on kickstarter, you can hand wash, or toss it in the top shelf of the dishwasher).

They even has a print at home card to put under the tree for that last minute gift for Fido!

Check it out here on Kickstarter.
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Kicker Amphitheater BT2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker


In this day and age, many of us would want to lead a wireless lifestyle – after all, it makes plenty of sense not being tethered by pesky cables and wires that tend to have a life of their own after office hours, getting all tangled up without touching it. Apart from that, cables are also a surefire breeding ground for dust bunnies. Why not take advantage of wireless connectivity instead? The $199.99 Kicker Amphitheater BT2 would cater for those who love Bluetooth technology, as this wireless speaker hails from car stereo experts, which means it ought to deliver some pretty decent audio quality to your ears.

The Kicker Amphitheater BT2 would be accompanied by 5″ drivers, a 0.75″ silk-dome tweeter, and a 6″ square reflex subwoofer, where it will play nice with the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android-powered devices, and basically any other music playback device that comes with Bluetooth connectivity. Sporting a 50-watt internal amplifier, this is one serious accessory which will be able to deliver serious audio quality without having you work up a storm in its setup.
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Philips 27” Gaming Monitor sports G-SYNC technology


If you have been in the market on the lookout for a new gaming monitor, but are not quite sure as to which particular model that you would want to settle on, how about checking out what the folks over at Philips has in store? Enter the Philips 27” Gaming Monitor, where it is touted to deliver a stunning visual experience as well as ultra-smooth play to gamers who are on the constant lookout for a serious competitive edge.

Sporting the model number 272G5DYEB, I would very much like to stick to Philips 27” Gaming Monitor as it is a whole lot easier to pronounce as well as remember. Not only that, folks would be able to identify with it in a jiffy. Now, this gaming monitor is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill model, as it offers revolutionary performance thanks to NVIDIA G-SYNC, a new technology which will synchronize display refresh rates to the PC’s GPU, hence kissing goodbye to screen tearing and minimizing display stutter as well as input lag. The presence of G-SYNC would allow images to be displayed the moment they are rendered, as scenes appear instantly, objects are sharper, and game play ends up smoother. After all, you know how hardcore gamers are like – they want the maximum framerates possible, and who knows how that extra 1fps might be the difference between victory and defeat?

Apart from that, the Philips 27” Gaming Monitor will also deliver a 144Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time so that any kind of fast action will not be too much of an issue for it to handle. Other hardware specifications include a brightness level of 300cd/cm2 and a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio, not to mention being able to display up to 16.7 million colors. You can opt to place this monitor on your desk or mount it to a wall, it will work well in either situation.

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Feenix Autore gaming keyboard has an understated elegance


Gamers are an interesting lot. Some of them are even willing to starve when it comes to saving up for the latest gaming peripherals, to make sure that they are able up the ante when it comes to the next fragging session. I know this to be true, as back in my poor student days (and this is not to say I am filthy rich right now), I used to skip meals just so I can get better in a particular game, not to mention save up for the next Razer mouse that is announced. Having said that, a good keyboard is also an essential part of any gamer’s repertoire, and the Feenix Autore could very well fit the bill for those who are aiming for something higher end than normal.

The Feenix Autore is a keyboard which was specially designed after being inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, at first glance, the Feenix Autore might not even look like a gaming keyboard as the world knows it – there aren’t any fancy lines and designs which “shouts” to the viewer. Rather, the Autore comes across as a minimalist tool which will be able to meet the needs of aggressive gamers as well as typists. The lightweight keycaps with cherry MX Brown switches will be able to deliver an effortless click and tactile response, while Feenix font and aluminum coating ensures that the keyboard’s surface remains elegant and durable most of the time. There is also a subtle upward angle that delivers optimal wrist comfort, while a gold metal plate which will run through the length of the chassis offers an unprecedented level of durability.

The Feenix Autore would also boast of a HAL-approved gold plated modular mini USB to USB connection alongside an optional PS/2 adapter for older machines. It has a double Polyurethane layer thrown into the mix to make sure it remains safe and sound against spills and beverage damage. The entire keyboard would retail for $163 in case you are interested.

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