At Microsoft Research Redmond -- one of 13 labs worldwide, with locations from Beijing and Banglaore to Cairo and Cambridge -- there exists Studio 99, an art space that mashes up data and coding with creative expression. It was a perfect place for James George, a computer scientist turned NYU video art professor, to embark on a three-month stint doing whatever he liked with the tools and staff available at one of the most advanced technology playgrounds on the planet.
"The first week I was here, I really had no plan," George explained in a Microsoft Research interview. &… Read more
When I was little, my bike had a sparkly white banana seat. I thought I was the epitome of cool. I was wrong. The Phantom Frames kids' bikes on Kickstarter are cooler.
Phantom Frames are crafted from polycarbonate and light up from the inside with LEDs, so the whole frame of the bike is a glowing creation. It looks interesting in daylight, but darkness really makes it stand out. As a safety advancement, it's nifty. As an eye-catching ride, it's even better.… Read more
It infects the world of electronics. Steve Jobs always wanted you to know that there was no, never, any possibility of porn on Apple products.
Try typing "f***" into your iPhone and see it chastely insist that you must mean "duck."
Now Android's KitKat has released its latest rigorous list of words that are not automatically de rigueur. These are words that when you start to type them don't exist in your phone's life experience -- which in the case of 4.4 KitKat is 165,000 English words.
Most of us take for granted the ability to handle chores like loading a washing machine and turning it on. For some people with disabilities, though, it's not so simple. Commercial laundry solutions company JTM Service in the UK hacked a washing machine in partnership with manufacturer Miele to create the Woof to Wash machine. The washer is designed to be used by assistance dogs.
Duffy, a 2-year-old golden Labrador, is the test pilot for the machine. The pooch is trained by Support Dogs, a charity organization that provides assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. Duffy opens the washing machine door, loads it from a laundry basket, closes the door, and then barks to activate a voice sensor to turn the machine on.… Read more
Wondering what's next in wearable electronics? Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Force and the Nike+ FuelBand SE may be fine for the earthbound, but for the astronauts among us, NASA's working on a different kind of fashionable circuitry.
At Kansas State University, researchers are just over two years into a three-year, $750,000 NASA grant to turn current spacesuits into even better readers of astronauts' vital signs -- and on top of that, make use of the inner workings of the suits themselves to power radios and other embedded electronics.… Read more
Many drivers find the navigation apps on their phones work better and are more up-to-date than those built into their dashboards, yet relying on a handset for turn-by-turn directions can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Honda hits the sweet spot with its new HondaLink app, integrating navigation from the phone into a car's built-in LCD.
Although different initiatives exist to emulate smartphones in the dashboard, the only example currently available from an automaker comes in the Chevy Spark and Sonic. Drivers of those models can buy the BringGo app and use it as the navigation engine, integrating it with … Read more
Spread across two hangars and some open tarmac on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor, is the Pacific Aviation Museum. This collection of World War II and newer aircraft is a must-see for any airplane buff headed to Honolulu.
From a Japanese Zero to a B-25, an F-5 to an F-104, there are a ton of cool planes to check out. The best part is you can get right up close to most of the aircraft.
Also, they let me take a bunch of pictures.… Read more
When Christian Bale roared down the road for the first time in the Tumbler, an aggressively revamped Batmobile, fans got giddy at the sheer size, heft, and sound of the beastly vehicle. You can capture just a hint of that feeling with a custom-made, slightly-less-intimidating Tumbler golf cart.
The cart is up on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $17,500, though seller rayshollywood is entertaining offers as well. The mini-Tumbler started life as an EZ-Go golf cart that was torn down to its frame and cup holders before the rebuild. A lot of work, sheet metal, and $30,000 later, it was reborn as the Bat-themed Tumbler golf cart. The miniature Tumbler, which has gotten some use on the Warner Bros. studio lot, even has the same style of Super Swamper tires as the big boy.… Read more
Tuesday night, when Rabbi Yosef Langer lights a 22-foot menorah in San Francisco's Union Square, he'll get a helping hand -- an aluminum helping hand, that is -- from Isaac the robot.
The 5.5-foot humanoid will be responsible for lighting the shamash (the helper flame used to kindle the candelabrum's other lights) on the 3-ton "Mama Menorah," a fixture at San Francisco's annual public Hanukkah candle lighting since 1975. In doing so, Isaac, namesake of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, will bring a decidedly geeky gild to the decades-old proceedings.
"As CP Snow observed, new ideas often emerge from the clash of cultures," said Ken Goldberg, an artist and UC Berkeley robotics professor who organized Isaac's Union Square Hanukkah appearance. "Menorahs represent the past and robots represent the future. Rabbi Langer and I have a hunch that a ritual that brings them together will generate some interesting new sparks." … Read more