Jasmine's (mostly) back from vacation, and already hates the iPhone 4. To balance out her blind rage for the as-yet unreleased device, Eric and Donald tackle Crave stories ranging from monkey-controlled robots, laser drug injection, and a Lego printer that drives ladies wild (or not). Stick around for the end, and you may just see Darth Vader's cleavage.Subscribe in iTunes SD Video | Subscribe in RSS SD Video… Read more
Check out this video of a home-brew printer designed and built entirely by some guy on the B3ta forum.
He rigged together a sensor, a USB interface with a wiring board, and a series of analog motor electronics to put together the device that can legibly spell out whatever he wants, in this case the existential message "HELLO WORLD," although since it uses a printer driver to put ink on paper, it should also spell out "LOW INK LEVEL, PLEASE REPLACE AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN."
For more detailed information, check out a list of FAQs with the inventor after the jump.… Read more
Before the Netbook even existed, there was the Intel Classmate. A rugged, child-oriented notebook intended for worldwide educational use, the Classmate was and is Intel's global initiative paralleling what One Laptop Per Child and other programs have promised in terms of getting computers and the Internet into the hands of children.
The new Intel Convertible Classmate PC is a tablet Netbook with an Atom N450 processor, and it's also a touch-screen tablet, like its predecessor in 2009. Though the overall look is similar, the new Classmate adds a rubberized outer shell, spill-resistant keyboard and screen, a more impact-resistant body with shock-absorbing corners, and a shock-detecting hard drive.
Intel chose to introduce and demo the new Classmates at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, along with hardware peripherals and software from some of their multitude of partners (McGraw-Hill was just announced as yet another). Wisely, Intel has realized that the product itself is only half the story; good software for both students and school administrators is equally critical. We watched a few dozen children using them for math quizzes, to test weather conditions with an attached Pasco climate-detecting peripheral, and to take photos and sketch birds in the rain forest exhibit. Lego also has robot kits that work via USB, which looked like clever systems for teaching mechanical principles.
We received one of the new Convertible Classmate PCs from Intel to try for ourselves, in a plain white box with a simple instruction manual aimed at teachers and parents. We saw the Classmate used with various educational peripherals, but those weren't included. The Classmate is, however, preloaded with some useful software, at least on our test system. A label indicates it's made by Royaltek, but Intel is planning to manufacture these Classmates around the world with a variety of local OEMs.
The Convertible Classmate is, basically, a Netbook: an Atom N450 processor, 160GB hard drive, and a higher-res 1,366x768-pixel 10.1-inch screen are nothing new. Our Classmate also had VGA out, two USB ports, two headphone jacks, a microphone jack, and an SD card slot. An optional GPS input is blocked off in our unit.
Covered in gray silicone-type rubberized surfaces, the Classmate retains an institutional feel, but it's comfortable and easy to hold. A pull-out handle in the back is a welcoming touch. In tablet mode, the Classmate is comfortably grippable, too. The matte 10.1-inch screen uses a resistive touch interface that's meant to be used with the thick, penlike stylus tucked into the left side of the Classmate. We tried an included painting program and navigated Web pages, and found the touch to work pretty well. It's not gesture/multitouch enabled, but it works fine for basic functions. … Read more
Having trouble picturing what that Lego monster castle/spaceship/robot will look like when assembled? Lego is rolling out augmented-reality store displays that show shoppers, in 3D animation, what a completed kit will look like. The move follows other toy makers bringing AR to action figures and baseball cards. I'm waiting for cereal boxes in my supermarket to start spewing 3D cornflakes.
When customers hold a box up … Read more
From serious builders to the casually creative, Lego enthusiasts are getting together for Bricks by the Bay, the inaugural Northern California Lego convention where thousand of tiny bricks are being sorted into piles for a three-day convention on all things Lego.
I visited the convention in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, just in time to catch some of the set-up and preparation happening. Friday and Saturday were for the pros only--a time to build, exchange ideas, and trade designs before opening the floor up to the public on Sunday, April 11. From Star Wars to Obama, and towering skyscrapers to robotics, … Read more
The Lego robot revolution is unstoppable. From Mindstorms development kits to puzzle-solving machines, the blocks seem to be going where no toy has gone before. Now a Polish tinkerer has thrown down the gauntlet, as it were, by building a robot hand out of Lego.
Kmiec describes the electric/pneumatic arm as something he built over a weekend. It has … Read more
Robots--even toy robots--are sometimes frighteningly adept at specific intelligence tasks. A new machine built out of toy parts is nearly as fast as the fastest human at solving Rubik's Cube puzzles.
CubeStormer is a cube-solving device built by British engineer Mike Dobson out of Lego Mindstorms parts hooked up to a computer.
Lego machines have also been programmed to solve sudoku puzzles, but the speed at which CubeStormer takes on a scrambled cube is pretty awesome.
As the video shows, Dobson's device solves a 3x3x3-inch cube in less than 12 seconds with a blinding display of automatic scanning … Read more
Natali joins the dark side and immediately offends Justin and Wilson; Google introduces a new social network and gets pissed at Chinese copycat site Gojje; and GoldenEye makes its triumphant comeback--all this on today's episode of CNET's The 404 Podcast, now featuring co-host Natali Del Conte!
Today marks a special milestone on the show as we welcome the newest co-host of the show, Ms. Natali Del Conte! She'll join in the fun every Thursday (with the exception of today), offering a fresh perspective on our usual collection of stories. Right off the bat, Natali sparks a little controversy and reveals her one true weakness, so tune in to hear it all unfold!
The 404 is also the perfect outlet for Natali to speak freely on topics like Google's newest social-publishing tool, Google Buzz. Announced yesterday, the service lets you explore status updates and automatically adds your contacts via Gmail, which we're still trying to figure out. Interestingly enough, messages can be made public or private, but Natali is justifiably hesitant to give out her e-mail address to everyone in her network. The service also has a recommendation engine that allows Google to "learn" your tastes and recommend incoming items--sounds suspiciously intrusive, we'll keep you updated on this story as we play around with it.
Speaking of Google, the site is adding another log to its flame war with China over a copycat site subtlety dubbed "Goojje." We're not sure what's up with the cease-and-desist letter since its logo looks nothing like Google's, but Goojje already pulled down the original site, so no harm no foul, right guys?
Finally, big thanks to everyone who's sent in a sticker picture submissions, we're trying our best to stuff and send all the SASEs back in a timely fashion, so please be patient! If you already got your sticker pictures, it's your turn to do work for us! Take a picture of where you stuck it, hopefully in a public setting, and send it to the404(at)cnet[dot]com. We'll show it on a future episode of The 404!EPISODE 516 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
LEGO Photo is a free photo-manipulation app that automatically creates pointillist versions of your snapshots using virtual Lego blocks.
As with similar fun-with-photos apps, you can either use pictures from your device or you can snap a new pic from directly within the app. Once you choose (or take) a picture, the app spends a few seconds "Lego-izing" the image. You then tap the screen to see the transformed image, and then continue tapping to cycle through numerous different palettes, from primary colors to shades of gray. Once you're done, you can save your creation to your … Read more
I'd like to give a tiny Golden Globe to all the fine people who put together these incredibly detailed Avatar Lego dioramas. That's my kind of 3D.
Many of these are repurposed from older Lego sets, such as Halo and (gasp!) "Toy Story," which in a way is an apt metaphor for Avatar itself, no? Either way, another win for the hobbyists! (More photos after the jump.)