E3's come and gone, but some oddities still linger. Shown during the Sony E3 press conference and discussed little after that, Invizimals is a curious game using the PSP's camera to create augmented reality "animal ghosts" that appear in real-life settings. Coded capture cards seem to attract the beasts, after which they do battle to each other. Nintendo DS-like blow-and-shake controls add extra input to the critter-fighting.
If you've been practicing your Blue Steel face in the bathroom mirror without a soundtrack, the Maitre mirror could take your modeling delusions to new heights. Combining a radio, barometer, MP3 player, clock, and sensor-controlled mirror demister, this thing will put your broken Ikea medicine cabinet to shame and inspire hours of face contortions.
No pricing has been announced, but it's safe to say that being an early adopter of the "bathroom mirror 2.0" experience means putting up some serious cash. The Maitre mirror will be available from Stocco in sizes ranging from about 3 … Read more
While many eyes are on E3, Taiwan's Computex conference is more quietly generating some interesting news on the future of Netbooks and laptops that will eventually make their way stateside. For a peek into the crystal ball of mobile computing, let's take a look at what's been announced in Taipei, Taiwan, this week.
Mobile-phone-based Netbooks are growing: "Smartbooks," as they're being called by companies like Qualcomm, seem to be this year's Netbook. It's mostly a naming convention shift: ARM processors based on smartphone chips, like Qualcomm's Snapdragon, were demoed on Asus Eee PC Netbooks--running Android, no less. While Snapdragon competitor Freescale Semiconductor, who makes an ARM-based iMX515 processor, predicts hybrid Smartbooks that will look like tablets, others see them being even more portable Netbooks.
Regardless of the processor, companies are finally announcing the release of honest-to-goodness Android Netbooks, running a laptop-based version of the Google-created smartphone OS, later this year. Acer took the leap by confirming their release of Android Netbooks by the third quarter of this year, suddenly accelerating the "Android on Netbooks" argument we've been having on CNET. Is Android really a better OS solution? The point may be moot for laptop manufacturers such as Acer who are also entering the smartphone space, and are mostly likely interested in targeting Google for an across-the-board mobile OS option on their future devices. According to Acer, "a majority" of their Netbooks will run Android as an alternative to Windows.… Read more
Robots that can self-replicate aren't new. But a new DARPA initiative is a little more frightening as it looks to create robots that can take part in their own construction, according to The Register. That means they're "alive" before they're finished and can help their forebearers put them together.
As if I'm not scared to death enough of robots, it means the robot armies of the future might be able to build themselves faster.
Now, I'm all for science, but DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a military entity. That means … Read more
Correction: The Microsoft Zune HD will not be available outside of the United States. The Zune Video Marketplace for Xbox, however, will be available for select countries beyond the U.S., including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Donald and Jasmine give the newly official Zune HD its deserved time in the spotlight as they both gush about the player's design and HD features as well as speculate about pricing and other possible Wi-Fi-related additions. Also this week, the Insiders discuss rumblings about a potential Sirius XM App for the iPhone. Then, Jasmine brings up some of the tiniest MP3 players to ever be reviewed by CNET, while Donald goes off on a tangent about audiobooks. And we musn't forget to give props to the entity that gave this whole digital music thing a violent shove into the mainstream consciousness: Napster, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this week.
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Amid an already-good Sony E3 press conference, a time-out was taken amid PSP Go details, PSP games, and PS3 holiday titles to peek into the future at some on-the-horizon motion-control technology. The routine was familiar already: in fact, Microsoft and Nintendo had similar "the future is motion" pit stops in their 2009 E3 press conferences.
Being last, it seemed, would be a disadvantage to Sony. Appearing onstage were two of Sony's team behind the PlayStation Eye and EyeToy, and the general nervousness seemed palpable. When the prototype device was revealed--a black wand with a glowing purple bulb on top--it almost seemed like a joke. But a funny thing happened: the longer the demo went on, the better it got.
Sony's black wand appears to be the PS3's Wii-mote. Configured with an analog trigger and some number of buttons, the wand has one-to-one mapping just like the Wii Motion Plus. The glowing orb, which changed color during the demo, was integral to the positioning technology, although exactly how wasn't detailed in the press conference.… Read more
The Toyota Prius is great and all, but try carrying sheets of plywood or a soccer team around in it. Oy.
Kraig Higginson, Chairman of Raser Technologies, believes there should also be hybrids that can handle some heavy lifting. His sentiment was echoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who invited the energy technology company to California last week to demonstrate its 100 mpg plug-in hybrid Hummer H3 as part of a monthly series promoting alternative-fuel vehicles in the state.
Higginson showed off the series hybrid SUV, which uses a 2.0L EcoTec engine to charge its battery. The 4WD vehicle is powered by a 200kW advanced-AC induction motor, which on an empty battery achieves 33 to 35 mpg. The 2008 Hummer H3 with a conventional gasoline power train receives a combined fuel economy of 15 mpg.
"At its worst it already meets the new CAFE standards announced by Obama," said David West, vice president of marketing for Raser.
However, West said that drivers would be able to achieve unlimited gas mileage if they charged the vehicle's battery using electricity from a standard 110-volt or 220-volt outlet, and drove less than 40 miles per day; 75 percent of all drivers typically drive this far or less daily. … Read more
I was fortunate enough to be in the audience when Steve Jobs wowed the world with his demonstration of the iPhone a couple of years ago. As he was showing off multitouch technology, I remember turning to my friend and saying something along the lines of, "Gesture control like this is going to change everything." I remember it being a touchstone moment.
Monday's announcement of gesture control for the Xbox 360 marks another advance for the technology, but there are some ideas that could come to market quickly as well.
Volkswagen may be late to the gate with hybrids and electric cars, but its recent partnership with Chinese automaker and lithium ion battery producer BYD shows that the German car company is a serious contender in the race to supply the masses with an electric car.
Volkswagen has already signed letters of intent with Sanyo and Toshiba as suppliers for electric batteries, and the company is currently exploring an arrangement with BYD to supply VW with lithium ion batteries for its upcoming plug-in and all electric vehicles, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
BYD is one of the largest manufacturers of lithium ion batteries. High demand and cost has made these batteries one of the road blocks to building affordable plug-in and electric vehicles.
However, the battery-maker-turned-car-manufacturer has been able to make stable and durable lithium ion batteries at half the cost of batteries produced in the west and Japan due to its safer, most cost-effective iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion technology. … Read more
An unmanned aerial vehicle that's intended to use a combination of solar power and stored electricity is being developed by Ascent Solar Technologies and Bye Aerospace, both companies announced Tuesday.
Ascent Solar will be supplying flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules designed for Bye's drone, the Silent Sentinel.
Bye will be using a Williams International FJ33 turbofan engine that will draw power from stored electrical power in a lithium-ion battery and the photovoltaic panels on the plane.
The result will be a quiet, low-emission hybrid UAV with added endurance, according to Bye.
The Silent Sentinel is intended for military surveillance … Read more