How loud is loud? I know loud when I hear it, but if you want a number, I'd say at home anything over 90 dB is getting up there, and might annoy neighbors in adjacent apartments, especially after 10 p.m. If you live in a house, 90+ dB would definitely disturb other family members not watching the movie or listening to music. Of course, the volume at concerts and movie theaters is much, much louder than most people would ever tolerate at home. Loud music, games, and home theater takes on an almost physical quality; you don't … Read more
For years Wacom has ruled the digital stylus market for artists, photo retouchers, and others who want to marry the worlds of pens and computers. But touch-screen tablets are rewriting the rules for digital input, and Ten One Design hopes its new Pogo Connect stylus will prosper as a result.
The company already sells the more ordinary Pogo and Pogo Sketch tablet stylus products, which are held like a pen but which a tablet or smartphone sees as a finger. The new $80 Pogo Connect, though, adds a higher-end feature from the Wacom world: pressure sensitivity.
That means the harder … Read more
In the search for cheap and efficient solar cells, Stanford University researchers are mixing in new ingredients.
Chemical engineering professor Stacey Bent on Sunday presented the results of a paper at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that showed how a new combination of materials boosted the performance of solar cells made with quantum dots.
The research is in very early stages, but it could provide clues on how to make solar cells with relatively inexpensive materials that have higher efficiency than is currently possible.
NASA failed to remove sensitive data from computers that it sold, according to an audit report released this week.
The agency has been selling off computers, hard drives, and other equipment associated with the Space Shuttle program as it winds down.
But the audit (PDF) by the NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found security breaches at four NASA facilities: the Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers and the Ames and Langley Research Centers.
Specifically, the audit discovered that 10 computers from the Kennedy Center were released to the public even though they still contained sensitive NASA data and had … Read more
Now, Korean materials maker NeoView Kolon has taken the wraps off its T-OLED (transparent OLED) technology found on a transparent display that aims to bring the very cool touch-sensitive transcreens of "Minority Report" and "Avatar" from reel to real.
LAS VEGAS--After the launch of the Apple Magic Mouse in 2009, we knew it was only a matter of time before Windows users demanded their own touch-sensitive mouse. Mad Catz delivers just that with its stylish new Eclipse touchmouse, a Bluetooth-enabled pointer that actively responds to a series of gestures on an integrated trackpad.
We hate to do it, but aesthetic comparisons must be made with the Magic Mouse. Just as the Motorola Droid departs from the iPhone silhouette, so does the Mad Catz touchmouse. Instead of a milky-white finish, Mad Catz went with a brushed aluminum exterior and positions your hand at sloping angle to promote streamlined ergonomics. It operates on a single AA battery and connects to a host computer via Bluetooth for wireless access.
However, unlike the Magic Mouse, the mouse only responds to gestures made on the small rectangular touchpad on the top of the device. Swiping your finger across the top of this pad enables four-way on-screen scrolling for intuitive navigation forward and backward across Web pages.
The $60 mouse currently works with Windows 7, Vista, and XP. More images of the Mad Catz Eclipse touchmouse after the jump.… Read more
I can tell you my computer password, but unless you type it in exactly the way I do, you won't be allowed entry. That's the idea behind Safelock, one of the just-announced winning entries in the UIST 2009 Student Innovation Competition, a Microsoft-sponsored contest aimed at inspiring keyboard innovation. About a month ago, the company sent out prototypes of pressure-sensitive keyboards to 40 international teams, which had four weeks to cobble together their creations. Here are just a few of the cool ideas they came up with:
First place, most useful: Safelock Safelock, by Jeff Allen and John Howard of Southern Methodist University, biometrically authenticates a user with just eight characters entered. The key (forgive the pun) is that the user has to enter that relatively short password just right. To create a machine-learning algorithm that discovers the unique way each person types, the team measured four keystroke attributes: flight time (the interval between each keystroke); hold time (the amount of time the key was held); maximum pressure; and a curve fit to the pressure over time as a user pressed each key.
The team conducted extensive tests of their system and say it's "extremely robust." Says Howard: "99.4 percent of the time, if you're not me, you're not able to log into my account."
First place, most creative: Hidden Forces This innovation lets users control multiple cursors by waving magnets above the keyboard but not touching it. A four-person team from Carnegie Mellon University accomplished this by placing one small magnet underneath each of the keyboard keys, with the north side facing up.
Julia Schwarz, Brian Lim, Stephen Oney, and Kevin Huang then used a larger magnet (north side facing down) as a cursor. The larger magnet repelled nearby magnets, pushing them against the pressure-sensitive pads and allowing the computer to know where the magnet was located above the keyboard. The innovators were able to control multiple cursors with this technique, turning the keyboard into a multipoint, in-air interaction device. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--Forget the console wars. We're in the motion-sensitive controller wars.
That much became clear Tuesday when, following on Monday's announcement by Microsoft that it was working on Project Natal, an impressive and complex full-body, hands-free motion-sensitive control system, both Nintendo and Sony revealed plans for new, advanced systems of their own.
Of course, Microsoft is the only real newcomer to this party. After all, Sony introduced the Eye Toy, a system that incorporated users' body movements into some games, years ago, and Nintendo's Wii vaulted to huge popularity on the strength of the innovative controls of … Read more
Much like its professional counterpart, WinLock offers an endless array of options for locking certain files, functions, and even Web access. And as is the case with the professional version, our only complaint is that its Internet options work only with Internet Explorer.
WinLock's interface will appeal to all user levels. It's easy to navigate. All of your protection options are listed under drop-down style menu buttons. The program includes options for hiding files and folders, disabling system features such as Windows' Registry Editor and Task Manager, and limiting access to executable files. You can also manage your … Read more
Passwords Max is a password manager that lets you store, e-mail, and create passwords. But its unattractive and confusing user interface made it a pain to operate.
Blurry, hard-to-see command icons lined the top of the window. On the left side were three expandable menu options: Manage Passwords, Interaction, and List Options. Even the subcategories for each option were vague. Not sure where to go first, we clicked on the wizard feature. Usually, wizards are supposed to automate the process and make it easier, but we were left confused by this wizard's unintuitive instructions. And once we got through … Read more