• Halloween Costumes You Might Be Wearing in Ten Years

    October 31 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    Bionic Exoskeletons? OLED Haunted Houses? Holographic Masks? Check out some of the Halloween costumes we have in store for us ten years down the road. And while that Ninja Turtle costume you wear every year is still pretty sweet, the best costumes really are the ones that incorporate the latest technology into their design.

    Happy Halloween everybody.

    Holographic Mask

    Looking to make people literally crap their pants? The Hologram Necklace allows users to pick pre-programmed faces which are projected around their faces. An easy on/off switch means you won’t have to worry about walking around blind and since the code is open source you could theoretically make your own custom mask. While current holographic technology is limited to areas that involve multiple mirrors, by 2015 a portable one is more than likely.

    Invisible Cloak

    I’ve talked before about the idea of having regular consumers buying invisibility cloaks and how they could only lead to mischief. Well, that’s what Halloween is for, causing havoc. Besides scaring the Hell out of people, you could steal candy, TP a house, even gradually pick off a group of kids one by one (that sounded creepy). But be careful, remember you’re invisible because moving vehicles won’t see you.

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  • Ten Retro Tech Toys that Resurrect Your Childhood

    October 28 2008 / by christinep
    Category: Gadgets

    VHS, tape decks, wood paneling, oh my! The past conjures up warm memories that are greatly associated with chocolate-chip cookies and watching Saturday morning cartoons. These gadgets should be able to bring up a memory cloud a la Wile E. Coyote. So whoever thought that VHS tapes would just disappear into the night, they were sadly mistaken.

    1. M21 Flat Panel TV: With the mixture of old-school flair and modern technology, this Brady Bunch-esque flat screen TV will be a highly coveted tech toy among the retro and TV fans alike. You could watch your favorite Brady Bunch episode, hint – the episode where Greg and Marcia were both running for class president, on a TV that highly resembles said time period.

    2. Touch Screen Boom-box PC: Do you remember hanging out after school? All of your friends sitting around the boom-box after basketball or volleyball practice listening to the four at four. It was just the thing to do. The boom-box revolutionized a generation and now it has been integrated into the digital-age. This 80’s staple features an LCD screen and runs a Linux/Windows dual boot.

    3. NES TV Remote Control: Growing up, the Nintendo system was the must-have system for every video-game enthusiast. This NES controller turned TV remote is a retro-gamers’ dream. It combined their two true loves, old-school video game systems and tech toys.


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  • World's Soon-To-Be Fastest Car Unveiled in London

    October 23 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Technology

    You may have thought that beating the land speed record was old news — with people focusing on the race to space these days land can go fairly unnoticed — but a British team is looking to break their former record of 760mph (made 11 years ago) by hoping to reach speeds over 1,000mph.

    Dubbed the Bloodhound SSC, it measures about 41 feet long and weighs in a little over seven short tons (14,109lbs). “To achieve its aim of adding more than 200 mph to the existing record, the car will need to be as tough as a submarine, withstanding 12 tonnes of force per square metre.” And with a bill of about $16 million dollars, the team is hoping sponsors will pick up the tab.

    Construction on the vehicle is expected to be finished by next year with the record being broken in 2011. Check out the Bloodhound SSC site here.

  • Virtual Strip Search Deployed at Airports, U.S. Border Checkpoints and in Iraq

    October 22 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Social Issues

    The future is now for see-through technology. Airports around the world are slowly switching to a new type of x-ray machine which allows them to see underneath your clothes. Yes, underneath.

    EU and American civil liberty groups are already fighting the implementation at airports in the US and EU for fear that use of the x-ray scanner will become commonplace instead of just for special situations. We wouldn’t strip search everyone that went through the airport, so why do it through technology?

    While we all thought the x-ray in Total Recall was pretty awesome, none of us want to experience that level of radiation on a daily basis (plus, I’d rather let people see my skeleton instead of me naked).

  • Your House Key Can be Duplicated With a Cellphone

    October 29 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    “UC San Diego computer scientists have built a software program that can perform key duplication without having the key. Instead, the computer scientists only need a photograph of the key.”

    Next time you leave your keys on the counter, or even take them out of your pocket, they are in danger of being copied. The program uses digital images of keys to map out the exact shape of the key for later copying. While before people could do this with high-resolution photos, now it can be completely automated.

    How many photos have you taken with your keys? Any on the Internet? It might be a good idea to blot those out. You could also switch to an entirely keyless entry system where all you’d need was an RFID chip (much like cars today). In the meantime? Keep them away from prying eyes.

    via PhysOrg.com

  • Spyer Prototype May Be the Last Thing You Hear Before You Die

    October 29 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    Jason Dorie, self-proclaimed geek, managed to build himself a quad-rotor flying contraption. Each propeller has three blades allowing for the “motors to respond a little faster” than his previous 2-bladed Spyder. When this thing takes off it sounds like an angry swarm of bees looking to ruin your day. He hopes to be able to make it fly itself as well.

    It seems like more and more, regular people sitting in their workshops at home are able to build things some think only the military should be able to do. I guess that’s why contests like the X-Prize have such fierce competition. Makes you wonder what a person in their garage could build in ten years.

    via Make Magazine

    What will you be working on in your garage in ten years?

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  • LEDs Help LCD Monitor Cut Power Consumption by 72%

    October 29 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    Using 160 white LEDs to backlight the LCD screen, Eizo Nanao Corp managed to cut power consumption by 72%.

    When you consider that a simple 19-inch LCD screen uses about 34W in it’s average daily use, dropping it down to about 9.5 is an incredible step down. It’s like if next years model of your gas-guzzling SUV came out with a minor addition which made its MPG jump from 18 to 31. It also comes with another great energy-saver. “The monitor also features an “Auto EcoView” function that automatically adjusts the backlight’s luminance in accordance with the external brightness detected by the luminance sensor equipped on the bottom of the monitor.” This way the screen will always be bright enough to see, but not so bright that it will melt your eyeballs along with the polar ice caps.

    Although it may be more difficult to position LEDs into big-screen LCD TVs (due to the increased area), I wouldn’t be surprised to see some hitting the market in the next year or so. Especially when you consider “a newer 20-cu.-ft refrigerator cost approximately $50 annually to run, and a 50-inch 1080p plasma set costs approximately $110 annually.” Our appliances need to reduce power consumption down just as much as our cars do.

  • Good Things Come to Those Who Waited for the Android

    October 28 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    You’ve heard it time and again, “good things come to those who wait.” But you’ve also heard “the early bird gets the worm.” Who are you supposed to listen to? If it involves the Google Android smartphone, you probably should have waited.

    “T-Mobile currently sells the G1 for $179.99 with a two-year contract, but Wal-Mart will offer the device for $148.88 to new customers or current subscribers who are eligible for an upgrade.” -Bonnie Cha, CNET

    That’s right, Google’s Android which came out about a week ago, can already be found for about $30 cheaper. Jump the gun? Everyone did. But don’t let this get you down, if Android behaves a lot like the iPhone, a newer and better generation of Android will be out by next summer (and you’ll have a whole new reason to kick yourself).

    It really just comes down to the battle between patience and the desire to be cutting-edge. Grab it early and you’ll be sorry, grab it too late and you’ll be a dinosaur.

  • Bat Drones to Aid US Military with Bat Vision

    October 30 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    The US Military is currently trying to obtain bat-sized drones capable of finding enemy combatants in rough terrain like tight streets or valleys. “Aurora Flight Sciences plans to demonstrate a vision-based guidance system that combines optical and sonar sensors and allows a micro air vehicle (MAV) to navigate through a cluttered urban environment.” Their goal over the next few years is to make it small enough (able to be stored in a 6 inch tube) so that soldiers can carry them around with them, able to deploy them whenever needed at the drop of a hat.

    If you’re one of the two people who didn’t manage to see Dark Knight this year, you’re going to have a hard time conceptualizing what the display might look like. (Since we can’t display Dark Knight video without getting sued, here’s the next best thing I could find, go to the 1:00 minute mark)

    As with all military technology, you wonder if there will be local uses for such a technology. Being able to tell exactly where in the room a hostage-taker is, searching for lost hikers in the wilderness, even finding the exact trajectory of baseballs for later analysis and perfected training.

  • Electronic Nose to Detect if You Ate Nachos For Lunch

    October 29 2008 / by John Heylin
    Category: Gadgets

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an electronic nose which not only can sense pre-programmed scents, but also create categories for new scents it finds. “Much like people detect and remember many different smells and use that knowledge to generalize about smells they haven’t encountered before, the electronic nose also needs to be trained to recognize the chemical signatures of different smells before it can deal with unknowns.” The hope is that these devices would be able to warn people of disease, biological attacks, or even aiding in space exploration (yes, searching for other life).

    Just imagine the implications a device like this could have on the regular world. A device around your wrist could hum lightly when your body odor got to be too strong. The next time you’re walking around and smell something awful, it could tell you what it is. Uoi could even tell if food in your kitchen has gone bad or not.

    But of course with any new technology there are concerns too.

    “Body odour can smell pleasant and specific to the individual, and can be used to identify people, though this is more often done by dogs and other animals, than by humans.” (Wikipedia) With the cheap availability of electronic noses, you’re basically giving each officer their own police dog. If you’re detained, they could tell exactly what you’ve been doing, if you’ve been near illegal drugs, even track you to the place you just left.

    All in all, pretty cool yet scary stuff.

    via PhyOrg.com

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