• 2.7 Inch Cubic Projector Hits Market in Japan

    February 10 2009 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Technology

    The latest intriguing mini-projector to hit store shelves (in Japan) is a small cubic, 25 ANSI Lumen LED called the Miseal.  Manufactured by little-know Japanese comapny Sanko, the device is just 2.7in. x 2.7in. x 2.8in. and weighs just over half a pound.

    sanko-miseal-1.jpg

    Sporting a 100:1 contrast ratio, 800x600 SVGA resolution and ability to cast an image up to 16ft. away at a diagonal width of 70in, the Miseal packs a serious punch for something of such wee size.

    sanko-miseal-2.jpg

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  • Augmented Reality - Closer Than You Might Think

    February 09 2009 / by Jeff Hilford
    Category: Technology

    Here are two cool examples of augmented reality apps/prototypes that are already out.  The first is a really fun one from GE's futuristic Ecoimagination campaign.  By making a print-out from their site and holding it in front of your monitor it brings the animation out of the box and into your room.  Here's the Future is Awesome's Duncan Rawlinson demonstrating it with the print out attached to his mobile.

     

    Here are some other DIY examples that illustrate it further  123.

    Another very cool, though early incarnation technology that gives us a hint of how we'll be interacting with information in our physical environments comes to us from the MIT Media Lab - demoed at the recent TED conference (via Wired).

    It's "a wearable computer system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen."  Definitely has some of that early stage Minority Report feel to it and I think when looking at these two examples it's pretty obvious that this world will be here sooner than most people think.

  • [Video] What is the Future of Nanotechnology?

    February 01 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Technology

    This mashup video project created by students in a Brown University Global Media course (2007) integrates various video clips that ask: What is nanotechnology?

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  • Are micro fuel cells coming out of Hype Cycle? Toshiba's Micro Fuel Cell Battery Recharger

    January 30 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    methanol fuel cell

    Most new technology platforms must walk up the stages of the 'Hype Cycle', and confront our tendency to overestimate short-term change, but underestimate the long term potential.

    Fuel cells are this decade's poster child for failing to meet expectations of the Hype Cycle. But there are positive signs of progress.

    PC World is reporting that Toshiba plans to release its first commercial version of a Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) battery recharger by the end of the first business quarter.

    Micro Fuel cells help you unplug
    Micro power applications are widely considered to be the first market application for fuel cells.  Dozens of startups and incumbent energy companies are developing micro methanol fuel cells as portable power solutions that help us 'unplug everything'.

    Rather than carry around a charger+cord, you could carry a small fuel cell to recharge.  Of course the idea of a fuel cell battery recharger is still a strange concept to consumers, and could remain an early adopter niche product.  

    The inevitable step for micro fuel cells is to replace batteries entirely.  To arrive at this future, hardware makers must integrate MFCs into products, and consumers must be able to buy small fuel cartridges (e.g. liquid methanol, solid hydrogen) on every retail shelf.  Until that day, the 'recharger' concept is the industry's best option.

    Batteries & Fuel cells are like Peanut Butter and Jelly, not Oil and Water

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  • The Awesome Water-Powered Jet Pack

    January 31 2009 / by Jeff Hilford
    Category: Technology

    Well, it looks like you might get your personal jetpack pretty soon after all.  The advantages of the water-powered variety vs. the rocket fuel type are that it is way less likely to explode or burn you to a crisp and gets much higher gas mileage (not to mention probably takes regular). The downside is that you'll be restricted to traveling over bodies of water.

     

    Seems like this might have some use in water patrol.  Gives you that birdseye view and would be a lot less expensive and more practical than a helicopter over smaller spaces.  Either way, it's pretty cool.

    Wonder when we'll see the first English Channel crossing with one of these?

  • [Video] Sony pushes ahead with next generation flexible OLED displays

    January 19 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Technology

    Sony made recent headlines when it offered the first real commercial OLED (organic light emitting diode) commercial display product.  The 11" wide screen is a 3 mm thick, and it only represents the beginning.  Now the company is going to a thinner, flexible platform.

    CEO Howard Stringer recently demonstrated a foldable display screen that is 0.2 mm thick. Sony is not holding back on its vision of future content consumption on displays that will be flexible, transparent and able to be read in sunlight.

    Meanwhile, researchers around the world continue to advance the field of carbon-based or 'organic' electronics beyond thin film solar, OLEDs, fuel cells and batteries. IBM believes we might see 'spray on' solar within five year!

    Video: IDG News Service

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  • Microsoft releases awful viral product video, but has solid vision of augmenting creativity

    January 14 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Culture

    Bloggers agree that this might be the worst viral software product video ever to hit the web. But maybe that was Microsoft's plan - generate buzz with cheesy singing and acting to feature its new song-writing software program Song Smith

    Augmenting Creativity

    Microsoft is using its Research and Live Labs divisions to extend the applications of software beyond business environments.  Song Smith is not the end game.  It is the beginning of a new age of software that augments real-time creativity using complex algorithms and databases of things like sound, rhythm, color, texture, design, et al. Microsoft has also released Kodu a software program that teaches children how to visually program new games.

    Forget about Microsoft's future operating systems.  What is their vision of software for learning and creativity as we enter a Post PC era of touch and voice interfaces, plus networked objects with sensors and microcontrollers?

    Microsoft's founding vision was 'a PC on every desk'. 

    Is their new vision 'software (or algorithms) driving every creative act'?

    Shorter 'Coffee' shop version - Below
    Song Smith on YouTube

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  • 50 Million People Can Watch Web Video on their Home TVs as of Today - Jan 15, 2009

    January 15 2009 / by Alvis Brigis
    Category: Entertainment

    Upwards of 50 million people have access to web video through their televisions today thanks to Google, Sony and Nintendo, who have collaborated to bring YouTube videos to the Wii (50 million units sold by March) and PS3 (12 million units sold) through a custom version of the popular site modified for larger home screens.

    From the YouTube blog: Currently in beta, the TV Website offers a dynamic, lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of TVs-315.jpgyour remote control. With enlarged text and simplified navigation, it makes watching YouTube on your TV as easy and intuitive as possible. Optional auto-play capability enables users to view related videos sequentially, emulating a traditional television experience. The TV Website is available internationally across 22 geographies and in over 12 languages.

    Many bloggers, including this one, have been anticipating this moment for some time, speculating that 2009 will at last be the year of Web Video on TV.  Today's mostrous event clinches that moniker, making it extremely likely that by year's end upwards of 100 million game console viewers will have access to YouTube and other web video broadcast platforms through their traditional televisions.  (Simply factor in the XBox reaction and ongoing Wii and PS3 sales.)

    Couple that with the explosion of TV units capable of playing online video and we could be looking at 150-200 million total devices, a future that Google is looking to accelerate:

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  • Website Aims to Map Every Camera That Infringes on Privacy

    January 14 2009 / by John Heylin
    Category: Social Issues

    berkeley.jpgI am pleased to announce the launch of Project Paranoid, a website which hopes to map out the location of every external camera in the world.  While some of you might think that a site such as this is unnecassary, there are enough that believe it is.  Currently the site only features about 600 camera locations are ound Berkeley, CA (the liberal stronghold) but with user help we hope to expand this all over the globe.  London itself has over 1.5 million CCTV cameras, so it's going to be a lot of work.

    Currently the site is in a pretty rough form since we're going public ahead of time in order to get support.  If you're interested in helping out with designing, writing, programming, cash or even logging cameras, email us at projectparanoid@gmail.com so we can give you some sort of idea on what we're looking for.

    (The image above is a screenshot of what the city of Berkeley looks like currently on our site.  Clicking the bubbles will give you a picture of the camera and soon other relevant information about it.)

  • MIT researchers advance carbon nanotube films used in 'super' batteries and capacitors

    January 12 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    MIT Carbon NanotubesMIT Technology Review is reporting on a breakthrough in manufacturing thin, dense films of carbon nanotubes that could improve electrodes used in 'super' batteries and capacitors used in portable devices, 'smart grids' and electric vehicles.

    Energy Storage: Batteries, Fuel cells & Capacitors Batteries and fuel cells convert chemical energy into electricity in a controlled circuit.  Capacitors hold electrons as a physical 'charge' and are used in applications that require rapid discharge of energy. All of these energy storage devices are going to evolve in the coming Era of Nanoscale Engineering.

    How do you talk about the Future of Energy?
    The MIT breakthrough demonstrates the enormous potential of nanoscale design of material components that facilitate energy reactions. It would be a mistake to merely extrapolate our current energy technologies forward based on the disruptive nature of nanoscale energy systems.

    The MIT breakthrough highlights two fundamental areas to focus our conversation:

    New Properties at Nanoscale Carbon
    The electrical and chemical properties of carbon (and other molecules) change when you shift design from the 'microscale' (millionth of meter) to the 'nanoscale' (billionth of a meter).  In recent years, researchers have demonstrated an incredible capacity for carbon nanotubes to capture photons, store electricity and hold hydrogen. Likewise, the performance of metals (e.g. platinum, zinc, nickel) changes dramatically at the nanoscale.

    Higher Surface Area at the Nanoscale

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