2.7 Inch Cubic Projector Hits Market in Japan

February 10 2009 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

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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RFID for Identity Documents May Not Fly in the Future

February 11 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 6 Hot

White/Grey-hat hacker Chris Paget demonstrates a $250 mobile device that can read and clone RFID tags embedded in United States passport cards and enhanced drivers' licenses.

As I often remind readers, accelerating technology cuts both ways and forces us to bolster our info-immune system.

(via The Register)

Augmented Reality - Closer Than You Might Think

February 09 2009 / by Jeff Hilford
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

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.

The Awesome Water-Powered Jet Pack

January 31 2009 / by Jeff Hilford
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

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?

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

January 30 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2010   Rating: 7 Hot

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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Rumor Mill: Three Months Later And Already A New G-Phone?

December 22 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

android-wallpaper2_1024x768.jpgThe Internet is abuzz with people theorizing that a new Google phone from T-Mobile, the G2, will make an appearance late January on the world market.  If true (which it hopefully isn't) this would mean a whole three months passed before a better phone from the same maker breaking the previous record made by the iPhone which stood at nine months.

Although others say it won't appear until April, the idea that a new phone may just be around the corner has got quite a few people heated especially when it "is expected to have a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, VGA camera for video calls, a full touch screen, and Wi-Fi connectivity."  Three months later and already all those extras?

There's a lot going in to play here.  For instance, many thought the T-Mobile G1 was rushed through production even though there was over a half a year of delay in production.  That being said, one might consider a January release as a sign that the first phone pushed onto consumers wasn't the right phone but a rush-job, the rumored one being the phone they should have released first.

If Google wants to keep all the goodwill and support they have from those in the online community who are trying to support their Open-Source venture into the market, they also need to appeal to the consumers buying their Android-powered phones.  If they're smart, they will answer these rumors and hopefully give us a release date somewhere later next year.

via CNET

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ten Tech Gadgets that We Want for Christmas

December 24 2008 / by christinep
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2008   Rating: 6 Hot

christmas pac man tree

Christmas is literally right around the corner.  And while it might be too late to get those gifts that the kids and grown-ups are longing for, it doesn’t hurt to think about that dream list.  So here it is, ten gadgets that we would have screamed for.  Maybe they’re underneath the tree waiting to be opened on Christmas morning or they’re still sitting in-store on the shelf, anyway it’s still fun to think of all the tech gadgets that we hope we’ll receive.


1.    Flip Video Mino HD: The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without capturing memories of the season of giving.  Instead of looking back on hazy footage of the kids opening their gifts, why not look back on high definition quality footage?
2.    USB Mini Fridge: It’s a long day of sitting at your computer putting together the annual Christmas card.  What better way to ease that neck cramp with nice cold can of soda?  If the weather too cold for a soda, how bout a nice hot chocolate?  With a USB mini fridge, you can keep your drink cold or warm to your specific liking without getting up to get more ice or putting your cup in the microwave.
3.    Apple iPhone: We all know that iPod Touch is a tease to the iPhone.  Sure, you can get the application that allows you to use the Touch as a phone, but you have to have WiFi and a microphone connected.  It’s just not the same.

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Google Earth Updates New York to Near Photo-Realism

December 18 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2008   Rating: 6 Hot

afternyc.jpg

The Google Earth Blog announced it has made a huge update to New York City regarding 3D buildings.  "Google has completed nearly every building in Manhattan Island for Google Earth. Just fly to "New York City" and turn on the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth."  Google engineers tried to keep a lot of user-submitted 3D buildings along with their own updates.  Head on over to their site to see before and after pictures of the update, it gives you the same feeling the latest update for Google Streetview gives you — Awed and creepy.

Key2SafeDriving is a Great Product For Anal-Retentive Parents

December 12 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

akeytoblockc.jpg

Leave it to people in Utah to invent the most anal-retentive product of this decade so far.  Key2SafeDriving is a prototype made by University of Utah researchers that allows parents to disable their kids' cellphones while they're driving.  The parents can allow certain numbers to be dialed, and of course 911 is still available, but the kicker is the other functions they hope to add into it.

They hope to include a "safety score" which will be sent each month to insurance companies to compile a driving record of each user.  "The score also could include data recorded via Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites on the driver's speeding, rapid braking or running of lights, which are calculated by comparing the driver's position with a database of maps, speed limits, stop lights and so on."  You'll basically have to drive like a saint (usually the most hated person on the road) or else your insurance company will use that one time you went five miles over the speed limit to jack up your rates like crazy.

I really don't see this gaining ground among the general public.  The people I see using this are parents of only children, Mormons, parents who home school their kids, and rich liberal intellectuals who feel their kids will see how much they treasure their life through their over-protectionism.  Sorry if I come off as hostile, but this product is so silly it makes me laugh that there might be a market for it.  Check out their totally awesome video after the jump (seriously, you have to see it, I'm still laughing).

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Need WiFi On That Roadtrip? Bring it Along With MiFi

December 10 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

You've got a laptop, a cellphone, a digital camera and at least one other gadget in your arsenal.  Sadly, only your phone gets internet which costs about $60 a month.  You thought about getting mobile internet for your laptop but that was another $60 plus the cost of the USB drive.  You're tired of hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop looking for internet on trips.  What do you do?

novatel-mifi.jpg

Novatel, a company specializing in mobile information technology, will soon release MiFi, a mobile WiFi system run through cellular phone lines.  MiFi acts as your own personal WiFi system which you can link to from any of your mobile gadgets.  On a road trip you can carry it along for any of your passengers to latch onto.  With a 4 hour life-span or 40 hours on standby, business trips might be just that more bearable.

Japanese Researchers Close to Recording Your Dreams

December 11 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: Beyond   Rating: 11 Hot

recording.jpg

Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have succeeded in partially translating brain activity in humans into images.  "While the team for now has managed to reproduce only simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds."  They honed the computer to each tested individual by showing them over 400 different images and recording how their brain reacted.  While successful tests have been run so far, the images used in the tests have been fairly simple ones such as the word "neuron."

Anyone who saw the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has to remember how the main character was able to record her dreams for later viewing.  And, true to fashion, the images were somewhat cluttered and fuzzy, an excellent representation of where the technology might be in 20 years (due to the erratic nature of dreams and the speed at which they occur, we may never be able to record a dream like we see it sleeping).  And while it may lead to reading minds entirely, the "secrets" the team refers to, this technology is universally wanted by gadget-hounds everywhere.  Controlling things with the mind will always be the end goal for all of these BCIs.

via Yahoo!

RoboClam — Revolutionary New Anchor Mimics Nature

December 04 2008 / by christinep
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

roboclam

RoboClam.  The name merely conjures up an image of a robotic clam skidding along the ocean floor at top driving speeds.  But upon closer examination, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Picture a ship anchor in the shape of an oblong razor clam the size of a cigarette.  According to Anette Hosoi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  “it turns out that clams are actually very fast diggers.”  Seems like researchers are increasingly finding answers in nature.

How does it work?
The RoboClam uses its namesake to embed itself in the sand which enables the anchor to hold it’s place.  It vibrates in order to turn surrounding mud into liquid.  Its jaws then spread open, allowing a mechanical "feeler" to push down further into the ground.  The hope is to eventually build one which can dig down up to three feet.

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