Monday, August 31, 2009

Wikitude Drive Android Nav App Takes Augmented Reality to Your Car's Dashboard [Android Apps]

Mobilizy's Wikitude, an augmented reality app that overlays Wikipedia links onto your camera's viewfinder, is still one of the most amazing apps in the Android Market. Wikitude Drive, which does the same with turn-by-turn directions, does it one better.
As you can see in the video, Mobilzy's take on the turn-by-turn video overlay isn't the most refined—a nod to Blaupunkt on that one—and it seems a little distracting to use, as is. But that's not to say that the concept isn't fantastic, for one simple reason: Your eyes never really leave the road. Normal nav apps just show you a static, mapped representation of what's coming, which does fine on the directions-giving front, but utterly fails on the helping-you-not-run-over-children-on-bikes front.
Aside from the AR feature, the app is a little bare, it requiring a data connection at all times, supporting voice commands only via a separate voice engine, lacking most of Wikitude's other over features, though informational overlays probably aren't too wise on a turn-by-turn HUD. Mobilzy says it's coming 'soon,' hopefully alongside a partnership with one of the big map data suppliers, so we can actually use this thing. [Mobilzy]

Breaking: Disney To Acquire Marvel Entertainment For $4 Billion

The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today. Under the terms of the agreement and based on last week's closing price of Disney, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor.

Android MID SmartQ5 Shipping End of September in Japan


Good news everyone, the Chinese based Android MID SmartQ 5, which features a 4.3” 800x480 touch screen with a Samsung CPU running at 667MHz, with 1GB of RAM and both Wifi and Bluetooth will be sold in Japan at the end of September as well as online via (Product to be added soon)
The next toy on my wishlist...

Philips Biotower Puts Farming in the Kitchen (With Style) [Taste Test]

According to Philips designers, if you're the type who grows a bit of basil on the windowsill, you'll be addicted to raising your own crustaceans in no time.

This Philips non-spherical-biosphere is a self-contained farm for that produces hundreds of calories of various food sources a day. Its five-level design breaks down like this:

Levels 1 and 2: Plants
Level 3: Algae
Level 4: Fish and Shrimp
Level 5: Organic Waste

From what we can tell, the system is designed to cascade nutrients from the top to the bottom (back to the top). Optical fibers capture and redirect light to the plants during the day, while methane capture from organic waste can power lights at night. The algae create oxygen for the fish.

And while maybe we'd entertain the idea that this biosphere would actually work, it's only a matter of time before a cat scales the top just shatter a mix of waste and shellfish all over the floor.

Here's a clip of the Biosphere, along with a few other interesting Philips food concepts.

[Philips via Design Probes and RSR via TrendsNow]

Fit For Jeff Bridges: BMW's Vision Efficient Dynamics Hybrid Concept [Cars]

Jalopnik is right. This see-through concept out of the BMW R&D wing would be best served with a side of Tron and a couple of light cycles.

The video above is the official promo for the concept vehicle, which will, sadly, never see a showroom. For more, see Jalopnik, which has up a gallery and oodles of facts and figures. [Jalopnik]

Netwalker Suggests that Sharp Sleepwalked Through the Last Few Years [Foreign Gadgets]

No matter what kind of consumer electronics you make it seems you've got to add some sort of internet device to the portfolio. Sharp's addition (at least in Japan) is its 5-inch Netwalker that has a touchscreen and runs Ubuntu.

The Netwalker, also called the PC-Z1 in the official literature, seems to be somewhat pocketable with its 6.3 x 4.2 x .9-inch build. The thing is the ultimate tweener with an ARM Cortex-A8 based processor, 4GB of on board storage, and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, but no 3G or WiMax. It reminds me a lot of the UMID mBook M1, but with a slightly bigger keyboard.

Sharp, maybe you should make some coffee. It has become pretty evident in the last few years that devices like this have failed more times than not, especially for an above $400 price point. The Netwalker looks cute, but people will buy smartphones or netbooks. [Sharp Japanese via Engadget]

GScreen laptop hides a second screen behind the first

GScreen laptop hides a second screen behind the first

Well, this is a crazy contraption. The GScreen is a laptop that hides a secondary screen behind its main on, allowing you to slide it out and effectively double your screen real estate. Madness!

Of course, tossing a second screen on board adds a lot of weight, with the 15.4-inch model clocking in at over 12 pounds. But you'll be able to use dual screens on a laptop! It's not available yet, but the plan is to sell these guys through Amazon by this December, with the first units sporting 16 or 17-inch screens. And they'll definitely be expensive. But wow, look at that thing!

GScreen via Gizmodo

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Super-Tough Solar Panels Could Make Every Road Into a Power Plant [Energy]

Roads do two things well: Carry cars, and soak up sun. What if, instead of just getting really hot, roads could generate electricity with that sunlight? That's exactly what Solar Roadways—and now, the Department of Energyhas in mind.

Solar Roadways, a single-purpose startup, just snagged a $100,000 grant from the DoE to design and build a 12-by-12-foot super-tough solar panel, intended to be laid as sections of road. As it's been optimistically imagined, the panels would also have a layer of low-res LED lights, so they could display changing signage.

Given how expensive and inefficient regular solar panels are, this whole plan sounds a little far-fetched, but the benefits could be huge: the company says that they could meet the entire country's energy needs if the interstate system was replaced with its (still theoretical) panels. Neat, but there's a minor issue of cost.

To pull this into perspective, Solar Roadways say they could take 500 homes off the grid with just one mile of four lane solar highway. They also say their 12x12 panels will cost about $6900 apiece. Assuming a width of four panels, a mile of highway need to be made up of 1760 panels, which comes to over twelve million dollars before construction costs, which usually make up the bulk of the sum anyway.

I mean, they managed to coax $100k out of the government already, so maybe there's more to this than meets the eye. Or maybe, the Deptartment of Energy just wants to give this plan a fair shot, just make sure this won't work. Spaghetti, walls, etc. [Solar Roadways via Inhabitat via PopSci]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Creative’s Zii EGG Filmed in Wild

android_plaszmalogoJust about a month ago we learned about Creative’s Zii EGG, the developer platform that uses Android and their proprietary Plaszma OS. The device is very attractive, with its 64GB storage (internal/SD), multitouch, WiFi, 1080p HD output and much more.

We have the first few videos of the device in the wild thanks to a Leakdroid tipster. We don’t see anything that resembles Android in these two clips as everything looks like Plaszma.

The HD video looks great and we’re really digging the music player and photo browser. Web looks pretty good too but that’s no surprise – it is Opera after all.

A consumer version of this device is becoming more appealing by the day!

Tiny I-Swarm robots are perfect for the secret agent in you

Tiny I-Swarm robots are perfect for the secret agent in you

Looking like something Q would give to James Bond for his next adventure, these miniature self-contained robots can move using power from a built in solar cell, while receiving infrared control signals. Three of the tiny legs are used to move the robot, while a fourth is used as a sensor to detect objects and other robots in the swarm.

With the addition of a ASIS (application-specific integrated circuit), the developers claim that groups (swarms?) of the I-Swarm can be used for micromanufacturing, medical procedures, cleaning, or surveillance. I'm sure that last possibility will be of interest to Q.

Music player powered by temperature changes

Music player powered by temperature changes

While treehuggers bustle about looking for better ways to gather solar energy or wind power, designer Dmitriy Shcherbakov thinks they've overlooked an energy source right in front of them: constantly changing temperature. That's how he plans to power Greenergy, a music player that also inexplicably contains a heating module and a 'personal light' on board.

The idea of harnessing energy from slight temperature changes is nothing new — that's how Atmos clocks work, and they were invented way back in 1928. Those clocks can run for two days on each degree Celsius of temperature change. But if this cool-looking gizmo is going to work, it's going to need to gin up significant amounts of energy to emit enough heat to warm up even a small room.

Dimitriy's not saying yet how much energy his odd multipurpose design concept can create, so it's not entirely clear whether this is a viable invention or merely wishful thinking. In any case, his shiny, undulating and unusually architectural design is certainly creative, unlike anything we've ever seen, unless you're talking about a building by Zaha Hadid.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nokia ‘Booklet 3G’ netbook details coming in early September

nokia netbook

Know what’s popular nowadays? Netbooks! Nokia is officially jumping on the netbook bullet train with the “Booklet 3G” — an Intel/Microsoft-based netbook that promises 12-hour battery life, a weight of 2.75 pounds, and apparently built-in GPS. The “3G” portion of the name indicates a wireless data connection as well.


Actual specs and details will be announced by Nokia on September 2nd, but it’s believed that the Booklet 3G will run Windows 7. The 12-hour battery life is interesting, too, as that’s a full four hours longer than most netbooks currently on the market. It’ll be interesting to see which Atom CPU is used in the machine to obtain that kind of longevity. It may be a slower but less power-hungry Z-series CPU since the 10-inch Booklet will have a higher-resolution screen (likely 1280×800 or 1366×768).


Again, not a whole lot of details yet aside from some teaser photos. We’ll find out more next week.

Here’s a video, too. This thing’s looking pretty nice so far:

[via Reuters and CNET]

Are Your Eyeballs Ready For a 480Hz LCD TV? [Rumor]

Or for that matter, are anyone's? These are the questioned posed by a bizarre report that Samsung, who've been doing the whole 200Hz frame interpolation thing for a while now, will bring a 480Hz LCD HDTV to IFA this year.

Here's how Flatpanelshd says it will work:

The upcoming Samsung 400 Hz (or 480 Hz in the US.) utilizes the so-called BFI/DFI principle. BFI/DFI stands for (Black/Dark Frame Insertion), and means that the TV inserts very short black frames between the original picture frames.The method utilizes the principle that the human eye does not 'forget' light instantly.

I have to say, as someone who knows next to nothing about the human ocular system, this sounds entirely plausible! Look at all the acronyms!

If this does come to pass, it's worth noting that it wouldn't display a true 480Hz (or 400Hz outside the US), since it's not really refreshing the source material on the screen 480 times a second—it'll just simulate that effect by inserting black frames in between actual content. The story is made doubly weird by the fact that, hey, a lot of people kind of hate the artificially high-Hz sets. Like me! At any rate, IFA starts in less than two weeks, so I'll abstain from biased ranting until they actually materialize. [Flatpanelshd via Pocket Lint]

Are Your Eyeballs Ready For a 480Hz LCD TV? [Rumor]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

BlackBerry Storm 2 Explainer Features Piezo Electronics, Wifi [BlackBerry]

An exhaustive BlackBerry Storm 2 video hit YouTube this weekend that details how the upcoming mobile's piezo electric screen is miles ahead of the original's big clicky button. Oh, and that wifi thing makes another appearance too.

Now, the clicky thing is still there, of course, but thanks to that aforementioned piezo electronic screen there's no lag between presses, and texting or emails—staples of any BlackBerry addict's repertoire—are a breeze. In fact, the clicking happens all over the screen as the tech contained within divides it up into several "buttons" at once.

The demo phone is also a Verizon one, by the way, so when wifi pops up early on in the video, it lends further credence to our earlier reporting about the carrier unblocking that functionality when the phone hits in September. [YouTube via Engadget]

Samsung Omnia HD i8910 Review [Review]

A Symbian-injected followup the so-so Windows Mobile Omnia, the HD i8910 is a specced-out slab of phone from Samsung, with a 3.6-inch AMOLED screen, 8MP camera, HD video recording and a definite thing for multimedia.

The Price: TBD, at least as far as subsidized carrier deals go. You can grab it unlocked now for about $650, but 3G may not work on your carrier.

The Verdict: The Omnia HD does everything fine, and a few things extremely well. Video playback is top notch and widely compatible, the camera is among the best I've ever seen on a cellphone, and the video recording can actually hang with a lot of pocket cams, like the Flip of Kodak Zi series. On all other counts the phone never falls flat, but it never really shines, either.

The hardware: Your first impression of the Omnia HD is that it's big, but that's not really fair: It's a tall device, but it's not meaningfully larger than any of the other popular touchscreen phones on the market today—it's just proportioned differently (see the gallery below for comparison). And for all the hardware crammed inside, it's reasonably thin. Speaking of guts: It's got HSDPA (on European bands), GPS, 8-16GB of internal storage with microSD expansion, and 8MP, 720p-recording camera sensor, a built-in flash bulb, a forward-facing video camera, USB connector and a 3.5mm jack. So it's a healthy phone, hardware-wise.

Samsung touts the AMOLED screen over pretty much everything else, and with some good reason. It's vibrant and sharp, but side by side with an iPod Touch, it isn't strikingly better. The benefits of the OLED, such as they are, seem to manifest themselves more in the phone's long-ish battery life than anything else. In terms of touch, it's a capacitive panel, and it's extremely responsive. Any lag or difficulties with the onscreen keyboard are entirely down to the software.

Cellphone cameras are generally horrible, so the Omnia HD's camera is a rare treat. Seriously: I trusted it to shoot a headphone review last week, and it definitely came through. It'll match a low-end point-and-shoot in most situations, barring low-light—the sensor can't really handle darker situations too well, and the flash is pretty wimpy—and fast-motion scenes. Video, on the other hand, is at least pocket-cam quality. In daylight it's razor-sharp at 720p, while in low light it's passable. It doesn't quite match up to the best-of-the-bunch Kodak Zi8, for example, but it's amazingly close. And it's a cellphone! When the hell did this happen?

The Software: This is where things fall apart a little. Wherever the Omnia HD's hardware shines—along with the kickass camera, it can handle HD video playback in plenty of codecs—the software is fine. The camera interface and media playback interfaces, music and video, are never distracting a usually do what you expect. Everything else? That's a different story.

Samsung's thrown the old Omnia's TouchWiz widget UI, originally designed for Windows Mobile, onto the Symbian-powered HD. This in itself is fine, since TouchWiz has always been a decent, finger-friendly homescreen, wherever it shows up. Outside of the three main TouchWiz panels, though, is a bizarre UI stew, some from Symbian, some from Samsung, and some from the deepest bowels of design hell. For example: Scrolling! Instead of throwing menus and selecting entries, the selection follows your finger. It's hard to explain, but it's a terrible way to have to trudge around a menu-heavy operating system. The onscreen keyboard seems to be a Samsung special too. It's fine—it's spacious and rarely lags—but it's set on a perfect grid, doesn't come with any autocorrect and generally feels like it was designed in about an hour.

Outside of the core multimedia and homescreen areas, the phone is a fairly raw take on Symbian, which means the UI is inconsistent and difficult to tackle with fingers. Not to mention Symbian's needlessly inserted extra steps all over the place. Want to enter a URL? Press a button, type your address, press another button, and press another. It doesn't make any sense. Samsung's given Symbian something of a makeover, but most of Matt's complaints about the N97 software carry over to the HD.

Functionally, though, it holds up fine: The browser could be easier to navigate with, but renders with WebKit, supports Flash and generally does its job. Same goes for pretty much everything else: the experience could be smoother, but you'd be hard pressed to find a task that the HD explicitly can't handle. And if you do find a gap, remember that this is full Symbian, so you can always go app hunting. As dumb as the UI can be, don't be fooled into thinking this is a dumbphone: it can do pretty much anything an Android or Windows Mobile phone can, just a little more awkwardly. [Samsung]

Samsung Omnia HD i8910 Review [Review]

Say Hello to Cloud TeleComputers’ Glass Platform


San Francisco-based Cloud Telecomputers is shopping around the Android-based platform called Glass. Their unique combination of hardware and software takes traditional business phones and throws them in the cloud.

Using an 8″ touch screen, users can manage calls, open applications, and more. The device also boasts HD speakerphone, Outlook support, and Bluetooth sync for mobile phones.

Cloud Telecomputers license their platform to phone and PBX manufacturers and handle everything including design, installing software and loading cloud-based apps. The demo page on their site shows apps like Salesforce, LinkedIn, and UPS/FedEx tracking.

This is exactly the type of home phone system we envision with Android too. Put a front facing camera on there, install a few apps for social networking, messages, weather, and sports, and you have a winner. Companies like T-Mobile could do well to incorporate a phone along these lines with their @Home service.

If you’d like to see 3 demo videos, you can check them out here.

Cloud Telecomputers is funded by names familiar to tech and mobile follower including former Motorola CEO, Ed Zander.

Say Hello to Cloud TeleComputers’ Glass Platform

New bendable silicon semiconductor chip may pave the way for fancier gadgets

Major Japanese chemical company Teijin, in cooperation with California-based NanoGram, has developed a technology that makes it possible to produce bendable silicon semiconductor chips. This method could make it easier to manufacture curved solar panels, for example, that could be installed on uneven walls (the explanation for the picture: Teijin isn’t offering any pictures at this point - sorry).

Teijin attached silicon semiconductor devices to bendable plastic substrates, which are lighter and more flexible than conventional glass-mounted devices. The key factor was the usage of tiny silicon particles which are tens of nanometers in diameter (and a nanometer is one billionth of a meter).

Teijin was successful in producing a device sized at 1.5×1.5cm, which is just 120 micrometers thick and bendable (a micrometer is one millionth of a meter). The company plans to commercialize its technology in three years.

New bendable silicon semiconductor chip may pave the way for fancier gadgets

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]

Entertainment Weekly adding video ads to its printed magazine

Entertainment Weekly adding video ads to its printed magazine

Entertainment Weekly is adding full-motion video with audio next month to its printed page. Sound crazy? The cellphone-sized, wafer-thin screens activate when the reader gets to that page, and will feature characters from prime time television and ads for soft drinks at a considerable mark-up, according to the Financial Times:

One magazine industry executive with knowledge of the technology estimated that running one video ad in 100,000 copies would cost in the low seven-figure range. That would translate into a cost of several dollars per copy. By contrast, a full-page colour ad in Entertainment Weekly costs about 9 cents a page per copy.
The movie is being compared to the 75th anniversary of Esquire, which featured the magazine world's first e-ink cover (pictured above). The big question here, however, is whether these video ads will represent a sustainable new stream of revenue for magazines, simply annoy the hell out of customers or prove to be a one-time buzz-generating trick, such as Esquire's e-ink cover.

Entertainment Weekly adding video ads to its printed magazine, Financial Times, via Dvorak

Scientists Create Inorganic Bendable, Transparent LED Displays WIth Less Flavor than Organic Ones [Displays]

As if we weren't excited enough with flexible, transparent organic LEDs—which are taking forever to reach consumers—now scientists have created flexible, transparent non-organic LEDs. Seriously, we can use a litte less teasing and a lot more action here.

The new method is based on a simple concept: Traditional LEDs are extremely efficient on converting electricity to light. So much that, if you make them microscopic, the eyes will still see them and you will be able to lay them on a flexible material. The only problem is that there is no manufacturing method for achieving the sizes they need—around 100µm. The solution: They pulled an Alexander the Great and chopped a huge Gordian LED into a thousand tiny pieces.

The resulting bits were printed in the material at different intervals using a mesh and, presto, instant transparent and bendable inorganic LED displays. [Ars Technica]

Scientists Create Inorganic Bendable, Transparent LED Displays WIth Less Flavor than Organic Ones [Displays]

The LRO can transmit 461GB everyday. That would cost $231,883 on AT&T.


NASA already has major budget issues so it’s a damn good thing the agency didn’t turn to AT&T to provide the wireless data coverage for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Because AT&T charges $0.0195 per kilobyte over a 5GB cap, it would cost roughly $231,883 for the daily data transmission of the 461GB. That’s $83,709,763 per year assuming AT&T didn’t come up with some charge for interplanetary roaming. All joking aside, this Moon satellite has an impressive data transmitter.

Somehow electrodes in a vacuum tube boosts microwave signals to high levels that are idea for transmitting large amounts of data. This amplifier can send data at a 100 megabytes a second back to Earth, more than 238,800 miles away. Similar designs were used on Kepler and Cassini, but the LRO’s system is the most powerful. And it has to be if it’s taking high-res photos of the Moon’s surface.

The LRO can transmit 461GB everyday. That would cost $231,883 on AT&T.

All-purpose BEAR robot rolling to a military engagement near you

All-purpose BEAR robot rolling to a military engagement near you: "

I’m beginning to think the Robocalypse is going to be less Terminator and more Dinobot. I mean, we’ve robotic fish, dog-monsters, and hummingbots already, and that’s just off the top of my head. And if it isn’t based on an animal, it’s named after one. The BEAR robot, in contrast, isn’t actually bearlike, but is just a handy acronym for the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot.

It’s got a couple freaky-looking arms capable of either carrying a wounded soldier or daintily plucking a grenade out of a purse. It cruises around on a cool sort of double-tread that can change angle to help it get over rubble (or human rubble). It’s pretty cool, but I think their next design goal should be making it less frightening. Human-looking or not human-looking, you gotta make a choice here, guys.

[via CNET]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leaked Pics Reveal QWERTY Samsung InstinctQ

Leaked Pics Reveal QWERTY Samsung InstinctQ:

instinctq_001Expected to come out in October (or possibly November), little is known about the Samsung IntinctQ. For instance, what the heck does the ‘Q’ stand for anyways? We already know what a Samsung Instinct is, what makes this one different?

Judging by the pictures that were sent to Phandroid, the ‘Q’ stands for QWERTY. Looks to be a 4-row slideout keyboard with stock Android as the OS. Wonder if we will see “with Google” on the back side? We’re also curious to see if it packs 8GB of memory under the hood like the Galaxy.




This could make for a very interesting day in Sprint-dom should the InstinctQ and HTC Hero launch together. Two completely different handsets, with distinct hardware and software offerings – just what we always wanted, mom!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lossless: Unlike PS3 Fat, PS3 Slim supports Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio

Lossless: Unlike PS3 Fat, PS3 Slim supports Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio: "


Sony giveth, and Sony taketh away. About six people were upset that Sony decided to, once and for all, kill PS2 backwards compatibility with the PS3 Slim. But as the rubbish opening sentence implies, PS3 Slim owners will, indeed, have something over their PS3 Fat (is that the standard nomenclature now?) brethren: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support.

Yup, now people with high-end audio setups will be able to listen to the lossless audio tracks on their favorite Blu-ray movies. Despite the fact that I write for a tech site, I’m still “hobbling along” with a standard issue Dolby Digital/DTS audio setup; it works just fine, and was plenty cheap at $100.

Again, if this system debuted in 2006, things, I think, would be a little different today (knowing full well that Sony couldn’t have afforded a $300 PS3 back then).

Physicists Create Perfect Coffee Mug That Keeps Perfect Temperature [Gadgets]

Physicists Create Perfect Coffee Mug That Keeps Perfect Temperature [Gadgets]: "

Fraunhofer Institute scientists have invented The Perfect Coffee Mug: One that absorbs the heat from your beverage, making it go down to a perfect temperature, and then releasing it slowly to keep it at that exact temperature for 30 minutes.

The key for this magic trick is physics and PCM—phase change material—an extraordinary substance used in construction and winter clothing. PCM is capable of storing and releasing heat or cold.

In its original state it is a solid but. Then, when it receives heat, it absorbs it like a sponge liquifying into a gooey wax. As the PCM solidifies it releases the energy at a steady pace, keeping any liquid or room at the perfect temperature. In houses, they achieve this by filling hollow walls with PCM, which absorbs heat from the sun, and then releases it as the atmosphere cools down, keeping the room at a perfect temperature.

The perfect mug follows the same principle: It is made of hollow ceramics. Inside there's an aluminum structure—as you can see in the image above—which gets filled with PCM. When you pour in your hot coffee, the heat gets absorbed reaching your personal optimum level based on the amount of PCM in the cup's interior. According to Klaus Sedlbauer, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, you can customize this on manufacturing. Their perfect cup, however, keeps it at 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit:

Warm drinks — like coffee or tea — are best enjoyed at 58 degrees Celsius. In order to reach and maintain this temperature, we fill the mug with a type of PCM that becomes a liquid at exactly 58 degrees Celsius. Under ideal circumstances, the optimal temperature can be maintained for 20-30 minutes.

I don't know about you, for for me they are not putting this into the market soon enough. [Spiegel]

Duracell announces myGrid, new product offerings

Duracell announces myGrid, new product offerings: "

_mygridDuracell announced a few new products today, the most interesting of the lot is the “myGrid” charging device. It appears to make inductive charging convenient for almost any device you might have, which seems like a really good idea.

Duracell is trying to bring batteries and charging into the next generation, and honestly, the product line up is pretty impressive. We’re arranging to review the myGrid, which I think would be the most interesting of the line up to you, the CrunchGear reader. Assuming that it works as advertised, it’ll provide a inductive charging solution to almost any mobile device through the use of an adapter that is attached to your phone. Look for that review in the coming weeks.

And now, from the press release:

Duracell today launched its new Duracell Smart Power initiative, which expands the brand’s product portfolio beyond the traditional battery to address the ever-growing and ever-changing power needs of the modern consumer. The company’s latest offerings, such as the new drop-and-go myGrid™ charging pad, fall under an emerging category of personal power solutions and signify Duracell’s commitment to keeping today’s consumers connected to the devices they need the most at all times.

Duracell Smart Power and its range of personal power solutions continue the company’s focus on reliability, performance and technological innovation but now deliver added power efficiency allowing consumers the freedom to live beyond the grid. More than 10 new products mark the start of Duracell Smart Power ranging from myGrid™ to on-the-go compact power chargers, new rechargeable battery chargers and patented LED technology for flashlights.

“Duracell Smart Power is an evolution of Duracell’s heritage that builds upon the reliability and performance that our batteries have and will always deliver. This initiative will serve as an important lens for future product innovation as we expand the breadth of our offerings to address the evolution of personal power,” said Rick June, Duracell Vice President and General Manager, North America. “Our new personal power solutions allow consumers the freedom to live their lives without the limits of staying tethered to today’s power grid. It is charging made simple.”

Duracell Smart Power Products

Duracell Smart Power products represent state-of-the-art charging performance. Making charging simpler, creating new ways to take extra power with you, and providing new ways to maximize power efficiency, Duracell’s latest developments showcase innovation beyond the battery. Products include:

·Duracell myGrid™ charging pad – Consumers can enjoy a better daily charging experience with this device that eliminates the mess of multiple cords by simultaneously charging multiple devices, such as cell phones, MP3 music players or other mobile devices. Once the charging pad is plugged in, your devices can go cordless. By simply fitting a device with a Power Sleeve™ or Power Clip™, you can drop your device on myGrid™ and go.

·Duracell Instant Charger – This compact Lithium Ion Rechargeable charger provides reserve power for popular mobile devices, such as BlackBerrys, iPods and cellphones that come with USB power cords. A USB-to-mini-USB cord is included. Mobile users can now enjoy up to 35 hours of additional power that is efficiently managed with an on/off switch.

·Duracell Powerhouse Charger – Provides reserve power for consumers’ most critical devices, including any cell phone, PDA or MP3 player that comes with a USB power cord or can connect to the Powerhouse’s mini-USB arm. Powerhouse also comes with a USB-to-mini-USB cord and features an on/off switch for power conservation, making it a must for today’s frequent travelers.

·Duracell Pocket Charger – A pocket-sized, supplemental Lithium Ion Rechargeable power source works with all USB-powered cell phones. Pocket Charger provides convenient power when a cell phone battery dies and the owner is away from the traditional outlet for recharging. The Pocket Charger offers cell phone users up to 60 percent more talk time and includes a mini-USB charging arm as well as a USB-to-mini-USB cord.

·Duracell GoMobile – The Energy Star-certified GoMobile delivers a charge to AA or AAA NiMH batteries in just one hour. Designed to fit in a car’s cup holder, it also is designed to fit with home décor and comes with four Duracell Pre-Charged Rechargeable batteries that can be recharged hundreds of times while holding their charge for up to one year when not in use.

·Duracell GoEasy – The Energy Star-certified GoEasy is compact enough to go where you go and charges up to two AA or AAA NiMH batteries. It comes with two rechargeable batteries that can be recharged hundreds of times.

·Duracell Daylite LED Flashlight – Captures up to 100 percent of light to focus a brighter, whiter beam, while providing 5 times the battery life of everyday “incandescent bulb” flashlights. The Daylite series, initially introduced in fall 2008, now includes five new models with Daylite Tough flashlights, spotlights and headlamps.

These innovations complement the company’s existing portfolio of time-tested CopperTop and rechargeable battery solutions. For more information, visit

The myGrid will be available in October for $79.99, with additional “Power Sleeves” available for $34.99 each.

Littmann 3200 Bluetooth Stethoscope Brings Auscultation to PC for Sharing, Futher Review

Littmann 3200 Bluetooth Stethoscope Brings Auscultation to PC for Sharing, Futher Review: "

3M has partnered with Zargis Medical to develop a Bluetooth-enabled stethoscope with recording capabilities that can help physicians get more out of an exam. By being able to transfer recordings to a computer, one can assemble a historical set for analysis at a later time or share selective sounds with colleagues for a second opinion. Additionally, the package comes with two pieces of software, one that helps visualize and fine tune the audio for better fidelity, and the other helps clinicians identify suspected murmurs.

Proprietary Ambient Noise Reduction Technology (ANR)

  • Reduces background noise 85% on average without eliminating critical body sounds
  • 13% better ANR than previous models

  • Acoustic Seal Eartips

    Patented 3M™ Littmann® Snap Tight Soft-Sealing Eartips provides [sic] a comfortable fit and excellent seal

  • Creates a tight acoustic seal from ambient noise entering through eartip connections

  • State-of-the-Art Sound Sensor

  • Built to stringent specification
  • Sound experience equivalent to Littmann® cardiology-grade acoustic stethoscope
  • The sound received from the sensor is transmitted naturally to ears through the tubing

  • Frictional Noise Reduction Technology

  • Helps reduce handling noises compared to previous electronic models
  • Less distracting than previous models
  • Lets you focus on critical sounds

  • Up to 24X Sound Amplification

  • Extra listening power for when you need it
  • Helpful when a heart, lung or body sound is especially faint
  • May be useful for overly obese patients
  • May be helpful when the patient's clothing restricts your listening experience
  • Product page: Littmann® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200...

    Press release: 3M™ Introduces First Electronic Stethoscope with Bluetooth® Wireless Capability ...

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Archos to announce Android tablet on September 15, specs revealed, I drool

    Archos to announce Android tablet on September 15, specs revealed, I drool: "


    Ooh la la. A real deal Android tablet this summer? Am I dreaming? No! I’m so in love with this OS it’s disgusting. Put aside my sickening love for a freaking OS and consider taking a gander at AppsLib? It’s the Application Store for Android launched by Archos, which states that registration will begin on September 15 “following the launch of this initiative”. If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite then how about some specs for the Archos Android tablet?

    The tablet will rock a 5-inch 800×480 screen that plays back 720p content natively. And lest we forget, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet (that’s what they’re calling it on the AppsLib site) will have an HDMI out and comes with natively embedded OpenGL libraries.

    What Is This? [Aerospace]

    What Is This? [Aerospace]: "

    What in the name of every single goddamn fruitbat is this? Did someone create a cybernetic Dune sandworm and equip it with anti-gravity engines? I wish. In reality, it's the Sanswire-TAO STS-111, a new kind of airship.

    The Sanswire-TAO STS-111 is a 111-foot long, 11-foot tall multi-segmented, non-rigid airship. The design of this ultralight UAV—Unmanned Air Vehicle—allows it to fly on its own for extremely long period of times. It uses gas-cell power for propulsion and electricity generation.

    Why do we want these air worms? They will be able to provide people on the ground with communication networks, and also serve as terrain vigilantes. Because that's what we want up there: Giant worms watching over us. Preferably ones that can spew acid, and have laser cannons. [Sanswire via Flight Global]

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    World's Smallest Laser, The Spaser, Unveiled

    World's Smallest Laser, The Spaser, Unveiled: "

    A research team from Norfolk State University and Purdue has built on the work of Mark Stockman of Georgia State and David Bergman of Tel Aviv University to create a laser on the nanoscale. Though light can't be focused past around half its wavelengths, plasmons (quantum of plasma oscillations) can exist at much smaller scale while having the frequency of light. By stimulating gold nanoparticles to emit surface plasmons, the Norfolk State researchers were able to amplify them and in effect create a nano laser.

    Nanophotonics may usher in a host of radical advances, including powerful 'hyperlenses' resulting in sensors and microscopes 10 times more powerful than today's and able to see objects as small as DNA; computers and consumer electronics that use light instead of electronic signals to process information; and more efficient solar collectors.
    'Here, we have demonstrated the feasibility of the most critical component - the nanolaser - essential for nanophotonics to become a practical technology,' Shalaev said. [Vladimir Shalaev, the Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University --ed.]

    The 'spaser-based nanolasers' created in the research were spheres 44 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, in diameter - more than 1 million could fit inside a red blood cell. The spheres were fabricated at Cornell, with Norfolk State and Purdue performing the optical characterization needed to determine whether the devices behave as lasers.

    The findings confirm work by physicists David Bergman at Tel Aviv University and Mark Stockman at Georgia State University, who first proposed the spaser concept in 2003.

    'This work represents an important milestone that may prove to be the start of a revolution in nanophotonics, with applications in imaging and sensing at a scale that is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light,' said Timothy D. Sands, the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

    The spasers contain a gold core surrounded by a glasslike shell filled with green dye. When a light was shined on the spheres, plasmons generated by the gold core were amplified by the dye. The plasmons were then converted to photons of visible light, which was emitted as a laser.

    Spaser stands for surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. To act like lasers, they require a 'feedback system' that causes the surface plasmons to oscillate back and forth so that they gain power and can be emitted as light. Conventional lasers are limited in how small they can be made because this feedback component for photons, called an optical resonator, must be at least half the size of the wavelength of laser light.

    The researchers, however, have overcome this hurdle by using not photons but surface plasmons, which enabled them to create a resonator 44 nanometers in diameter, or less than one-tenth the size of the 530-nanometer wavelength emitted by the spaser.

    'It's fitting that we have realized a breakthrough in laser technology as we are getting ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser,' Shalaev said.

    Purdue press release: New nanolaser key to future optical computers and technologies...

    The Most Amazing Photo of the Universe, Now In 3D [Hubble]

    Showing 10,000 galaxies, the overwhelming Hubble Ultra Deep Field is the most amazing, most humbling image in history, demonstrating how tiny and precious we are. This video explains how it was taken, and shows it in three dimensions.


    Dell Inspiron Zino HD: Eat It, Mac Mini [Dell]

    Can't tell you the specs or price on this thing, but I can show you the back of the Inspiron Zino HD, which should tell you almost everything you want to know about it.

    Now, I doubt it'd have an HDMI port and be called the Zino HD if it didn't output HD video. It's a little bit taller than the Mac Mini, but not by much. Not too shabby at all.


    Liquid OLED Tech Could Lead to More Reliable, More Flexible Displays [Oled]

    We've already told you that legitimate flexible OLED displays really are coming now, but thanks to some Japanese researchers they could be more reliable—and flexible!—than we first imagined.

    In layman's terms, the innovation arrives thanks to a liquid semiconducting layer that potentially bends and flexes more reliably than the 'vacuum thermal evaporation' technique employed by Samsung.

    In the researchers' case, the liquid, officially known as ethylhexyl carbazole (EHCz), will constantly deliver a fresh supply of semiconductors to the emitting layer. To you and me that means better, more flexible screens that might not degrade as quickly as once thought, if and when they arrive in the (near?) future. Just don't try and drink one. [PhysOrg via OLED Info - Thanks, Ron]