Thursday, October 29, 2009

Toshiba launches new BSI 14.6Mpix CMOS for mobile devices.

Toshiba today announced the launch of a new CMOS image sensor that will bring 14.6 million pixels to digital still cameras and to mobile phones supporting video imaging. The sensor, the latest addition to Toshiba’s “DynastronTM” line-up, is also the company’s first to integrate the enhanced sensitivity offered by backside illumination technology (BSI). Sampling of the new sensor will begin in December and mass production will follow from the third quarter of 2010 (July--September).

BSI brings new levels of responsiveness to CMOS imaging. Lenses are deployed on the rear of the sensor on the silicon substrate, not on the front, where wiring limits light absorption. This positioning boosts light sensitivity and absorption by 40% compared to existing Toshiba products, and allows formation of finer image pixels.

Toshiba has made full use of the advantages of BSI to realize image pixels with a pitch of 1.4 microns, and to pack 14.6 million of them into a 1/2.3-inch sensor that meets the high level imaging and processing requirement, and that will also bring a new level of image quality to mobile phones. Toshiba will use the new sensor to promote its full-scale entry to the digital camera market, and will continue to develop BSI products as a mainstream technology.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Announcing Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0

Since 2005, millions of people have relied on Google Maps for mobile to get directions on the go. However, there's always been one problem: Once you're behind the wheel, a list of driving directions just isn't that easy to use. It doesn't tell you when your turn is coming up. And if you miss a turn? Forget it, you're on your own.

Today we're excited to announce the next step for Google Maps for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices.

This new feature comes with everything you'd expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. But unlike most navigation systems, Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone's Internet connection.

Here are seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:

The most recent map and business data
When you use Google Maps Navigation, your phone automatically gets the most up-to-date maps and business listings from Google Maps — you never need to buy map upgrades or update your device. And this data is continuously improving, thanks to users who report maps issues and businesses who activate their listings with Google Local Business Center.

Search in plain English
Google Maps Navigation brings the speed, power and simplicity of Google search to your car. If you don't know the address you're looking for, don't worry. Simply enter the name of a business, a landmark or just about anything into the search box, and Google will find it for you. Then press 'Navigate', and you're on your way.

Search by voice
Typing on a phone can be difficult, especially in the car, so with Google Maps Navigation, you can say your destination instead. Hold down the search button to activate voice search, then tell your phone what you want to do (like 'Navigate to Pike Place in Seattle'), and navigation will start automatically.

Traffic view
Google Maps Navigation gets live traffic data over the Internet. A traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along your route. If there's a jam ahead of you, you'll know. To get more details, tap the light to zoom out to an aerial view showing traffic speeds and incidents ahead. And if the traffic doesn't look good, you can choose an alternate route.

Search along route
For those times when you're already on the road and need to find a business, Google Maps Navigation searches along your route to give you results that won't take you far from your path. You can search for a specific business by name or by type, or you can turn on popular layers, such as gas stations, restaurants or parking.

Satellite view
Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop to help you get to your destination. Turn on the satellite layer for a high-resolution, 3D view of your upcoming route. Besides looking cool, satellite view can help you make sense of complicated maneuvers.

Street View
If you want to know what your next turn looks like, double-tap the map to zoom into Street View, which shows the turn as you'll see it, with your route overlaid. And since locating an address can sometimes be tricky, we'll show you a picture of your destination as you approach the end of your route, so you'll know exactly what to look for.

Since there's nothing quite like seeing the product in action, we made this video to demonstrate a real-life example:

The first phone to have Google Maps Navigation and Android 2.0 is the Droid from Verizon. Google Maps Navigation is initially available in the United States. And like other Google Maps features, Navigation is free.

Visit to learn more and browse a gallery of product screenshots. Take Google Maps Navigation for a spin, and bring Internet-connected GPS navigation with you in your car.

Mio to Launch 4.7-inch Internet and Navigation Device with Android

Mio Technology has announced that a new version of their MiBuddy internet and navigation device will be, you guessed it, Android-based. This 4.7″ unit will be a Mobile Internet Navigation Device (MIND) and will incorporate web browsing and feature a physical keyboard that slides out from below. The MiBuddy will function as a GPS device while in the car, but can also pull double duty as a personal navigator and internet browser. Additional specs include a built-in microphone, speaker and media player.

Pricing and geographic availability has yet to be revealed, but the device is slated for a 2010 release. It’s interesting to note that Mio had been exclusively using Windows CE as the operating system for their products up until now. Not only is Android eating into Microsoft’s smart phone market, but it’s now taking away from other markets too! Mio does plan to continue use of WinCE for the rest of their line up.

Current MiBuddys use Microsoft’s Windows CE operating system exclusively. Windows CE will continue to be offered for the next generation MiBuddys coming out next year, in addition to Android. MiBuddy includes WiFi and Bluetooth, but the next-gen units will also feature support for WiMax.

[AndroidGuys via PC World]

Lila-Lou's Ankida Yacht Will Make You Long For A Journey [Design]

I don't even want to imagine what the price tag for Lila-Lou's finely-tuned Ankida yacht will be. I just want to lay on the deck and watch the wind hit those optimally-positioned sails as I drift around the world.
The entire driving force of the Ankida concept, aside from beautiful looks, is to have ideal placement for every part and get the most out of your escapes. Whether you prefer to move under only one sail, or test the performance of them all, you can easily do it with a hell of a lot of style. And while it's a still just a concept design, I'm already lost in daydreams of adventure and pirates.

[Gizmodo via Super Yacht Times via BornRich]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Self-Parking Car Works Perfectly, Except For That Whole Running People Over Thing [Automotive]

Volkswagen is onto something great with this concept demo. You just step out of this car and it parks itself. Great, now they just need to iron out those details about detecting obstacles like lil' ol' grannies crossing parking lots.
Self-parking cars aren't really a new idea, but with the design the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory is working on, only minimal modifications are required a vehicle's stock options. The main sensor systems consist of a camera mounted on the rear view mirror, a front radar, and 'couple little off the shelf LIDAR units mounted on the sides.' They'll need to make a few more modification to take care of the system's inability to detect obstacles (be it people or terrain), but other than that tiny detail, this is the best autonomous parking prototype I've seen so far. [Gizmodo via BotJunkie]

Xerox Develops Ink To Print Circuits On Nearly Anything [Printable Circuits]

Wearable electronics aren't news, but being able to make them cheaply and easily is. Xerox has developed an ink with which you can print circuits onto plastic, film, fabric, and nearly anything you can think of.
From more durable, flexible electronics to nifty, wearable gear to cheap, throw away gadgets, the possible applications will be endless the day Xerox's 'silver bullet' ink hits the market. Despite the lack of details on when that'll actually happen or what sort of equipment will be required for the actual printing process, I'm already daydreaming about pants with all sorts of gadgetry built in. [Gizmodo via Venture Beat]

100-Core Tilera TILE-Gx Processors Planned For 2011 [CPUs]

While Intel and AMD look to make a complete jump to 8-cores, Tilera (an MIT start-up) says its upcoming 100-core chip has 'at least four times the compute performance of an Intel Nehalem-Ex, while burning a third of the power.'
The 40-nanometer TILE-Gx will reportedly draw about 55W of power at full load, and though it's expected to cost between $400 and $1000 (depending on volume), it's more intended for use on Linux-based enterprise Web servers.
According to Wired, the chip isn't really geared for regular operating systems such as Windows 7—for that, you'll have to wait for Intel's 80-core processor which was demonstrated last year, and is expected in about 5 years.
[Gizmodo via Tilera via Wired]

Nissan's Idea Of A Personal Mobility Device Is A Pair Of Skis on Stilts [Personal Mobility]

I thought the Honda U3-X was weird, but this personal mobility device prototype by Nissan and AIST actually separates into a whacked out pair of motorized skis on stilts. With its unstable seeming controls, I think I'll stick to walking.
When the the device is in one piece, you can control turns by shifting your weight, but when the sides are split up you're supposed to lift your feet and step around as if truly on stilts. Great, everything already look unstable and you want me to lift a foot without a nice soft pile of snow to fall face-first into?
Thankfully, neither Nissan nor the National Advanced Institute of Science and Technology appear to be in any rush to actually market this thing.
[Gizmodo via Plastic Pals via Engadget]

Petman Walking/Balancing Robot Is Like BigDog's "Human" Master [Robots]

I'm sure you are all well acquainted with the crazy quadrupled BigDog robot, but if it had a master to walk with, it would probably look something like the Petman.
Actually, the similarity is not surprising considering that the walking robot was designed by Boston Dynamics—the same company behind BigDog. Petman has been in development for some time now, but this is the first chance we have had to view his human-like stride. The military plans on using it to test out protective clothing for soliders that need to be completely protective and not strain or open up under any sort of human articulated movement. It's capable of crawling, as well as walking at 3.2 MPH.
And like the Big Dog, it can keep its balance when you shove it.
[Gizmodo via Danger Room]

Tire maker Bridgestone shows world’s first flexible e-book reader

Tire maker Bridgestone isn’t the first company that comes to mind when thinking about electronic paper, but the company has been experimenting in this field for quite some time now. Today, Bridgestone claimed that it has developed the world’s first flexible e-book reader [JP]. The device, which is pictured above, uses electronic paper (instead of, say, an LCD) and will display the content on the screen even after you turn it off.
Bridgestone says the prototype has a 10.7-inch-screen, is just 5.8mm thick (Kindle 2: 9.1mm) and can display color pages. The device can be bent to some extent since the circuit board and the electronic paper are flexible.
First tests with end consumers will begin in spring of next year, but Bridgestone already said it doesn’t plan to commercialize the e-book reader at this point.
The company also unveiled another device that features a 13.1-inch e-paper (touch screen) that can display up to 4,096 colors, communicate with cell phones and comes with a reaction rate of 0.8sec (that’s how long it takes to refresh a screen). It’s pictured above.

Monday, October 26, 2009

HTC Kicks off Ad Campaign Centered Around ‘You’

For years, HTC has been the biggest handset maker that nobody had ever heard of. Content to stand back in the shadows and defer the spotlight, the Taiwanese manufacturer has remained relatively unknown. If someone were to ask you who made your Windows Mobile smart phone, chances were good that you either said ‘T-Mobile’ or ‘I don’t know’. That’s because the devices were marketed as carrier branded handset (think T-Mobile Dash, T-Mobile Wing). Until now, they’ve been one of those companies who didn’t get the credit they deserve. That’s all changing.
HTC has started a major push for brand awareness here in the United States and deservedly so. As of today, they are responsible for nearly every Android handset released in the US, with more to come. Some of the best cutting-edge phones in the world are their products and the public should know that. Enter the “Quietly Brilliant” campaign.
We’ve come to have a very emotional relationship with our phones. Many of our key experiences in any given day come through this one device and yet most of the advertising in the category is still about utility. HTC’s whole design philosophy is very personal. They make phones where your experience is completely unique, so we think there is a connection between how people feel about their phones and how HTC makes them. – Eric Hirshberg, co-CEO and chief creative officer, Deutsch LA.
We’ve embedded the first two advertisements from the campaign. As Androinica points out, Android is bound to grab some extra attention as a result of this push;The handset featured in the commercial is a Hero from Sprint. Further, HTC is heavily vested in Android and will continue to develop a majority of their handsets using the platform.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Else Intuition: The Surprisingly Not-Sad Fate of Palm OS [Cellphones]

In 2006, Access bought the rights to Palm OS, and licensed the code to Palm. Access spent plenty of time and money developing a next-gen OS, which Palm totally ignored for their own. Things looked grim! Until this thing.
The Else Intuition, aside from being one of the first phones to use Access' Linux Platform v3.0 OS, is a 3.47-inch 480x854 slab of handset, with an OMAP 3430 processor, 16GB of internal memory, a 5MP camera, A-GPS, and 3.5mm headphone jack. It's capable hardware to start with, and the Palmy (an honestly, kind of sleepy) v3.0 OS has been slapped with a completely new OpenGL-accelerated interface, codeveloped by Access and Emblaze, who had promised an 'ultimate holistic device,' whatever that means, late last year.
It's a lot to process, and there's not a ton of info to run with here: There's no hands-on to indicate if this left-field software is any good, and the companies won't get any more specific than '[worldwide] operator evaluations are currently underway' as far as potential release dates go. That said, this looks like decent hardware, albeit seriously bricklike, and newness counts for a lot in mobile software. (Pre, anyone?) Maybe this whole Access fiasco wasn't so crazy after all?
[Gizmodo via Access via Impress]

Newly Discovered Hole On Moon Leads To Network Of Tubes [Space]

Images have revealed a hole on the Moon's surface that is at least 260 feet deep and may lead to an underground tunnel more than 1,200 feet wide which is part of an entire network of such winding tubes.
Scientists are hoping for clearer shots from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, but the impression so far is that such a tunnel network could provide shelter for astronauts or potential future Moon colonists.
I just plain wonder if they could combine it with the recent discovery of water for one kickass underground waterpark.
[Gizmodo via New Scientist via Pop Sci]

Ninite installs 59 free apps with one double-click

Ninite installs 59 free apps with one double-click

Moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 will be a whole lot easier if you use Ninite. The free online site lets you pick those extra apps you always need to hunt around the web for when you do a clean install.
Once you've checked off your choices among the 59 possibilities, you download an installer (sorry, Windows only) , double-click it and you can just walk away while it loads up all those apps on your fresh operating system. It's even smart enough to avoid installing crapware such as unnecessary toolbars.

We've been testing this routine in its beta phase, and we can tell you it works beautifully. We test a lot of operating systems here, and it's a pain to individually install apps such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader (or better yet, Foxit Reader), iTunes, Firefox, Winrar, and many others. Now, with our custom installer, everything is ready to go in minutes.

The company aims to please, asking you to suggest more apps that aren't yet included. It's hard to believe this is free.

[DVICE via Ninite]

Mozilla Raindrop Keeps Messaging Personal [News]

Today, Mozilla announced a new open source project called Raindrop, a service that pulls your social content from multiple sources and organizes it in one place to create a centralized messaging experience that matters to you.
The goal of Raindrop is to make email and messaging personal again, and allow complete customizability in how you manage that information. It brings in content from multiple, sources such as Twitter, RSS feeds, and email, and presents it in one central, web-based front end. Thus, instead of having to watch multiple sources just to keep up on your personal conversations, you can focus on one single bucket.
Raindrop can also decide which conversations are important to you and your life, and "bubble up" that information to the top—while keeping the less important messages out of the way. In addition, like all Mozilla projects, Raindrop will be extensible—whether through HTML, Java, CSS, or APIs—in order for you to further personalize your experience.
Mozilla says that the goal is not to invent a new protocol or system, but better handle ones that already exist. The video demo (above) explains some of the basic principles behind Raindrop.
Raindrop is still in very early stages, and isn't something the basic user can try out just yet, but it's certainly something we'll be keeping an eye on.

[Lifehacker via Mozilla Labs]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sony S-Frame DPP-F700 Digital Photo Frame/Printer: $200 in January [Digital Photo Frames]

The sleek-looking S-Frame DPP-F700 is finally headed to the U.S. It's got a 7-inch (800 x 480) display that doubles as a digital photo frame and image editor for printing 4 x 6-inch photos in 45 seconds.
Print quality is 300 x 300dpi, and basic edits include zoom, crop, brightness, contrast, hue, and sharpness adjustment. To print whatever is on the screen at the time, you (or grandma) can just hit the Screen Capture button.
As you can see in the pics, the F700 can sit vertically or horizontally, and it will automatically rotate photos as you do.
1GB of storage comes built-in, and you can print from your PC, USB sticks, and a variety of media cards, including SD and xD. No RAW format support, but the F700 will print JPEG, TIFF and BMP image files.
[Gizmodo via Sony]

TMOS displays: the next step after AMOLED-backed LCDs?


I believe that headline contains what’s known as a gaggle of acronyms. TMOS (time-multiplexed optical shutter) is a new display technology that claims brighter, thinner, longer-lasting, higher-resolution displays. Hey! I hear you giggling out there. “Yeah, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” Okay, so extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I’d say their pitch is somewhere short of extraordinary, but if there’s anything to the technology, it really may just be all that they say. The company and technology have been around for a while, but they’re actually approaching the market at this point and you might want to know something about it before you start seeing the name pop up all over.

The idea is that by taking out as many layers of the display as possible, you reduce light interference (increasing brightness), power draw (better battery life) and component number (allowing for more pixels per square unit). But what to strip out? Uni-Pixel, the people behind TMOS note that instead of having three dots per pixel (red, green, blue in varying intensity), you could just have one, but with the dot changing color so rapidly that your eye only perceives the aggregate color. I’m not going to get all neuroscience on you here, but allow me to just say that there are biological reasons both for and against this technology, which I’m sure Uni-Pixel is aware of.

Micro-mirrors would direct light from side-mounted LEDs, which sounds clumsy to me, but they say it’ll result in refresh rates far above current displays’. They would also be simpler to manufacture, more durable, and more flexible. Anyhow, the engineering challenges are serious, but they say they should be able to put one in a product in 2010. Guess we’ll just have to wait!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Virtual Autopsy Table Makes a Dirty Business Clean

Sweden's Norrköping Visualization Center, in collaboration with the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, has developed a virtual autopsy system to substitute some of the manual work for touch manipulation on a flatscreen. A body under investigation is first scanned through a CT or MRI and the results of that can be manipulated using software that can filter images based on tissue density, luminance, and other criteria.

Here's a couple videos demonstrating the Virtual Autopsy Table:

Link: Virtual Autopsy Table...

[Medgadget via Gizmag]

Dynario: Toshiba finally commercializes fuel cell for mobile devices

Toshiba has been announcing fuel cells for home use for ages now, but it seems the announcement [press release in English] they made today is really serious. The company has unveiled the Dynario today, a mini fuel cell that can charge mobile devices on the go. Japanese mobile gadget geeks can already order the fuel cell on Toshiba Japan’s online store (where it’s available exclusively).
Buyers get a methanol fuel cell that’s fairly large (size: 150×21x74.5mm), heavy (280g without fuel) and holds 14ml of fuel. Cartridges, which have to be bought separately, cost $32 for a set of five and hold 50ml each. The reaction between the methanol and ambient oxgyen triggers a chemical reaction, which then results in the production of electricity.
Shipping will start on October 29. The new technology comes at a high price though: Be ready to spend $320 for the fuel cell. Toshiba hasn’t said yet whether it will ever be sold outside Japan, but my guess is the company will see how sales go in Japan first.

Scientists Enslave Bacteria to Power Tiny Microsized Motor

Italian scientists from the University of Rome managed to harness free floating E. coli bacteria to turn a tiny crankshaft. Although potential uses for such a tiny and unusual motor drive are not yet clear, no doubt interesting applications in medicine and life sciences should present themselves over time.
The Physics arXiv Blog explains:
Angelani and co say there is in important difference between Brownian and bacterial motion: the former is in equilibrium but the latter is an open system with a net income of energy provided by nutrients. This breaks the time symmetry allowing energy to be extracted in the form of directed motion.

Now Angelani and co have built one these asymmetric and persuaded a bath full of E. Coli to push it round at a of 1rpm. Interestingly, Angelani and co report that most of the work is done by just a few bacteria, saying that only 2 out of 10 bacteria attached to a single tooth seem to be contributing to the torque.
In theory, they could speed up the rotation rate by persuading the others to put their backs into it. The linear motion of the gears is currently about 2 micrometres per second while the maximum speed of the bacteria is about 20 micrometers per second.
More at The Physics arXiv Blog...
Full article in arXiv: A bacterial ratchet motor

GE's New Ultra Small Ultrasound May Become as Ubiquitous as Stethoscope

Yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, GE showed off their new handheld ultrasound device.

The Vscan looks like a cross between an iPod and a cell phone, making it possibly the world's smallest ultrasound. Later today we'll be attending GE's healthymagination technology showcase in New York where further details and specs will hopefully become available.
For critical care clinicians, Vscan can offer an immediate look beyond patient vital signs with the potential to identify critical issues, like fluid around the heart, which could be a sign of congestive heart failure. And for cardiologists, Vscan provides a dependable visual evaluation of how well the heart is pumping at a glance, so they can treat patients more efficiently.

Missions to Mars Graphic Shows 52.4% Failure Rate [Data Visualization]

Mars. There has to be little green men with ACME weapons living there. Or we have some incredibly bad luck when it comes to sending spacecrafts to the Red Planet. Most of them fail, for one reason or the other.
Zoom in to enjoy the graphic in HD
Out of 42 missions, only 20 have succeeded. That's less than 50% chance of survival. And it gets worse: Of those, only eight were actually programmed to land on Mars, which is actually the theoretically difficult part.
While the success rate increased after 1971, I would be very nervous if I were a budding astronaut wanting to go up there—and still, I wish I was that astronaut. Better go in style while trying to reach the glory, than staying down here, slowly turning to dust. [Gizmodo via Shnelll via Fastcompany]

Lexar announces new 600x Compact Flash cards

Lexar announced their new 600x compact flash cards today. It’s not unexpected that the faster speed memory cards are coming out, given the UDMA requirements of cameras like the Canon 7D.
The new Lexar cards have a amazing 90MB/s transfer rate when used in a device that supports the new UDMA 6 protocol. This is particularly important for the generation of cameras that shoot video, since the write speed is critical when you are shooting in HD.
The new cards are available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sizes. The 8GB and 16GB cards are available now, the 32GB should be available in November. The 8GB version sells for $149, the 16GB version sells for $249. There isn’t any pricing available for 32GB version, but you can safely assume it will not be cheap.
You can read the press release here.

Disney announces new DVD Killer technology

I love companies like Disney. They seem to think that just because they want something some way, it’ll happen. Take for instance their latest scheme. Instead of allowing you to “buy” their movies on DVD, Blu-ray, or even VHS, they are going to allow you to buy access to their content.

Disney doesn’t want you to pass your treasured copies of their movies on to your children, or sell them at garage sales. Oh no… they own that property, and expect to be paid for it without it being loaned, traded, or sold on the secondary market.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney’s new technology is called Keychest, and is expected to be rolled out next month. They’ve quietly been talking to electronics manufacturers about including the ability to access the content into their systems, however no information has been revealed about who exactly has bought into Disney’s new plan. The Keychest technology allows an end user to purchase a lifetime license to view a movie across multiple platforms. The movies wouldn’t be something that you can download, instead you would be able to stream the films to your devices over the internet or cable television system. Seems like an attempt to recover from the recent collapse of DVD sales, which has resulted in some companies reporting losses for the first time since 2005.

Yamaha unveils EC-f electric scooter concept

Yamaha unveils EC-f electric scooter concept
The annual Tokyo Motor Show in Japan is once again playing host to a number of cool concept vehicles, one of the most interesting being the new EC-f scooter from Yamaha. The electric-powered vehicle is designed to serve as a commuter bike for city dwellers hoping to make their drive to work a bit greener (ecologically and literally).

Constructed using lightweight aluminum, the scooter runs on a lithium-ion battery and can easily be plugged into a normal electrical socket for recharging. No word on a release date for this concept, but the design alone is enough to generate excitement for its upcoming release.

[DVICE via Telegraph UK]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dell’s “Streak” MID Hits the Internet [VIDEO]

Say hello to the Dell Streak. The 5″ WVGA (800×480) touch screen mobile internet device (MID) has found its way online and into the hands of a few lucky folks. It was reported back in July that Dell had been looking at a family of products with screen sizes ranging from 4 inches to 12 inches . The full list of Streak specs isn’t known yet, but a few things have already surfaced.

Although it’s billed as an internet tablet/device, we see a screen shot that shows an incoming call. We’d love to learn a bit more on that.
  • Android 2.0 MID
  • 5″ WVGA (800×480) touch screen
  • Bluetooth and 3G WWAN connectivity
  • 5MP camera w/dual-LED flash
  • microSD card slot
  • 1,300mAh battery
  • WiFi
  • Three touch-sensitive buttons

The bottom side of the device shows what looks like a dock connector and the front has what looks like it could be a front-facing camera. Stat tuned to AndroidGuys for more on this one as we can gather it!


First Screenshots of Google's Music Service [Rumor]

Maybe called 'One Box,' or maybe not, Google's new music service is basically a set of music search tools. And even if it's not an iTunes killer or a stateside Spotify, it still matters.
Techcrunch has a few shots of the service, which give a pretty good idea of how it'll work: You, Anonymous Google User, will search for music. Google will return a special search page template with artist info, album listings and cover art—this is something they've been doing for a while now. The crucial difference is, you'll be able to listen to songs, either as samples or in full, by way of a iLike and LaLa player widgets, directly from the results. (It could be more—Kafka says Imeem's joining in as well)

iLike is a music discovery service-cum-music store, which streams samples for free, and sells tracks for $.89 to $1.29, not unlike iTunes. LaLa has a much webbier model, in which users can listen to any song once, after which they can either a) purchase online, browser-based listening privileges for $.10, or download the track in full for $79. They're two minor players (though iLike got snatched up by MySpace a while back) that just got one of the biggest endorsements imaginable: Prime placement on Google's search pages.

I don't really see where a desktop client or even a Google-branded storefront fits into this picture, but it's early, and these are just leaks—and besides, as interesting as this is, it doesn't feel quite complete. Maybe new pricing from iLike or LaLa? Subscriptions? Whatever it is, a formal announcement is expected on October 28th.
[Gizmodo via TechCrunch]

Slow Mo' Video: PS3 Smashes Into Bravia TV at 50 MPH [Image Cache]

For an upcoming ad campaign, Sony Australia used a vehicle safety testing facility to ram the 7-pound PS3 Slim into the face of a Bravia KDL46X LCD TV. The results are hypnotizing. [Gizmodo via Gizmag]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Magic Mouse Hands On [Apple]

The Apple's Magic Mouse doesn't have anything on its surface. It's an aluminum base topped off with a smooth multitouch panel. It felt weird to use, but leagues ahead of the Mighty Mouse. I may go back to mice.
The strange thing about the Magic Mouse is not how it works. It is that you have different gestures than on a standard Macbook Pro trackpad.
One obvious example: Since you move the cursor by moving the whole mouse with your hand, there's no point in also using one finger to move the cursor, like on the trackpad. Moving your finger on the surface of the Magic Mouse allows you to scroll in all directions, 360 degrees around.
You can also scroll with two or three fingers, if you move them up and down. But if you swipe them from side to side while using a web browser, your browsing history moves forward or back.
Physically, the mouse is beautiful, and feels nice. The top is made of white polycarbonate that matches the keys on Apple's keyboards. It is one seamless touch surface, and, logically, there is no Mighty Mouse scroll nipple.
The surface can also simulate the left and right buttons. Unlike in previous Apple's mice, the two buttons work perfectly. This time they also added physical feedback, so when you click the buttons, you actually get the entire surface to click—like the original clear Apple mouse.
The mouse runs on AA batteries, and Apple claims 4 months of use per set. You can get it with the new iMac or pay $69 separately.
There was a small thing I noticed, though: the mouse would sometimes move when I tried to scroll — I can maybe get used to this, but it was a thing that happened to me and my presenter who definitely had more time with the mouse. The other reason why Apple went with fewer fingers for swipe and scroll gestures, besides the issue of pointing already being taken care of by the mouse's table action, was because you need your ring finger to hold the mouse properly or the thing slides on your desk.
Also, the mouse will be software configurable for lefties.

Apple Introduces Magic Mouse — The World's First Multi-Touch Mouse
CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple® today introduced the new wireless Magic Mouse, the first mouse to use Apple's revolutionary Multi-Touch™ technology. Pioneered on iPhone®, iPod touch® and Mac® notebook trackpads, Multi-Touch allows customers to navigate using intuitive finger gestures. Instead of mechanical buttons, scroll wheels or scroll balls, the entire top of the Magic Mouse is a seamless Multi-Touch surface. Magic Mouse comes standard with the new iMac® and will be available as a Mac accessory at just $69.
'Apple is the Multi-Touch leader, pioneering the use of this innovative technology in iPhone, iPod touch and Mac notebook trackpads,' said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. 'Apple's Multi-Touch technology allows us to offer an easy to use mouse in a simple and elegant design.'
Magic Mouse features a seamless touch-sensitive enclosure that allows it to be a single or multi-button mouse with advanced gesture support. Using intuitive gestures, users can easily scroll through long documents, pan across large images or swipe to move forward or backward through a collection of web pages or photos. Magic Mouse works for left or right handed users and multi-button or gesture commands can be easily configured from within System Preferences.
The Magic Mouse laser tracking engine provides a smooth, consistent experience across more surfaces than a traditional optical tracking system. Magic Mouse uses Bluetooth wireless capabilities to create a clean, cable-free desk top and its secure wireless connection works from up to 10 meters away. To extend battery performance, Magic Mouse includes an advanced power management system that works with Mac OS® X to automatically switch to low power modes during periods of inactivity. The wireless Magic Mouse is powered by two AA batteries which are included.
Pricing & Availability
Magic Mouse comes standard with the new iMac and is available at the end of October through the Apple Store® (, at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $69 (US). Magic Mouse requires Mac OS X Leopard® version 10.5.8 or later.

Ares I-X Rocket Unveiled, Rolls Out to Launch Pad [Space]

At last! The new Arex I-X rocket—the first iteration of the rocket that will take humans back to the Moon and beyond—is out of NASA's assembling facilities, and is now at Launch Pad 39B, getting ready for launch.
The assembled Ares I-X was mounted aboard NASA's sandcrawler at Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 1:39 a.m. It arrived at Launch Pad 39B around 7:45 a.m.
The Ares I-X will test the viability of the 100-meter high Ares I, NASA's tallest, most powerful rocket since the Saturn V. The Saturn V was ten meters higher than Ares, and it remains the biggest, most powerful rocket ever launched.
If everything goes well, Ares I-X will blast into the sky on October 27, reaching 40 kilometers up in the air, and sending vital information about its performance. The first stage, a solid rocket engine, will return to Earth. The dummy upper stage will fall down to the ocean.

Arex I-X is the first major milestone for the Constellation program, which in theory would take over the shuttle, and also bring humans back to the Moon and Mars. If el Sr. Presidente gives the go ahead, that is. At this point, the Constellation program is being evaluated by the Augustine Commission. Their final report, that will seal its fate, will be handed in to the White House this week.
In other words, enjoy this one while it lasts.
[Gizmodo via NASA]

Robot arms demonstrate their physical aptitude again, this time with Fanta

It’s not enough that they make ramen, juggle, and play catch — now robot arms need to play with their food? This robot arm on the right is teasing the one on the left. Want a Fanta? You can’t have one! Your feeble manipulator navigates this six-pack in vain.

These feats are child’s play for a robot designed for precision maneuvers. Just picture this, now: instead of a six-pack, it’s navigating the smoking rubble of one of humanity’s underground hiding places — you know, after the Robocalypse. A fraction of a second after it bursts into the room, it inputs the locations of all the faces, programs a path for its rapid-fire laser cannon, and…. boom, headshots.

[CrunchGear via BotJunkie and Gizmodo]

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Bluetooth Runs for a Year Off a Watch Battery [Bluetooth]

There's little stopping Bluetooth from making its way into more devices, but its battery drain is many times that of, say, tried and true IR. But a new, lower power Bluetooth is coming next year.
By Texas Instruments, a new, 6mm-square Bluetooth system-on-a-chip can operate for 'more than a year' on a small button-cell battery (like you see in watches or very tiny remotes). Everything from cellphones to laptops could get a battery boost from the technology, but low power, low cost Bluetooth also opens to door to sticking the technology in more places, too (imagine an RF remote or console controller that you don't need to recharge).
It'll be interesting to see how many companies adopt the new tech when it's available next year, along with how many side with the latest developments in Wi-Fi instead.

[Gizmodo via Texas Instruments and Press Release]

Investigators Reveal Folding Principles of the Human Genome

Scientists have long been speculating on how DNA gets packaged inside chromosomes while remaining readable and easily accessible. In a paper just published in Science, researchers from Harvard and MIT have discovered that sections of the DNA bunch together into 'fractal globule, a knot-free, polymer conformation that enables maximally dense packing while preserving the ability to easily fold and unfold any genomic locus.' The image on the side shows the 'equilibrium globule' configuration that was thought to be the structure (left) and the actual configuration (right) that was identified by the team.
Key to deciphering the genome's structure was the development of the new Hi-C technique, which permits genome-wide analysis of the proximity of individual genes. The scientists first used formaldehyde to link together DNA strands that are nearby in the cell's nucleus. They then determined the identity of the neighboring segments by shredding the DNA into many tiny pieces, attaching the linked DNA into small loops, and performing massively parallel DNA sequencing.
Lieberman-Aiden observed that the data suggest a fractal globule. He then teamed up with Mirny and Mirny's student Maxim Imakaev to confirm his hypothesis and demonstrate conclusively that the Hi-C data matched fractal globule behavior. Computer simulations further helped to reveal biologically important features of such a DNA architecture.
In future experiments, the researchers hope to follow the development of stem cells into mature cell types such as kidney cells, says Lieberman-Aiden. 'We want to understand how that process takes place, because it clearly involves some 3-D remodeling of the nucleus.'
Press release: A new dimension for genome studies...

Abstract in Science: Comprehensive Mapping of Long-Range Interactions Reveals Folding Principles of the Human Genome


Are These the HTC Dragon/Zoom 2 Specs and Pics?

One handset that we admittedly haven’t done too much coverage on so far is the rumored HTC Dragon. Also known as the HTC Zoom 2, the phone is being reported that it will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which could put it in the 768MHz-1GHz stratosphere.

Here’s a quick rundown of some specs that were tipped our way earlier today. (Thanks Barry!)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 (1GHz)
  • Android 2.0
  • 512MB ROM
  • 256MB RAM
  • 480 x 800 resolution touch screen w/ multi-touch
  • GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900, UMTS 900, 1900, 2100
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 5.0 MP camera
  • Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, GPS
  • FM Radio, Accelerometer
So what does a beast like this look like? According to DroidDog, these pictures may be the first to surface showing the hardware design. On the outside, its nothing too fancy – a little bit Hero, a little bit Desire.

While we’re on the subject of the Dragon, we should point you to a few screen grabs that DroidDog was able to get a hold of a few weeks back with the accompanying email.
So, what I’ve got here is a little build we’re referring to as the “Pet Dragon”. It’s highly experimental at the moment…HTC Dragon. (dubbed “Zoom 2″) —> the screen resolution is 800×480…This device is in fact operating on the “2.0″ firmware along with the HTC Sense user interface applied for style. So, it’s like an “Eclair Hero”.

But again, bare with me…it’s still very “bare bones” and needs a lot of work…but this device is going to be a GAME CHANGER! Perhaps more so than the HTC Leo!

I wonder what's the screen size of the beast.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cockroach-Inspired Robot Survives 8-Story Fall, Will Outlive Us All [Robots]

DASH, a UC Berkeley-designed, cockroach-inspired robot, manages to take what makes cockroaches so resilient and even retain the cockroach's singularly creepy movement. This thing is near-indestructible.
The 10-cm long DASH, which stands for Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod, weighs only 16 grams, yet is able to run 15 times its body length per second. It has a uniquely flexible design from nearly all sides that allows it to survive pretty much anything, including a drop eight stories above the ground. It's actually made of what's basically laminated cardboard, which means it's a very cheap robot to build as well. Check out the video - this thing is crazy. [Gizmodo]

Verizon Takes iPhone Directly on with “Droid Does” Campaign [VIDEO]

This is the ad campaign we’ve all been waiting for. Verizon has decided to step up to the plate and show Sprint and T-Mobile how to generate serious interest in Android. And what’s the trick? TELL PEOPLE WHAT IT DOES. Start there.

Beginning this evening, Verizon Wireless is running a commercial that points out all the shortcomings of the iPhone with quotes like “iDon’t Have a Real Keyboard” and “iDon’t Run Simultaneous Apps”. Finally, a platform that can do more paired with a carrier ready to spend more.

The ad has a definite “Apple” feel to it with the pop/folk song and simple black on white font. One thing is certain – Verizon is not afraid to take on AT&T or Apple. Their previous “There’s a Map for That” commercial show just how much larger their data network is compared to 2nd place AT&T.

The website has a countdown running with numbers replaced by unique carriers. A little bit of math and Encyclopedia Brown work reveal a timer that expires on October 30. The commercial simply mentions “November”. Why conflicting date? Perhaps the countdown reveals an interactive demo site or pre-order ability. We’ll see in a few weeks!
For now, head to the site and register for information and try to contain yourself. If you’re curious as to what happens when you sign up, you get an email like the one below!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

MIT’s Autonomous Helicopter: What if Big Dog Could Fly? [Robots]

The latest Micro Air Vehicle from MIT does an incredible job of balancing itself in-air. Not to mention that the helicopter models it's surroundings so well it could probably fly over to the fridge and make you a sandwich.
By using lasers and 3D cameras, the team built a vision engine that can very accurately define the helicopter's surrounding environment. That's only part of the trick to getting it to fly so well, the other half is some pretty sweet flight path correction. Think of it like a flying Big Dog. Check out what happens when the guy pokes it with a stick.
Hopefully no one sticks a spinning blade on this thing. Wouldn't want that flying through my window at night. [Gizmodo via MIT Tech TV via Engadget]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Samsung Screen Resists Merciless Hammering Without a Scratch [Displays]

Color me impressed. Watch as this guy relentlessly beats this new Samsung flexible screen with a mallet. Amazingly, the 2.8-inch active matrix OLED—only 0.01 ounces, and 20 micrometers thick—keeps running happily, without a single scratch.
[Gizmodo via Gadget Lab]

Android 2.0 First Look: Fresh Face, Sick Speed [Android]

While Android 1.6 is still writhing around in amniotic fluid, BGR had the nerve to publish shots of version 2.0 'Eclair,' which doesn't even have a formal due date yet. They look great. Sorry, 1.6: I'm already over you.
You're best off trudging through the entire gallery here, since not all the changes are all that visual, and BGR has annotated each shot with description. That said, here are some of the highlights (keep in mind that some of these could be subtle features of Donut, or handset manufacturer add-ons:
• The whole system feels much faster, especially the browser. Apparently it renders about as fast as the 3GS's, though part of that could be down to the hardware (What is it, BG?).
• The browser also gets double-tap-to-zoom (some ROMs already come with this)
• Facebook friends are integrated right into the contacts system
• Voice control has been scattered through the whole system, and even gets its own dedicated dashboard
• There's an upgraded version of Google Maps, with layer support
• Native MS Exchange support
• There's now a unified email inbox
• A YouTube homescreen widget, which enables two-click uploads
• A 'Car Home' app offers larger shortcuts for functions you might need while driving, as well as easy access to voice control
In any case, the earliest we can expect to see this on a phone is when Motorola's barely-not-mythical Sholes decides to materialize in store, which could be as soon as Christmas. More shots at [Gizmodo via BGR]

Rumor: Intel Atom N450 (Pine Trail) to launch on January 3rd?

Fudzilla is reporting that Intel’s new Atom N450 chipset – codenamed Pine Trail (see previous coverage here) — will officially launch on January 3rd.

Previous reports suggested that the chipset will be made available to manufacturers sometime this month, to which I speculated that we’d see Pine Trail-equipped netbooks around the holidays. If Fudzilla’s report is true, though — and the site makes no reference to any sources, so take the information with a grain of salt — then it appears these new netbooks would make an appearance just in time for CES.
Whatever the case, the 1.66GHz CPU will apparently sell for around $64, which is $20 more expensive than current N270 package. The Pine Trail platform shifts the system from a 3-chip architecture down to a 2-chip architecture in order to save physical space and, theoretically, reduces power consumption and improves performance.

New Atom N450 for netbook launch is January [CrunchGear via Fudzilla via SlashGear]