Category Archives: Tech

Google Loon – Balloons could bring the Internet to everyone

Google Project Loon balloon on display at Airforce Museum in Christchurch

Google have recently been testing balloons in the hope of building a global network enabling internet access and mobile signals around the world.

Called Project Loon, Google launched 30 test balloons in New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons.

Head of the project, Mike Cassidy, had this to say about it.

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

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First look and details on the PS4

PS4 controller

Sony announced the new PS4 at E3 and it appears they have looked at what Microsoft were offering with the XBoxOne and the problems people had with that.

First up, unlike the XBoxOne the PS4 has no online requirements or used games DRM. It is also region free. It will cost US$ 399 ($100 less than the XBoxOne), Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349. It is available for pre-order.

The video below shows how you can share your games on the PS4.

PS4 has a 500GB hard drive which, like the PS3, will be upgradeable.

PlayStation®4 (PS4™) (CUH-1000A series) computer entertainment system will come in “Jet Black” color and will be available this holiday season in North America and Europe at a recommended retail price (RRP) of US$ 399, Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349.

The design of PS4 made its public debut at the PlayStation® press conference on June 10, 2013, which kicked off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. PS4 will also be displayed this week at the Sony Computer Entertainment America booth at E3, one of the world’s largest video game exhibitions.

The internal design architecture of the PS4 system, from the optical drive and power supply unit to the cooling mechanism, has been pursed to keep the body as slim and light as possible to dramatically enhance the flexibility of the design.
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Using WiFi as a motion sensor interface

WiSee is a novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (e.g., WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures. Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using few wireless sources (e.g., a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room).

WiSee is the first wireless system that can identify gestures in line-of-sight, non-line-of-sight, and through-the-wall scenarios. Unlike other gesture recognition systems like Kinect, Leap Motion or MYO, WiSee requires neither an infrastructure of cameras nor user instrumentation of devices. We implement a proof-of-concept prototype of WiSee and evaluate it in both an office environment and a two-bedroom apartment. Our results show that WiSee can identify and classify a set of nine gestures with an average accuracy of 94%…

WiSee takes advantage of the technology trend of MIMO, the fact that wireless devices today carry multiple antennas (which are primarily used to improve capacity). A WiSee/WiSee-enabled receiver would use these multiple antennas in a different way to focus only on the user in control, thus eliminating interference from other people.

Source: WiSee

Check out the NASA Ion Engine

Ion Engine

This image shows a cutting-edge solar-electric propulsion thruster in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., that uses xenon ions for propulsion. An earlier version of this solar-electric propulsion engine has been flying on NASA’s Dawn mission to the asteroid belt.

This engine is being considered as part of the Asteroid Initiative, a proposal to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. This image was taken through a porthole in a vacuum chamber at JPL where the ion engine is being tested.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA

Xbox One Launch Trailers for Call of Duty: Ghosts, Anthem, Quantum Break and more

Call of Duty Ghosts

Yesterday saw lots of news about Microsoft’s Xbox One. Now here are lots of trailers for the different games heading our way.

Call of Duty: Ghosts takes the critically-acclaimed franchise into the next generation. New world. New story. New, next-gen engine. 

Infinity Ward Executive Producer Mark Rubin and the Call of Duty: Ghosts development team discuss the all-new world, story and characters, and take you inside the new, next-gen engine.

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Here is the new Xbox One

Xbox One

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One which will go on sale later this year. There is also a new Kinect and controller.

So what is new about the Xbox One?

It has 8 gigs of RAM, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi Direct, a Blu-Ray disc drive, 64-bit architecture and “practically silent operation.” The Kinect camera sensor is now 1080p and “when you’re exercising, it can read your heartbeat,” according to Microsoft.

You’ll be able to use gestures and voice control to interact with the new system. “Xbox, on” starts up the machine. “Xbox, watch TV” will open up your television.

The new console can carry out four times as many calculations a second as the Xbox 360 and 10 times more “animation depth and detail”.

Microsoft also introduced a feature called Snap Mode, for multitasking while watching television. You can use Skype, for example, to chat with friends while viewing something.

There’s a feature called “Xbox Trending” that shows what shows are popular. “This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.”
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Yahoo buy Tumblr for $1 Billion. They promise not to screw it up

YahooTumblrMarissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, spoke about their acquisition of Tumblr for $1 Billion.

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr!

We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.

Tumblr has built an amazing place to follow the world’s creators. From art to architecture, fashion to food, Tumblr hosts 105 million different blogs. With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of thefastest-growing media networks in the world. Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent onsite each month. On mobile, more than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app, and those users do an average of 7 sessions per day. Tumblr’s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network. The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%.

In terms of working together, Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love. In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences. The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.

As I’ve said before, companies are all about people. Getting to know the Tumblr team has been really amazing. I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can feel the spirit and demeanor of those who create them. That’s why it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the most perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. His respect for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome, and I’m absolutely delighted to have him and his entire team join Yahoo!.

Both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design — and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.

Source: Yahoo

A Swiss Army Knife for the Computer Generation: The USB Utility Charge Tool

Phones & electronic accessories are the new essentials, so trade your Swiss Army Knife to a utility device you’ll actually use! This little charger comes equipped with a multi-use micro USB phone plug, mini USB plug, and iPhone plug. Just plug it into your computer’s USB drive, attach your gadgets, and charge away. It won’t help when you’re roughing it in the woods, but when it comes to the urban jungle, you’re fully equipped. Works with most devices and phones. iPhone plug compatible with iPhone 4/4s and previous. Utility charge tool measures 4.25″x1″

Via FredFlare

iContacts Are The Future

Forget about Google Glass. iContacts are the way forward!

_iContacts

Source: Formal Sweatpants

Microbatteries could make everything smaller

illinois-battery-537x296

The University of Illinois have made a breakthrough in making batteries smaller. Its use of 3D-electrodes allows it to build “microbatteries” that are many times smaller than current batteries, or the same size and many times more powerful.

They also say that they can be recharged 1,000 times faster than competing technology.

Smart phones and other gadgets have been getting smaller over the years, but have always been limited by the size of the battery. If these new microbatteries work then it would mean developers could make all these gadgets smaller.

Batteries work by electrons flowing from one type of electrode (an anode) to another type (a cathode). The new technique involves changing the way these electrodes are organized to fit more into a small space.
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