New Technology

Sony Party-shot Snaps Pictures While You Party
You’re throwing a big party, and you want it be a night to remember. You’ve invited some cool friends, stocked up on good beer, and have the stereo cranked up to 11. Only one thing could make this shindig any better – a robot photographer! Well fear not, Sony’s got your back with the new Party-shot robotic camera dock that automatically pans, tilts, and takes snapshots while you go for the cheese dip. [...]

PrimeSense Paints Future of Home-Tech Interaction
Nintendo certainly created a stir when it introduced motion-sensing controls to the video game industry, but subsequent developments that are no more than a year or two from fruition are already threatening to confine this relatively new technology to the proverbial scrap-heap. The latest of these is PrimeSense, the winner of CableLabs’ Innovation Showcase and ‘best new product’ at the event. On paper at least, PrimeSense appears to be versatile and innovative enough to have widespread impact on the way we interact with modern technology.

The product is essentially a 3D camera that allows devices like televisions to ‘see a view of the surrounding area’ by scanning a room to determine who is present through a combination of shape recognition and thermal imaging. Among other things, this would allow you to interact with games by making hand gestures and movements without the need for a dedicated controller. [...]

Entertainment Weekly Embeds Video in Print Ad
The rise of the Internet has seen some pundits label print media as an increasingly obsolete medium whose death is imminent, but U.S. showbiz mag Entertainment Weekly, along with CBS, is attempting to bring magazines into the multimedia age by embedding a video player in a print ad promoting CBS’s fall TV lineup and Pepsi.

Like the novelty greeting cards that play music when opened, the player activates when the page is opened to display video on the small display. The ad is stored on a chip that can hold up to 40 minutes of video and is powered, for some mysterious reason, by a rechargeable battery. [...]

Self-healing Paint is Just the Beginning
Human skin has an amazing capacity to heal itself from scratches and cuts, so it’s not surprising that scientists are looking at transferring the self-healing properties of skin to materials. Efforts to embed tiny liquid-filled capsules that rupture when a scratch occurs to spill healing agents into the damaged area of electroplated coatings have previously been hampered by the size of these capsules. But now researchers have developed a process for producing electroplated layers with nano-capsules that measure only a few hundred nanometers in diameter that could solve the problem. [...]

In a Twirl With the Chukka Kinetic Music Player
Listening to music became a truly personal experience when Sony first introduced the Walkman all those years ago. Technological advances since then have seen music players store more songs, become more compact and include color screens - and now they're even beginning to liberate themselves from the shackles of the battery. To achieve its battery free charge, the Chukka Kinetic Music Player combines electromagnetic induction with a unique design that positively encourages the user to twirl it around the fingers, throw it about and otherwise toy with it. The result - an eco-friendly personal media player that also gives you the recognized relaxation and stress relieving benefits of tactile interaction and repetitive physical motion. [...]

Holograms You Can Feel
Star Trek’s Holodeck has just became a little closer to reality with news researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a technique that allows 3D holograms to be “touched”. By blending a holographic display, a couple of Nintendo Wiimotes and an ultrasound phenomenon called acoustic radiation pressure, the researchers were able to create the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display. A system that can give the feeling of holographic raindrops hitting an outstretched hand or a virtual creature running across a palm. [...]

Phase Change Materials for the Perfect Cup of Coffee
You know how it is … you make or buy that perfect cup of coffee or tea only to have it go cold before you’ve finished because the phone rang or your boss interrupted your break with some urgent assignment. Well, there’s great news for coffee-lovers (and tea connoisseurs). Two German scientists have put their heads together to come up with a hot drink receptacle that keeps your beverage at the perfect drinking temperature for up to 30 minutes.

And no, it’s not a thermos, it’s a mug that employs the benefits of phase change materials (PCMs). [...]

TOOB Dome Screen Delivers IMAX Experience at Home
Alexander McDonnell, founder of TOOB (Think Out Of Box) confesses to a fascination with the Mugar Omni Theater in his hometown, Boston – so he decided to build a mini-version for himself. The result is much smaller plastic half-dome screen that’s big enough for a couple of people to sit in front of to watch a movie or enjoy a video game.

The TOOB screen comprises a 3ft x 6ft screen with an 18-inch reflector that projects the image (from any home theater projector) onto the screen. You can use any source that your projector allows for your entertainment i.e. gaming console, DVD or Blu-ray player, etc. [...]

The TOOB dome screen costs a miserly USD$1,400 for that scaled down IMAX experience (plus project and sound system) but if you’re still not sure or don’t have the cash, there’s an option to hire one at the website.