Rabu, 27 Februari 2008

spacestation1.jpgWe've seen our fair share of organizers over the years--especially since we live next door to those good-naturedly anal folks at Lifehacker--but this SpaceStation seems like it's the most minimal that we've seen yet. The system consists of a long, rubberized pad to lay your electronics on top of and a hollow bottom with USB Hub for you to coil all your USB cables around. The end result is a clean surface on top, but a slightly more organized bottom as well. If you were handy, you could probably build one of these yourself for slightly less than the $79 price tag, but it won't look nearly as nice. [Bedlounge]


lightcontrol.pngThe Aurora Multimedia site says that their 6 or 12 button Waci-Pad is "ideal for wall or podium mounting," we know exactly where we're putting this--next to the our front door so we can switch on all our electronics when we enter the house (or off when we leave, but that never happens).

The Waci-Pad is essentially a IR/RF/Ethernet front-end to control your DVD/TV/CD/Blu-ray player and your lights, which means it's perfect for flipping on all your junk at once. It's home automation on the level of home-builders or home-modification, which is a step above just getting a universal remote, which might be a safer bet for most readers out there. But if you want to get fancy and outfit your entertainment room like an auditorium, there you go. [Aurora Multimedia - Thanks Jason!]
Dash Express GPS, one of my most highly anticipated gadgets, will ship to customers who preordered on March 27th. [Dash on Giz, Dash Blog]
toyfair2008.jpgThe guys over at MAKE had a great time at the 2008 Toy Fair, and their round-up post links to all the weird and wonderful things they found there. We've had a look, and collected some of their findings into a gallery. Check it out and you'll find matchstick architecture, VEX robotic bugs, 3D mazes, crystal-growth toys, chemical building-brick sets, and the faintly worrying (and historical) "Mysto Erector." [MAKE]
DSliteblack1.jpgThe creative result of a collaboration between Designer Hiroshi Fujiwara and Japanese fashion magazine Honeybee, this Nintendo DS Lite sports a matte black exterior with co-ordinating jazzy white interior and hinges. Ok, so "creative" means they just painted it black and white, but it is classy isn't it? Wait 'til you see the inside.

Apart from its Limited Edition status, we know nothing more, but that doesn't stop us from drooling over it. [Honeybee via Kotaku]
3dlensMA.pngA new camera chip design from scientists at Stanford University has opened up the possibility of 3D photos. The chip has stacked 16 x 16 pixel arrays and a host of micro-lenses, much like a fly's eye, enabling the whole chip to "see" in three dimensions, unlike a normal 2D pixel array digital camera sensor. Here's how it works:

Data from the "multi-aperture array" then goes through image processing to extract a standard RGB image, along with a "depth map" for each pixel--very useful for applications like face- or object-recognition.

Essentially, each tiny sub-array of pixels in the Stanford sensor sees objects in front of the camera from a slightly different viewpoint. Software then looks for relative shifts between the same object's image in different lenses, and processes this parallax data to work out the object's distance.

As well as giving depth information, the design may reduce the color-crosstalk problems current sensors suffer from. It can also take macro close-ups in restricted spaces, making it potentially useful in medical situations.

Adobe has demonstrated a similar device in the past, but this new design is compacted onto one chip, and much simpler to integrate into current camera technology. For now, the pixel count is limited, and the image processing requirements would put a hefty strain on camera batteries. But, given a little time, your DSLR might one day be able to snap 3D family groupings, ready to show on your holo-display. [Crave via GadgetLab]
vistasp1-screen2-big.jpgUPDATED: IT WAS REAL, BUT MICROSOFT HAS PULLED THE UPDATE. According to Hexus.net, the widely-pirated but not-officially-available-yet Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is now ready for download... for some users. The site points out that the update popped today in one of their 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium systems. Today however, Windows Update tells me I have one important update to install on my 64bit Windows Vista Home Premium-based system - Windows Vista Service Pack 1 for x64 based Systems (KB936330). Other users don't yet seem to have been prompted for the install and even my own x86-based Vista laptop doesn't have the update available.

Could this be an strange occurrence or a hoax? Any of you have got the same notification? Tell us in the comments. (Yes, wrong headline. Fixed.)

UPDATE: according to news.com, Microsoft is withdrawing SP1 for Vista. 'We've heard a few reports about problems customers may be experiencing as a result of KB937287,' wrote Nick White, Microsoft project manager. 'Immediately after receiving reports of this error, we made the decision to temporarily suspend automatic distribution of the update to avoid further customer impact while we investigate possible causes.'" [Hexus - Thanks Parm Mann and Slashdot]

I tend to have a cup of tea and some cereal before I do anything in the morning, but Nicholas Paul Johnson swears by his Turing alarm clock. Powered by an PIC16 microcontroller, Johnson used a four-buck LCD display and has, very sweetly, made the whole thing free and open-source. [cheaphack via MAKE]
wallemod1.jpgLong before the Pixar movie hits the big screen this summer, a group of German modders have been inspired by Wall-E's cuteness to take an old and unloved Nintendo GameCube and some scraps of metal and acrylic, and put together a sweet mod that looks just like the little robot himself. It even has tank treads and a flip-down shutter, like Wall-E's, over the Gamecube's ports. Frankly, its so loveably "realistic" that we're pre-emptively sniffly, imagining what the movie will be like. [Bit-Tech via TechEBlog]
ndrive-breathalyzer.jpgBilled as the first in the world, NDrive's G400 is a GPS navigator with a breathalyzer built into the side. I suppose this means that big drinkers will, finally, have an excuse to sing Show Me The Way To Go Home after a skinful. The fact that it costs 200€--just under $300--and that, according to Kit, who lives in Portugal, they're given away for free with the country's motorway toll widget, means don't trust it further than you can park it. Video after the jump.

A journalist not drinking at a European press fair? Sacrilege. [GPS and Co via NaviGadget]
UWCAM002000_03_L.jpgOh Brando, not only do you not heed my pleas for a USB trouser press, but you also continue putting products that are, quite frankly, strange and reprehensible. Who in their right mind would be interested in buying a webcam that looks like a ping-pong bat? Don't you know that we computer-fixed weirdies have no interest whatsoever in exercise? Some of us, however, do appreciate the box of tissues in one of the press shots. Ping-Pong and webcam aficionados may want to jump for the full specs, anyone with a dirty mind just head straight to the gallery.

Lens rotation for adjusting clear image
3 colors changing LED light
Video Conferencing
Workable on ICQ, MSN, Skype, etc
Plug and play
USB Interface
Fully support USB 1.0 and 2.0
Drive free for Windows XP and Vista
Size: 53 x 72 x 73mm (approx.)
Weight: 91g

The ping-pong webcam costs $19-- although, IMHO, Brando should be paying us 19 bucks to take it off its hands. [Brando]
sony1_1.jpgSony has upped its LCD count again, releasing its Bravia F Series. At just over an inch thick, the TVs, which come in 46-, 42- and 32-inch sizes and can be wall-mounted, have 24p Cinema mode and a contrast ratio of 3000:1. Oh, and a more simple remote unit, apparently.

sonybraviaFstats.pngThe sets, which are out in Japan on March 25, range from $3,700 (KDL-46F1) through $2,700 (KDL-40F1) to $1,850 (KDL-32F1). [Impress]

ps3120-3.jpgIf you were looking for even more proof that the 80GB PS3 is on its way out, the fact that it is no longer available on the SonyStyle website makes it about as official as you can get outside of a press release. Perhaps that means we are one step closer to that rumored 120GB version we have been hearing so much about. [SonyStyle Thanks Edward!]
29LTDBT.jpgCobra Electronics is expected to unveil the world's first Bluetooth CB radio at this years Mid-America Trucking Show. Naturally, this device will allow truckers to synch their mobile phone conversations to their CB radio, making for more effective communication. Plus, a noise canceling microphone will allow calls to be heard easily--even over a noisy engine. The 29 LTD BT will be available this summer for $189.95. [Blast Magazine]
This is a leaked official RIAA training video produced with the National District Attorneys Association telling U.S. prosecutors why they should bust music pirates: Because it'll lead them to "everything from handguns to large quantities of cocaine [and] marijuana," not to mention terrorists and murderers!

The whole video is over 60 minutes long--these are just two of the more outrageous minutes with Jim Dedman, from the NDAA, interviewing Deborah Robinson and Frank Walters from the RIAA about the benefits of going SWAT on music pirates. At one point, Walters says the piracy/drug connection can be so bad that you get asked "When you buy a CD, would you like it with or without--the with is enclosing a piece of crack or whatever the case may be."
1905756.36.jpgWe've had X-Wing Fighters that go up and down; here's an X-Wing that just goes down. The venue was Minneapolis' Powderhorn Park, and the event was Minneapolis' annual Art Sled rally. Photographer Tony Nelson took pictures of the day, including a rather spanky la-la double robot one, which you can see below, alongside another shot of the X-Wing after its tumble in the snow.

You can see the full set on the Minneapolis/St Paul link. [Minneapolis/St Paul via Neatorama]
cinemaneon.jpgA house in Montauk has had a home theater installed by architect James Biber. With leather floors and co-ordinating beanbags, Biber took his inspiration from New York's Radio City, with a little bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey thrown in for good measure.

Every surface in the room, which seats up to ten people, has been insulated with orange felt to help with the acoustics. There are 600 five-watt light bulbs set inside the round arches, and positioned away from the viewers eyes, with dimmer switches to give ambient light--and, I assume, so you don't see the host's hand snaking downwards during the movie. [Coolhunter]

livefire_dvd_web.jpgA loose DVD in a pocket saved a South Carolina man from injury after he unwittingly got involved in a firearm fracas outside a fast-food joint. Fire chief Barry McRoy was leaving the Waffle House restaurant at the weekend in the town of Walterboro when he got involved in a gun battle between two men.

McRoy, a Fire and Rescue Director for Colleton County Fire Service, didn't notice he had been shot until later, when he spotted a bullet hole in his jacket as he was giving a statement to police. Further inspection revealed the shattered DVD case in his pocket, alongside the remains of the bullet.

"I felt something like being hit in the stomach and assumed it was the percussion from the discharged firearm," said McRoy. "I was saved by a DVD. How lucky can you get?" The DVD, a recording of a show about fire extinguishers, was gifted to him by an employee and only suffered minor damage. [Telegraph]

Stephenfrypod.jpgGadget-loving actor Stephen Fry has added podcasting to his digital repertoire, though in quintessential Fry style he's dubbing them "podgrams". Issue one is out on his site now, detailing his recent arm-breaking disaster. We hope it heals soon Stephen, so that in future podgrams we can hear more of your thoughts on cool new gadgets! [StephenFry.com]
transform.jpgThe process of converting your HD DVDs to Blu-ray is time-consuming, potentially costly and sucks balls. Really, there's almost no reason to, since you can bet most everything on HD DVD will be released on Blu, and if you have a million HD DVDs you don't wanna rebuy, you should just buy a dual format player. But if you revel in pain, here's how to do it, thanks to the crazy video guys at Doom9.

First, get an HD DVD ripper--DVD Fab HD Decrypter is free--and rip them. Now it gets messy.

EVOdemux will "demultiplex" the files, after which you need H264Info or vc1conv (v0.2), depending on which one you ripped in. Then use eac3to to cram the audio enough to fit on a 25GB Blu-ray disc. TsRemux or tsMuxeR will get your video ready to burn. You can burn it onto Blu-ray discs with either IMGBurn 2.4 (free) or Nero 8 ($100, plz), but you obviously need a BR burner, which is a few hundred bucks, at least. Finally, punch yourself in the face. [Doom 9via Wired Wiki ]
ufo.jpgThe Gadget: The ezGear UFO, a relatively compact surge protector/power strip that holds six distinct AC adapters so they don't bump into each other.

The Price: $39 ($34 for a limited time)

The Verdict: Definitely worth it if you have a bunch of large and unwieldy AC adapters to plug into one port--say, if you were building yourself a home charging station for all your gadgets. The outlets are upside down because your chargers need to face downwards in order to have enough room to fit, but the slots are angled at such a way that gravity won't be pulling your bricks out of the socket.

At $39 ($34 with the special introductory special), it's $30 cheaper than the similarly 6-ported PowerSquid, and takes up less room as well. You could get the $13, 4-port PowerSquid, but you'd skip on the surge protection (which the UFO has). Would we spend our own money on this? Yes, yes we would. [EZGear]
mbboxart.jpgIt's something we've noticed ourselves over the years, but Joel over at Boing Boing Gadgets just did a roundup of some of the most atrocious motherboard and video card box art in existence. Face it, if you were an artist hired to design a box cover for a motherboard, what would you draw? A truck that's also a snake? A ripoff of Gears of War? Voyager from Star Trek: Voyager with guns? Yes. Head over and see Joel's examples, followed up by his funny, funny remarks on each one. [Boing Boing Gadgets]
universalblue.jpegUniversal smartly wants its movies to be on the HD format that still exists, so it's switching to Blu-ray. If you would like to further delve into their rationale, here's their statement: "While Universal values the close partnership we have shared with Toshiba, it is time to turn our focus to releasing new and catalog titles on Blu-ray," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

"The path for widespread adoption of the next-generation platform has finally become clear. Universal will continue its aggressive efforts to broaden awareness for hi-def´s unparalleled offerings in interactivity and connectivity, at an increasingly affordable price. The emergence of a single, high-definition format is cause for consumers, as well as the entire entertainment industry, to celebrate." We're grabbing more details about how they're planning the transition. Until then, here's what you can do. [Home Media Magazine]
prod_satX205-FFDWH_300-02.jpgWho wants to win a Toshiba x205 laptop? Everybody? Great! Here's how you enter. It's an easy one this time.

Just send an email to contests@gizmodo.com with the subject "Toshiba laptop contest". We're going to pick a winner at random, so all of you have an equal chance to snatch yourself a lappy. Standard Gawker contest rules apply. Contest only valid in US/Canada.

Sponsored by Toshiba: The laptop experts bring you the X205. Because there's nothing like a .38 caliber, armor-piercing laptop.
att-buffet2.jpgAT&T's responding to Verizon's Unlimited calling and data contracts with a $99 all you can eat voice plan that can be combo'd up with any data plan. The data plans are a step in the non-evil direction for AT&T: $35 bucks for unlimited connectivity and messaging. An AT&T spokesperson tells us that includes 3G.

That makes it $15 cheaper than Verizon's full everything plan for $149. (Although you can't compare the limited coverage of AT&T's HSPDA with Verizon's EVDO Revision A. Yet.) What else is rad? One Year contract for new subscribers, and no additional contract for existing customers! For those who DL a lot more than they yap, you can get unlimited data plans without signing up for unlimited voice. The plans will be available on 2/22. iPhones aren't legit for these data plans, since they've already their own $20 unlimited data plan, and the pricing doesn't quite fit. More details below:

Also, data cards and tethering limitations:This new unlimited voice plan has no impact on our existing data plans. Our data plans are unchanged. The only data plans subject to the 5GB limitation are Laptop Connect plans for data cards and tethering plans, where your wireless phone acts as a modem for a laptop.
Unlike Sprint EVDO, AT&T and Verizon have usage caps per month. Could be hard for pros who use their 3G data cards or phones as modems, exclusively.

[Thanks Yoshi!]
AT&T To Launch Unlimited U.S. Calling Plan
12:47 p.m. 02/19/2008
$99.99 Plan Available Feb. 22 for New and Existing Customers
SAN ANTONIO, Feb 19, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- AT&T Inc. (T) announced today new unlimited voice plans targeted to wireless users who want the predictability of flat rate pricing for unlimited minutes. The plans will be available to new and existing wireless subscribers for $99.99 a month for unlimited U.S. calling on all devices with no domestic roaming or long distance charges. The plans can be combined with any current wireless data plan to give customers the ultimate in wireless freedom.
The new plans, available Feb. 22, can be ordered at one of AT&T's 2,200 company-owned retail stores and kiosks, at http://www.att.com, or at one of the thousands of authorized AT&T retail locations. Existing customers can choose unlimited calling without extending their contract. New customers have the option of a month-to-month, 12 or 24 month contract.
As with other voice calling plans, AT&T customers can choose from a variety of data and messaging plans to meet their needs. For example, customers with standard wireless phones* can choose a data plan such as $5 for 200 text, picture, video and instant messages or $35 for unlimited messaging and MEdia Net access.
"We are pleased to offer our customers these great new plans that deliver value and simplified pricing," said Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility. "This is a highly competitive market and we're committed to moving fast to meet customer needs."
AT&T customers benefit from the nation's largest digital voice and data network, with 3G broadband available in more than 260 major metropolitan markets. The company recently announced plans to expand its 3G network to 350 markets, including all of the top 100.

For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit http://www.att.com

* Standard wireless phones do not include smartphones or PDAs or the

zanis%20electric%20car-jj-001.jpgGreg Zanis' Dream Car is a solar-powered pyramid on four wheels that he built at home with the help of his two sons. Deceptively fragile, this little one-seater weighs in at 8,000 pounds, but its 80 batteries powering four electric engines really make it shift. Find out how fast, and watch the video of it pootling along a wintry Illinois street, after the jump.

Greg claims he can get his dream car up to 45 mph. The vehicle can run for 80 miles on a single charge (it takes around four hours to juice the battery) and has all sorts of fabulous extras, such as an in-car heating system, electric brakes, gel-filled tires and lowrider-tastic neon lights.

The Dream Car cost the Zanises $60,000 in supplies, and who knows how many hours of their time. Now looking for financial backers, he says he needs $40,000 to build a Mark 2 prototype, and aims to get its range up to 500 miles. [Dream Car and YouTube via Treehugger]
gravia_w_person_cutout.jpgThis Gravity Lamp by a Virginia Tech student won second place at the Greener Gadgets Design Competition this week. The idea is quite simple in theory: a mass moves slowly down a column, which generates electricity by when the potential to kinetic energy conversion of the mass falling spins a rotor. To "reset" the lamp, the user just flips the thing over and sets the process in motion again. The entire setup should last about 200 years if used only eight hours a day, but should be plenty long for anyone we know. [Greener Gadgets via via DVice]
webastoparkingheate%20GI.jpgThe winter may bring with it romantic comedies featuring Hugh Grant, but the downside is the drop in temperature. Fortunately, the Webasto Thermo Top E Parking Heater allows users to send a text message to a car where it is installed, which then kicks it into action, ensuring your car is warm to the touch when you get in. The self contained unit uses a tiny amount of fuel, and can also be activated by voice or remote control. The heater outputs 4.2kW for a maximum of 60 minutes at a time. Sure, that would keep you from hanging like a brass monkey, but the $1695 price tag seems a little on the hefty side to us. Remember; it's not cold if it's free cold, whatever that means. [Red Ferret]

nightvision.jpgThe EyeClops Night Vision goggles let you see in total darkness using infrared lights, all while giving you that special Terminator look. Two attachments allow visibility 10 or 20 feet ahead--the 10-footers give off no light, the 20s show some small red dots. I tried them on in a pitch black room and saw every poster on the wall easily. They're $80, and they'll be out sometime this fall. A giant game of Manhunt in Prospect Park will follow shortly after. [EyeClops]
ecstatire.pngApparently, Kumho's skid 'n' sniff tires are going out to the "trend-setting, fashion-conscious drivers" who want their cars to rock something that no one else has: the sweet smell of lavender. Now then, while I wholeheartedly applaud Kumho's decision to bring something so unique to wheelwear, I question the choice of fragrance. Surely "Eau de Roadkill" or "Rocker's Crotch" would have been more marketable than the scent most associated with a slightly incontinent old queen who thrilled millions during her lifetime--no, not Liberace, I'm talking about Britain's late, lamented Queen Mother. Full blurb from Tire Rack's product page is below. The Ecsta DX Aroma is Kumho's Grand Touring All-Season tire designed for trend-setting, fashion-conscious drivers who enjoy products that will set their luxury coupes and sedans apart from everyone else's. In addition to delivering an alluring aroma that replaces a tire's normal "rubber" smell with the subtle scent of fresh lavender, the Ecsta DX Aroma is designed to deliver a comfortable ride and low noise, while blending good wear with dry, wet and year-round traction, even in light snow.

Using a special mixing technology to blend the synthetic oils that provide the fragrant scent into the rubber compound, these heat-resistant oils are said to enhance the bonding of rubber chains and maximize the viscoelasticity of the rubber compound, which helps reduce braking distances on wet or dry roads. The Ecsta DX Aroma compound also features silica to improve all-weather performance and wet traction.

This unique compound is molded into a sophisticated directional tread design that features a continuous center rib for constant road contact to enhance highway stability, along with tread blocks designed to provide uniform stiffness to maintain ride comfort throughout the life of the tire. The tread blocks also feature an optimized pitch sequence resulting in variable pitch lengths to help minimize noise, while four wide circumferential and numerous sweeping intermediate grooves help evacuate water reducing the risk of hydroplaning. The tire's structure includes high-tensile steel belts and a jointless nylon cap ply to help improve ride comfort and durability, while an undertread reduces unwanted heat buildup for consistent performance.

NOTE: The lavender scent lasts approximately 1 year and while always present, is most noticeable immediately after normal driving when the tires are warm.
The Ecsta DX tires cost $81 each, all the self-esteem you ever had and a lilac-colored paintjob on your muscle car. [Tire Rack via Tips--thanks, Wikkit]
Nerf%20N-Strike%20Vulcan.jpegThe best new Nerf toy out of the entire Toy Fair 2008 lineup is this fully automatic dart gun. The toy is $40, and comes with 25 belt-fed darts, powered by six D-cell batteries. (!) Paired with the Mission Kit Tactical Light, this is the kind of base unit a Nerf gun modder could really learn to love. N-STRIKE VULCAN EBF-25

(Ages 6 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Fall 2008)

The top-of-the-line blaster for mission supremacy, the NERF N-STRIKE VULCAN EBF-25 blaster is a 25-dart belt-fed fully automatic blaster that will intimidate any opponent. This impressive blaster comes complete with a fold-up tripod to steady your aim, 25 sonic micro darts that whistle through the air when launched and a 25-dart belt. The NERF N-STRIKE VULCAN EBF-25 blaster features the Tactical Rail System allowing players to customize their blaster for each mission - for example, players can use the green 'night vision' Tactical Light accessory (sold separately) for nighttime missions. Six "D" batteries are required but not included.
pop_0808_42covsto.jpegHere's an interesting bit: The Lenovo x300 almost had the old IBM butterfly keyboard of old. This detail and others were revealed in a Businessweek cover story on the ultrathin, quickly being recognized as the antithesis to the Apple Air. The piece has a lot of other interesting background, like the above info graphic of a teardown with weigh for each component. Also, it nearly had a 10-inch screen.

Businessweek's headline confuses me, a bit: Building the Perfect Laptop. David Hill, father of the x300 and chief Lenovo designer says, "I'm a bit tired of looking at silver computers. I'd never wear a silver business suit." The comparison is lost on me. Many of the people the air was designed for simply wouldn't wear a business suit; why is wearing a suit a given for computer user? Sounds like the same kind of thinking that kept IBM trailing in the personal computer race before Windows. The piece is worth reading, especially for the opening section where the Lenovo people, tuned into Macworld Keynote coverage, scrambled to see if the x300 also fit into a manila envelope. It did. [BusinessWeek via BBG, more X300 on Giz]

Butterfly Keyboard:
boba%20fett.jpgThe Star Wars Series 2 mimobots--Luke, Leia, Han and Boba Fett--that were due last month are finally shipping tomorrow, three months after going up for pre-order. They've got a brand new feature that I'm not sure if I love or hate: When you plug in or eject the drive, it plays sounds from Star Wars, in case your coworkers didn't already know you were a virgin. [mimobots]
Elonex_ONE.jpegBrit PC maker Elonex is developing the Elonex, a PC meant to run in the same range as the OLPC. It'll have Wi-Fi, a flash HDD, a Linux OS, a rugged case, wireless music server and weigh less than 2.2 pounds. The price? About £99. Of course, they're doing it for the kids and not the PR. Elonex?

Unlike the OLPC, which for $400 buys one for yourself and one for some kid in an underdeveloped country, for every 100 Elonex cheapies sold, the company will donate one.

This space is getting crowded. Looking at the Elonex website and noticing a lack of strong products, I'm curious if they're even developing this machine themselves. Asus made the EEE, OLPC has tons of innovation, and no doubt Intel put a bit of engineering muscle behind Classroom. I believe the intentions are well placed here, but you can't help but notice the PR lift a move like this brings. [Elonex via ZDUK]
fuelcell.jpgI always wanted an RC car that didn't eat batteries like Tom Cruise devours babies there's no tomorrow. Corgi's H2Go is fuel-cell powered RC car that just needs water and light--a solar panel powers its hydrogen station, which karate chops water into oxygen and hydrogen. The station tank takes about 2 minutes to refill, and a full charge (which takes seconds) nets you about 10 minutes of zoom zooming. And the design? By Luigi Colani, famous for his work with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. I think it actually looks more like something out of The Big O than Batman, though Big O borrows heavily from the former. Either way, it's pure plastic art. More importantly, they work--some of the hand-built prototypes were a bit twitchy, but most of them were zipping around the track with no problems.

Corgi isn't planning on stopping here either. When talke dto CEO Michael Cookson, he said it's "just the tip of the iceberg." Basically, they're looking at converting "anything to do with batteries" to fuel-cell power (I suggested toy robots), and plan on launching "a range of products" in the next year or so. Best of all, they'll all be using a universal charger--though he cautioned, the H2Go's hydrogen station might not be it. The US launch for H2Go will in Aug. or Sept. for $129.99 w/ the solar panel, or $99 without. [Giz@Toy Fair 2008]
voicebeam.jpgNon-lethal yet still horribly unpleasant weapons are all the rage these days, from puke rays to pink tasers. What's the next step? How about a beam that inserts voices into your head? Yes, you could be minding your own business looting a Best Buy during a riot and all of the sudden there's a voice coming from inside your own brain saying "We're really disappointed with you."

It's a pretty insane idea, but one that's actually been proven to work, at least in a basic form.Because the frequency of the sound heard is dependent on the pulse characteristics of the RF energy, it seems possible that this technology could be developed to the point where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except hat it could only be heard within a person's head. In one experiment, communication of the words from one to ten using "speech modulated" microwave energy was successfully demonstrated. Microphones next to the person experiencing the voice could not pick up the sound. Additional development of this would open up a wide range of possibilities.


This technology requires no extrapolation to estimate its usefulness. Microwave energy can be applied at a distance, and the appropriate technology can be adapted from existing radar units. Aiming devices likewise are available but for special circumstances which require extreme specificity, there may be a need for additional development. Extreme directional specificity would be required to transmit a message to a single hostage surrounded by his captors. Signals can be transmitted long distances (hundreds of meters) using current technology. Longer distances and more sophisticated signal types will require more bulky equipment, but it seems possible to transmit some of the signals at closer ranges using man-portable equipment.Luckily for you lawbreakers out there, this is taken from a recently declassified document that was initially written about 10 years ago. There are no hints that one of these things has been developed, but it's certainly possible that it's happening in the still-classified vaults of the Pentagon. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see whether the voices in your head are really being beamed there from black helicopters or if you're just crazy. [Danger Room]
hddvd-love.jpgMicrosoft said back in January HD DVD is only "over when Toshiba says they're not doing HD DVD." Well, Toshiba hasn't even officially officially killed HD DVD yet and the Xbox team is already dropping an official statement on the sitch. The fact that they're even addressing it doesn't look good then, right? Well, just read the statement. You'll know why HD DVD lost. "WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE RECENT REPORTS ABOUT HD DVD WILL HAVE ANY MATERIAL IMPACT ON THE XBOX 360 PLATFORM or our position in the marketplace. As we've long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry. We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own." It's pretty non-chalant about the whole thing, the death of a format, one that they were supposedly "totally committed to." Sony, on the other hand, had to win this. They staked everything (including the entire PS3 project) on it. The "material impact" of Blu dying would have been a crippled Sony, probably a cancer-ridden PS3.

But, for everyone but Toshiba, HD DVD was just a stepchild they let into their house. The drive and consequence just wasn't there, even with its second biggest backer, Microsoft. (What would they have gained if HD DVD prevailed? What have they lost now?) We still think it'll be a while before you see a Blu-ray player from them--not as long as it'd have taken Sony to pump out an HD DVD player, but we wouldn't pick up a 360 w/ plans to use it as BR player anytime soon. [Microsoft]
thumb463x_1211301384_225e8da025.jpgThe D3, that enormous full-frame camera from Nikon has had its first in-depth review. PhotographyBLOG's Gavin Stoker gave the $5,000 machine five out of five for features and image quality, while design, ease-of-use and VFM got 4.5 out of 5. Choice quotes after the jump. I haven't been so impressed with a set of images since trialing Fuji's S5 Pro, itself boasting Nikon heritage. For the purposes of the images displayed here I was shooting large size, fine quality JPEGs. The Nikon D3's images have a smooth, film-like quality to them, with colours realistically and accurately rendered - primary colours in particular delivering plenty of punch.

If we're picking holes, there is some pixel fringing visible on very close inspection, a slight fish eye effect at maximum wideangle, some shading and loss of sharpness toward the edges of the frame using the supplied lens, but in truth neither mars an image - especially one that's likely to end up in the forgiving media of print.

The Nikon D3 has got to be the top choice for anyone wanting high quality, rapid-fire image capture, or extremely low light photography without flash, who is not otherwise wedded to the Canon system.

With a D3 you get a camera with the best bits of its D2Xs and D2H predecessors without having to buy both. That said, the DSLR's heft with lens attached means that it's not the one you'll want to be lugging around with you all day firing off holiday snaps, the D300 a sensible alternative if you don't feel the need for speed or (obviously) full frame capture. But the fact that the Nikon D3 is (currently) pretty much peerless means this is a rare occasion of a camera deserving the full compliment of review stars.
So, five stars for $5K's worth of camera, then. [PhotographyBLOG]
drex.jpgWhile weren't quite as blown away by D-REX as we were by Elmo Live--"jazz hands" killed our objective judgment--the level of interactivity is pretty impressive for what's supposed to be a dumb child's toy (the kid, not the 'bot). About the size of a small puppy, it behaves semi-autonomously, though it'll follow patterns you pick w/ the remote like guarding your room (if it detects a light change, it goes apeshit) and (cutely) responds to petting, calling and the like. I'm not quite sure it's worth $150 yet, but even in this beta stage, it's damn close, and the fall launch date leaves plenty of polish time. This fall, Mattel adds a new category to its toy portfolio with the introduction of D-Rex, an interactive "pet" dinosaur for boys that boasts life-like movements, obeys commands, displays affection and protects its owner. Featuring "biomorphic robotics," a sub-discipline of robotics that focuses on emulating the mechanics, sensor systems and methodologies used by animals, D-Rex is unique in that it features advanced technology along with incredible life-like features, making "him" both a robot and an autonomous pet.

D-Rex has several features that bring him to life - he moves his eyes, wags his tail, responds to care and feeding, comes when called, and like any good pet, protects his owner and his prize possessions.

D-Rex celebrates traditional boys play patterns, while also infusing innovative technology to allow him to come to life and create a memorable "wow" moment for kids.

D-Rex is the ultimate pet for boys. A ferocious yet loyal dinosaur with an independent personality, D-Rex combines robotics, proprietary software and reptilian skin to create a life-like appearance and behavior. He walks around, chomps his jaw, bares his teeth and roars more than 100 different ways to let you know what he wants. D-Rex might demand food or want to play a game, and he'll hear your voice and respond to your touch. Like the ideal pet, D-Rex will protect his owner and his prize possessions.
ARP: $150.00 Age: 6+ Available: Fall 2008[Mattel]

HERCULES%20GI.jpg"If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory." - PhysorgIf that doesn't amaze you, you need a slap. The HERCULES laser can produce that intensity instantaneously, and it is said to be the most intense known light in the universe.

The beam is sustained for 30 femtoseconds, with one femtosecond being equivalent to a billionth of a second. So, it lasts longer than you do in bed, and it also performs a little better, too. However, this isn't Dr Robotnik having a wacky time for no use, it is hoped that the research will give rise to powerful cancer treatments, and when we say powerful, we do mean 300 terawatts of power, with an inconceivable, 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter. What is that equivalent to? An astonishing, 300 times the capacity of the U.S. electricity grid. All of that energy is concentrated into a 1.3-micron point, which is roughly 100th the diameter of a human hair.

Victor Yanovsky, who spearheaded the lasers development, says the HERCULES is around two orders more powerful than its nearest competing laser. A beam can be generated once every ten seconds, and the entire contraption accommodates several rooms, is constructed from titanium-sapphire and the light that enters at one end is processed by mirrors and other optical elements. This results in an increase in the energized quality of focused light.

The high intensity light, beyond medical uses, could also be implemented in crazy physics based procedures called "boiling the vacuum," which will apparently result in spontaneous matter generation. Crazy. Let's hope no one hell bent on world domination starts attempting to put together a real Death Star, or we'll all be screwed. May the force be with you. (Note to self: End more articles with that line.) [University of Michigan via Physorg]
moto-old%20GI.jpgWe previously told you analog cellular networks were soon to be terminated. Well, now it is happening, with many of the major U.S mobile operators, including AT&T and Verizon set to put a stop to their analog networks this Monday. You might want to upgrade your burglar alarm. [Washington Post]
fuelcell.jpgI always wanted an RC car that didn't eat batteries like Tom Cruise devours babies there's no tomorrow. Corgi's H2Go is fuel-cell powered RC car that just needs water and light--a solar panel powers its hydrogen station, which karate chops water into oxygen and hydrogen. The station tank takes about 2 minutes to refill, and a full charge (which takes seconds) nets you about 10 minutes of zoom zooming. And the design? By Luigi Colani, famous for his work with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. I think it actually looks more like something out of The Big O than Batman, though Big O borrows heavily from the former. Either way, it's pure plastic art. More importantly, they work--some of the hand-built prototypes were a bit twitchy, but most of them were zipping around the track with no problems.

Corgi isn't planning on stopping here either. When talke dto CEO Michael Cookson, he said it's "just the tip of the iceberg." Basically, they're looking at converting "anything to do with batteries" to fuel-cell power (I suggested toy robots), and plan on launching "a range of products" in the next year or so. Best of all, they'll all be using a universal charger--though he cautioned, the H2Go's hydrogen station might not be it. The US launch for H2Go will in Aug. or Sept. for $129.99 w/ the solar panel, or $99 without. [Giz@Toy Fair 2008]
SE%20Xperia%20X1%20612%20GI.jpgThe chaps over at Terminal.hu have just managed to get hold of some very interesting Xperia X1 images. The new pictures show the device will be running the yet-to-be-announced Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, and that explains why we weren't allowed a thorough hands-on at Mobile World Congress 2008. However, that is not all we have learnt from the new screen shots.

Besides what we knew before, we can now tell the Xperia X1 will have a Qualcomm 7200A CPU running at 528 MHz, 128MB RAM and a nice 'n' juicy, 1500 mAh battery. Sure, we were not overwhelmed with our first gimped hands-on, but on paper it looks like this sure is one beast. The 528 MHz processor has us excited, but with it being Windows Mobile, we'll be surprised if the onboard RAM doesn't prove itself to be insufficient for heavy multitasking.SE%20Xperia%20X1%20SS%20GI.jpgWinMob%206%201%20GI.jpg [Terminal.hu via adonis demon via BGR]