Best use of NFC so far

July 24, 2012

NFC is the big buzz word everywhere now and most people don’t even know what it is, what it does or that they already have it in their phone.

Will the new iPhone have it? Nobody knows until it is revealed, but that shouldn’t stop us from exploring it.

And that is exactly what Razorfish in Germany did with this 2 day project, coming up with the best idea on NFC usage I have seen so far.

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The idea is simple, just like you used to get your candy from a machine you can now get all kinds of digital goodies: Apps, movies, songs, ebooks, as well as other exclusive and location-based content that can be pushed to a phone. Simply enter a coin and turn the lever – then follow the animation and tap your smartphone next to the release chute.

In terms of hardware, we used a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an NFC shield, a simple reed switch and two Arduino microcontrollers – all nicely fitted into an original Gum Machine metal base.

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Super awesome indeed. Nicely done Razorfish. You can read more about it here.

@maniac13


This is how you buy a car–Audi City

July 18, 2012

We have been playing around with new ways of interaction for a while and touch and Natural user interfaces always played a big role in it.

Some of the work we can done can be found on our blog here and here, on the razorfish emerging experiences blog here and there is plenty more as well.

So we are always interested when this kind of technology and innovation makes it into the real world. Yesterday the Audi City in London opened up and is showing off how you will buy your next Audi by using touch, Kinect and RDID.

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Audi at the moment sells 36 different new cars and with all of the customization you can do there are something like 200 million possible iterations of those and obviously you can’t have that many cars in the show room.

So what if you could customize your new car the way you want and then see if life size drive past you on a 210 inch screen – awesome, yes!

Audi City has multiple levels, with the upstairs level having 4 of those floor to ceiling screens. Check out their vision in the video below:

2 of the screens have kinect sensors connected to them so you can interact with it with gestures, a directional sound system makes sure you are not disturbed by other potential buyers on the other screen (or vice versa) and it lets you experience the engine sound and the sounds of closing doors.

A touch screen then takes over where you can easily customize every single aspect of your new car, down to the colour of your gear stick. Spin it, turn it, zoom it – all of that is possible with high resolution imagery and the touch panel.

Paint, leather and cloth samples on RFID-enabled swatches can be grabbed from the wall and placed next to the 32in touch screen, automatically updating your vehicle with the choice you’ve made.

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Once you’re happy with your choices it generates a mood board with hi-res snaps and videos of your chosen car, which can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, emailed to a friend, or stored on a USB key.

Audi plans to roll the 3M multitouch screens out to dealerships all over the world, and to create 20 Audi Cities by 2015. I for one can’t wait for the one in Australia to be opened.

@maniac13


Find your way, no matter where you are

July 10, 2012

GPS is great and has helped nearly everyone at one stage or another to find their way.

The problem is that it doesn’t work indoors and all the mapping companies are working hard on finding a solution so you can find your way around the shopping mall or the supermarket.

Now there is a new kid on the block called IndoorAtlas.

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Developed by a team at Finland’s University of Oulu, their method relies on identifying the unique geomagnetic field of every location on Earth to get positioning through a mobile device.

It is very accurate, to less than 6.6 feet, and it can work without triangulations of wireless signals and at any location. IndoorAtlas has already conducted tests in a mine 4,593 feet deep.

Geomagnetic location-finding is already available through an Android API, so hopefully there will be plenty of apps coming our way soon.

Check out the video below for a brief explanation.

@maniac13


Blow Jobs are great!

May 23, 2012

That’s what Lithuanian artist Tadao Cern thought when he created blow job, a photography series of peoples portraits in a wind tunnel.

Some pretty awesome results, check them out

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you can see all of the here and he is also quite active on facebook.

@maniac13


Touch me and I can see

May 8, 2012

That is the basic model behind the wearable camera that blinds a user until he is touched by someone else.

The project was created by Artist Eric Siu and is called Touchy.

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With Touchy, Siu wants to highlight social anxiety, which he believes is caused by the increased reliance on communication mediums like Facebook and Twitter. He says that the helmet emulates the isolating experience of over-reliance on social networks, and turns the wearer into a social device.

Touchy has two giant shutters that remain closed without human contact. Once the helmet’s sensors detect touch, the shutters open and illuminate the wearers eyes, the blindness is temporarily lifted until the connection is broken. If someone maintains contact for ten seconds, a photo is taken by the camera mounted on the front of Touchy, which is then displayed on a screen round the back.

Check out the heartwarming video below

@maniac13


Asteroids 2.0 – now an MMO

April 11, 2012

Remember the days when you were sitting in front of your CRT TV playing with your Atari 2600 playing Asteroids by yourself? I do.

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Now that is all in the past as the new version of Asteroids here is a massively multiplayer online (mmo) game and instead of chasing asteroids you shoot other players from all over the world.

It’s a relatively simple arcade-style game in which you attempt to rack up as high a score as possible before running out of lives, and you can sign in with Twitter to put a name to your score.

@maniac13


You can run, but you can’t hide

March 22, 2012

The smart peeps at MIT have created a camera that can look around the corner.

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To do this, the system uses a so-called femtosecond laser to send out extremely short light pulses that are aimed at a nearby wall, then bounce around, hit the object hiding and then bounce back to the camera.

Then smart software figures out what is lurking behind the wall by determining how long it took those pulses to return to the camera.

This happens over and over again at different angles, meaning that the system will ultimately be able to get a general idea of the object hidden.

check out the video below

 

@maniac13


The Hunger Games and HTML5

March 21, 2012

How do those 2 fit together you ask? Microsoft has teamed up with Lionsgate to show off the latest HTML5 techniques (movie-like effect: stream, lens flare and video projections) and to promote IE9.

Check it out here

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I had some issues getting onto the page, but I think it is because it is making the rounds in the internet and everybody is checking it out.

Nevertheless it is a pretty nifty and beautiful site and you have the ability to connect it to your facebook and your friends appear on billboards and screens.

The site also gives you some exclusive movie content and there are 2 easter eggs that reveal 2 never before seen clips.

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  • 1. In the Control Room you can type in “ivolunteer” on your keyboard after clicking on the map section
  • 2. In the Avenue of Tributes you can click on Katniss and then Peeta to reveal a clip from the training center

I can’t wait for the movie to come out as it looks great and it looks like HTML5 is being pushed to its boundaries on this site.

Check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it.

@maniac13


WiGig will be in your future SD cards

January 31, 2012

What is WiGig you are asking? WiGig is an alliance that completed a multi-gigabit 60Ghz wireless specification.

It means that WiGig enables wireless transfer rates more than ten times faster than today’s fastest wireless LAN, and it’s completely backward compatible with existing WiFi devices.

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Panasonic is now in the process of jamming the functionality into SD cards set to arrive next year and they already have a working prototype that they showed off at DigInfo.

Photos and videos were effortlessly send to secondary displays and played without any glitches. According to them a whole DVD can be transferred in under a minute.

But check it out in action here and be surprised by how much it looks like Amnesia Connect Smile

@maniac13


Amazing liquid art

January 20, 2012

German Photographer Marcus Reugels takes pictures of water droplets refracting an image behind them, making them each appear to contain a world or Batman or Spiderman.

How he says on his website, every droplet is a unique piece of art. Pretty amazing

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Check out his other work, which he says was not manipulated with Photoshop at all.

@maniac13


Never forget your keys ever again

November 17, 2011

Amnesia is always happy to support local talent and we are proud to show you a concept from one of our Interns, David Montero

David has been helping us with one of our Kinect internal projects while he was working hard on his own university project called dOh

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Ever had a doh! moment?, that moment when the door slams behind you and you slap your forehead realising you left the house without taking the keys with you?

dOh will help you remember your keys, wallet, phone or anything else you could possibly forget.

All you have to do is “tag” your items and when you try to leave your apartment your doorknob will tell you, by flashing a coloured light at you, that you forgot a tagged item.

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A really nice idea and I am sure it will help people in the future not to forget their things anymore. It could potentially even tell you that you lost your phone when you come back to your home Smile

@maniac13


Google made me hungry for an Ice Cream Sandwich

October 19, 2011

Today Google and Samsung finally had their Nexus event where they released the next version of the Nexus phone series as well as the announcement of their new iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.

So let’s start with the phone: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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Obviously it will be running ICS and it will have some very impressive specs:

– a huge 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720

– 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor

– 5 Megapixel rear camera with LED flash

– 1.3 Megapixel front facing camera

– 1080p full HD video recording

– 1 GB of RAM

– Wireless N network

– NFC capabilities

– the usual accelerometer, compass, gyro, proximity sensor

– a barometer

 

and to power it all a big 1750mAh battery

It will be released in November, but so far we haven’t heard any carrier announcement or if it even hit AU shores any time soon. No price yet either.

 

So what about Ice Cream Sandwich?

 

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Read the rest of this entry »


Do you like to invent stuff?

April 15, 2011

then maybe you should try and get hired at Inventionland – no I am not kidding, this place really exists.

I have seen some cool workplaces in the past, just think about Google Headquarter or the old Amnesia office next to the brothel Disappointed smile, but George Davison really put some effort into this place.

He created multiple different environments for his employees to get the creative juices flowing – e.g. work on a Pirate Ship

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It seems to be working too as they are pumping out over 2000 inventions per year.

Here are some more of their workplaces

the concept kitchen

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the race track

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or the tree house

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You Can check it out here, but be warned they have some weird theme song on their site

or check out their flickr stream here

 

pretty awesome

@maniac13


Proper 3D without glasses just got a bit closer

April 9, 2011

3D is cool, but I do not want to put on glasses every time I watch something in 3D.

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There are plenty of glasses free TVs out there, but let’s face it I do not want to be confined to 3-5 spots in my living room and if I move a little bit the picture will look sh*t.

However, Japanese researchers have devised a new type of hologram technology. They work with normal light and can produce full-coloured 3D images.

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This new technology works by hitting a thin metal film with three beams of white light, each from a different angle. Each beam excites a different colour of light, which then passes through an RGB hologram, combining to form a full-colour 3D image.

These holograms wouldn’t require glasses or viewing angles and how awesome would it be to have real life holograms acting out movies in your living room.

I can’t wait for it.

@maniac13


CES 2011 and here are my favourite things

January 7, 2011

As usual everybody seems to be waiting to announce their new products at CES and this year hasn’t been any different.

And again we are overwhelmed with information from everyone and blinded by all the new shiny products. I will have to get a 2nd job to be able to afford all the new gadgets I want now.

So below is a list of my favourites from the CES this year that I found on different blogs around the internets (maybe one day I will be able to go there in person)

So here I will be showing you tablets, 3D stuff, Microsoft hardware and some other cool stuff I came across

Read the rest of this entry »


Do you want to know when the next solar eclipse is?

December 13, 2010

and do you have a few pieces of Lego lying around? then read on

I have always known that the Greek are smart people, but that they build an ancient mechanical computer at around 150 BC has to take the cake.

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the device was already discovered in 1901 in a ship wreck, but it wasn’t understood until decades later.

Now we know what it does and the Mechanism has now been recreated by an Apple software engineer by the name of Andrew Carol, who has lovingly pieced 1,500 Lego Technic blocks together, creating 110 gears and four gearboxes in total. Check out the video of it in action.

Simply great

@maniac13


My Gadget wish list for 2010

May 10, 2010

In my line of work (and because I love it) I come across a lot of cool gadgets and usually (at least if you ask my wife) I spend too much money on them.

So this year I will follow my moms advice and make myself a list.

Usually I start these lists with the least and work my way up to the best, but I want to start with the device I really really want this year.

1. Samsung Galaxy S

I have been using my 8310 blackberry for too long and for a while there I was carrying around 3 devices to do my phonecalls, emails and browsing and gaming, but the Samsung will be able to do all that.

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So why do I want it?

for a start I don’t like the iPhone (don’t get me wrong I think it is a good phone for “normal” users), but it just doesn’t do what i want from a phone.

apart from that here is my  shortlist on why I want it:

* 4 inch WVGA Super Amoled screen (finally a device i can use outside)
* big (as in big capacity) battery – 1500mAh
* 16GB internal memory + extendable with micro sd
* wireless n
* camera capable of 720p video @ 30fps
* support of MPeg4, H.263, H.264, WMV, RV, DivX, Xvid and MKV – no more converting movies
* Samsung Social Hub – no more opening up app after app after app – I just have it all in one inbox – sweet

 

2. Tablet

I had a chance to play with the iPad for a few weeks now and I have to say I am not impressed – especially since Apple announced the AU pricing for it today and again, Australia gets screwed – all you really get is a big iPod

so what do I want in a Tablet?

Read the rest of this entry »


Sony vs Microsoft or Atrac vs Surface

May 4, 2010

Swiss company Atracsys sold its tech knowhow to Sony and the company is today informing the world that its atracTable is ready for mass production and commercialization this June.

The system is a dual camera-based system that tracks and analyzes body movements in three dimensions, in real-time. Initially designed for use with a computer in a sterile operating theater, the interface not only notices subtle changes in the position of your body, arm, hand, or finger position, but it’s also determine rough age, sex, or facial expression of the user.

of course nobody knows a price yet, but they promise a high-contrast, Full HD screen, which is already better than the surface table from MS.

It will be able to communicate with your mobile devices or respond to motion input, which is picked up by a pair of Sony camcorders.

Here is another video of it in action:

Read the rest of this entry »


More iPad alternatives

April 29, 2010

the iPad is out and it seems that it is very popular as it sold over 300000 units in its opening weekend. I have been talking about alternatives to the iPad already here, but every day I come across more and more of them.

So here are a few more.

It seems that the windows versions are getting more attractive. Not only that they are running windows 7 (which just sold more than 100 million licenses a couple of days ago), but they also support multitouch, flash and everything else that windows supports out of the box.

GBook tablet

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1.2GHz Intel ULV SU2300 processor with integrated Intel graphics and 2GB of RAM – it looks like you can put a 2.5 inch HDD or SSD in it for storage. it will run win 7 and the multitouch panel supports up to 10 touchpoints – no word on price or release date yet, but definitely an option to keep your eye on

Read the rest of this entry »


Should I buy an iPad?

April 8, 2010

The hype about the iPad has been huge and Apple sold 300 000 devices on opening day and over 1 million applications have been downloaded already.

Even Amnesia jumped on the band wagon and we are having an internal competition and the first price is an iPad.

So let’s say I won’t be the lucky one winning the iPad, should I go out and buy one anyways?

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if you read this blog on a regular basis you will know that I  like to look at some things from the funny angle, but at least you know now that the iPad is blendable and it is powered by an iPhone. 🙂

I found a few more options and posted them here

We all know that the iPad is not the first tablet on the market and there have been alternatives around for some time now.

take the Modbook for example

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you provide the unibody macbook to this company and for US$900 they will turn your 2500 dollar macbook into a tablet that runs full OSX with flash and multi-tasking support.

 

and then there is the Viliv X70 which has been around for over a year now

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it runs WindowsXP, has GPS, USB, SD card slot and 3G

 

but if those devices would be the only alternatives I wouldn’t think twice and go straight with the iPad

Fortunately new devices are basically introduced every day so there are more options.

 

so it looks like that all different Operating systems will have tablets coming out to I will show alternatives based on that.

Steve Balmer showed the HP Slate off and I was excited to see it and couldn’t wait to know more about it

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so finally there are more details available and on paper it has some advantages over the iPad:

1.6Ghz CPU, 1080p playback, card reader, USB port, 2 cameras, supports flash and multi-tasking

another windows alternative would be the Archos 9 PC tablet

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Next on the list is Linux and this time the tablet is coming out of Germany and is called WePad (how innovative)

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coming out of Germany it should be a nice piece of equipment and it has again a few things to offer that the iPad can’t match

larger screen, 2 USB ports, supports all ebook formats, flash support, access to the Android market place

UPDATE: the makers of the WePad announced its availability in August this year with 2 different versions: 16GB version for Euro 450 and a 64GB version that is capable of full HD for Euro 569

Speaking of Android my next choice is probably my favourite – ICDs Gemini

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as i said it is running Android OS, has a 11 inch screen which can be resistive or capacitive, a 5 axis accelerometer, card reader, voice calls, SMS, MMS, Wireless N, FM radio, IR, USB port, 2 cameras, GPS, dual speakers and microphones, HD video. email support and flash support

unfortunately there is no release date or price yet, but this little gem looks pretty awesome – there is a great comparison on engadget here

another Android alternative that has been talked about is the Notion Ink Adam

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Then there is the browser based OS tablet that was born out of controvercy called JooJoo

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it has a bigger screen, 1 GB of Ram, USB port, flash support and camera, but everything else I read about it didn’t convince me at all – it seems to have early release issues, but hopefully they will be solved with software updates

 

There are plenty of rumours about Chrome tablets that are coming out – supposedly Google and HTC are working on a tablet based on Chromium

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all you can really find online are concepts by Google so there are no hardware specs or release dates or prizes

UPDATE: Google CEO Eric Schmidt has confirmed that his company is developing a tablet device based on the Android operating system. The New York Times reports that Google has “been working with several hardware manufacturers,” and “hopes to make its own apps marketplace available for new slate-like devices.” reported on mashable

So if I have to sum it up, there are plenty of alternatives to the iPad. For me the ICD Gemini is my favourite at the moment and I would love to get my hands on one to really give it a test drive (ICD if you are reading this, please send one my way)

 

But of course this is just my opinion and everybody should make up their own mind. I would love to read your opinions so please leave them in the comments below.

@maniac13