The next generation shadow puppets brought to you by Microsoft

November 7, 2011

I have been writing about Microsoft Research quite a bit and lately it seems that they are showing off our future every few days.

Last week was no different and they gave us 3 different projectors that allow you to interact with them through shadows and augmented reality.

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3 devices, split up into camera, room and SLAM models, incorporate pico projectors, coaxial IR cameras, inertial measurement units (IMUs) and the company’s Kinect to project augmented visions onto surrounding surfaces. The environmentally aware systems allow for shadow- and touch-based interaction with the CG overlays, offering pinch functionality, icon selection and even painting.

Pretty cool you think? Check out the video

 

One day we might all have one of those to check out the latest furniture and what they will look like in our home.

@maniac13


Real Life Outrun

August 4, 2011

We all remember the original 8bit Outrun Game from 1986. I remember playing it until my fingers were bleeding.

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So what would it be like if you could have this in real life? That is what the people at the University of California Irvine ask themselves and they created a system that, with the help of cameras and some customized software, looks in front of the vehicle and reproduces a map of what lies ahead of you onto the screen in 8bit rendering just like Outrun.

All you have to do now is follow the route. Simply awesome.

check out the video

@maniac13


Finally all my photo mistakes are being forgiven

September 24, 2010

Adobe just showcased and amazing “extra” lens that is inserted between your camera’s usual lens and its sensor and with their “magical” software you can now focus on a different part of the picture after you have taken it.

So I can give my camera to my wife to take a picture without having to worry about the result 🙂

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The plenoptic lens is composed of a litany of tiny "sub-lenses," which allow those precious photons you’re capturing to be recorded from multiple perspectives. The result is that you get a bunch more data in your image and an "infinite" depth of field, meaning you can toggle at what distance you want your image to be focused after the act of taking it.

check out the demo here

unfortunately this is still a long way away from hitting the commercial market, but one day we can all take pictures and focus on the important stuff later.

@maniac13


Official promotions roll out across FourSquare

February 23, 2010

As I am sure anyone with an iPhone is currently aware, the latest darling of the social app scene is a little location based game called FourSquare. FourSquare allows a user to “check in” to locations and through doing so you can become the ‘Mayor’ (most frequent check-in’s in a designated period) and earn ‘badges’ for completing certain combination of check-in’s.

There has been a lot of conversation around the potential use of FourSquare by local businesses but until today the only Sydney based use I had seen was a cafe that gave a free coffee to the “Mayor.” However earlier this morning I was visiting Sydney creative agency Lowe Sydney and when I went to check in I was presented with an interesting little tab in the top right corner (fig. 1)

Step 1
Fig. 1

When you select this tab you are then taken to a promotion screen for a local business (in this instance the Baroque Bistro Patisserie) and you are presented with the opportunity to earn a gift if you check in 3 times. (Fig. 2)

Step 2
Fig. 2

This is a brilliant use of location based data to target users and bring a point of difference to a business. While FourSquare doesn’t have a large enough user base to work as a reach medium, it is perfect for small businesses working to increase their repeat business. Were I in area and assuming that Baroque do reasonable food and drinks this incentive offer could very well be the differentiator in where I go to get my morning coffee, after all if their coffee is just as good as the next place why wouldn’t I go there and get a free French Macaron.

From a glance it appears that the process of implementing one of these specials is a reasonably straight forward matter of filling out an online form.

The one feature I would really love to see added to the promotion page would be a ‘tell your friends’ feature, so that even if you’re not checking in there, you could push a ‘shout’ to your friends via FourSquare/Twitter/Facebook and share the promotion with others who might find it interesting.

I personally will be paying very close attention to see what kind of traction this gains with Australian businesses.

@JoelyRighteous


My Top 10 gadgets at CES this year

January 13, 2010

I wish I had the time (and money) to go to CES this year, but thankfully all my favourite tech sites were covering it very well.

So looking at all the new gadgets coming out I thought I share my favourites with you – they are in no particular order

1. The transparent laptop screen – Samsung 14 inch Transparent OLED

2. HP Slate tablet – Apple is meant to do it – MS and HP have done it

3. A.R Drone – a Quadcopter controlled by your iPhone (we mentioned it here already)

4. liquid Image HD snow goggles and underwater goggles – all you need for your own discovery movies

5. Peregrine Glove Game controller

6. LBO Light Touch – have an interactive surface on any surface (we mentioned it here already)

7. Finally some USB 3.0 products – superspeed here we come

8. PlasticLogic Que Pro eBook reader/tablet – very sexy

9. Project Natal – can’t wait to connect this to my Xbox360

10. Zyxio Sensawaft – move your cursor with your breath

something additional – these didn’t quite make it into my top 10, but are still pretty cool

The instant Camareas are back – non digital – Polaroid makes a comeback with the Polaroid Pic 1000

Lenovo bringing out a phone

Panasonic 152 inch 3D TV and wireless HDMI transfer

MSI Dual screen multitouch tablet


Get your camera to do its best job

September 7, 2009

Being a “Hobby” photographer myself I found this article very interesting.

Stanford photo scientists are out to reinvent digital photography with the introduction of an open-source digital camera, which will give programmers around the world the chance to create software that will teach cameras new tricks.

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If the technology catches on, camera performance will be no longer be limited by the software that comes pre-installed by the manufacturer. Virtually all the features of the Stanford camera – focus, exposure, shutter speed, flash, etc. – are at the command of software that can be created by inspired programmers anywhere.

check out the video:

i hope this takes off as it looks awesome


Things Your Kids May Never Know About

July 24, 2009

Now that I am a dad I get drawn to different types of topics that never really interested me.

So I came across this one and it made me sad because it’s so true.

Being a geek myself I enjoyed reading about the “good old” days and i made it my mission to at least teach my child about all the great gadgets from the past.

here are my top 10 that i hope our children will remember because we tell them about it.

  1. Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something
  2. Sending that film away to be processed
  3. The scream of a modem connecting
  4. 5- and 3-inch floppies
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  5. Screens being just green (or orange) on black
  6. Phone books and Yellow Pages
  7. Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something
  8. Putting film in your camera: 35mm may have some life still, but what about APS or disk?
  9. LEGO just being square blocks of various sizes, with the odd wheel, window or door
  10. Finding out information from an encyclopedia – times before Google and Bing

There are plenty more here


Who is watching?

July 6, 2009

this is not the latest news, but it is still worth a mention.

Ads in bus stops in Hamburg, Germany were erected that change their content when someone is looking at them.

How?

a built-in camera with eye-tracking technology can tell exactly when someone is checking it out and changes the content.

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The Ad is an anti-domestic abuse message. When no one is looking, it shows a man hitting his wife. But when you look right at it, it changes to a picture of the couple looking happy and normal.

Pretty cool and effective.


Back to Basics: Citrus Clock

December 1, 2008

lemonclock1 lemonclock2

Blame it on the erstwhile design journalist in me, but I am a sucker for clocks. This one is a collab between Anna Gram’s Florian Dussopt and Julie Dirard (design), Atelier Chauvet (cabinets) and Anthemis (electronics.)

The Citrus Clock runs like a simple battery, drawing power from the oxidation process. A cut lemon keeps the clock powered for about a week, and according to the team it’s a “pedagogic project because the aim is obviously not to replace our actual clocks, but at least to help people think (or remember) about nature and energy.” The clocks were just featured at the City Eco Lab during St Etienne’s Biennale International Design. Super fun!