February 18, 2011 Technology Roundup: 3d Printer Possession, Humanoid Robot on ISS, Gadget Politics, 3D Smartphone, Kinect Roomba, Egypt’s Internet Off Switch, Periodic Table of Shapes & more!
Why I LOVE My 3D Printer
This seems like an innocuous, cute little video till the 5:05-5:30 mark, where demonic possession appears to overtake the crowd. “In front of a crowd of ~850 Ignite enthusiasts from the Phoenix metro area DocProfSky shares his enthusiasm of 3D printing and talks about the MakerBot Cupcake CNC printer. The crowd gives him a standing ovation, a first ever at Ignite Phoenix.”
Japan may send chatty humanoid tweet-bot to space (Yahoo News, February 16, 2011)
Japan’s space agency is considering putting a talking humanoid robot on the International Space Station to watch the mission while astronauts are asleep, monitor their health and stress levels and communicate to Earth through the microblogging site Twitter. Let’s hope it doesn’t end this ^ way.
The Death of (Analogue) Patents (ComputerworldUK, February 12, 2011)
Ever wondered about the legal implications of making copies of pre-existing objects? As 3D printing approaches, so do I.
World stocks hit 30-month high (Reuters, February 17, 2011)
“World stocks hit a 30-month high on Thursday, driven by strong corporate earnings and cautious optimism on the U.S. economy from the Federal Reserve, while oil prices eased after hitting a 28-month high the previous day.” Can things keep rising?
Gadget Politics: Why Tech Fans Share the Love and Hate (Scientific American, February 17, 2011)
“Today, though, there are fanboys and haters ready to attack every conceivable position in the tech world—’position,’ of course, meaning ‘company or product’. Mention almost any big name, and you’ll hit a raw nerve: iPhone. Android. Kindle. Canon. Nikon. Google. Facebook. And, of course, Apple or Microsoft.”
Earliest Humans Not So Different from Us, Research Suggests (Science Daily, February 15, 2011)
“That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species. This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables (the Geico Cavemen being a notable exception). But is this assumption correct? Were the earliest humans significantly different from us?”
LG Optimus 3D Smartphone Is The First Of Its Kind (Huffington Post, February 14, 2011)
“LG Electronics is showing off the first phone with a color 3-D screen and a 3-D camera. The Optimus 3D drew large crowds eager to give it a test run on Monday at the Mobile World Congress. The screen produces the illusion of depth without the need for special glasses, and includes a pair of five-megapixel lenses for taking 3D photos and video. The phone must be held at the proper distance and angle in order for the viewer to perceive depth. It runs on Google Inc.’s Android 2.2 operating system. LG said the 3D phone will be sold in the spring, but it didn’t announce a deal with a U.S. carrier.”
Roomba controlled by Kinect (Hands free vacuum)
“[A] Japanese programmer who goes by the name Ogutti online, integrated the Kinect and a Roomba vacuum cleaner to create the “future vacuum.” For this hack, the vacuum can be pointed in any particular direction with just a slight movement of the hand, rather than having to use a remote control. Is it the vacuum cleaner of the future?” This kinect-based hands free roomba vacuum confirms my suspicion that Microsoft will give Apple a run for its money over the next year 🙂 I’ve got a good feeling about Microsoft. IMO it is good news for Microsoft that hackerish folks are tinkering with the XBOX/Kinect. What usually happens is that these types figure out all sorts of cool uses for a given product; uses that your average Wii user (for example) isin’t likely to figure out. When hackers/early-adopters/tinkerers pay attention to your products you get free novel ideas, free exposure, and you’re given the OK from individuals who are on the cutting edge of the trend. And while Apple (and Sony) are becoming increasingly closed off/locked down; Microsoft has lately adopted a slightly more open stance.
Egypt Leaders Found ‘Off’ Switch for Internet (New York Times, February 15, 2011)
Wondering how the Egyptian government managed to sever 20 million people from the global internet? How did it happen? Get a few of your answers right here. You’ll learn that the government (who owns all the information pipelines) exploited a combination of vulnerabilities. The article raises concerns for Iran, Syria and Bahrain which all have similar infrastructure to Egypt.
Snowmageddon’s Castle Grayskull
So damn cool. I wish I was skilled enough build something like this: “Kilroy III, with the assistance of his family and friends, sculpted Castle Grayskull, He-Man’s fortress from Mattel’s comic Masters of the Universe, out of three-plus-feet of snow from Brooklyn’s latest snowmageddon.”
‘Periodic Table of Shapes’ to Give a New Dimension to Math (Science Daily, February 16, 2011)
“Mathematicians are creating their own version of the periodic table that will provide a vast directory of all the possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, linking shapes together in the same way as the periodic table links groups of chemical elements.”
Revealed: ‘Star Trek’ scanner that can measure damage to your body from smoking and junk food (Daily Mail, February 16, 2011)
“In Star Trek, Dr McCoy was able to diagnose patients in an instant using his trusty ‘tricorder’. Now a real-life equivalent has been developed, giving medics the ability to tell within seconds just how healthy – or unhealthy – you are. The handheld device, the size of a computer mouse, gauges the damage that bad habits such as smoking or a fondness for junk food are having on the body.”
Living Fast but Dying Older Is Possible — If You’re a Sheep (ScienceDaily Feb. 16, 2011)
“According to Dr Annette Baudisch of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, current methods of comparing patterns of ageing are limited because they confound two different elements of ageing — pace and shape.”
Solar flare eruptions set to reach Earth (BBC, February 17, 2011)
“Scientists around the world will be watching closely as three eruptions from the Sun reach the Earth over Thursday and Friday. … The biggest flares can disrupt technology, including power grids, communications systems and satellites.”
Ancient Britons ‘drank from skulls’ (BBC, February 16, 2011)
“Ancient Britons were not averse to using human skulls as drinking cups, skeletal remains unearthed in southwest England suggest.”
How long till life is one big video game? (Globe and Mail, February 16, 2011)
“Had he been alive today,” says Gabe Zichermann, “Shakespeare would have written ‘All the world is a game.’ It’s so much richer of a metaphor then the previous example.” The topic of the month seems to be ‘Gamification’, a new strain of game based marketing that builds on the sucess of Foursquare, Farmville, etc… Check this out and you’ll learn some new words like badgification’ and ‘pointsification’… ugh…
Why Twitter Must Expand Beyond 140 Characters (ReadWriteWeb, February 16, 2011)
“Is it the constraint of 140 characters per message that makes Twitter what it is? Or is Twitter now a broader, real-time messaging service that needn’t be constrained by a character limitation?”