Thursday, June 7, 2012

Xbox SmartGlass

 It seems like Xbox 360 might be taking over the home entertainment battle.
Xbox has it all:The motion controlled Kinect, which now has voice-recognition ability.Its new online music service “Xbox Music”. On-Demand video apps such as: YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, Xfinity, Amazon Prime movies, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount Movies,  Univisions, NBA, NHL and ESPN.
Other consoles such as PS3 have a number of subscription services, but what they do not have is the amount of apps and the newly announced Smart Glass, which is driving the Xbox to the top. 

Xbox SmartGlass is a Wi-Fi remote app for Windows 8 and mobile devices which interact with the video content and games on the Xbox 360. Once launched the app syncs up with any compatible content offering a way to access additional interactive material while watching a program or playing a game. The SmartGlass can give you additional information about a movie, TV show, cast, and creators while watching a program.
For example, during a movie you have the ability to search for a selected actor to play a different movie the actor was featured in, as well as the option to go straight to the scene or scenes the actor appears.
The best feature of SmartGlass is the ability to stop video content on one device and pick it up where you left off on another.SmartGlass will be available for iOS and Android, as well as Microsoft’s own Window smartphones and tablets. 

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Geek Up Camping

For those who want the outdoors but can’t let go of luxury, Travelodge created the Travelpod. These mobile hotel rooms can be transported to a camp site. The pod is a polycarbonate glass box that has all of the amenities a normal hotel room would have including but not limited to carpeted floors, air conditioning, cable TV and even blinds. 

The 2 second Self pitching Tent is prefect when you want to just get in and be done with setting up. The self-pitching tent made by Quechua arranges into a full tent when you throw it up into the air before it hits the ground. 

After setting up your camp try using the Catchu Camera Frisbee which adds more fun and entertainment to a normal game of Frisbee.  This Frisbee has a camera attached and can record up to 20 minutes of broadcast quality video.  

Cooking meals could be more of a chore but not with the BiolLite CampStove. This type of technology brings clean and safe energy to the camp site. The camp stove can convert heat from the fire of twigs into usable electricity. The stoves can also recharge your phones, lights and other gadgets while you make your favorite camp fire treat. 

Need more energy? The Mobile Energy is a portable charger that harnesses renewable solar and wind energy. This device is able to recharge a variety of devices and comes with an LED torch.
With this camping check list, don’t forget the most important gadget, glow-in-the-dark toilet paper!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

8 Useless Gadgets

Technology has been a blessing with new gadgets popping up every second promising to make our lives simpler.  However, several gadgets out there end up being useless and need to be recycled.
 The Car Stereo Remote for example is a palm sized remote that is used to help us control the stereo that is not even a foot away from you. The car stereo remote allows anyone including our favorite backseat drivers to change the station. This is almost as annoying as keeping up with the remote itself.

The “As Seen on TV” Clip Mate gives a convincing hands-free experience that Bluetooth can’t by clipping the entire phone to the side of your face.   
Another “As Seen on TV” product that is just as useless is the iPhone Viewing Hat. This accessory comes in two stylish options, Baseball or Visor. The hat lets you store your iPhone in a sleeve dangling in front of your face.  Flaps hang down on the sides of the cap giving you perfect vision for game play. Too bad there are no iPhones that fit in the sleeves.

Who needs to carry around a smart phone when you live like 007 with your smart cell phone watch? Several phone watches are equipped with color display, speakerphone, and… a camera. Yes, some even come with a stylus. This is the perfect “go gadget” to help bring Dr. Evil down.
People send and receive all types of information through the internet such as personal files, images, and greeting e-cards.
 But have you heard anyone sending someone that sweet precious smell of your choice?  Digi Scents iSmell, a USB controlled computer device that allows you to mix 64 different fragrances and digitally transmit the smell though the internet. Wouldn’t it be a great gift of giving someone a concoction of scents straight from your own computer? 

It doesn’t matter what type of remote or what it belongs to, it will be lost at one point and sometimes will never return. Having the Remote Wrangler will solve this dilemma! The Remote Wrangle is attached to the remotes and then strapped on to your head with Velcro. It’s really that simple.

It’s a cold, dark and rainy night, perfect for the LED Umbrella. It is a standard umbrella with an LED glowing light stick handle. The umbrella comes in two colors, red or blue and runs off 2 AAA batteries. After a long and tiresome day you might not have any energy left to bathe yourself, a human washing machine might be what you need. 

The Avan Santelubian 999 from Japan is an automatic washing robotic bath. You climb into it and close it on top of yourself. It sterilizes and self-cleans. This is a few of thousands cool but useless gadgets. What gadgets would you add to the list?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Increase Harmful "Flaring"

 “Flaring” is a natural gas that surfaces with the oil and burned off when it reaches the top causing air pollution, acid rain and accelerates climate change. Oil production is on a rise and there are not enough pipelines to carry off the natural gas. In 2008 107 flaring permits were granted and increased to 651 permits in 2011. The increase is dangerous and causes health risks because Flaring releases nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide and other emissions into the atmosphere.

Nitrogen oxide can travel long distances, and can cause a variety of health and environmental problems in locations far from their emissions source. Sulfur oxide refers to many types of sulfur and oxygen containing compounds. It is a colorless gas that can be detected by taste and smell. Very high concentrations of sulfur oxide are believed to cause most of the health and vegetation damages attributable to sulfur emissions.
Exposure to sulfur oxide in the ambient air has been associated with reduced lung function, increase incidence of respiratory symptoms and diseases, irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and sometimes fatal. Children, the elderly, and those already suffering from respiratory ailments, such as asthmatics, are especially at risk.  Sulfur oxide dissolves in the watery fluids of the upper respiratory system and absorbed into the bloodstream. Sulfur oxide can also be carried deep into the pulmonary system. 

 Sulfur oxide emissions may cause adverse impacts to vegetation, including forests and agricultural crops. The plants lose their foliage and become less productive, or die prematurely. Some species are much more sensitive to exposure than others. Impacts on forest ecosystems vary greatly according to soil type, plant species, atmospheric conditions, insect populations, and other factors that are not well understood. Agricultural crops such as Alfalfa and rye grass are especially sensitive. 

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Real Transformer

Transformers, not just a popular children's show or a major blockbuster there's "more than meets the eye.' Kenji Ishida and JS Robotic have built a Brave Robot series and with the eighth attempt, pulled out Version 8. Name not as interesting as Optimus Prime but none the less is an actual transforming robot that converts to a small car. The robot moves as smooth as a car and has a bit of a jolting motion when walking. The Version 8 runs on 22 motors under a plastic exoskeleton to turn from a car into a mobile humanoid robot.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mothers Gadets

Mother’s day is right around the corner and if you haven’t found that special gift here are some electronic gadgets your tech-loving mom might love. Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is the first e-reader with a back light letting mom read in the dark.
Moms are always busy and with the Livescribe pen she will never miss an important note. The livescribe pen will record everything mom writes, hears and more.  Using the LiveScribe Notebook or desktop application, Mom can use the livescribe pen to send notes to her email, Google Docs, Facebook, Evernote, and Microsoft OneNote.

You can also try brightening up her desk with the flower USB hub. Also, Instead of Mom always being the one snapping pictures from her iphone,let her be in them with the Belkin iPhone Camera Remote.

The remote uses a Bluetooth-enabled device to activate the shutter from up to 30 feet away from her phone.

A pretty delicious app for Moms who love to cook is iCookbook. This app has over 2,000 recipes and can be used for cooking moms of every skill level.

If mom is staying fit here is a great gadget to help her Nike + Fuel-Band Fitness Tracker. The Fitness Tracker is a bracelet that allows you to set fitness goals and tracks your movement throughout the day.  At the end of the day the tracker shows you where you are in terms of meeting your goal. You can download an app that will sync the band, showing your progress and comparing your activities every day. You can sync your Fuel-Band app to your friends on Facebook and encourage other users to work toward their fitness goals as well. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Virtual Grocery Shopping

How many times have you found yourself missing an ingredient while preparing a meal? With the frustration of working all day and the traffic you went through to get home, that one ingredient isn’t worth going back out for. For all those who just do not have the time to grocery shop there is an app for you. Grocery shopping virtually isn’t new. South Koreans shop virtually while waiting for the subway and now here in the United States. With Chicago’s “L” commuters, online grocery Peapod has covered the walls in both the State and Lake Station tunnel with their very own supermarket. Peapods “grocery shelves” cover the tunnel as wall paper. A smart-phone can scan the barcodes of the merchandise a consumer would like to buy, and as little as the next day the online grocery Peapod delivers. For the time crunchers, scan-and-buy groceries are a time savor, turning commuting into another productive time. 

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Trip The Light - Anthony Burchell

 Trip The Light is electronic music constructed from the graves of old electronic equipment.  Some of this equipment can be seen in the electronic museum at Corona Visions Inc. The mastermind behind Trip The Light is San Antonio native Anthony Burchell.
On his facebook he once wrote “I make music with all the junk your parents threw out” - a true recycler. He is a young musician with the creativity of modifying old electronics and making unique sounds with them.
Recently, The San Antonio Current Music Awards voted Anthony Burchell Best Electronic Artist in San Antonio 2012. Burchell is also soon to be featured in an upcoming issue of Backbeat Magazine. His style of music is greatly influenced by a band called Board of Canada that he describes it as giving him a “natural organic feel in a digital world”. 
Trip The Light, Anthony Burchell
His live show equipment consists of a 1980’s Radio Shack TANDY color computer routed to a video amplifier, a guitar cab filled with television sets, and other vintage electronics with which he builds his music one layer at a time.
Trip The Light, Anthony Burchell
Trip The Light, Anthony Burchell

Some layers come from using the Commodore 64 (which competed in the game console against Atari in the 80’s). He is also able to modify the Game Boy using the devices' sound port to create yet another unique sound with inputted codes. Occasionally, Anthony will throw small vocals in with the layers yet no more than a few sentences and never straying away from his sound which he describes as “Spacy”. If you want to check out more of Anthony Burchell and Trip the Light stop by his site at

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nigerias E-Waste

Globally, 20-50 million tons of electronic waste is dumped. Nigeria has become one of the largest dumping grounds of e-waste in the world. According to the National Environmental Management Authority; Nigeria generates 17,000 tons of e-waste annually. (Only the expected number is only to increase. With the countries growth and their e-waste cell phone surge.) Nigeria does not have a proper system of sorting out e-waste, leaving the problem to scavengers. The government does restrict the age of the equipment coming into the country but still face challenges of local dumping.

Everyday 50 Kenyans pass away to a cancer-related disease. Astonishing cases of Kenyan children are faced with kidney disease and the number of diseased is increasing. Electronic waste is among the main causes of cancer including the increase of reproductive health diseases. The rise of cancer cases are due to lack of knowledge on how to handle e-waste and environmental pollution properly. Some metals in electronic waste equipment and the burning of plastics have increased diseases and severe respiratory problems. African countries are becoming aware of their e-waste and the problems associated with it. Hewlett-Packard has partnered with a non government organization to establish an e-waste recycling facility in Kenya, and operate within regulations of international health, safety and environmental standards.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ways of a Game Controller

Game controllers are not just for your game console anymore. Several creative people have hacked game controllers into whatever their heart desires. In a blog by Jean Aws, he describes that he had two of his own projects using the Kinect. His Robotic Mimicry uses the Kinect to interact with machines. It senses his hand in 3d and the data is transferred to the robot which mimics the hand's motions. The other kRC, the Kinect switched places of a typical remote control for a helicopter.

Another interesting use for a game controller is what Tots on Bots team at Ithaca College came up with only using a baby chair, a Wii Balance Board, and a small mobile robot. Sitting in the baby chair the child can lean in any  direction and the Wii Balance Board can sense which direction to move the robot. When the child relaxes the robot stops.

In Moullines's Catalina video, graphics were made using software with the 3d data set from Kinect. Music has been made using the WiiMote and a little hacking. The Kinect has a 3d camera where you can scan or photograph an object for 3d printing.
The data collected can then be 3d printed into a souvenir such as Be our Own Souvenir by Blablalab. The same data can be used by a DSLR camera creating amazing abstract photography.

One other fascinating idea is the use of Playstation Move controllers and custom software. The brains of coders, hackers and designers have given capability of writing with eye movement with their design Playstation Eye was attached to a pair of glasses for tracking. The uses for gaming controllers are endless with a little imagination.

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