May 14, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt Inductive Charging

That inductive-charging backplate for the HTC Thunderbolt just came out, which means keeping the battery-devouring device juiced is about to get a little less inconvenient. Instead of having to plug in three times a day just to keep that LTE radio happy you'll simply be able to rest it on a charging mat... three times a day. The part made a brief appearance in the Verizon shop for $39, but the rumored April release date came and went without so much as a peep from Big Red. 

1080p Mobile Screen Slaps Retina Display in the Mouth

The iPhone 4's screen looks delicious—but Ortus Technology's got an even dreamier looking display, packing a 1920x1080 resolution into a scant 4.8 inches. That's 458 pixels per inch, as opposed to the iPhone's 326.

Now roughly five inch display—though the world's smallest 1080p—is in awkward place. It's way too big for a phone, and way too small for a tablet. 

Apple Patent Keyboard Blows Air

A patent application from Apple, filed in 2009 now revealed, aims to improve the user experience by "expelling air from the input device proximate the key when user selection is imminent." That's right -- your keyboard could blow on your fingertips as you blow my mind in the comments. Another solution in the patent would function like a vacuum to pull keys away when a proximity sensor detects that you're about to type, providing simulated feedback. If this concept takes off in the future, your next MacBook Air could really live up to its name.

May 13, 2011

Samsung’s Foldable Display Will Let You Stuff Giant Tablets in Your Pants

Tiny tablets' major advantage over the 10-inch crowd: They'll fit in your pocket. Samsung's latest foldable, creaseless AMOLED display will let you fold a tablet in half—effectively making bigger tablets pocketable.

Back in 2008, the South Korean company showcased a foldable OLED mobile phone at the FPD conference for display manufacturers. The technology was stunning back then but it suffered from one major flaw — the hinge required for folding produced a crease in the middle of the display.

The electronics manufacturer has removed this imperfection using a combination of silicone rubber, two protective glass panels and a pair of AMOLED displays. The AMOLED displays are mounted seamlessly next to each other on a flat piece of silicone rubber, two glass panels are placed on top of the AMOLED panels, both to protect the displays and let you use them as touchscreens. This rubber sandwich is then mounted in a case and folded in half.

The magic in this equation lies in the silicone rubber which is hyper-elastic and lets you fold it 180 degrees with a hinge less than 1mm. The researchers were able to fold the display over 100,000 times with minimal effect on the optical quality of the AMOLED (just a 6 percent brightness loss at the crease) or the elasticity of the rubber. This system is better than other foldable OLED technologies as it uses components that are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Fujitsu's TH40/D Convertible Tablet Slides Into Japan, Packs Atom Z670 and Windows 7

A slide-out tablet running on Windows 7, you say? Inside this 2.4-pound convertible laptop you'll find a 1.5GHz Oak Trail Atom Z670, 1GB of non-expandable DDR2 RAM, a 10.1-inch 1,024 x 600 touchscreen, a 120GB 4200rpm hard drive, and a battery life of around 6 hours. Other tidbits include 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, a couple of USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, an SD card slot, and a teeny optical trackpad placed next to the short space bar. If you still want one, then be ready to fork out about ¥80,000 ($990) at the end of June.

May 12, 2011

Adapter-Friendly Power Strips Never Get Old

The Pivot Power strip isn't the first to try and solve the bulky power adapter problem. And like others, its rotating design probably won't top the Power Squid in sheer utility. But others aren't nearly as attractive as this one.

Why You Should Never Ever Post Your Mom’s Photo on a Message Board

The internet is a cruel place. We're all pretty well caught up on that by now, yes? More so, anyhow, than this unfortunate LSU Tigers fan, who asked a message board at Tigerdroppings to fix up a picture of his blessed mum. You can probably guess what happened next.

The torrent of Photoshops and gifs was unrelenting; everything from the Mona Lisa to Austin Powers.

May 11, 2011

Play Angry Birds Online, Right Now, for Free

Google isn't above killing a little productivity to prove the power of its web browser. The search engine king has released a special free browser-based version of Rovio's avian-flinging sensation Angry Birds on the Chrome Web Store, just to prove it can be done.

Announced earlier today at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, the new browser-based version of Angry Birds is a testament to how far Google's Chrome browser has come in a short time. According to Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Angry Birds in a web browser wouldn't have been possible a year ago. With a graphics rendering speed ten-times-faster than earlier versions, today's Chrome can make it happen.

The free version of Angry Birds features the game's first level, Poached Eggs, along with a set of exclusive Chrome-themed levels. You can install it now via the Chrome Web Store. It runs rather nicely, and as an added bonus, remains cached for offline play.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got pigs to kill.

An iPad Keyboard That Lays On Top of the iPad

The iKeyboard lays on top of your iPad and has cutouts that fit the iPad's keyboard perfectly. There's a thin layer of film within each key cutout that when pressed, presses into the iPad key. Not only does that film let you rest your hands on the keyboard without touching the screen, it gives you that tactile feedback that most of us need. And since it's not really a keyboard itself, the overall size of the iKeyboard is much smaller than the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. You can find it here.

Sharp Aquos Phone SH-12C Has 3D Cameras

The HTC EVO 3D and LG Optimus 3D just got themselves a new buddy in the three-dee picture-taking arena in the shape of Sharp's Aquos Phone SH-12C. We know, that name just rolls off the tongue. What's remarkable about the 12C is that the dual cameras on its back go all the way up to 8 megapixels (to the EVO 3D's 5), which will be creating quite the tasty workload for the 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 chip contained within. A qHD (540 x 960) screen resolution also keeps up with HTC's latest, though the 4.2-inch, 3D-capable display on the Aquos offers more pixel density and less in absolute real estate. Android 2.3, replete with some evident customizations, will serve as the OS, and 720p video recording in 3D will also be available when Sharp launches the 12C in Japan on May 20th.

May 10, 2011

Google Ice Cream Sandwich

"One OS that runs everywhere." There you have it, folks! Google intends to meld its Honeycomb tablet wares and Gingerbread smartphone software into one delicious Ice Cream Sandwich. Maybe that's why the "sandwich" bit is in the name? Either way, it'll be a universal OS that runs on everything from teeny tiny Android phones to 10-inch tablets and will intelligently adapt to each form factor with things like a resizable status bar. Some other fancy new additions were added, including face-tracking and camera focus shifting based on voice recognition, but most of the salient details remain under lock and key for now. 

This iPhone Finds Landmines

Your iPhone can find a lot of stuff: taxis, toilets, caf├ęs, nearby sexual partners. How cute! And pitiable. While you've been scouting the best place to poop, Harvard researchers are working on an app that finds landmines.

Landmines detection is still surprisingly rudimentary: a human being waves a metal detector over the ground, and listens for audible cues that's there's something metal underground. But that poses a lot of problems. There's a lot of metal junk in the ground where stuff is blowing up all the time. Worse, operators have to be able to pick out mines from debris without losing life or limb. They do that by listening to beeps as they make passes trying to figure out what shape that metal thing underground is. It's hard!

Enter PETALS: pattern enhancement tool for assisting land mine sensing. The basic idea is that it allows anyone, even an inexperienced sweeper, to determine if there's a landmine and where it is. The app receives data from a metal detector and creates a visualization of the spatial pattern below ground. It helps reduce judgement calls in determining if something is or isn't a mine, making de-mining easier, safer and faster.

May 9, 2011

ASUS Eee PC 1015PX Netbook Now Shipping

Heads up, netbook enthusiasts: the ASUS Eee PC 1015PX is now available for stateside delivery. Essentially an upgrade to last year's 1015PEM, this puppy rocks a 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 display and houses a 1.66Ghz Intel Atom N570 dual-core CPU. It also comes equipped with a 250GB hard disk, up to 2GB of DDR3 memory, Bluetooth 3.0 capabilities, LAN and VGA ports, and a 0.3-megapixel camera.

Buyers have the choice between two models: the MU17, which promises a ten hour battery life and the PU17, designed for an eleven hour run. Despite their battery-related differences, both models weigh 2.76-pounds and are available on Amazon for $320 and $390, or on Newegg for $330 and $350, respectively.

Julian Assange Thinks Facebook Is the "Most Appalling Spy Machine That Has Ever Been Invented”

In an interview with Russia Today, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange went all conspiracy theorist on Facebook. He says:
Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the worlds most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their location their communication with each other, their relatives all accessible to US intelligence.
Assange didn't out and declare Facebook was working in cahoots with US intelligence but said that:
Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies, and building this database for them
Julian Assange! What a guy. Watch the whole interview at Russia Today.

Samsung's 75-inch D9500 3D TV Announced in Korea

3D is best served on a large plate, this 75-inch platter, dubbed D9500, has stolen the short-lived crown off LG's 72-inch LZ9700 to become the world's largest LED-backlit 3D LCD HDTV, and obviously Samsung's still staying faithful to its active shutter 3D technology following its recent price drop on its glasses. 

The 240Hz display will also come with the usual Smart TV features, garnished by a QWERTY flip remote for your web-browsing and SNS needs on that large screen. Oddly enough, only an ex-factory price of a whooping ₩19,000,000 ($17,600), so customers will have to pay a bit more than that during the pre-sales at the end of the month.

Easily Distracted People May Have Too Much Brain

Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have "too much brain". So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted.

To investigate distractibility, the team compared the brains of easy and difficult-to-distract individuals. They assessed each person's distractibility by quizzing them about how often they fail to notice road signs, or go into a supermarket and become sidetracked to the point that they forget what they came in to buy. The most distractible individuals received the highest score.

The team then imaged the volunteers' brains using a structural MRI scanner. The most obvious difference between those who had the highest questionnaire scores – the most easily distracted – and those with low scores was the volume of grey matter in a region of the brain known as the left superior parietal lobe (SPL). Specifically, the easily distracted tended to have more grey matter here.

May 8, 2011

Charge Your Gadgets With Solar Panels and Moving Furniture

Wander through MIT's Killian Court and you'll spot something distinctly modern nestled amongst its classical buildings -- a set of solar-powered lounge chairs called SOFT Rockers. These curved, solar-panel-covered seats rotate on an axis to keep them facing the sun, generating additional energy from the rocking motion created when people climb inside. All that harvested electricity can be used to recharge gadgets plugged into the three USB ports and to illuminate a light strip on the inside of the loop.

Take iPhone Photos, Get Paid

That's what Gigwalk promises at least, providing you the chance to make some money for snapping some street shots with your phone if you're in the right place.

It's simple: you sign up, enter your PayPal info, and look on the map to pick up a nearby "gig." TechCrunch uses Gigwalk's client TomTom as an example, explaining that the navigation company could use the photos from GigWise users to verify information about streets, such as signs, lights, points of interest or one-way paths. Small gigs pay as little as $3. Others pay as much as $90.

PQI’s USB 3.0 Is the World’s Smallest Flashdrive

We're living in the Dropbox era-I can beam an album, text, or naked pictures to anyone in the world without the need for barbaric physical media. Still, when it comes time for heavy lifting—say, swapping TV seasons with an office buddy or collaborating with obese HD video files, having a blazing, tiny USB drive can be a godsend. This little sucker just might be the logical conclusion of the flashdrive.

May 7, 2011

World's Biggest CMOS Sensor Could Help Doctors Detect and Treat Cancer

Move over, Canon, because scientists at the University of Lincoln have just seized the crown for world's biggest CMOS image sensor with their new Dynamic range Adjustable for Medical Imaging Technology microchip -- or 'DyNAMITe,' for short. Measuring a hefty 12.8 square cm (or about five square inches), DyNAMITe is roughly 200 times bigger than the chips you'd find in most PCs, making it the largest imager ever made on a wafer of standard, eight-inch diameter. This extra girth allows the active pixel sensor to capture images in high detail, with a 100-micrometer pitch boasting 1280 x 1280p aligned next to a 50-micron layer, carrying 2560 x 2560p. 
It can also run at up to 90fps and withstand high levels of radiation for several years, making it ideal for medical imaging, including radiotherapy and mammography. Researchers say these enhanced images could help doctors detect cancer in its earliest phases, while allowing them to monitor radiotherapy treatments more closely.