Wednesday, May 20, 2015

LG 1mm OLED Display

Pocket Lint reports: [edited]

The OLED TV was shown as a proof of concept at a press event in Korea. The 55-inch TV was a meagre 0.97mm thick and weighed just 1.9kg.

By mounting a thin magnet to the wall the TV can be attached like a fridge magnet. To remove it you simply peel it off the wall. It also appears to be flexible making damaging it difficult and curving it easy.

LG Display plans to keep pushing OLED and will introduce a 99-inch OLED screen this summer.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Iron fish helps relieve anaemia

BBC reports: [edited]

When Canadian science graduate Christopher Charles visited Cambodia six years ago he discovered that anaemia was a huge public health problem.

In the villages of Kandal province, instead of bright, bouncing children, Dr Charles found many were small and weak with slow mental development.
Women were suffering from tiredness and headaches, and were unable to work. Pregnant women faced serious health complications before and after childbirth, such as haemorrhaging.

Anaemia is the most common nutritional problem in the world, mainly affecting women of child-bearing age, teenagers and young children.
In developing countries, such as Cambodia, the condition is particularly widespread with almost 50% of women and children suffering from the condition, which is mainly caused by iron deficiency.

The standard solution - iron supplements or tablets to increase iron intake - isn't working. The tablets are neither affordable nor widely available, and because of the side-effects people don't like taking them.

Dr Charles had a novel idea. His invention, shaped like a fish, which is a symbol of luck in Cambodian culture, was designed to release iron at the right concentration to provide the nutrients that so many women and children in the country were lacking.

The recipe is simple, Dr Charles says. "Boil up water or soup with the iron fish for at least 10 minutes, then take the fish out. Add a little lemon juice which is important for the absorption of the iron."

If the iron fish is used every day in the correct way, Dr Charles says it should provide 75% of an adult's daily recommended intake of iron - and even more of a child's.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The QromaScan uses 12 LEDs to illuminate its interior. To start scanning you open the dedicated app on your phone and put the device onto the box with the camera facing downward. When the photo is in position below it, the camera on your smartphone is used to capture the image, using voice recognition to avoid camera shake.

Location and time can be added to the metadata of the resulting digital image using voice control. The same method can be used to tag people in an image, allowing for easy organisation of your pictures. Currently, this only works with iOS devices but an Android version is in the works as well.

The makers of the QromaScan have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance final development and mass production. Early birds can secure a QromaScan for $35 but a range of backing options are available. Shipping is expected for July 2015.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lily - Throw-and-Shoot Camera Drone

PetaPixel reports: [edited]

Lily lets anyone capture cinematic aerial photos and videos without needing to do any piloting.

Using the Lily involves putting a tracking device on the subject you’d like Lily to follow, throwing the Lily into the air, after which Lily flies and shoots using GPS and computer vision to follow the tracking device at up to 25mph.

The drone itself is waterproof and floats, allowing you to safely land it in water if needed. Size-wise, it easily fits in a backpack and weighs less than an average laptop.

Onboard is a camera that can shoot 12 megapixel stills, 1080p HD video at 60fps, and 720p/120fps slow motion footage. The internal battery allows for 20 minutes of flight per charge.

The Lily will start shipping in February 2016 for the price of $999, but the company is currently taking pre-orders through its website for $499.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Vaptur reports: [edited]

An easy-to-use phone camera App that allows you to captiure the perfect shot or special moment.

You start and stop recording based on what you see in the delay screen – not the live screen. Wait to see the end of the action in the delay screen before hitting stop.

Post your perfectly timed and edited video to your favourite social media site immediately after filming. No more having to edit something before you post or superfluous video footage taking up valuable phone memory.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Apple Watch helps blind people navigate

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: [edited]

Molly Watt - who is deaf and blind - says the Apple Watch has transformed her ability to navigate around town by giving her directions through a series of vibrations on the wrist.

"12 taps means turn right at the junction or three pairs of two taps means turn left," she wrote on her blog. "I'm still experimenting with this but so far very impressed".

The Apple Watch's new feature is called the "taptic engine", which produces what Apple calls "haptic feedback". Haptics, derived from the Greek haptikos, refers to any form of interaction or communication by touch. The watch's engine allows wearers to set vibrations for various alerts and at adjustable intensity - or to send messages by taps to other users.

Ms Watt says the integration of haptics with the watch's map function is "definitely awesome for me as a deafblind person". It allows her to be directed around London's complex web of streets and alleys without hearing or sight.

Her review after five days of using the device is not entirely glowing - the audio could be louder, she says, and the price point more accessible. But "the positives far outweigh the negatives" overall.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Tesla Powerwall Home Battery

Wired reports: [edited]
Elon Musk unveiled his 'Tesla Energy' scheme to electrify the world on Thursday night. Tesla, which is in the middle of building a vast 'Gigafactory' battery production plant in the Nevada desert, plans to offer versions of the batteries it puts in its Model S car to residential, commercial, and utility customers.

The 220-pound Powerwall will, as its name suggests, be mounted on a wall, and is made for home use. It’s just six inches deep, comes in different colors, has a 10-year warranty, and is available in two versions: a 10-kWh setup for $3,500, and a 7-kWh unit for $3,000. It’s Internet-connected and has an integrated DC inverter. It’s available for order now and will be installed by distributors. Tesla expects deliveries to start late this summer.

There are plenty of advantages for consumers, Musk says. If the grid goes down, you can still have power. You can fill up the battery at night, when rate are lower. The typical household uses somewhere around 30kWH a day, says Stu Lipoff, an electronics industries consultant and IEEE fellow. So the Powerwall wouldn’t really be enough to keep your home going off-grid for long (depending on how much solar energy you’re putting in), but it’s a lot better than nothing.

In the US, Musk says, customers often have to sell energy back at wholesale prices, then pay for more at retail cost, so “it actually makes huge economic sense.” It should be even better overseas, where sell back prices are well below how much energy costs. “It’s gonna be huge in Germany.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

3D Robotics Solo Drone

Wired reports: [edited]

The $1,000 Solo drone (or $1,400 with a GoPro-holding gimbal included) is full of clever tools to automate and simplify shooting. There’s even a one-click way to take an ultra-dramatic selfie video. But one of the most impressive features is that the drone will be sold as an open platform, allowing hackers to tinker with the hardware and software.

It has a simple controller, which looks like an old-school video game joystick, with a holder for your iPhone or iPad, which act as both the monitor for the drone and the remote control for the mounted GoPro camera. There are lots of helpful tools for newbie pilots, like a panic button on the controller that will stop the drone in its tracks wherever you are, and a flight simulator app so you can learn to fly a drone without risking crashing $1,000 into a wall.

The Solo’s best feature, though, is its camera automation. In addition to the standard 'follow me' mode, you can draw a line on your phone’s screen, and the Solo will fly back and forth along exactly that line while recording video. Pick an object and select 'Orbit', and the drone will fly a perfect circle, camera focused on your subject the whole time. And in selfie mode, the camera trains on you and flies away, epic-action-movie-style. You can control your GoPro settings in flight, too, which no other drone offers. The goal is for Solo to take great video without you doing much of anything, and then do even more as you get better.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Unibody Tiko 3D Printer

Core 77 reports: [edited]

When we think of FDM 3D printers, we think Cartesian; the print head always rides along rails in the X- and Y-axes, and the machines are cubic in form. But the developers behind the low-cost Tiko have literally been thinking outside of the box, adopting a triangular form factor and opting to use a delta-style mechanism to drive the print head.

This solves a lot of problems at once. The key issue with a Cartesian system is that you need highly accurate, precision-machined parts to achieve the tolerances necessary for dead-on printing. By going with a delta mechanism, which drives the print head via three arms and essentially triangulates the position, they eliminate the need for expensive parts.

For the delta mechanism to be accurate, it has to be connected to three precisely-spaced rails. The development team has got around this by opting for an extruded unibody design. Hundreds of feet worth of body can be extruded at once and sliced into individual units; the stiffness of the triangular shape ensures rigidity; and this completely eliminates the need to assemble and connect rails, with the tolerance woes that can bring.

The end result is that the Tiko is priced at just $179. Interested parties are numerous and have responded positively: The team was seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter, and, at the time of the blog being published, has racked up nearly $2 million in pledges.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Specialized S-Works McLaren Tarmac

Wired reports: [edited]

I’ve ridden plenty of bikes from Specialized. I know the feel of the standard Tarmac, its refined carbon road racer, which costs between two and ten grand. But this bike is something quite different.

The $20,000 McLaren Tarmac is the latest result of a years-long partnership between Specialized and McLaren, the world renowned maker of F1 race cars and supercars for the wealthy.

So what does McLaren, master of four wheels, bring to the bicycle game, apart from some sweet orange paint and a fancy name?

It’s data, says Sam Pickman, Specialized’s lead engineer. It’s the intent and the experience: what a bike is designed to do, how it handles, and the way it connects to the ground for a distinctive Tarmac feel. With McLaren’s help, the Tarmac’s ride quality was computer modelled and fed by stiffness, weight, and geometry.

That makes for a new kind of development process. With McLaren consulting, Specialized gained a new understanding of the complex 'bike-rider system', a specific number to codify what you experience in the saddle when going all out on race day or at a relaxed pace around town. That 'code' is the stiffness and damping of all the components in various directions that add up to the desired ride. It considers everything, from the rubber to what’s in between the wheels.

The good news is that the vehicle dynamics know-how from McLaren gave Specialized a template for their next generation of bikes, so the next (more reasonably priced) Tarmac you ride should have a lot more data behind it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera is a lightweight professional-grade action camera with a Micro Four Thirds lens mount.

The Black Magic Cinema Camera borrows bits of technology from many different manufacturers to make for an incredibly versatile unit. At its core is a Super 16 sensor, about a third smaller than a conventional Micro Four Thirds sensor, but larger than the sensors found in action cams like the GoPro. It can output Raw video with 13-stops of dynamic range.

The MCC offers both a rolling and a global shutter, the latter of which exposes the sensor all at once, eliminating the jello effect commonly found when using a rolling shutter for fast action shots.

The camera weighs 300 grams, three times the weight of GoPro Hero4 Black, however it is still light enough to affix to a DJI Phantom 2 drone.

Price: $995.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Samsung NX1

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Samsung's 'enthusiast' mirrorless camera.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"One can almost imagine a group of Samsung engineers sitting in a conference room and having the spec sheets of every leading APS-C and four thirds camera dropped in front of them, along with a directive to outperform the whole lot."

"And to a certain extent they seem to have pulled it off. Canon 7D II for autofocus and frame rate? Check. Panasonic GH4 for video? Check. Sony sensors for dynamic range and ISO sensitivity? Check. The result is a camera loaded with features for both still photography and video, and which excels at both."

The company seems to have listened to users when designing the camera. Not only is it a well designed tool from a usability standpoint, but Samsung managed to pack it full of technical improvements that are hard to ignore, such as best in class image quality and best in class video quality.

We could probably justify giving the NX1 an award simply based on technological advancements and raising the bar for both image quality and video performance in its class. But those achievements are wrapped inside a well designed camera with a great user experience. Congratulations to the Samsung NX1 for winning our Gold Award.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Microsoft Office Lens for iOS and Android

c|net reports: [edited]

Office Lens, a scanning app that's been a hit on Windows Phone, is coming to iOS and Android. The free App allows users to take pictures of receipts, business cards, whiteboards, sticky notes and export them to OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking app, as well as Word, Powerpoint, PDF, Mail & Photo Library.

Office Lens automatically crops, enhances and cleans up images. It also enables users to search for key words in the images via optical character recognition.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Combat snack cravings by walking

PsyBlog reports: [edited]

People often find it difficult to cut down on their daily treats but a recent study indicates that by taking a short walk, they are able to reduce their intake by half.

The study involved 47 overweight people with an average age of 28. All regularly ate chocolate or high calories snacks. In the three days before the study, the participants were asked not to snack on any of their usual comfort foods.

In the lab, half the participants spent 15 minutes on a treadmill, while the other half had sat quietly. They then were given a difficult psychological test. They were then given sugary snacks to unwrap, but only ‘handle’.

The results showed that those who’d been on the treadmill had much lower food cravings than those who sat quietly. Exercisers also showed lower physiological arousal to handling the sugary snacks.