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Ben Coxworth

GoPro has just released its newest actioncam, the HD HERO2

If you've been holding off on getting a GoPro HD HERO actioncam ... well, you were right to wait. Today, the California-based company announced the release of its HD HERO2 camera, which is claimed to be "2X as Powerful in Every Way." More specifically, it has an 11-megapixel image sensor (as opposed to the regular camera's 5 mp), along with a new processor that is said to be twice as fast, and a redesigned lens that GoPro claims is both twice as sharp and capable of a complete 170-degree field of view even in widescreen 1080p mode. There's also good news for consumers who think the existing HD HERO is all the camera they need.  Read More

A rendering of DARPA's proposed tender satellite, in the process of removing the antenna f...

Satellites are very expensive to put into orbit. This is because the parts that they're built from are costly to make, but also because it requires so much energy to lift their considerable weight off the Earth's surface. It would then follow that satellites would cost less if they could use salvaged parts, and if they were lighter when lifting off from the launch pad. That's where DARPA's proposed Phoenix program comes into play. It would see a purpose-built spacecraft removing usable parts from the plethora of "dead" satellites currently in orbit, then leaving those parts for attachment to newly-arriving satellites.  Read More

TapSense is an experimental touchscreen system, that is able to tell the difference betwee...

Small touchscreen devices such smartphones certainly have their attractions, but they also have one drawback – there isn’t much room on their little screens for touch-sensitive features. This means that users will sometimes instead have to go into sub-menus, or make do with jabbing their fingers at tiny controls. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, however, are working on an alternative. Their prototype TapSense system can differentiate between screen taps from different parts of the finger, and will perform different tasks accordingly.  Read More

Lazer Stunt Chasers are remote-control cars that chase a user-aimed spot of laser light ac...

If you have both a laser pointer and either a cat or a dog in your home, you probably know how much fun it can be to watch your critter chasing after the laser light point on the floor. If you don’t have any pets, however, now there’s something else that will chase a laser for you – a toy car. Thinkway Toys’ Lazer Stunt Chaser is a remote-control vehicle that goes wherever its user shines its laser light controller. Oh yeah, and its wheels light up, too.  Read More

Indian scientists are working on an alarm clock that would monitor the user's brain activi...

Have you ever noticed how your alarm clock sometimes wakes you up in a much more jarring fashion than usual? That’s because on those occasions, you happen to be in one of the deeper states of sleep when it goes off. Not only is it more difficult to wake from these states, but people who do so also end up feeling less rejuvenated by their time in the sack. Scientists in India, however, think they may be on their way to designing an alarm clock that only wakes you up when the time is right.  Read More

FoamBot built this quadruped robot out of electromechanical modules and self-hardening foa...

Appealing though general-purpose humanoid robots like C-3PO may be to many of us, real-life robots are usually most effective when they're designed for one specific purpose. In some situations, however, that purpose might not be known until the robot is in the field - at a disaster site, for instance, an autonomous robot might discover that it needs to squirm through debris, even though it wasn't designed to do so. One attempted solution to this problem has involved creating modular robots, that can take themselves apart and then reconfigure themselves as needed. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania's Modular Robotics Laboratory, however, are taking a slightly different approach. They've created a robot that can build other purpose-specific robots, using electromechanical modules and self-hardening foam.  Read More

Scientists at the UK's National Physical Laboratory have developed technology that can ide...

Now that we’re moving towards automated orange-sorting and autonomous tractors, what might be the next step in replacing human agricultural workers with machines? Well, how about robotic strawberry pickers? That’s what scientists from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) say could be on the way, thanks to a system that is able to identify ripe strawberries in the field.  Read More

The prototype SidebySide system allows animated images from two separate pico projectors t...

When you were a kid, perhaps you and your friends played with flashlights, chasing each other’s light spots across the wall – if you were born within the past 20 years, just substitute the term “laser pointers” for “flashlights.” In either case ... wouldn’t it have been neat if those spots of light came to life when they met, and fought with each other? That’s the type of thing that’s now possible with the prototype SidebySide system, developed by Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. It enables animated images from two separate handheld projectors to interact with each other on the any surface.  Read More

Researchers have demonstrated how a smartphone could be used to determine what words are b...

If you're looking for a reason to buy an iPhone 3GS as opposed to an iPhone 4, besides the lower price, here's one: it's technically possible that malware on an iPhone 4 – if that phone were placed beside its user's computer keyboard – could be used to deduce what the user was typing. Once that data was stored on the phone, it could then be transmitted to another party. According to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who were able to use one of the phones for this purpose, any smartphone made within the past two years should be capable of doing so.  Read More

Lytro's consumer light field camera, which allows users to adjust a photograph's focus aft...

So, you’re looking at that one photo you took, and wishing that the flower in the foreground was in focus instead of the person behind it? Well it’s no big deal, just go in and shift the focus. Oh yeah, that’s right, you can’t ... but you will be able to soon. California-based Lytro, Inc. announced today that its consumer light field camera is now available for preorder, and should be shipping early next year. It is the first camera of its kind made for the general public.  Read More

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