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Paul Ridden

Children

Cubelets help make robotics a snap

Do you remember those colored building blocks you would use to learn words and numbers, or just construct mighty castles to keep your enemies outside? Well, they've now received a 21st Century update in the form of the Cubelets system. Currently made up of 20 colored blocks that snap together with the help of magnets, each one has a little computer inside which gives it different functionality to the others. One might be a sensor, another have wheels and another sport a potentiometer. The fun starts when you put them together. The behavior of the resulting robot depends on how the blocks talk to each other. Sweet. Read More

Games

ROCCAT introduces Isku illuminated gaming keyboard at CeBIT

CeBIT 2011 is near enough home turf for Hamburg's gaming specialist ROCCAT, so it's no surprise that the company has a new product to show off. As the name suggests, the Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard features 123 medium height, back-illuminated keys for ease of use in low lighting (or in the dark) gaming. The keyboard also offers new gaming possibilities with some wizardry that allows it to communicate with a mouse and technology that can double up certain keys for even more functionality.Read More
Good Thinking

Yill is one wheely useful mobile office energy storage unit

Although HP and others are breaking new ground in notebook battery life, there are times when you might find yourself away from the grid for a bit longer than your laptop battery can last. A mobile energy storage unit like Yill, from Germany's Younicos, is said to be capable of autonomously meeting the power needs of a computer workstation for between two and three days on a single charge of its own quick-charge batteries. Deployment of the drum-like power houses throughout an office could even help save energy bills.Read More

Automotive

Making waves with the Manta amphibious three-wheeler concept

Although I live by a river, I don't own a boat so am not faced with having to drag a trailer down to the water's edge and unload my dinghy every time I want to cross the great expanse. I might just be persuaded to spend more time on the water, though, if there was something like the Manta waiting outside my front door. The sporty-looking three-wheeler concept is designed to be run on twin electric motors, with the rear wheels taking care of propulsion on water as well as on the road. The design is amongst the entries chosen by this year's Michelin Challenge Design judges for display at the recent North American International Auto Show.Read More

Computers

Fujitsu shows off wireless PC display at CeBIT

Many of us can now wirelessly stream images from a computer to a screen over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi without too much trouble, but the display is still inevitably powered by cables. At CeBIT 2011, Fujitsu is showing off a working prototype of a 22-inch computer display that receives both images and power wirelessly. The power transfer is made possible by magnetic induction technology – similar to Powermat chargers – that's concentrated into hotspots built into office furniture or conference tables.Read More

Environment

UBC green energy project gets government cash injection

A first-of-its-kind biomass-fueled, heat and power generation system has been developed by a partnership between Nexterra Systems and General Electric, and is heading to the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) next year. The Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project will meet around six percent of the total annual demand for electricity and up to 25 percent of the university's campus requirements for steam. UBC has just announced that the project has secured a substantial federal and provincial cash injection. Read More

Home Entertainment

Prodigy jack-of-all-trades media streamer announced

As digital media streamers go, the Prodigy from Xtreamer appears to be something of a jack-of-all-trades. The budget-friendly box can store its own content in a wide variety of formats, connect to external drives or wirelessly hook up with a computer. It has a dedicated internet browser specially tweaked for TV, can play Flash media and will work with Apple's AirPlay technology. There's USB 3.0 and HDMI wired connectivity, and audiophiles will appreciate the lossless audio options, while movie buffs get treated to full 1080p high definition playback ... but it's the new Flash GUI that's said to be the real vote winner.Read More

Mobile Technology

MiTAC heads to CeBIT with new Android tablets

The flood of tablet computer releases seen at CES 2011 looks set to continue at this year's CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany with Taiwan's MiTAC first off the starting line with four new tablets heading for the show. Hoping to capitalize on the success of last year's award-winning Valinor media tablet, the company has announced a couple of media tablets, a rugged model and one featuring two GPS receivers.Read More

Mobile Technology

The Magic W3: the mini-PC with phone capabilities that's not a smartphone

Recently, devices like LG's Tegra 2-powered Optimus 2X have blurred the lines between smartphone and mini-computer but they're still geared towards the former. The Magic W3's primary function is as a handheld computer that also happens to have telephone functionality. What's the difference? The Atom-powered W3 runs on a full version of Windows 7 Home Premium for multi-tasking productivity and includes 32GB of onboard solid state storage.Read More

Electronics

NEC unveils contactless fingerprint scanner

Biometric authentication technologies have been around for a while now and, if truth be told, vary considerably from the useless Flash drive at the bottom of my drawer that has only ever recognized my fingerprint once, to something a bit more dependable. NEC has now developed an identification system that is able to register the ridges of a fingerprint and the finger vein characteristics without any sort of physical contact.Read More

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