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Paul Ridden

Music

Apogee JAM guitar interface plugs into GarageBand on iPad 2

Personally, the most interesting part of the announcement of the new iPad on March 2 was GarageBand for iPad. Sure, the cool-looking drum kit and dynamic piano are worth a passing mention but my weapon of choice is the guitar. But rather than tap onto the touchscreen's virtual instrument I would prefer to plug in my own. The new JAM input from Apogee will allow me to do just that.Read More

Environment

Power Flowers to domesticate wind turbines

Arguments still rage on, but it's generally accepted that we need to roll out more sustainable power solutions and break away from our reliance on fuels that are going to disappear one day. As advances in solar, wave and wind technologies gather pace, Dutch design house NL Architects has been looking at ways to bring wind turbines closer to where the power they produce is needed, instead of being located on remote hillsides. Inspired by a vertical-axis turbine called Eddy, the team thinks the answer may lie in tree-like creations named Power Flowers.Read More

Music

Sony launches high comfort headphones

Unless you're a music lover who lives alone, you'll likely own a set of headphones for some private sonic enjoyment. As such, you'll appreciate that wearing cans for extended periods isn't always the most comfortable of experiences. Sony is looking to address this with a new range of headphones and earbuds which give comfort just as much importance as sound quality.Read More

Laptops

Tobii demonstrates eye-controlled laptop at CeBIT

Eye-tracking and control technology manufacturer Tobii Technology has teamed up with Lenovo to produce a prototype notebook which the user can control with the blink of an eye. The integrated eye control technology allows the eyes to point at, select and scroll icons or objects on the screen, or can be used in conjunction with more familiar input methods to enhance the user experience or increase productivity. The company is currently demonstrating one of the 20 fully functional conceptual prototypes at CeBIT 2011, along with other eye-tracking examples from its portfolio. Read More

Urban Transport

Getting on the right track with the OU Choose Your Way concept

Like many other regions of the world, Brazil has a transport congestion problem. Once seen as a city issue, traffic jams have spread to smaller and smaller towns. The designers of the OU concept propose a possible solution where existing roadways have rails installed and drivers of specially kitted-out vehicles can join road trains to flow through otherwise congested areas at a constant pace. The electric OU vehicle's wheels would operate in either an open configuration – for normal driving – or closed, for rail travel.Read More

Mobile Technology

Faster, thinner, lighter iPad2 gets cameras and March 11 shipping date

Given his recent health-related leave of absence, it was refreshing to see that Steve Jobs took the stage at today's Apple event to announce the forthcoming arrival of the iPad 2. It's lighter and thinner than the original, but packs in more features and more processing power. New additions include rear and front-facing cameras, an iOS update, smart covers, and a built-in gyroscope. Sadly, the only advancement on the connectivity front was the addition of HDMI via an optional adapter, and the carbon-fiber housing rumor looks to have been just that, a rumor.Read More

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

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