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Paul Ridden

Paul Ridden

While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.

Follow Paul:

— Robotics

VelociRoACH gets a job as an aircraft carrier

In nature, you're not likely to ever see a bird get a piggyback ride from a cockroach and then take off from its back. But in the world of bio-inspired robotics, such things can and do happen. Researchers from the UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have successfully demonstrated a cooperative launching system that puts a lightweight ornithopter on the back of its VelociRoACH robotic carpet crawler for a short run before the H2Bird takes to the air.

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— Music

Astell&Kern launches hi-res, high price AK380 audio player

Many of us enjoy listening to a good tune or two when out and about, and a goodly proportion of that mobile music will likely be sourced from a smartphone or tablet. For those who prefer high quality sounds though, dedicated players like Neil Young's Pono and those from iRiver's Astell&Kern are probably going to be on the menu. The latter has announced a new flagship portable audio player aimed squarely at audiophiles and sound professionals, which is capable of 32-bit/384 kHz bit-to-bit decoding without the need for conversion but comes at a rather high cost.

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— Music

Pole Position pickup rides the rail for tweakable tone

Mike Canavan is on a mission to bring guitarists the "greatest possible range and control over their tone" on a single instrument. The patented Pole Position Sliding Pickup System allows players to change the position of a guitar's pickup relative to the strings on the fly. This means a string-picker can opt for a bright bridge tone or a fat, warm neck tone, or anything inbetween – all with just a light touch from the picking hand.

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— Home Entertainment

High School students reinvent headphone cable for the 21st century

Music lovers can waste many hours and huge sums of money searching for a pair of headphones to match a certain style or preferred sonic signature, only to have to put them to one side and start again just to join the groovy wireless in-crowd. If those premium cans are the kind where the audio cable can be unplugged, however, then the Spiro X1 will allow them to be transformed into Bluetooth ear candy.

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— Home Entertainment

Sennheiser takes a closed in approach to audiophile quality

Though open high definition headphones like Sennheiser's wonderful HD 598s or the mighty HD 800s can offer greater spacing and a more natural airy feel than closed-back designs, they can't really be used in anything but the quietest of environments so listening on the move is simply not an option. The German audio brand says that it's new HD 630VB headphones offer hi-res music lovers a balanced, airy and audiophile-grade listening experience with the benefit of effective passive noise isolation.

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— Music

Silent Guitars given SRT power boost

Yamaha has revealed the third generation of its award-winning Silent Guitars series ahead of a July release in the US. Described as the perfect guitars for practice, travel or stage, the new "near silent" SLG200 series guitars feature something called Studio Response Technology that's been designed to recreate the body resonance, tone and ambiance of an acoustic guitar in an instrument that, well, doesn't have much of a body.

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— Wearables

Noble adds some wireless spice to existing earphones

Late last year, Voxoa launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring a cool device called BTunes to market. Rather than buy a new set of Bluetooth-enabled cans to enjoy some wireless freedom, users would just plug the unit into the audio port of favored headphones, power on and pair up. The BTS from Noble allows users to plug in their earphones of choice and put some sweet wireless distance between them and the source player. Read More
— Wearables

Nextear wireless earphones come with nifty multi-use charging case

Last year, a team of engineers led by Olle Lindén launched on Kickstarter to bring the world's smallest wireless earphones into production. The Earin campaign raised almost a million bucks from folks wanting to pop them in and strut down the street like Ryan Reynolds in Definitely Maybe. Though the slick ear bullets have yet to be shipped, they've already got some serious competition snapping at their heels. 21 year-old Australian Jonathan Zuvela has developed Nextear, equally teeny wireless in-ear headphones that come with a portable recharging case packing built-in storage and an LED flashlight. Read More
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