Photokina 2014 highlights

Paul Ridden

Otonaroid interacts with the public face-to-face (Photo: Miraikan)

Recent advances in robotics have included machines that can learn by having folks talk to them, or droids capable of reading human emotion. Most still look pretty much like motorized mannequins or variations on the Johnny 5 theme, though. Even advanced humanoid bots like Honda's ASIMO would stand out as distinctly non-human in a police line-up. Such things certainly can't be said of the lifelike (some might even say positively creepy) creations of Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. Two of his latest androids have now joined the staff of Tokyo's Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and will act as announcer and science guide for visitors to a new permanent exhibition.  Read More

The Voyce wearable health band for dogs from i4C Innovations (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

Though we'd all like to believe that we'd know when something's not quite right with our four-legged friends, a helping hand wouldn't go amiss. At CE Week in New York today Gizmag was introduced to the Voyce wearable health band and supporting service that help keep track of a dog's health and habits.  Read More

Jansen White with a pre-production Dubstein

When Toronto's Jansen White was sitting around a campfire chugging beers, he was struck by an appealing thought. What if the koozie his friend was using also had built-in speakers? And so the first product of his newly-formed company Dubgear was born. Two years and 20 prototypes later, the Dubstein is now being prepped for production.  Read More

The Toughpad FZ-E1 runs on Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld, while the FZ-X1 is home to Andro...

Panasonic has added two new additions to its range of rugged Toughpad tablets designed for workers on the move. Both ready-for-anything 5-inch slates can shrug off being dropped on concrete, dive under water, and even include a built-in heater to help keep things moving in sub-zero temperatures. They promise a long battery life, include a nifty rain-sensing feature that prevents accidental activation of the HD touch panel by falling rain, and and are available with voice and data connectivity. The only marked difference between the two is the operating system running the show, the FZ-E1 coming with Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld and the FZ-X1 home to Android 4.2.2.  Read More

The B9 Organ Machine from EHX

New York's EHX (electro-harmonix) has designed an effects pedal that allows guitarists to dial in classic tonewheel and combo organ sounds from the 1960s and 70s without having to worry about trudging through multiple MIDI parameters or having to route a signal through a special synth pickup to a computer before it gets to the amp. The B9 Organ Machine offers nine presets with either chorus, tremolo or vibrato effects, a percussive "key" click control and knobs to determine the mix of dry signal and organ preset at the output jack.  Read More

The Voxtok audiophile-grade Capsule player and home music server, the VXK app and VXK clou...

Headquartered in the US, with R&D in Montpelier, France, Voxtok is currently putting the final touches to what's described as a new generation of Hi-Fi equipment. The company's Hi-Fi system is made up of a VXK Capsule that acts as both audiophile-grade music player and home music server, a mobile device app for remote control and more, and a dedicated cloud service for music library backup and playback while out and about. Two generations of prototypes have been developed, and a pre-production run of alpha units secured. Now Voxtok is looking for crowdfunding success to get its end-to-end solution into the hands of music lovers.  Read More

Sharp's new Free-Form Display technology

Though we've seen recent moves to make the boring old rectangular LCD display panel a little more interesting by adding some curves, for the most part the screens of our consumer electronics retain a distinctly angular appearance. Sharp has now pulled back the curtain on something called the Free-Form Display, which can be produced in shapes that match the design application – such as a single instrument panel on a car's dashboard that includes the speedo and gauges.  Read More

Ideum's new Platform 55 prototype is believed to be one the largest Android-based systems ...

New Mexico's Ideum has managed to shave over an inch and a half off the thickness of its Platform 55 display in time for the infoComm 14 trade show being held in Las Vegas this week. The dual boot prototype is being shown off at the booth of development partner 3M Touch Systems.  Read More

Damson Audio's Headbones bone conduction headphones

Though headphones that use bone conduction technology to transmit sounds through the cheek bones to the inner ear are not exactly new, a trip to the personal audio section of your local electronics store will confirm that they haven't really jumped into the mainstream. Having taken Maxell's Vibrabone earphones and the Cynaps hat for test drives, we can see why the technology might not appeal to folks who love the full fat sonic experience which cans that throw sounds down your ear canal can deliver. The UK's Damson Audio is looking to change that with the development of the stylish Bluetooth-enabled Headbones, which the company says are going to shake up the headphone market.  Read More

Don Bacon's Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard

Like many would-be six-string slingers, Don Bacon of Denver, Colorado, found getting started tougher than it looked. The discomfort experienced when pushing soft finger ends onto hard metal strings can certainly be off-putting, but there's also the issue of chunky digits accidentally muting nearby strings, or causing them to buzz, when trying to form chord patterns or sound individual strings. Bacon designed a soft-touch overlay called the Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard – let's call it the FFK – to help make learning to play as painless and as easy as possible, with the added bonus of sounding good while you're doing it.  Read More

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