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Vincent Rice

Canon's new EOS C300 digital cinema camera and prime lens

The fact that Canon chose to release its new camera on the Paramount lot in Hollywood should be a big clue as to how it is positioning it's new baby. Scorsese was there! Ron Howard was there! Though it records to the same video codec as previous Canon cameras (50Mbps 4:2:2 Canon XF) 'video camera' would be a misnomer. Digital cinema camera would be more appropriate with the S35-sized 4K sensor designed to appeal to budget film makers and episodic TV producers. Canon sees an opportunity to sell the equivalent of an Arri Alexa for a third of the price and compete with Sony's CineAlta F3 large sensor offering. Of course Canon has a bit of a psychological advantage in this regard.  Read More

'1001 Nights' private dwelling by architects A-Cero

Madrid-based A-Cero architects are a big deal in Spain with public and residential projects across the country plus South America and the Middle East. Lead architect and principal Joaquin Torres is bit of a celebrity and recently appeared on Spanish TV's equivalent of "The Secret Millionaire" (giving away money of course, not receiving it). Unashamedly modernist, the A-Cero house style generally involves sweeping curved gestures in gleaming white. With the latest residential project however, Joaquin seems to have embraced the dark side and produced a dwelling of such stunning brutality and "otherness" that it could easily be an alien fortress on a distant planet. We love it. It's also one of the few buildings that actually looks good illuminated by multi-colored LEDs.  Read More

Two Woo Audio WA-234 MONO mono-block headphone/speaker amplifiers

Actually it's two US$5,000 amps because these rather spectacular looking beasts are mono-blocks. They are two completely separate, but matched, mono amplifiers. Now it's no secret that the world of audiophile hi-fi sound systems can be a place of strange voodoo and esoterica - where the Law of Diminishing Returns becomes a way of life for deluded males of a certain age (never women it seems) but let's check our cynicism at the door for the moment. There is something interesting going on here and it may just turn out that at $10,000 for the pair, these amps are a (relative) bargain.  Read More

Two iterations of the Vanderbilt intelligent prosthetic leg

It was not a good day for 16 year old Craig Hutto. On June 27, 2005, wading in crystal clear waters off a near-deserted beach 50 miles south of Panama City, Craig was attacked by an 8-foot bull shark and lost his right leg from above the knee. Today Hutto is a 6-foot 4-inch 23 year old studying Nursing at Middle Tennessee State. Fortunately for him, Nashville is also the home of Vanderbilt University where its Center for Intelligent Mechatronics has for seven years been developing an advanced prosthetic limb. They also happened to need a Lab Assistant to help them test it.  Read More

Adobe's de-blur plug-in in action

Last week we posted an audience video of the a 'sneak peek' presentation from the Adobe Max developer conference that showed a remarkable de-blurring Photoshop plug-in in development. Adobe has now posted their official high quality video of the presentation segment, and the effect is easy to see. Adobe's presentation staging is pretty awesome too. Video after the break.  Read More

The Urwerk UR-110 ZrN 'Champagne Supernova'

The appeal of a luxury timepiece has little to do with being able to tell the time. They are signifiers of status, wealth and taste (or the lack of it) and the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros that they cost can be justified to some extent by the use of precious metals and gemstones, or the history of hundreds of years of artisanal craftsmanship that some brands possess. Then there is a whole other level of horology that transcends even these considerations. Where "value" is judged in a similar way to modern art. Where timepieces are created in strictly limited numbers around a unique conceptual design using cutting-edge materials and extraordinary mechanical skill. Urwerk is a Swiss watchmaker that has prospered at these lofty heights for ten years and its latest creation admirably demonstrates the attributes required of these astonishingly expensive mechanical masterpieces.  Read More

A sneak peek of the amazing Adobe de-blur tool

Adobe showed what it calls a "sneak peek" of some technology at last week's MAX conference, that may or may not make its way into a future version of Photoshop (we're pretty sure it will). It's a method for de-blurring photographs by analyzing them and constructing the motion path that the camera lens followed to create the original blur. Using some highly advanced magic, the resulting blur can then be removed to an impressive degree – blurred text, for instance, becomes readable. The algorithm seems to work on low resolution phone pics just as well. Now, when they say "enhance that section right there" in just about every modern police procedural TV show, it might actually mean something. Video after the break.  Read More

The Bilster Berg circuit

A few days ago deep in the historic Teuteborg Forest of central Germany, the first stone was laid in the construction of an intriguing project. For twenty years until 1993 The 80 hectare (200 acre) site was a massive NATO ammunition depot, supplying the British Army of the Rhine during the Cold War. After eighteen years of disuse and six years of planning the extensive sturdy warehousing and road network is to be converted into the Bilster Berg luxury "drive resort" and automobile testing facility. Considering who's involved, the new racetrack should be a pretty spectacular experience.  Read More

Huttlin kugel motor prototype under testing

The car is not going to disappear anytime soon and neither is the combustion engine, despite the inevitable rise in fuel prices. We have said it before, electrical motors are an energy-efficient method for driving vehicles but battery technology is simply not going to advance quickly enough for all-electric vehicles to be a practical reality for most uses anytime soon. The near and mid-term future is undoubtedly a combination of compact combustion engine generators charging dense battery packs that drive electric motors - the "range extender" option. We reported on one possible candidate, the disc motor, a couple of months ago. Now, after nearly twenty years of development another candidate is going through final testing and it is a work of elegant genius - Dr. Herbert Hüttlin's Kugelmotor.  Read More

Arch Group's first Sleepbox unit at Sherematyevo Airport Moscow

There are lot of "pod" hotel concepts around. It's one of those things that every young design/architectural practice likes to have a go at for its portfolio. The use-cases for these things are obvious, airports, train stations, exhibition halls, shopping malls, even temporary hostels or emergency shelter. Economic conditions notwithstanding it's a simple fact that we are traveling more and that the time spent waiting around in terminals is getting longer and more unpleasant. The promise of privacy and proper sleep is compelling. One architectural practice that has honed its pod concept into a refined, practical and importantly a patentable reality over a the years is Arch Group of Moscow. The high level of interest shown in the company's first working installation means that it looks like this tenacity will pay off.  Read More

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