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Good Thinking

System that recognizes emotions in people's voices could lead to less phone rage

Nobody likes having to deal with automated telephone services, that say wonderful things like, “You said ‘Beelzebub,’ is that correct?”. Such services may get slightly less annoying, however, thanks to research being carried out at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Granada. A team of scientists from those institutions have created a computer system that is able to recognize the emotional state of a person speaking to it, so that it can alter its behavior to make things less stressful.Read More

Mobile Technology

iPhone Lens Dial turns your smartphone into a turret-lensed throwback

Once upon a time, before zoom lenses were invented, movie and TV cameras had three lenses that the user could choose between, using a Lazy Susan-type arrangement to swivel them into place - you wanted to go wide, you'd swing in the wide-angle lens, if you needed a close-up, you'd swing in the telephoto. Well, in the spirit of everything old being new again, the iPhone Lens Dial now offers the same functionality for Apple's iconic smartphone.Read More

Good Thinking

Dutch Docklands to the rescue for Dubai's World project?

The troubled World Project in Dubai, which has been riddled with problems since the global financial crisis in 2009 including rumors that the islands are sinking, may have found salvation. Architectural firm Dutch Docklands has developed, designed and engineered a master plan for 89 floating islands, giving current World investors the opportunity to purchase a floating paradise. The solution would provide investors with an option that's more feasible and cost-effective than building on the existing land masses, whilst also incorporating several environmental benefits.Read More

Music

SLUG device allows for copying of any streamed audio

Perhaps you’ve experienced this frustration before. There’s a piece of audio on a website that you want to use in a project of your own, and it’s playing right there on your computer, yet you have no way of copying it – short of holding a microphone up to your speakers, that is. Well, Kenneth Gibbs and Seena Zandipour want to change that. They’ve invented a little gizmo called the SLUG, that can reportedly obtain lossless recordings of any streamed audio being played back by a computer or other electronic device. The music labels will no doubt be about as happy to see the emergence of this thing as they were when blank audio cassettes first hit the stores.Read More

Music Feature

Review: The Kitara digital guitar synthesizer

Way back in January 2010, a short demo video of a new digital instrument prototype was posted on YouTube by its creator Michael Zarimis, and went viral. From the millions of views, a list of prospective buyers was drawn up and the Misa Digital Guitar soon began its journey towards commercial availability. By the time the next CES show arrived, the instrument had ditched its gleaming white ABS plastic casing and gone over to the dark side, received a few design modifications, and been officially named Kitara for its public debut. The Kitara has now been made available for purchase, and I've spent the last few weeks getting to grips with this innovative new instrument - being rewarded for inventive experimentation and punished for bad playing technique.Read More

Automotive

Rearview mirror kit adds Bluetooth, GPS, multimedia playback and touchscreen gaming

We've already seen rearview mirrors from the likes of Ford, Toyota and Mazda that display the vision from rear-mounted cameras, along with a GPS-enabled rearview mirror that includes a 4-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth. Now Hong Kong-based gadget wholesalers Chinavasion has started selling a kit that replaces any standard rearview mirror with a GPS and Bluetooth 2.1 enabled unit featuring a 4.3-inch touchscreen for multimedia playback and even playing touchscreen games (seriously), while DVR capabilities let you record what goes on inside and outside the car.Read More

Marine

VESTAS Sailrocket 2 sets its sights on world speed sailing record

If the idea of floating along in a boat propelled only by the gentle push of an ocean breeze is your idea of relaxing then you might want to steer clear of the aptly named VESTAS Sailrocket 2. Designed and built from the ground up with a focus on speed, the boat and the VSR2 team have headed to Walvis Bay in Namibia with the aim of breaking the outright world speed sailing record for the short distance 500 meters (1,640 ft) of 55.65 knots (64 mph/103 km/h) set in October 2010 by American kite-surfer, Rob Douglas.Read More

Mobile Technology

The Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Geneve - the world's finest watches recognized

With two thirds of the world's population now carrying a mobile phone, the only functional aspect of the wristwatch is redundant. The appreciation of fine bespoke mechanical computers however, is stronger than ever - more than US$46 billion this year - three times the tablet computer marketplace. Last Saturday evening, the timepeice industry gathered for the Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Genève, where the industry awards the best timepeices in a dozen categories. The "Aiguille d'Or" was awarded to the US$87,000 De Bethune DB28. Another leaureate keeps time to one thousandth of a second and another keeps the true length of the day, both achieved mechanically. They cost more than a Ferrari, and are equally as complex. Showing this story to a loved one might cost you a lot of money.Read More

Bicycles

Fizik Kurve bike saddle goes for the flex appeal

Fizik is a company probably best known for making bicycle saddles designed for racers, where light weight is everything and comfort is pretty low on the scale. Brooks, on the other hand, is famous for its very comfortable leather saddles, which most racers wouldn’t allow anywhere near their sleek, streamlined steeds. It’s interesting, therefore, that Fizik’s latest saddle, the Kurve, uses the same principle employed by Brooks. It’s good news for sore-bummed racers.Read More

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