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— Computers

Zotac Zbox Blu-ray series first mini-PCs to boast an integrated Blu-ray drive

There’s no doubt the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray scared a lot of consumers away from upgrading from DVD to a higher definition format. Even though it’s been more than two years since Blu-ray took the honors and HD-DVD was relegated to the technological scrap heap sales of Blu-ray players haven’t really scaled the heights that manufacturers would have liked. But as prices continue to drop more and more Blu-ray devices are hitting the market. The latest is the world’s first mini-PCs with an integrated Blu-ray drive in the form of the Zotac Zbox Blu-ray series. Read More
— Science

Mind reading – scientists translate brain signals into words

Using the same technology that allowed them to accurately detect the brain signals controlling arm movements that we looked at last year, researchers at the University of Utah have gone one step further, translating brain signals into words. While the previous breakthrough was an important step towards giving amputees or people with severe paralysis a high level of control over a prosthetic limb or computer interface, this new development marks an early step toward letting severely paralyzed people speak with their thoughts. Read More
— Science

Researchers create nano-architectured aluminum alloy with strength of steel

Using a technique that creates a new nanoscale architecture, researchers have created an aluminum alloy just as strong as steel but with reasonable plasticity to stretch and not break under stress. Importantly, the technique of creating these nanostructures can be used on many different types of metals and the team plans to work on strengthening magnesium, a metal that is even lighter than aluminum that could be used to make strong, lightweight body armor for soldiers. Read More
— Sports

KTM eGnition brings electricity to freeride cycling

The Austrian KTM eGnition was definitely one of the more interesting bicycles at last week's Eurobike show in Germany. It has the frame and components of a freeride mountain bike, but with a 1,000-watt Clean Mobile electric motor that delivers extra power when the rider is pedaling. The fact that the electric assist is only available when pedaling was a key factor in the design of the eGnition, as KTM wanted it to be clearly different than an electric motorbike. The folks who run Eurobike obviously approved, as it received their Design Award for this year’s event. Read More
— Robotics

Willow Garage's PR2 robot now for sale

Earlier this year we reported how Californian robotics company Willow Garage was giving away a number of its PR2 robots to various institutions as part of its PR2 Beta program. Lucky PR2 recipients were asked to use the robot to pursue their research and development goals and share their progress with the open source robotics community so that the community as a whole can build on each other’s results. Now anyone can get in the act with Willow Garage officially announcing commercial availability of the robot. And if you’ve got a proven track record in the open source community you could be eligible for a hefty discount. Read More
— Bicycles

Conway E-Rider kicks out 2,000 watts

You may have just read our take on the KTM eGnition freeride bike that was on display at this year’s Eurobike, but it wasn’t the only electric mountain bike in attendance. German bike-maker Conway also used the event to premiere its burly-looking E-Rider. Its motor can generate up to 2,000 watts, which definitely separates it from the commuting ebikes, while its weight is somewhere under 20 kilograms (44 lbs.) – not bad for something with a motor and a battery. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Nikon introduces new COOLPIX cameras

Shortly after launching the new COOLPIX S1100pj with inbuilt projector, Nikon has announced three new COOLPIX cameras to its COOLPIX range. The P7000, S8100 and the S80 are filled with functions and specs you don’t often see on point-and-shoot cameras. All three cameras feature Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED C2 high performance digital image processing engine and Nikkor Ed glass lenses. Read More
— Music

New guitar pickup design offers natural 3D sound

The incredible guitar virtuosity from the likes of Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Stanley Jordan all rely on their string-picking proficiency being registered by the instrument's pickups. These vibrations are then transformed into electrical signals and sent off to an amplifier for our listening pleasure. Using such a setup, string movement can only be read on one axis, the horizontal. The 3Dxy pickup system reads each string twice, on both the horizontal and the vertical and is said to result in a rich, surround sound effect called natural stereo. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Panasonic promotes 3D Viera with ingenious AR iPhone app

While augmented reality still hasn't quite lived up to the initial hype (at least in terms of practical applications), it's still a great source of eye candy and geeky fun, especially in Japan. Panasonic is the latest company to jump on the AR bandwagon, as they recently released an iPhone app called '3D VIERA AR Greeting' that uses augmented reality to promote the new 3D VIERA TVs. Read More
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