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Minoru 3D Webcam to launch at CES

3D vision systems have been threatening to make the transition from quirky novelty to mainstream consumer product for some time now, and though the jury is still out on whether that will actually happen, we can certainly expect a flurry of 3D products to hit the market during 2009 - starting with this one. Using two cameras incorporated into a single stand to produce a stereoscopic effect, the Minoru 3D webcam's image can be viewed in 3D using the familiar red and cyan 3D glasses.  Read More

Picasa for Mac

Good news if you're frustrated by iPhoto's limitations - Google Labs has just released a 'beta' version of its Picasa photo management system for the Apple OSX platform. Picasa will import a copy of the contents of the iPhoto library and offer an alternative management tool that includes the ability to manage and synchronise selected photos, with their comments and tags, with an online Picasa Web Albums photo gallery. The original iPhoto data is left alone, so you can try out the Picasa beta without fear of losing or modifying their original image files.  Read More

The Challis Heliplane concept

Conventional helicopters are incredibly useful vehicles in many short-range scenarios - but their asymmetrical aerodynamics enforce a fairly low terminal speed limit of around 150mph, making them less than ideal for longer-range missions. Tilt-rotor aircraft like the Falx and Osprey, and coaxial 'copters like the Sikorsky X2 are tackling the problem from different angles, but both result in complicated and expensive solutions - which is what makes the new Challis Heliplane concept quite remarkable. Still in early stages, the Challis uses a very simple design to balance the lift forces of a helicopter and bring top speeds of over 300mph into reach. And wait 'til you see this thing accelerate!  Read More

Pentax Optio P70 compact – 12 MPX plus 720p video

January Digital still image and video continue to converge with Pentax announcing the US$200 Optio P70 at CES. The ultra-slim P70 takes 12 megapixel still images and 720p video, sadly at just 15 FPS, but it’s a start. There’s a 4X optical zoom (equivalent to 27.5mm-110mm), a 2.7 inch high-resolution, wide-angle view LCD panel, and new Pixel Track Shake Reduction technology to assure sharp images with low noise even in poor lighting.  Read More

Fuji’s new eco-friendly, long-lasting, guilt-free  EnviroMAX batteries

Despite promises of portable alternative power sources, batteries still rule the roost and apart from being a costly form of energy, we all know that we’re contributing a little bit more to the planet’s indigestible waste with each one we purchase – until now! Fuji is announcing a new line of eco-friendly, high performance consumer batteries at CES. EnviroMAX batteries do not contain cadmium or mercury or any ingredients harmful to the environment, are packaged with recycled paper and fully recyclable PET plastic and can be disposed of through normal waste systems or in landfills as they degrade. Fuji is claiming equal or better performance/longevity to the major equivalent brands, and an affordable price. They’re due in stores in April. Stay tuned for more info when we get our hands on a set.  Read More

 The Magpul FMG9 Netbook-sized Folding Machine Gun

You can’t always judge a book by its cover and the Netbook-sized Magpul FMG9 is about as deceptive as they come. It looks like an industrial torch or a portable radio, and will fit in a girl’s handbag or the back pocket of a pair of jeans. One click later, the spring-assisted deployment mechanism snaps and you have a sub machine gun ready to fire. The innocuous FMG acronym stands for Folding Machine Gun and its small size and lightweight polymer casing belie its firepower - folded it holds 31 9x19 mm NATO rounds in a Glock magazine and although the prototype was only semi-automatic, a fully automatic version will almost certainly be available if production goes ahead. What’s the bet Q hands one of these to 007 in the next movie?  Read More

Audience response app for iPhone/iPod Touch

The Apple iPod/iPhone/iTunes App Store ecosystem is producing some remarkably useful tools for life, work, play, and now education. A free app for the iPhone or iPod Touch from ResponseWare transforms them into wireless, interactive audience response tools that could transform the way people learn and collaborate in many environments. The app allows alphanumeric entry for single response, multiple response, fill-in-the-blank and essay questions and the diversity of response types it offers enhances a presenter’s communication options. It displays the question and answer choices on the iPod/phone during polling and participants logged into an interactive session can review previous polls as well as instant message the leader/ with questions and feedback. Beyond education, we also see the platform getting a serious workout in any collaborative environment as a way of exploring and responding to the needs/views of an audience in any forum. This idea has legs!  Read More

Image copyright Steb Fisher photography

Australia’s Macquarie Speed Sailing Team is seeking ratification of a new World Sailing Speed Record set on December 19, thereby claiming the title of the world’s fastest sailing boat. Macquarie Innovation was timed over the 500m qualifying course at 48.57 knots and recorded speeds in excess of 51 knots during the 20 second run on December 19, 2008. It is expected that the final ratified speed will be reduced to 48.15 knots due to tidal influences experienced on the course – albeit still the fastest speed ever recorded by a sailing boat. What makes the attempt so significant is the boat’s remarkably efficient use of wind energy – the speeds were recorded in just 17 kt winds, and when the team gets the 20 knot winds it has been waiting for, the outright record of 50.57 kts set by French kite-boarder Alexandre Caizergues in Namibia on October 4, 2008 will almost certainly be bettered.  Read More

Honda's Hybrid Billboards

Primary among Honda’s brand values are its role as a leader in creating low emission, fuel efficient vehicles, and its most recent promotional efforts have taken Hybrid technology to new heights, quite literally. The massive billboards featuring the new Honda Accord Euro are illuminated by green solar power; with green energy electric backup. Just like a Hybrid. Outdoor advertising specialists, APN Outdoor have installed solar panels on several of the billboards being used in the Australian launch.  Read More

 Image courtesy of Allard Owner Club

Fear of the unknown often prevents us from fulfilling ambitions, and one aspiration common to many males is to lovingly restore an automobile. Coming up in Coventry in March is a rare opportunity to see how it’s done from go-to-whoa when a team of experts will restore a mid-1940s Allard L Type to its former glory on the Race Retro 2009 show floor in just three days. Sheet metal experts Contour Autocraft will demonstrate how to repair and recreate steel panels for the body, Jonspeed Racing will be rebuilding engines and restoration experts David A.C. Royle and Co will offer a unique insight into the craft of Ash Frame making. For those who appreciate craftsmanship, it’s an absolutely unique opportunity to time-lapse a process normally undertaken over years into a three-day tertiary course in rare craftsmanship, not to mention a weekend of auto nostalgia for the lads.  Read More

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