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— Digital Cameras

Lytro light field camera lets users adjust a photo's focus after it's been taken

For those of us who grew up with film cameras, even the most basic digital cameras can still seem a little bit magical. The ability to instantly see how your shots turned out, then delete the ones you don’t want and manipulate the ones you like, is something we would have killed for. Well, light field cameras could be to today’s digital cameras, what digital was to film. Among other things, they allow users to selectively shift focus between various objects in a picture, after it’s been taken. While the technology has so far been inaccessible to most of us, that is set to change, with the upcoming release of Lytro’s consumer light field camera. Read More
— Environment

Sound Charge t-shirt tops up mobile devices using sound

Visitors to the UK's best-known music festival are almost guaranteed three things - mud, loud music and a dead mobile device battery. Happily, Orange has increased the number of Chill 'n' Charge tents to help make sure lines of communication stay open and - in what is now becoming as much of a tradition as Glastonbury itself - the company has announced the development of a new green charging technology. Previous projects have included a Power Pump and last year's Orange Power Wellies, and the latest prototype charger is no less impressive. As the name may indicate, the Sound Charge t-shirt turns sound waves into electric charge, allowing the wearer to top up a device battery while thrashing around in the mosh pit. Read More
— Military

The Jackal: DTV's Shredder gets a military makeover

We first wrote about the DTV Shredder late last year - a wild, go-anywhere cross between a Segway and a powerboard, with twin tank tracks and a steering/control column to hang on to as you blast through the underbrush at frightening speed. Well, it seems like many fun extreme sports ideas, the Shredder may end up being co-opted by the military. And to that end, DTV has designed the Jackal - a hybrid-drive, weather and waterproof, militarised version of the Shredder that's fitted with twin grenade launchers and a full remote control system that allows it to operate as an unmanned ground vehicle. The Jackal can sneak silently across contested areas in fully electric drive modeand lay an explosive smackdown on hidden enemies with no risk to live soldiers. Read More
— Architecture

Six-hundred meter tall aerodynamic eco-tower being built in China

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has won an international competition to design the Wuhan Greenland Center. At 606 meters (1,988 ft) high, the building is expected to be China’s third tallest and the world’s fourth tallest when construction is due to be completed in 2016. The tower will feature a number of sustainable elements, the most visibly obvious of which is the tower’s streamlined form with softly rounded corners and a tapered body that culminates in a distinctive domed top. Read More
— Drones

Datron Scout - UAV reconnnaisance with the stability of four rotors

Younger owners of the Parrot AR.Drone will no doubt have discovered the advantages of such a device when gathering intelligence on siblings and parents. The Datron Scout Air Reconnaissance System shares a few similarities with the AR.Drone but, like the CyberQuad, is a quadricopter designed for slightly more critical missions. With a weatherproof design that allows it to capture and transmit high quality video in dusty and hot or cold conditions and winds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph), Datron says the scout is suited for a variety of military, law enforcement, fire and civilian applications. Read More
— Laptops

Solar-powered Samsung NC215S netbook to arrive in Russia and USA

The Russian branch of Samsung has officially announced the solar-powered Samsung NC215S netbook. Two hours of sunlight exposure of the unit's solar panel is said to give up to one hour of working time, with the total battery life estimated to be 14.5 hrs. There's a couple of Intel Atom CPUs to choose from, a hybrid sleep mode, and the 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 pixel display is designed for use in direct sunlight. The official announcement concerns an August release in Russia only, but the NC215S is rumored to appear in the US even sooner. Read More
— Science

Computer vision system recognizes 3D objects via heat diffusion

When we see a hand, regardless of whether it's open, in a fist, or pointing a finger, we still recognize it as a hand. If a computer has only been taught to recognize an open hand, however, it will probably have no idea what a fisted hand is. Getting computer vision systems to interpret images more like people do - to realize that a fist is a hand, for instance - has been one of the aims of artificial intelligence researchers for some time now. Things in that field may be about to take a step forward, however, as scientists from Indiana's Purdue University have just announced two new methods of three-dimensional object recognition, both based around heat diffusion. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Nokia N9 – the first MeeGo-based all-screen smartphone

Nokia has unveiled the N9, its first smartphone featuring the MeeGo mobile operating system. It has no buttons on the front, and features a curved polycarbonate body and a 3.9-inch AMOLED WVGA (854x480) display. The home button is replaced with a swipe gesture, taking the user back to the homescreen from anywhere in the menu. The N9 features a Cortex A8 1GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM, with a PowerVR SGX530 GPU responsible for graphics. It comes with either 64GB or 16GB of internal memory. Read More
— Aircraft

EADS VoltAir all-electric aircraft concept unveiled in Paris

One of the displays that has generated a lot of buzz at the Paris Airshow 2011 is EADS’ ZEHST concept – a zero-emission hypersonic airliner, that could be whisking passengers from Tokyo to London in under 2.5 hours, by the year 2050. Sitting alongside the ZEHST model, however, is another EADS concept aimed at the more immediate future. It’s called VoltAir, and it’s a proposed all-electric airliner that could be flying within 25 years. Read More
— Materials

'Simple, green, and cost-effective' method of graphene production announced

Graphene, the one-atom-thick carbon sheet material that could revolution everything from energy storage to computer chips, can now be made much more easily – at least, that’s what scientists from Northern Illinois University (NIU) are telling us. While previous production methods have included things like repeatedly splitting graphite crystals with tape, heating silicon carbide to high temperatures, and various other approaches, the latest process simply involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice. Read More
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