Photokina 2014 highlights
Durham Uni Smartdesk envisages the classroom of the future

A century ago, most school children sat on the floor, with tables and chairs following and eventually giving way to rudimentary desks. A century from now, one wonders how far we’ll have progressed in creating an environment most conducive to nurturing the minds of our most precious resource. Researchers at the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Group (TEL) at Durham University in the United Kingdom are designing new learning environments using interactive multi-touch desks that look and act like a large version of an Apple iPhone.  Read More

'The Yorkshire Aestel' – one of the original knowledge Gizmos to go under the hammer

'The Yorkshire Aestel' belongs to a small group of only seven known aestels; the most celebrated of which is the Alfred Jewel. An aestel is a pointer designed for the reading of manuscripts and most were commissioned by Alfred the Great, famous warrior king of England and one of history’s great champions of learning, justice and civilisation. King Alfred commissioned and sent aestels to all the bishops of his kingdom to accompany a copy of a translation of Pope Gregory I's Regula Pastoralis. Curiously, despite being one of the first man-made objects specifically designed to assist with furthering knowledge, this rare object is only expected to fetch between UKP10,000-15,000 when it goes to auction – perhaps this is a reflection on our modern values, perhaps the opportunity for a treasured possession of true meaning. A gold pointer steeped in history and the very roots of hand-written monastic scholarly endeavour , and dating from the late 9th Century is surely worth much more.  Read More

Saab reinvents the convertible with the 9-X AIR CONCEPT

Just over a quarter century ago, Saab showed the first four-seater convertible to the world, creating a new class of luxury automobile. Now it’s set to do it all over again with the 9-X Air concept car and a visually-distinctive newly-designed Canopy Top designed to aerodynamically cocoon the passenger cell. The design incorporates prominent raked rear pillars that curve upwards to mount a flat folding roof – essentially a development of the Targo roof principle – with a separate rear screen located between them. Instead of having a manually detachable roof section, the Saab Canopy top is fully powered in operation and folds away in the storage trunk. With the top down motorists can enjoy open-top motoring free from buffeting, and with the top up the 9-X Air assumes the appearance of a true coupe. Saab has filed a patent on the convertible roof design and hence the 9-X Air provides a glimpse of what a future convertible from Saab could look like.  Read More

ExitReality: 2D sites rendered in 3D

The entire Web in 3D. That's the by-line of ExitReality, and the free Internet plug-in launched today does deliver. The software gives access to existing 3D content on the Web via tailored search engine, as well as taking two dimensional pages and turning them into a 3D experience for the user. This means it turns navigation of any page into a type of first person player game or visit to Second Life. We're not sure how big the ensuing online revolution promised at the launch will be, but it's definitely a bright approach, one that offers both web users and those who do business online an easily adopted entry point into the world of virtual online interaction - an area that we've only scratched the surface of.  Read More

Solar Stik portable solar generator

Portable solar panels are popping up at an increasing rate in campgrounds and caravan parks where they are an environmentally friendly and mercifully silent alternative to fuel burning generators. This example from Solar Stik offers rugged solution that can be used in conjunction with a wind generator and adapted for a variety of applications on land and water.  Read More

HTC S740 smartphone

HTC's latest edition to its "S" range of smartphones takes a conventional 12-key candybar phone design, slots in the company's speciality - a sliding QWERTY keyboard - and adds 3.8 inch wide-screen, 3.2 megapixel and mobile broadband download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps (if your carrier can handle it).  Read More

Super Talent’s new US$420 128GB Solid State Drive offers 150 MB/sec

Solid State Drives just keep getting better and prices get ever more competitive and Super Talent Technology’s latest additions to its MasterDrive family will excite more than a few of our readers. The new SSDs employ a sophisticated new multi-channel SATA-II (3.0 Gbits per sec) controller, with the MasterDrive OX using MLC NAND Flash to transfer data at speeds up to 150 MB/sec sequential read and 100 MB/sec sequential write while the MasterDrive PX uses SLC NAND Flash to deliver a breath-taking 170 MB/sec sequential read and 130 MB/sec sequential write speeds.  Read More

Motion Capture in MRI

We’ve seen a bit of innovative motion capture technology in recent times, furthering the notion that the technology can find some compelling application in the real world and is far more relevant than just computer games! MoCap technology is advancing rapidly and Measurand’s ShapeWrap III full body system, ShapeHand Data Glove, and ShapeAccelArray Geotechnical sensors have already found countless ways of enhancing understanding and interface design. Perhaps the company’s most innovative endeavour to date is its work with the medical community to aide in MRI research and analysis. The ShapeHand is a portable, lightweight motion capture system of flexible ribbons that captures hand and finger motion. The data captured by the ShapeHand system precisely simulates the hand movements of whoever is wearing it, and projects a computer generated 3D image of the hand (or hands) on a screen. By using plastic optical fiber laminated to an MRI compatible substrate on extended leads, the ShapeHand system can be fitted specifically for the MRI environment.  Read More

Sealegs amphibious boats

We've been following the development of New Zealand based Sealegs range of ingenious, driveable amphibious boats since back in 2004 and now, after rolling-out in 14 countries worldwide, the company is gearing up for its first US appearance at the at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October.  Read More

Image courtesy of Nicholas Moreau

It’s a global remedy to a common problem – when your team isn’t performing, sack the coach. It happens across all sporting genres, and … it doesn’t work. That’s the conclusion of a study from Mid Sweden University about hiring and firing coaches in the Swedish Elite Series ice-hockey league during the period 1975/76-2005/06. The findings are also generally the study confirms the situation is roughly the same in all major team sports, including soccer.  Read More

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