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Budding computer hackers/scientists are about to get a welcome gift, albeit a bit late for Christmas 2011. The non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) is nearing the release date of its surprisingly powerful and remarkably affordable Raspberry Pi line of bare-bones machines that have been developed in an effort to broaden kids' access to computers in the UK and abroad. How affordable? The figure above was no typo. Read on to learn just what US$25 will get you when these nifty, fully-assembled, credit-card sized computers go on sale next month (sorry, case, monitor, keyboard and mouse not included ... we did say bare bones). Read More
Launched in 2009, MIT's "1K House" project challenges designers to come up with affordable, sustainable housing solutions that can improve conditions for the billions of people in the world living on less that $1 per day. The "Pinwheel House" designed by MIT graduate student Ying chee Chui is the first prototype. Read More
It wasn't that long ago that putting aside enough cash for a laptop would entail an extended period of penny pinching for most people. As is the nature of technological change, as the years have gone by the computing power of the average laptop has increased while their size and cost has decreased. Data released by Intel at its 2011 Investor Meeting shows just how much more affordable the average laptop is these days for people in various parts of the world. Read More
Korg has been a big player in the democratization of music production in recent years, with the mini Kaoss Pad effects device, the Kaossilator phrase synthesizer and the incredibly affordable nanoSeries USB MIDI controllers finding their way into the kit bags of countless budding rockstars (and many actual rockstars). Its latest noise maker is the monotron, a dead simple analog synthesizer featuring a ribbon controller (essentially a touch panel instead of keys, which is incredibly "playable" even for amateurs) and the same filter used in the classic MS-10 and MS-20 analog synthesizers which are still some of the most sought-after vintage synths on the planet. Read More
Most times when budding rockstars pick up a guitar and start to play for the first time, it sounds like they’re stepping on a cat – well, to everyone else in the room, anyway. If you are the parent of one of these musicians you might want to introduce them to Paper Jamz, an affordable and innovative play instrument that provides an instant rock star experience and open-ended play, say its makers, WowWee Toys. The one-inch thick stringless guitars (slightly thicker drums) are touch-sensitive, which means you only have to the strum or tap the special circuit-embedded paper on the surface to get a professional sound. Rock on! Read More
TomTom's EASE is the latest addition to its satellite navigation family and brings all the functionality, ease of use and practicality of its siblings at a fraction of the cost. Launched at CES in Las Vegas this week, the EASE blends a simple two icon interface menu, an integrated fold-away mount and the company's proprietary Map Share and IQ Routes - all for around a hundred US dollars. Read More
Interead's COOL-ER e-book reader was designed to be simple, affordable and stylish. Looking very Apple-esque in appearance, the e-reader also weighs less than an average paperback, comes in eight colors, supports all of the major formats and offers eight menu languages. The company says it was an e-reader "designed by readers, for readers". And from next year, COOL-ER readers will also benefit from Wifi and 3G functionality. Read More
Being able to hold a conversation on a wrist-bound communicator has been a staple of popular fiction for many a year, but real world offerings have so far been a bit of a hit and miss affair. Things recently improved with devices from LG and Samsung but they're somewhat expensive solutions. Now Kempler & Strauss has launched the quad-band W Phonewatch which threatens to shake things up a bit. Offering similar functionality to its competitors at a fraction of the cost, the W also comes with its own Bluetooth headset that doubles as a stylus and MP3 control. Read More
A team of engineers and artists at the University of Washington's Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory has revived an ancient Egyptian glass casting method and developed "Vitraglyphic," a technique to manufacture glass objects from fine glass powder using computer-aided design and a 3-D printer, paving the way for a significantly faster and cheaper method for artists, architects and designers to build high-precision prototypes. Read More
Electric vehicles of small proportions are beginning to emerge as the theme of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the presentation of a comprehensive range of electric vehicles by Renault, dubbed the Z.E. range, was the clincher. Perhaps more important, was Renault’s commitment to begin selling its new Z.E. range at affordable prices in 2010. Read More
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