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Amazon Dash is a small wand that makes ordering new groceries a piece of cake

E-books had been around for a while before Amazon launched the Kindle. But the portable reader proved to be just the spark that digital reading needed to take off. Can Jeff Bezos wave his magic wand again with online grocery shopping? If so, then it might be because customers waved a magic wand of their own.  Read More

A Lumitrack sensor-equipped controller is used to control an on-screen airplane

Motion-tracking systems like Wii and Kinect have certainly changed the way we play video games – among other things – but some people still complain that there's too much of a lag between real-world player movements and the corresponding in-game movements of the characters. The creators of the experimental Lumitrack system, however, claim that it has much less lag time than existing systems ... plus it's highly accurate and should be cheap to commercialize.  Read More

Scientists have developed 'DNA barcodes' that could be used to authenticate high-end consu...

Earlier this year, we heard about a gun and a fogging system, both of which tag criminals with synthesized DNA. The idea is that when those people are apprehended later, they can be linked to the crime by analyzing the location- or event-specific DNA still on their skin or clothing. Now, scientists at the Technology Transfer Unit of Portugal's University of Aveiro are developing something similar – DNA "barcodes" that can be applied to products, then subsequently read as a means of identification.  Read More

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system called acoustic barcod...

For many of us, pointing a device at an object and retrieving data about it has become part of our daily lives. The vast majority of our purchases will sport the ubiquitous barcode; an increasing number of printed magazine adverts, online articles and even television shows are using QR codes for access to more information; and most recently, near field communication technology is opening up new ways to interact with the world around us. A team of researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Heinz College Center for the Future of Work Carnegie Mellon University has been looking into an alternative object tagging system called acoustic barcodes. The system takes the sound of a finger, pen or phone scraping across a series of parallel notches etched, embossed or cut into a surface or object, and converts it into a unique binary ID.  Read More

The image is animated with a moving background using the LZRTAG Android app (Photo: LZRTAG...

Several years ago, every inch of the New York City Subway system – along with other public transportation systems around the world, was covered in graffiti. Now there's fewer tags, but more ways to express yourself. The virtual world is one new venue for graffiti and the art of tagging. Augmented reality app LZRTAG is hoping to advance those tags to images and even animations, but you need a smartphone to make that happen.  Read More

The Geode comes with a removable card for debit and credit card purchases, in addition to ...

iCache Inc has announced the release of the Geode, a secure digital wallet for the iPhone 4 and 4S, which the company states to be the first of its kind, worldwide. Available in several colors and simultaneously acting as a protective case for your iPhone, the Geode is a device which promises to store all your credit, debit and loyalty cards in one secure platform - turning an average trip to the grocery store into something which resembles a scene from a James Bond movie.  Read More

Toshiba Tec's new supermarket scanner is able to identify grocery items based on nothing b...

At some point, we’ve probably all had a supermarket cashier ask us to identify the mysterious fresh produce that we’re attempting to buy. Once we’ve told them what it is, they have then had to manually type in its code – they have to enter it themselves, of course, given that fruits and vegetables don’t have barcodes. Thanks to Toshiba Tec, however, those days may be coming to an end. The company’s new Object Recognition Scanner is able to instantly identify grocery items of all types based on their appearance alone.  Read More

Condoms with QR codes track when and where people practice safe sex (Photo: Shutterstock)

Over the past few years, it seems almost impossible to even take a trip to the grocery store without bumping into dozens of QR codes - those square graphics that can be scanned with a smartphone camera to bring up all sorts of information. Now it appears a Seattle-based organization has found another place to put them: in your pants. In hopes of promoting safe sex, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest distributed 55,000 condoms with QR codes that track when and where people make the beast with two backs through their website, WhereDidYouWearIt.com.  Read More

A new augmented reality system allows engineers to provide visual instructions to remote t...

It can be very frustrating trying to fix something, when the person instructing you isn’t there in person, but is instead communicating with you over a phone line – “Whaddaya mean, ‘The silver cap’? Which silver cap?!” This is why engineers sometimes need to be flown in to factories or other places that use complex machines, to make repairs that simply can’t be explained verbally. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics, however, have developed an augmented reality system that lets those engineers provide real-time visual instructions to distant on-site technicians ... and it can be done without internet access.  Read More

Spanish scientists have attached silicon barcode labels to embryos and oocytes

Fans of the film Blade Runner may remember a scene in which the maker of an artificial snake is identified by a microscopic serial number on one of its scales. Well, in a rare case of present-day technology actually surpassing that predicted in a movie, we’ve now gone one better – bar codes on embryos. Scientists from Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon.  Read More

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