Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Computers

A Mojang-owned Raspberry Pi

Minecraft developer Mojang has announced that a free edition of its open-world build-em-up is set for the Raspberry Pi.  Read More

Microchip Technologies has developed the world's first gesture recognition chip based on m...

The smallest gesture can hide a world of meaning. A particular flick of a baton and a beseeching gesture can transform the key moment of a concert from mundane to ethereal. Alas, computers are seriously handicapped in understanding human gestural language, both in software and hardware. In particular, finding a method for describing gestures presented to a computer as input data for further processing has proven a difficult problem. In response, Microchip Technologies has developed the world's first 3D gesture recognition chip that senses the gesture without contact, through its effect on electric fields.  Read More

The Titan supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has just introduced Titan, the world’s most powerful supercomputer. The size of a basketball court and using enough power to run a small town, the water-cooled circuits of Titan are capable of 20 petaflops or 20,000 trillion calculations per second. This makes Titan ten times more powerful than ORNL’s previous computer, Jaguar and 200,000 times more than the average PC. What’s more, it achieves this through components originally created for gaming computers.  Read More

The Model B Raspberry Pi has undergone a significant upgrade (Photo: Gijsbert Peijs)

Apparently in response to Raspberry Pi enthusiasts calling for a more capable addition to the lineup, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has today gone one better and doubled the RAM available in the existing Model B unit to 512 MB, without increasing the asking price of US$35.  Read More

The ErgoArc is a laptop stand that allows people to use their computers while in bed

If the growing number of specialized stands is anything to go by, it seems that a lot of people like using portable computers in bed. iPad users can choose between the Manatee and the tablift, for instance, while laptop users can go with the Lounge-Tek or the Omax. Now, there’s another option for reclining laptop users – the ErgoArc.  Read More

Intel's close-range tracking in operation

As computers become more sophisticated, they sometimes seem almost human – especially when they refuse to download a page when you’re in a hurry. At the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, Intel revealed that it is taking that a step further by giving their new line of Ultrabooks “human-like senses to perceive the user's intentions” thanks to a new generation of processors.  Read More

Close up of a red harvester ant (Photo: Sandstein)

Ask who invented the Internet and you’ll spark off an argument with everyone championed from DARPA to Nikola Tesla. However, two Stanford scientists claim that the inventor may have had six legs, antennae and a taste for disrupting picnics. Professor of biology Deborah Gordon and professor of computer science Balaji Prabhakar say that red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) use the same Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in foraging that the internet uses to manage data transmissions – making a sort of “Anternet.”  Read More

The iameco v3 touchscreen computer (Photo: MicroPro Computers)

We have seen wooden-framed computers before, although those have generally been off-the-shelf machines that have simply received a steampunk makeover. A team of engineers from Ireland’s MicroPro Computers and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have gone considerably farther, however. Their wood-bodied iameco (“I am eco”) v3 touchscreen computer reportedly has 70 percent less carbon footprint than a regular desktop PC with a monitor.  Read More

The GT3D system uses a pair of gaming cameras to provide 3D computer control

Bioengineers at Imperial College, London have developed a new computer controller for paraplegics that is not only more accurate and easier to use than current methods, but also uses inexpensive, off-the-shelf components. The GT3D device uses a pair of eyeglass frames with two fast video game console cameras costing less than UKP20 (US$30) each, which scan the wearer’s eyes from outside the field of vision and provide “3D” control at much lower costs and without invasive surgery.  Read More

France’s Minitel information service is shutting down for good after 30 years of service (...

After 30 years of service, France’s Minitel information service is shutting down for good. Launched in 1982 by the French state telephone company Poste, Téléphone et Télécommunications (PTT), which later became France Télécom, it was France’s answer to the World Wide Web before the Web was even created. However, despite remarkable initial success, it proved unable to compete with the modern internet and on June 30, 2012 it will be switched off.  Read More

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