After a handful of days of furtive suggestion, spring made its presence felt in London today, where the second Technology Frontiers conference got underway. The Economist-organized event sees leading technologists and cultural figures take to the podium to beclue and/or befuddle some 250 ideas-thirsty businesspersons. Among them was Raspberry Pi
Foundation founder Eben Upton, who proved to be one of the day's most lucid speakers. He went into some detail as to the inception of the Raspberry Pi and the need for more computer programmers.
Readers of a certain age will remember, probably with fondness, the computer-in-a-keyboard form factor exemplified by the likes of the Atari 800XL or the mighty Commodore 64. We've seen several impressive attempts at revival in the recent past, including efforts from Barry S Altman's Commodore USA
. Now China's FocusWill Information Technology is getting in on the act with an Android-flavored, keyboard-based desktop computer called the CoolShip.
Back in 2009, the Kopin Corporation’s Golden-i headset
promised a hands-free, natural-speech-recognition interface for wireless remote control over a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, company networks and wireless systems, but it was also little more than a concept. Four years on, the company is marketing the wearable, hands free computer interfacing devices for heavy and light industries, professionals and first responders. The Golden-i headsets allow the user to send and receive audiovisual information from multiple platforms by means of both voice and motion control while leaving the hands free to get on with the job.
Many were skeptical when, back in 2007, Canadian company D-Wave announced that it had built the world's first commercially viable quantum computer
. Now a study published in the August issue of Nature's Scientific Reports
co-authored by D-Wave and Harvard researchers proves the D-Wave One is the real deal.
In common with many of today's digital content junkies, I get my daily entertainment fix from a computer screen and not a TV. Even if I could afford to buy into the jaw-dropping Ultra HD image quality I witnessed from the giant goggle boxes being showcased by Toshiba
at IFA 2012 in Berlin a few months back, they'd likely spend much of their time powered off. As such, the upcoming release of a 32-inch 4K2K computer monitor from Sharp would be of great interest, were it not being aimed specifically at the business community in Japan.
Minecraft developer Mojang has announced that a free edition of its open-world build-em-up is set for the Raspberry Pi.
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.
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.
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.
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.