Highlights from Interbike 2014

Education

VTech's InnoTab 2 tablet for kids

We've seen several products which turn your touchscreen devices into children's toys, from the iTikes range to the SmartPet toy dog ... but what if you don't want to encourage your little one to play with your iPad? VTech is about to release the InnoTab 2, its latest tablet computer for kids, which features a five-inch touchscreen, camera, video and MP3 players … but is that enough to keep little fingers off your iPad?  Read More

A batch of PongSats aboard one of JP Aerospace's High Racks

With the increasing availability of things like GPS tracking systems, we’re hearing more and more about regular people using weather balloons to launch items into the sky’s upper reaches - examples have included a video camera, a miniature airplane, and even spacesuit-wearing teddy bears. While such efforts might get you interested in sending something of your own into almost-outer-space, the hassle involved in getting hold of all the necessary equipment could likely keep you from actually doing it. If you can fit your cargo into a ping pong ball, however, the folks at JP Aerospace will send it up for you.  Read More

TechShop is a company that provides a variety of tools and training to inventors, and othe...

We got to do some fun things at last month’s Go Further With Ford conference, such as test-driving the new Mustang and the purpose-built Police Interceptor. On the final night of the event, however, us conference-goers really got to enjoy ourselves – we got to make stuff, at the Detroit branch of TechShop. In business since 2006, the company now has five shops located across the U.S., all of which provide inventors and other people with access to advanced tools and know-how. We spoke to CEO Mark Hatch to learn more about what the group has to offer, and to whom.  Read More

The Hummingbird kit allows children to turn their art projects into moving, interactive ro...

Children generally love to create art and are fascinated by robots, so what if there was a way for them to turn their art projects into robots? Well, there is. Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company BirdBrain Technologies has introduced the Hummingbird kit, which contains everything kids (or adults) need to add powered movement and interactivity to their dragons, kitties or spaceships.  Read More

The Fretlight learning system uses LED lighting to show students finger placement on a gui...

I have to admit to a tinge of sadness as I report that both of the LED learning sleeve for guitar projects we featured back in April have so far failed to appear. Development of both projects is said to be continuing but Tabber withdrew its presence on Kickstarter after only two weeks to regroup and improve the product and the LED Sleeve didn't make its funding target. Fortunately, there is an existing system called Fretlight that uses lights embedded in the neck to show would-be players exactly when and where to place fingers on a fingerboard. The recent addition of the rather attractive FG-461 PRO electric guitar to the range offered the perfect opportunity to take a closer look.  Read More

LazyTruth is an app that searches your inbox for untruthful viral emails, and provides you...

Pretty much everyone has that one wide-eyed person in their lives who is constantly forwarding them emails about things like airplanes that disperse mind-control drugs, maniacs who hide under parked cars, and major corporations that are run by Satanists. While you may think about setting these people straight – and thereby helping to quell the online flood of malarkey – it can be a hassle finding the proper information to send them. That’s where the LazyTruth inbox widget comes in.  Read More

Engineering student Brady Morton uses the winch device to ascend a tower

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory wants to find a better way for airmen to scale tall structures or rock faces, so it did what just about anyone seeking new ideas does these days – it held a contest. Its 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge saw teams from 17 universities and three service academies showing off their wall-scaling systems, earlier this month at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. One of the teams, from Utah’s Brigham Young University, devised an impressive system that was inspired directly by Batman’s grappling hook-shooting, power winch-equipped gun.  Read More

Ergo Electronics has launched two new color e-Readers at this week's London Book Fair, tog...

Reading for pleasure among today's youngsters simply cannot compete with the temptations of readily available immersive gaming, online networking and HD movie entertainment. According to a report by the Every Child a Chance Trust, shortcomings in child literacy are said to cost the taxpayer an estimated £2.5 billion (nearly US$4 billion) per year in England alone. Ergo Electronics has responded to the electronic reading needs of children by launching two new color e-Reader solutions, an Android reading app and a parent/child reading campaign at the London Book Fair, which runs from April 16 to 18 at the capital's Earls Court.  Read More

Having previously predicted a March launch, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has finally announ...

Welcome news, finally, for the Raspberry Pi-watchers out there. Having previously predicted a March launch, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has finally announced that batches of the US$25 Linux computer are finally being delivered to customers.  Read More

Both Tabber (shown) and the LED Sleeve propose using lights to show guitar learners where ...

Guitar tablature is a powerful form of musical notation, where learners are shown where to place a finger on the neck of an instrument, and in what order. Such things as timing, note duration and playing force are not given, so unless a student knows or has access to a recorded version of the song being learned, the result may be somewhat different from what the composer intended. Usefully, such missing elements can be included in software like Guitar Pro to show users exactly how a song should be played. Two projects have now appeared on crowd-funding portal Kickstarter that take this idea and put it directly onto the guitar, so that learners won't need to keep switching views from screen to instrument. Tabber and the LED Sleeve guide players to the correct finger positions via LED lights on the neck.  Read More

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