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— Around The Home

Garbage-seeking waste basket moves to catch any trash thrown at it

We've all done it: you toss a piece of trash at a nearby waste basket only to have it ricochet off the edge, forcing you to make that shameful walk to go pick it up and drop it in carefully. You only have your own hand-eye coordination skills to blame, but if you think about it, shouldn't catching trash be the garbage can's job? That certainly seems to be the thought process that led one Japanese inventor to construct a smart trash can that tracks garbage tossed in its general direction and then moves across the floor to catch it. Read More

Leaked: Xbox 720 slated for 2013 release

Rumors about a possible next-gen Xbox have been swirling for quite awhile now, dropping minor details like Blu-Ray support and major details like software that prevents used games from playing. But those were tiny pebbles compared to the avalanche of possible features that were recently revealed when a 56-page document purportedly leaked from Microsoft showed up online. Read More
— Space

Tiny satellites will use Kinect to dock with one another

Little satellites grow up to be big satellites. At least, that’s what will happen if Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) gets its way. Working in conjunction with the University of Surrey, the UK-based company plans to launch a pair of nano-satellites into orbit equipped with Kinect motion-control sensors that will allow the minisats to seek each other out and dock to form a new, larger satellite. If this technology proves successful, it has the potential to change the way satellites are built, maintained and even disposed of by changing satellites from individual machines into intelligent building blocks. Read More
— Games

Microsoft announces subscription-based Xbox 360

Microsoft has announced the world's first game console with subscription-based pricing, making the Xbox 360 more accessible to those interested in gaming on a budget. The new package will cost US$99 up front, with a two-year contract of $15 a month, much like your average cell phone contract. This is an entirely untested price model for videogame consoles, and may prove to be a stroke of genius for Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 is closing in on its seventh anniversary. A new price model could breathe life into the system for years to come. Read More
— Computers

SoundWave uses Doppler Effect to bring Kinect-like gesture recognition to PCs

Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral senses motion inputs using a combination of a depth sensor, RGB camera and a multi-array microphone. Now Microsoft’s research division, Microsoft Research, has developed a gesture recognition system called SoundWave that relies on sound instead of video to bring gesture recognition capabilities to a standard laptop or desktop computer without the need for any additional hardware. Read More
— Games

MoleBot gaming interface blends the virtual and physical

In the days of yore, families would gather round the table of an evening and play board games like Monopoly and Risk. With such games moving into the virtual world and now available online, even those playing the same game under the same roof can be tucked away in their own corner of the house. An innovative game robot concept out of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) called MoleBot attempts to reverse the trend by providing a physical environment that allows users to physically interact with a virtual game world. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Matterport scans 3D objects and spaces "20 times faster" than competitors

It may be based on apparently familiar technology, but Y Combinator startup Matterport reckons it's putting its 3D scanning technology, which it claims can scan real environments into 3D digital representations 20 times faster than the competition, to innovative use. "We turn reality into 3D models and our scanner is 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than any other tool on the market," Matterport co-founder Michael Beebe claimed at the Y Combinator 2012 demo day at the end of March. And though that claim might be pushing it slightly - 3D scanners have been around for the better part of two decades - the technology demonstrated in Matterport's demo video is remarkable. Read More
— Good Thinking

Kinect grocery cart follows shoppers around the store

When Chaotic Moon Labs debuted the Kinect-powered Board of Awesomeness - and its mind-reading offspring, the Board of Imagination - that was apparently just a preview of a more practical product the company had in the works. Grocery store chain, Whole Foods, recently gave a demonstration of Chaotic Moon's latest device, which uses the same technology in a self-propelled shopping cart. The "Smarter Cart," as its been named, can detect what items are placed in it, match those to a shopping list, and even follow shoppers around the store on its own. Read More
— Computers

Hand-manipulated objects and transparent displays - the computer desktop of tomorrow?

A see-through screen, digital 3D objects manipulated by hand, perspective adjustments according to the user's viewing angle - these are the core features of a prototype computer desktop user interface created by Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The prototype uses a "unique" Samsung transparent OLED display through which the user can see their own hands to manipulate 3D objects which appear to be behind the screen. Read More