From Pong, to 2D platforms and onto online first person shooters, our desire for an increasingly realistic gaming experience was always going to see platforms emerge where we combat our friends
, foes and flesh-eating zombies
using our real-world bodies. Skirmos, the latest take on the laser tag system, uses gun-mounted LCD display, radio-based dynamic scoring and open-source programming in an attempt bring the complex and varied experience of the modern multi-player shooter to life.
While the Xbox One
and PlayStation 4
have stolen the lion's share of hype surrounding next-gen gaming consoles recently, Valve has continued working away on its own entry into the console market. Last week, the company shipped Steam Machine
prototypes to 300 beta testers and made the first release of the open-source operating system that will power it, SteamOS, available for download.
With 3D printers dropping below the US$200 mark
, the home 3D printing revolution appears to be getting into full swing, which is great ... if you want to make things out of plastic. Unfortunately, the price of commercial metal 3D printers means the ability to print metal objects has remained out of reach of most people. That could be set to change with a team from Michigan Technical University building a 3D metal printer for under $1,500.
Intel's Futurist and Director of Future Casting, Brian David Johnson, was at this week's Maker Faire in New York City to introduce an open source, 3D printed companion robot called Jimmie.
For the last week, I've been living with a 3D printer – one of the cheapest on the market: the Flashforge Creator Dual. After 30 or so prints, I've discovered some of the foibles of home 3D printing, and some of the work-arounds. Is this a glimpse into the future of home fabrication, or a niche hobby piece? Grab some hairspray (seriously) and dive in as Gizmag reviews the FlashForge Creator 3D and, more importantly, takes a detailed look at the practicalities of 3D printing at home.
As the word "drone" has become so commonplace that you can literally build a UAV out of anything
, researchers are aiming to make the technology smaller and more usable in everyday practice. Bart Remes, project manager at the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at the TU Delft faculty of Aerospace Engineering, has led a group of researchers to the creation of the world's smallest autopilot.
As the Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) has worked to make computing more accessible, it has helped pioneer new ways of using technology. We've seen the versatile, board-based Raspberry Pi
enabling everything from robotic bartenders
to doggie treat dispensers
. The latest project featuring the Pi comes from Matthew Epler, whose Pi-powered Kinogarph digitizes old film stock at a fraction of the cost of conventional off-the-shelf systems.
Developers, makers, and hobbyists looking for a beefier alternative to Gizmag favorite the Raspberry Pi
will be delighted to learn that BeagleBoard.org has taken the wraps off a 1 GHz ARM-based board named the BeagleBone Black. Though it may look like a slightly more expensive outlay, its manufacturer says that by providing everything needed for display, keyboard and network connectivity right out of the box, the Black provides "a lower total cost of ownership than the nearest competitor."
Hot on the heels of InMoov
, the 3D-printable android, comes a similar but much less intimidating project for DIYers by Hello Robo. MAKI is a cute communication robot that can be assembled from 3D-printed parts and some off-the-shelf electronic components for less than US$500, making it an affordable platform for hobbyists and university labs. Hello Robo has opted to launch MAKI via crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where a $30 pledge will net you the 3D blueprints.
As smartphones become more akin to pocket-laptops, the evolution of mobile gaming is also forging ahead, going far beyond such classics as Tetris
. Yet touch screen control for complex gaming is inhibitive, and sometimes it’s just downright clumsy. XOPAD, a USB-based controller for Android phones, is looking to join a growing list of products that turn your smartphone into a fully-fledged hand-held gaming machine. The creators are also aiming to make it open-source for developers.