Photokina 2014 highlights

Open-source

The Digispark measures roughly the same size as a US quarter coin

The open-source Arduino micro-controller is a very useful piece of kit which has been implemented by hackers to power countless endeavors from Musical Umbrellas to Angry Birds Slingshot Controllers. For some projects however, the flexibility of the Arduino can be overkill and it's this issue which prompted Digispark to create a simpler, cheaper alternative - a tiny Arduino-compatible developmental circuit board that costs as little as US$12.  Read More

It doesn't look all that appetizing, but it gives you more control than the average Mexica...

A 3D printer that pops out steaming hot burritos before your very eyes? That sounds like the plot of the next stoner movie turned cult hit. In this case, though, it's actually the thesis project of an NYU masters student. And it's fast becoming a reality.  Read More

OpenROV is an underwater remote-operated vehicle that will be available in a kit or fully-...

Underwater remote-operated vehicles, or ROVs, are almost impossibly fascinating. They’re controlled by a surface-based operator, who watches their real-time video feed and pilots them via a long umbilical cable. Although the big-league multi-million-dollar ROVs are used for things such as exploring the wreck of the Titanic or studying hydrothermal vents, hobbyists have quite a bit of fun using their own home-built versions just to see what’s under the surface of the local lake. Unfortunately, even to build one yourself, you need to be pretty technically skilled. That could change, however, as the OpenROV project is developing “easy to assemble” kits – it may even provide li’l ROVs that are ready to go, right out of the box.  Read More

A few short months after being successfully funded by the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing porta...

After attracting more than three times its funding target on the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing portal, the TriggerTrap universal camera trigger is now speeding towards production. The battery-operated, pocket-sized device has five built-in trigger modes - including firing the flash or shutter release in response to light or sound input - and is compatible with a growing list of camera models. It has a touch-sensitive user interface and an LCD display to help take the guesswork out of choosing settings, and can control hundreds of different cameras via wired or IR trigger systems. It has also been built to allow (if not actively encourage) hacking.  Read More

.NET Gadgeteer's sample camera built by Nicholas Villar

DIY gadgets' makers have a new solution for quick and easy building of custom devices in the form of the .NET Gadgeteer platform. Utilizing .NET Micro Framework and C# programming language, .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit combined of a basic ARM CPU-equipped mainboard and a choice of easily attachable modules, including displays, buttons, camera, Ethernet, USB ports, or WiFi. The idea resembles the Arduino platform or EZ-Builder kit for DIY robotics projects like DJ Sures' WALL-E.  Read More

The Seabird Open Web mobile phone concept from Billy May

As laptop computers continue to shrink in size and mobile phones become more and more powerful, can it be that long before the two merge into a device with the portability of a mobile phone and the functionality of a laptop? While it is just a matter of time before the power of a fully-fledged PC can be crammed inside a device the size of a mobile phone, our fingers aren't getting any smaller so overcoming the problems of interacting with such a small device will require some creative thinking. Creative thinking like that of designer Billy May who has come up with a mobile phone concept called the “Seabird” that is designed to address some of the frustrations people face when using such physically small devices.  Read More

The Urban Forest Map relies on community contributions to build information sharing, and c...

How do we get a good picture of what trees are where, how they are affecting or contributing to the environment, and what problems they might be susceptible to in today's changing world? The main problem with recording this vital information is (to borrow a line) “tree people like planting trees, they don't like entering data.” So why not throw the task open to the local community? The Urban Forest Map is a one-stop repository using information contributed from any willing group or individual and aims to engage community participation to build a complete, dynamic picture of the urban forest.  Read More

Photo: Achim J. Lilienthal - CC

Back in February, we brought you the story of Willow Garage Robotics’ PR2 Beta Program. California-based Willow Garage is giving PR2 robots to ten deserving robotics development groups, to program and customize as they wish. In exchange, those groups will enter all of their research data into an open-source software platform, so other robotics designers can learn from their successes and failures. Now, we’ve received word that a similar project is in the works in Europe. Led by the Eindhoven University of Technology, six research institutes are developing a collective worldwide online memory for robots, wherein robots can learn from each other's capabilities, thus streamlining the process of adopting new operations.  Read More

Google goes 3D with launch of ANGLE graphics driver project

Google has launched a new open-source project for its Chrome browser that will enhance 3D graphics rendering capabilities without the need for users to download additional drivers. Dubbed ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine), the project aims to allow Windows users to run WebGL content without having the traditionally necessary OpenGL drivers installed.  Read More

TREXA

When we first looked at TREXA's open-source electric vehicle development platform late last month we were impressed by the concept, but one big question remained - how much will it cost? The answer has come sooner than expected with TREXA announcing a base price of US$15,999 for the lithium-powered, modular platform which is designed to facilitate the creation of custom "vehicle apps".  Read More

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